Feature Friday: Johanna Wilbraham

Happy Feature Friday!

Today’s feature is probably unlike anything you’ve ever seen before! We were truly astounded when we saw the incredible portraits by Johanna Wilbraham, and found out she creates these huge masterpieces by using jars to pour diluted oil paint straight onto the canvas! It’s amazing how something so unplanned and unpredictable can produce such beautiful results! Each portrait she does tells it’s own story and we love how she shows vulnerability and real women throughout her work. To learn a little more about the meaning behind her portraits, as well as her creative process, keep reading!

: Tell us a little about yourself.

: I am a British Artist who has lived in Australia for the last 6 years with my Aussie husband. I currently live in Melbourne where I have a little studio for some very large artworks. I work part time in an Art Gallery alongside my own creative practice. I’m obsessed with painting faces, hanging eclectic figurative artworks around my house in gaudy gold frames, playful folky illustrations and music, candles that smell like cookies, floral dresses, and my dog Fox.

: We love your portraits! How would you describe your current work?

: Thank you! This year I have been challenging myself to paint on a smaller scale than usual. I’m used to working on very large canvases, and it’s quite liberating for me to be working on small 40 x 40 cm boards right now. It also enables me to paint quicker and experiment more. With my technique there is a lot of drying time in between layers, so working small allows me to get the most of my little studio. I can’t quite get away from large works though, so always have a few of these on the go too. I would describe my current work as a group of colourful, expressive and quirky portraits of women in my life. The faces tend to have a sadness and vulnerability to them which is deliberately contrasted with bright, bold colour pairings and the use of flat pattern work.

Continue reading “Feature Friday: Johanna Wilbraham”

Feature Friday: Nat Guinamard

Happy Feature Friday!

Today we’re featuring the work of Nat Guinamard and we think you’re going to love her incredibly expressive illustrations! Nat was kind enough to share some details on her Drawing a Day Challenge, her artistic background, and her knack for drawing faces. She also answered some of our questions too! So keep reading to learn more about her work and creative journey.


Continue reading “Feature Friday: Nat Guinamard”

Feature Friday: Artist Ellie Edon

Screen Shot 2015-09-12 at 14.21.31Happy Feature Friday!

Today we’re featuring Ellie Edon of @wastedpaints. We can’t help but be drawn her colorful, fun pieces! A majority of her focus is on animals and it’s so cool that she makes them look completely realistic, while at the same time often using multicolor. She not only creates art because she’s talented at it, but also loves how it makes her feel. Her pieces make us happy so we’re glad that creating them does the same for her! Keep reading to learn more about Ellie and see her amazing works of art!

Castle Logo: Tell us a little about yourself as well as your artistic background.

Screen Shot 2015-10-08 at 10.13.22 PM: I’m Ellie Edon. I am an 18 year old from Yorkshire in England. I’m a socialist, a vegetarian, intersectional feminist, a dog lover and someone who finds peace in making artwork. I find writing about myself difficult as I am still young and developing who I am. I want how I change as a person, and my values, to shine through my artwork someday.

I remember in Year 6 (in England this is around the age of 10/11) I won my first Art contest with the theme being Easter. In fact, I used very very bright colours even then. I also won a blue peter badge with the same work. (This was a big deal!!) I used to have very low self confidence, and found some self-esteem when people complimented my work. This esteem has helped me develop my skills in where I am today, and has made me a much more confident person. I’m still just someone with an Instagram account – still, it’s pretty cool having a following.

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Feature Friday: Artist Sian Storey

Happy Feature Friday!

1. My photoThis week we’re featuring artist Sian Storey! Her creative journey is so exciting to follow and she has gained the attention of some major media outlets. We admire the fact that she is always seeking new experiences and ways to grow in her work. It reminds us of the Julia Child’s quote which says, “Find something you’re passionate about and stay tremendously interested in it.” It’s evident that Sian is living that out every day.

Castle Logo: Tell us about yourself and how Sian Storey Art got started.

static1.squarespace: Hello! I’m an artist and art teacher in Hampshire, England. Painting is my passion, and I have a First Class Honours degree in Fine Art. As you’ll discover throughout this interview, I’m a versatile and hungry artist, always looking for fresh ways to evolve my art, and interesting new projects to be involved in.

How did I get started? Let’s see… my earliest art memory is painting my Grandad’s gnomes in his garden back in the 1980’s. My Nan still has them 25 years on. So art has always been a big part of my life and was massively encouraged by my friends and family. It’s what I love, and something I will always do.


Castle Logo: You mainly focus on people and birds. What made you decide to stick to these two subject matters?

static1.squarespace: I work from found images, and am particularly drawn to colour, pattern and beautiful pictures. I keep scrapbooks of images that I have collected and reference them in my paintings. I also love to travel, and this feeds into my work. Last summer I visited Japan, and have been referencing it in a lot of my work ever since.

The people-based images I choose are often black and white allowing me to explore my own colour schemes. I like the image to feel emotionally charged, like the person depicted has a story to tell. Sometimes it’s my story, or just the way I’m feeling.

I use birds in my work as they are also associated with literature and narrative, and they have many cultural references. I love creating movement in my bird paintings choosing colour to evoke mood, and texture to convey beauty.

And sometimes, I combine both birds and people.


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Feature Friday: Artist Martine Moen

Happy Screen Shot 2014-03-14 at 17.05.05!

10472806_10154300895590381_5075092552027862658_o This week we’re featuring artist Martine Moen. She mainly focuses on amazingly detailed and realistic portraits of people. She sparked her interest in drawing in 2013 after following some inspiring artists on Instagram and tried her hand at painting after watching Youtube tutorials. You would never be able to tell that drawing is a relatively new pursuit for Martine! We also love her attitude about pursuing your creative path. Her advice is to just keep pressing forward with your work if it is something you like to do. Always try to learn and improve your work, but to do it for yourself, not to keep up with other artists out there. That’s some really great advice as it can get pretty competitive in the art world and it’s hard not to play the comparison game. Read on to learn more about Martine and her work!

Castle Logo: Tell us a little about yourself.

Screenshot (23): My name is Martine and I currently live in Oslo, Norway. I am 22 years old and half-way through my studies. I enjoy photography, and like to think I’m better at it than I actually am. I have at least 10 tv-shows I’m watching at the same time, jumping back and forth. I read whenever I can, I have the cutest cat, and when I’m old I want to live in an old castle of some sort. Preferably with a library and a hot-tub.


(keep reading…)

Feature Friday: Gloria Ho Illustrations

Happy Screen Shot 2014-03-14 at 17.05.05!

Me-KomagataMaruThis week we talked to Gloria Ho, of Gloria Ho Illustrations. We love that she has illustrations that can easily be identified as hers, as she mainly paints portraits and animals and uses watercolors. Her animal paintings have such character and the story behind how she started painting them is too cute. Sometimes you need just a little bit of random inspiration to get a project going and we’re glad she did. Gloria has now become a published illustrator and sells her pieces online and at art markets. She hopes to have her own exhibition in the future and we know she will achieve that goal soon! Keep reading for Gloria’s full story.

Castle Logo: Tell us about yourself. When and why did you start illustrating?
logo_small2-1: I’m Gloria Ho, a freelance watercolour illustrator based in Edmonton, Alberta. I started painting when I was about 11 or 12 and always did it for fun, but it wasn’t until a few years ago that my watercolour style started to develop. It was my final year of university and I did a 20-piece watercolour portrait series for my capstone project. This project really ignited my love of watercolour and taught me so much about the medium.

After graduation, I went to South Korea to teach English and some of my elementary students thought Gloria sounded like “gorilla” and started calling me “Gorilla Teacher”. I thought the nickname was so funny and I started sketching gorillas. These sketches led to primate paintings, an endless series of animal illustrations, and a commitment to make painting an important part of my life.

Castle Logo: You illustrate a lot of animals and portraits. Is there anything in particular about these subjects that attracts you to paint them?
logo_small2-1: I think the reason I love painting portraits is because I’m fascinated by physiognomy. I enjoy looking at physical qualities of a subject and painting them in a way that expresses the person’s intangible characteristics. I also love painting animals because they have so much personality! I also find that the colours and different textures on an animal really allow me to play with several watercolour techniques in one painting.


Castle Logo: What are your favorite medias to work with and why?
logo_small2-1: Watercolour is by far my favourite medium to work with because I never totally know what the end result will be and I enjoy the process. The way it blends and bleeds is unpredictable, which is both exciting and frustrating at times. It is an unforgiving medium so there is a necessary balance between control and spontaneity.


Castle Logo: When did you decide to start selling your work?
logo_small2-1: I started to sell my work here and there when family members and friends commissioned me. It wasn’t until 2014 that I started pursuing painting as a business. I didn’t have the confidence to sell my illustrations until I started posting images on social media and strangers expressed interest in my work. It also really helped to have a strong support system with family and friends believing in me and encouraging me to give it a try. In the past year, I have sold my watercolours at art markets, online, and to individual clients.


Castle Logo: What has been the most exciting moment of being an illustrator?
logo_small2-1: I’ve always dreamed of becoming a published illustrator and this came true recently when 5 of my illustrations were printed in the farewell issue of the Worn Fashion Journal! Not only was it a personal accomplishment, but an awesome learning experience.


Castle Logo: You have done some traveling. What was one of your most memorable moments being abroad? Has traveling helped your artistic career?
logo_small2-1: One of my favourite travel memories is when my best friend and I had the opportunity to bathe an elephant at a sanctuary in Luang Prabang, Laos! It was such a cool experience and a really positive time in my life. When I traveled and worked with different organizations abroad, I found myself in a lot of situations that I didn’t expect. I think I learned to be me more decisive yet adaptable, and a better communicator. I also started to figure out what I wanted to change about myself, what my strengths were, what made me happy and what I wanted to achieve. All of these things collectively motivated me to start my artistic career.

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Castle Logo: What are your biggest dreams and goals?
logo_small2-1: I would love to have a solo exhibition one day! How cool would that be?


Castle Logo: What’s the best advice you have received?
logo_small2-1: I learned from a university professor that when it comes to painting and illustrating, it’s impossible to have successful pieces 100% of the time. There will be days where all the work you do is horrible, no matter what. This helped take the pressure off illustrating and helped me focus on the process instead of the end result.

Another piece of advice that stuck with me came from an accomplished illustrator who emphasized that whatever came from my hand naturally was the style that I should develop. He said imitation is a good way to study technique, but we shouldn’t try to copy the style of another artist when building a portfolio for commercial work. If clients see imitated work, they will only be reminded of the original artist, and wouldn’t commission the imitator.


Castle Logo:  Any advice you’d like to give to aspiring illustrators?
logo_small2-1: Develop both your creative and business skills together because you need both to succeed. Meet and share ideas with other working creative people who understand what you’re going through when you’re trying to earn money selling things you make! Forming a community is a great way to pool your knowledge, get constructive feedback, and make personal connections.
See more from Gloria below:
Website: www.gloriaho.ca

Feature Friday: Art by CYNNO

Happy  Screen Shot 2014-03-14 at 17.05.05!


This week’s Feature Friday is Cinthia of Art by CYNNO. We are obsessed with her work and can’t wait to share it with you guys! The funny part about it all is that she started her art career by accident. One day her circumstances changed and as a result she made her first pieces of “tiny art,” or mini portraits. Often times it is when we least expect it, or when we are forced to make a change, that we maximize our potential. Cinthia was definitely able to make the best out of her situation and ended up making a whole new career out of something she loves doing. Just imagine painting happy people all day… she has it made! Check out her interview below to learn more about Cinthia’s journey and see her work. She was also kind enough to give our readers a little perk: A DISCOUNT!! You don’t want to miss this chance.

Screen Shot 2014-07-24 at 01.34.24: Tell us about yourself.

Untitled-2: Not too sure what to say! I am 26 years old, I was born in Cuba and moved to Miami with my mother and step-father when I was 10. I’ve been drawing and creating for as long as I can recall. I have a Bachelor of Fine Arts in Fashion Design and worked as the assistant designer and textile designer for a high-end womenswear line before pursuing my career as an artist. I love Star Wars, food, my dogs, and have a slight Instagram addiction. That about sums me up.

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Screen Shot 2014-07-24 at 01.34.24: What made you decide to create wood portraits?

Untitled-2: It was a total accident! After my job in fashion came to a screeching halt, I roughed it out and freelanced for a few months while I figured out my next career move. Christmas came around and I was a bit too broke to get Christmas presents for my best friends, so, I painted little portraits for 4 of my friends (one of which was a family portrait as she was about to have a baby) on little wooden plaques I had left over from a previous project. The minute they shared photos of their gifts on Instagram and Facebook, the requests started coming in. It seemed like every time I finished one portrait, that same piece would generate three more, and so on, from that person’s friends. Eventually, I was getting emails from complete strangers and had to finally open up an Etsy store to keep better track of my orders, and the photos of my portraits pretty much invaded all my social media accounts. By the week of Mother’s Day, I had to pull all-nighters and crank out 8 portraits a day to get everything out in time. I can’t even explain how surprised and grateful I am that all of this has happened from my silly little Christmas presents.

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Screen Shot 2014-07-24 at 01.34.24: Describe the process behind making your wood portraits.

Untitled-2: It varies for each one, but, basically, once someone chooses a size and shape they like from my Etsy store, they are prompted to send me an email with any photos and instructions they want to use for their custom piece. Some send me a photo they want me to interpret almost literally, like a family or couple portrait, while others send me tons of individual photos of each member, describe their personalities, hobbies or favorite items of clothing they would like included, etc. I have a lot of fun reading these, and, the more information I am given, the more personal and special the final product is. We usually chat back and forth a bit, and, I create an initial sketch for their approval. Once it’s approved, I paint the piece using acrylic paint, seal it, take a photo of it, pack it, and ship it! Sometimes I write overly elaborate thank-you notes, and, usually, I get really fun emails back about what happened when they received their piece, or gave it to the person it was intended for, or how it was displayed in people’s homes.

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Screen Shot 2014-07-24 at 01.34.24: Wood portraits aren’t the only things you create. What are some of the other projects you’re working on?

Untitled-2: I do freelance commercial art, usually murals for restaurants, bars, etc. Most of these are focused on hand-lettering and vintage sign painting or chalk art, which I do alongside my super talented friend Robert Almeida. They can be found at wynwoodsignpainting.com. I also work on commissioned artwork and murals for a commercial interior design studio, and do a bit of freelance textile design and technical design when fashion duty calls. Sometimes I sleep and stuff.

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Screen Shot 2014-07-24 at 01.34.24: Do you have a favorite piece or something you just had to keep for yourself?

Untitled-2: My first ever wood paintings, which are a collection of different portraits of girls with antlers or animal ears.


Screen Shot 2014-07-24 at 01.34.24: Did you study art and take courses or were you self-taught?

Untitled-2: I guess you could say I’m mostly self-taught. My dad is a ridiculously talented artist and even though I didn’t grow up with him (he’s lived in Mexico since I was 4), he visited often and made sure I was exposed to art from an early age. As a kid, I drew constantly and sent him my drawings whenever I could, and that carried on through my teenage and adult years. I didn’t take my first art class until junior year in high school.

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Screen Shot 2014-07-24 at 01.34.24: What are you most grateful for?

Untitled-2: Everything! I have the best family, boyfriend, and friends ever. I can’t believe how many people pushed me and believed in me way before I did. It took a lot of convincing from a lot of people for me to actually accept that I had something awesome going and had to take it seriously. Aside from that, the fact that over 100 people have my little pieces hanging in their homes is still astonishing to me. I know I’m not making Renaissance level portraits here, but it makes me extremely happy to know that my little pieces are being given as gifts, ordered for loved ones to commemorate marriages, babies, jobs, and birthdays. I’m ridiculously grateful that I get to wake up every day and do something I love and make people happy at the same time. I could rant forever about this. I get to draw cartoons of happy people for a living… I’m stoked.

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Screen Shot 2014-07-24 at 01.34.24: Name the riskiest thing you’ve done in your career.

Untitled-2: Not having a steady 9 to 5 job still scares the living crap out of me sometimes. Actually, all the time.

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Screen Shot 2014-07-24 at 01.34.24: What are some of your most used medias?

Untitled-2: Wood, baby! Acrylic paint, pencils, and I go through a LOT of tiny brushes.

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Screen Shot 2014-07-24 at 01.34.24: What do you like most about taking custom commissions?

Untitled-2: It sounds weird, but I like getting a tiny window into the happiest parts of a random stranger’s life. When I’m working on a new order, I spend a good couple of hours looking at photos and gathering information about the subjects I’m painting. By the time the portrait is completed, it’s hard not to feel like I know them. I have a lot of repeat customers, which makes it extra fun because I can see a clear little timeline of paintings forming from their orders. I’m happy for whatever accomplishment or special date they are celebrating, and feel extremely humbled that my little portrait was chosen as a way to remember that. I’ve also been able to reconnect with old friends as far back as middle school from being commissioned to draw their new babies and the like. I’m about as socially awkward as it gets and I see this as a really fun way to interact with people.

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Screen Shot 2014-07-24 at 01.34.24: Any advice for creatives/in general?

Untitled-2: Just do what you love and don’t stop, eventually someone will notice.

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Check out more of Cinthia’s work by looking at her social media accounts and website! And enjoy the many more “tiny portraits” that she wanted to share with you guys below!
 Instagram: @cynno
Facebook: Tiny Arts by Cynno
Etsy: artsbycynno
Website: cynno.com

Also don’t forget! If you enter the code CASTLEFOUNDATIONS on the ArtsbyCynno Etsy page, you’ll get $10 off an order. (The perfect Christmas present…!?)