Spotlight: Balbusso Twins

Check out the beautiful illustrations by the Balbusso twins: Anna and Elena.

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AOI Awards


Facebook: Balbusso.twins

Twitter: @balbussotwins

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Italian twin sisters Anna and Elena Balbusso

“The twins work incredibly closely together and it is hard to imagine one without the other. “There’s no competitiveness between us,” points out Anna. “We’re not the same person though,” cautions Elena.

Each has an individual role of sorts. They both come up with the creative angles, but they agree, it is Elena who handles the more business-like jobs – the marketing, answering the emails, the website. Is it better to make art as a pair? “Yes, two is better than one,” they chorus. Anna adds: “It could get boring by yourself, it is better to have someone around.”

“We are very much influenced by Gilbert and George and by how they work together. We saw their work at the Venice Biennale.”


Artist Spotlight: Jess Ashton

Jess Ashton creates amazing and beautiful works with light and shadow.

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Find Jess at instagram.

Read more of the interview with Jess Ashton:

“Where do you make your works?
Smaller works are painted plein air. There is nothing like the rush of capturing the light out in the landscape. Larger works are made in the studio using my plein air paintings as reference.”


More at Julian Ashton Art School


What is plein air?

Plein air is a term derived from the French phrase en plein air, which literally means ‘in the open air’. It’s a familiar concept today, but in the late 1800s when the Impressionists ventured out of their studios into nature to investigate and capture the effects of sunlight and different times of days on a subject, it was quite revolutionary.

What and Where Do I Paint Plein Air?

Your subject matter is entirely up to you, but remember that you don’t have to paint everything you see; be selective, think about what the essence of the scene is.

Consider scouting out locations in advance to decide what you’re going to paint and where you would set up. This way when you head out to paint you can spend the whole day painting and take along the best selection of colors for that particular scene. Look right around, 360 degrees, so you don’t miss the possibilities ‘behind’ you. (more)

Artist Spotlight: Helen Oxenbury

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Tom and Pippo on the beach

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“Growing up in Ipswich, England, Helen Oxenbury loved nothing more than drawing. . . .  After marrying John Burningham, another of the world’s most eminent children’s book illustrators, and giving birth to their first child . . . she turned to illustrating children’s books. . . . Today, Helen is among the most popular and critically acclaimed illustrators of her time. Her numerous books for children include the Kate Greenaway Medal-winning Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland by Lewis Carroll; Smarties Book Prize-winning Farmer Duck by Martin Waddell; We’re Going on a Bear Hunt by Michael Rosen; Ten Little Fingers and Ten Little Toes, written by Mem Fox, as well as her classic board books for babies.” (Walker Books)

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Follow Helen Oxenbury on twitter @helenoxenbury