There’s a new artist blog on the block, Lea Sheler’s “Paintpots”. Ms. Sheler plans to post tidbits from her sketchbooks as well as other art projects. In addition to the title page of her latest sketchbook, she’s included photos of a paint job she did on her walls. Lovely stuff! The colors and style strongly remind me of a tiny nook in the church where my wife and I were married. The choice of a sharp, gothic peak is an interesting one. Typically, the gothic arch is very cool, apollonian, and humbling. Its use in churches and cathedrals draws the eye and thoughts upward, and the severe verticals shrink the viewer, dropping you into the bottom of a pit.
Ms. Sheler, however, has combined them not only with warm, earthy tones, but capped them with delicate, subdued floral motifs. She’s avoided the towering verticals that usually support these arches. She has, in fact, sunk the shape into the earth, and gently feminized it. The room is warm and inviting. It both frames and hugs the dark furniture. And it’s not like any other room in her city, I’ll bet. There’s a lot to be said for something that is both unique and of you.
While the colors say “southwest” the shapes say “Gondolin” to me. No shock there, as Tolkien themes seem to dominate at her Deviant Art gallery. Her work strongly reminds me of the better children’s books I had when I was a kid. Well, ok, I say “better”, but I mean the ones I enjoyed looking through probably the longest, and set aside later than most. Again, a strong sense of earthiness combined with weight and a scratchiness of pen and pencil digging into the paper, almost as if she were more carving then drawing. The images seem to grow up from firm foundations at the bottom of the page. Her characters seem scarred, tested by fire. Maybe it’s just being late October, but I get a strong vibe that speaks of rabbits and toads, oats and apples, dried herbs and corn goddesses hanging from the rafters, and ancient wyrms curled around granite boulders, sipping from a shaded stream beneath hoary oaks. A touch of Brian Froud, maybe?
She’s clearly still testing out her own styles and strengths, but has a strong foundation to build from. I’m not artist, but I’d look to varying the weight of her lines more, with bolder, heavier outlines. Be sure to check out her calligraphy, which is also very strong, especially in the map of Middle Earth. Strong nods to Tolkien’s own penmanship, but with a soft, inviting grandeur that is clearly her own.
The real mystery for me, however, is why she linked to this blog. No, I’m not just fishing for compliments. ;) I am very curious why people who are not looking for a review of Ptolus read this page.
And it makes me look at my paltry list of links. Tsk, tsk. I never finished putting up my original list, and it keeps growing. Back to the forge for this troll…