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Beth Braganca Bell is an illustrator and designer who lives and works in Providence, RI alongside her husband, Mike at their multimedia production house, embee studio.
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HARVESTING HOPE

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After a long absence…

I’m back. And I’ve been busy. One of the projects I’ve been working on is for one of my absolute favorite organizations in divine Providence, Southside Community Land Trust. They create tiny farms all throughout the city, teaching folks how to grow and take their goods to market. Their annual fundraiser, Harvesting Hope is tomorrow night and I have four drawings that will be auctioned off to help them keep up this green work. Each drawing is one of four pollinators: monarchs and swallowtails, hummingbird, bumble and honey bees, and blue and sunbirds. Little creatures that help feed us. And it just so happens that they are all breathtakingly beautiful, so how could I not draw them?? The best news is that you can bid onlinehere. Take a look and at the very least learn a little about SCLT.

I SHOULD PROBABLY MENTION…

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I have a couple exciting events coming up in the next month. One is a little more traditional, the other like a giant group therapy session.

The Providence Art Club’s juried show “Making Your Mark” opening April 2, celebrating contemporary Women artists.

Resistance Works: Art & Politics  Rhode Island Artists Speak Out,  which is a deep exhale from a group of artists reflecting on what has happened in the country since Nov. 9th.

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Come to one, come to both. See some beautiful work either way.

FIRE IN MY SOUL

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Where to begin. 2017 seemed to contain so much hope after the year we had been through. From personal and family trials, to beloved celebrity deaths, to the end-of-days election…And now I wake up every morning, put on my imaginary Guy Fawkes mask and set out to stir up some shit.

Art has become my yogic breathing. Thank my stars that I get to do it for a living.

So, here we go 2017! I am back to my neglected blog with new images, hope and a soul full of fire.   trumpSMHSMBSM DSM FSM

MINI ART!

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blinkminishowIt’s been  an unusual year that has had me tied up in knots, but I’m back with tons of work, ready to post. Starting with  Mini Art at the Blink Gallery in Newport, RI. I have three (now down to 2 as one is already gone) mini originals in the show. It’s only up and available until January8th, so you should probably get in the car now.

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FRIZZLE

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KIWI

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A LOVELY DAY FOR A SIDEWALK SALE

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Yesterday was just lovely. We spent the day on our favorite street with some really talented folks. I’m looking forward to the Providence Artisan markets this summer at Lippitt Park with a tent to trick out with a million paper flowers and driftwood.

FOXY FOXPOINT

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Spring has finally shown its face and with it came a flurry of activity. Collaborations, makers fairs, new ideas, and a Gallery Night hosting. This wacky, dysfunctional little town has such amazing and talented people doing fantastic things…it’s what keeps us from jacking up the house and rolling it into the sea. One place you can see some of our wonder is the Makers & Merchants Sidewalk Sale this Saturday on Wickenden Street. Come visit our tiny corner of the world- shop, eat, and wish you lived here too! (Chicken and Kiwi will be available in special mini sizes)

STRANGE LITTLE DINOSAURS

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A few more therapy birds… I love these strange little dinosaurs. The little kiwi has a fan club of his own,  I might make a few mini prints of him for the Wickenden Street fair coming up in April.

LE POULET

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MOLLUSCA

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This guy is part of a collaboration with my favorite print house, iolabs. Mollusca and Wood Slice are available to purchase as prints in their Curio shop. There is a second phase of this project coming soon that I am super excited about. For all those “does form-follow-function or does function-follow-form” types, stay tuned.

FRIZZLE

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frizzle_blogDo you have any idea how many ridiculous breeds of chickens there are??!

EVERYONE WILL WANT A SILKIE CHICKEN

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So far, 2016 can move along. It’s brought its share of black clouds and anxiety. And I realized that it was starting to show in all the tight little lines I was drawing. Not that I will ever give up my obsession with repetition and the poetry of said lines- but I needed to free up my hand a bit and get loose.  That’s where the Silkie chickens come in. Ridiculous muppets that couldn’t be more fun to draw. And now my kids want one. They are part one of drawing therapy.  Lines, lines, inky splotchiness and breeeeathe…

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BODY SCHEMA

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I recently read an article about how inanimate objects or even other people can become extensions of our own body when used enough. It’s the theory of “body schema” or the mental awareness of how we move through space- sort of like the 3rd eye version of a cat’s whiskers. It describes how after using a tool for an extended period of time, you begin to see or feel the edges of that object like you would with your own fingers.

Exactly how I feel when I’m drawing- probably most artists would say the same. You become so focused on the lines, or the act of drawing or painting, paying almost no attention the the physical pen.  There are times when I’m so engrossed that I feel like I’ve grown tentacles or antennae, reaching out to the universe. It’s a little unnerving, very meditative and all comforting.

I grew up dancing and am still a total ballethead. This article begins by spotlighting the Tango and the three minutes that the two dancers are moving together with one brain. Watching my friends dance at Festival Ballet Providence, I am made aware of how true that is. Moving sculpture responding to each other as naturally and as fluid as breathing. Ballet is one of the few art forms that is performed almost exactly as it was hundreds of years ago. Century old stories still being danced, and it’s about as gorgeous as any human can strive to be.

And that was the looong way around to explain these pieces. They were made for FBP during their performances of The Firebird and Afternoon of a Faun. They are a bit different from my usual style…

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GET READY

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So many new projects and adventures coming this year.  Started it off with a bang- Take a look at our teeny tiny city that we made even tinier for one of our favorite clients, the Providence Children’s Film Festival:

Tons more to come and a peak at a few things that I finished up last year (I hosted Gallery Night Providence eek!). 2016, baby.

DIA DE LOS MUERTOS

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This was a last minute piece for a show my friend, Shaun was putting together for Dia De Los Muertos.

Decided this goat skull was an appropriate subject. Also, I got caught up in the driftwood lines and curves of the horns. A million hairs of india ink later and I may be a little cross eyed now. I do love getting to know animals and plants in this way. To realize the growth patterns of bones, horns, feathers. This guy’s grew like rings of a tree.

STAY TUNED

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Back to school and back to blogging.  I managed to get some sketching done this summer amidst all the kids and craze. And despite the impending plunge into the gray, I really do look forward to the autumn and winter.  From the ghostly crispness of New England in all its glorious, creepy charm, where the first blast of cooler air wakes up that lazy vacationhead, to the battened down hatches of winter. When you live in the Northeast, you are very aware of how precious and short the deck-lounging months are, then I find myself shelving projects in an effort to get outside with my girls and drink in all that warm sunshine. So, when the dark comes quicker and the windows get closed, all of these projects move to the top of the list.

Stay tuned to find out what’s in store. Textiles? Applied design? New production? Yes to it all.insta2_small insta_small

LE VERT DE COEUR

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It’s been quite a while since my last post; a summer’s length really. And although the time was nice, I wasn’t sad to be on to the fall. I’ve had Mums planted for a month in an effort to mentally move forward and enjoy the time before the great plunge into the gray.

This is one project that got me excited for the busiest part of our year. Le Vert de Coeur, or the Green of Heart, is pretty obviously just that. A knotted bunch of some of the beautiful flora you’ll find in the gardens of Southside Community Landtrust : tomatoes, raspberries, squash flowers, nasturtium, and bok choy. The bok choy being as close to arteries and veins as you can get in a vegetable. It will be part of the auction at their annual Harvesting Hope fundraiser this Tuesday.

DAY JOB

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A snippet from my “day job” as a designer- I made these brand cards for an incredible and “sparkly” (as my girls once called her) friend who owns the most adorable apothecary in magical Provincetown, MA. She is one of our many creative and lovely friends who are doing wonderful things and inspire me everyday. If you ever find yourself at the end of the rainbow, stop in to her shop, Kiss and Makeup.

SLICE

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The ongoing affair I have with minutia…My daughter found this wood slice in the yard and all those teeny, tiny lines were calling to me. You can purchase Wood Slice at iolabs.

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An exercise in depth and repetition for interest’s sake. Going to try to add a new tool next go around, we’ll see how it goes.

Oh, ya, we won a Telly for the holiday card I made for the Smithsonian. Pretty neat.

POPPY TEARS

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Padding down a new path for a minute. Combining some thoughts and new elements. Color or no color, you tell me.eye-poppy_color

PAEAN

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A piece I just finished. Peonies.  Slightly off balance, with heavy heads much too large for their necks. I love the march of the ants over the closed blooms, promising summer ahead. Creatures of habit, they can take several years to reestablish themselves after they are moved. A flower I can understand.

PLANT PROVIDENCE REBOOT

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Just finished a slight redesign for the lovely folks at Southside Communtiy Landtrust for their Plant Providence program. Honored that they wanted to use my drawing again this year.

They are pretty fantastic and do amazing work bringing urban agriculture to our Divine Providence. Check them out (southsideclt.org), show a little love if you can, or at least stop by their annual plant sale for the lushest greenery grown with love by Rich and the farmers at City Farm.

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STEVENS FAMILY SUGAR WORKS

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My good friend, Adam, an industrial designer turned woodsman turned maple syrup endeavorist, asked me to create a logo for his new venture. A maple tree and a fantastic company name later… Here is the STEVENS FAMILY SUGAR WORKS logo. I hope he sells barrels and barrels of it.

MAGNOLIAS AREN’T DOGWOODS AND DON’T YOU FORGET IT.

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For my whole life, I grew up calling these trees that bloomed the most lovely floating flowers Dogwoods. Giant, dessert-plate sized blooms that would open in early spring. It wasn’t until I was having dinner one night with my talented, landscape architect friend that I was set straight.

I asked her to name the tree that carried the most delicious, salmon colored petals. Her answer was “Dogwood.” Oh, no, no. I KNOW what a Dogwood looks like and this isn’t it. And I went on to describe once again what she again called a Dogwood. A google search later and what I had been calling a Dogwood all these years was actually a Magnolia tree.  That’s where the idea for this drawing came from. A lesson in horticulture from an ignoramus in the style of a slightly off-kilter Victorian illustration.

BEGINNING WITH THE END.

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In November a brilliant and dear friend approached me about doing a project for the Smithsonian. No big deal.

She was looking to do something different and unique for their holiday card and had seen a time lapse video I had done of my poppies. And there it started- a time lapse video of a drawing to incorporate the Smithsonian castle, with all its hallmark details in a holiday setting, using a song from the Smithsonian Folkways collection.

3 Tombo markers, 2 GoPros, and a partridge later…this was what we came up with.

Smithsonian Holiday card

 

 

PAPAVERACEAE

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BETTA SPLENDENS

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Betta fish. There are certain elements of the natural world that are total headscratchers to me.

Butterflies, for example. Their beauty is unparalleled yet why are these insects given this level of craftsmanship, while others like the fly are left gray and unappealing?

Bettas fall into the same category. The Flamenco dancers of the sea. Their fins are hypnotic. I decided a series of these gorgeous creatures might be necessary.

STOP MOTION OF PAPAVERACEAE IN PROGRESS

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So, I made a time lapse of one of my last drawings, Papaveraceae. A tiny and super fast view of how I work.

Bleeding ink makes me feel a bit like an alchemist, experimenting.

I hope you like it.

Beth Brganca Bell – Poppy timelapse from Mike Bell on Vimeo.

PAPAVERACEAE

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This is a new piece- poppies being one of my favorite flowers.

All of their papery beauty and macabre symbolism…

CRAFTING, UNHINGED

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This is the story of a mother who, while trying to introduce her children to the wild world of camp-style crafts, went off the rails and obsessively wove a 30″ x 20″ god’s eye. And of course it was made with the thinnest of yarn AND features multiple levels.

Repetition is a drug.