Meera Lee Patel
Indian origin, Brooklyn-raised Meera Lee Patel describes herself as an internally driven person – daydreaming being an important part of her creative process. The self-taught artist’s watercolour creations, usually featuring nature, are an expression of her outdoorsy spirit and love of travel. The vibrant palette is influenced by Patel’s trips to her family’s hometown, Gujarat, and India in general – “there are so many layers of colour, sound and interaction, and they are all beating at the same time. The energy is palpable, almost nervous with its own strength.” The most recent entry in her travel sketchbook was during an artist residency programme by Light Grey Art Lab in Iceland: a light wash of icebergs afloat in the lagoon created by the Jokulsarlon glacier. Besides the pages of her travel journal and art canvases, Patel’s work finds its way on to home decor and fashionwear too. Lately the artist has been in the limelight for her second book, Start Where You Are, a collection of illustrated quotes by thinkers and explorers that encourages introspection.
Twenty-nine-year-old artist Lorraine Loots’ Instagram bio says, “I make paintings for ants” – a line that succinctly explains her miniature artworks that usually measure between 8mm and 30mm in diameter. The series started as part of a 365-day project, 365 Paintings for Ants, that’s now in its second phase. “Ironically, the idea came about after I had decided that I didn’t want to pursue a career as an artist after all. I didn’t want to stop painting though, so I constructed this borderline-OCD project where I had to spend an hour a day creating something. The only thing I could finish in that time frame was a miniature,” explains Loots. Featured across her Instagram feed, the beautifully detailed watercolour compositions draw inspiration by everyday objects and patron suggestions of themes set within the artist’s home turf, Cape Town. “Painting smaller pictures just allows me to put in the amount of detail I want to (otherwise it would take me a lifetime). I also love the intimacy of it – the fact that you have to get so close to the image to really appreciate it,” says Loots who spends a minimum of six hours per artwork daily. A retrospective book of the 2014 collection is scheduled to launch this October.