Fine Art

Paper Marbling

I took a Paper Marbling class this past weekend at the Common Room Studio in Alexandria, VA... (super cool little space for creative endeavors owned by Nole Garey, renowned blogger from Oh So Beautiful Paper, so check it out;) Taught by Kelly Laughlin from Baltimore, I have admired Kelly's beautiful hand made papers for years, so I was particularly excited to have an opportunity to learn the basics from her. The space is light filled, casual and cool... a great place to spend a few hours on a Sunday afternoon. 

Kelly Laughlin ( @kellylaughlin_ ) doing several demonstrations of her practice

Kelly Laughlin (@kellylaughlin_) doing several demonstrations of her practice

Marbled papers drying at Common Room Studio 

Marbled papers drying at Common Room Studio 

Suminagashi is an ancient Japanese art form of decorating papers with inks which float on water's surface. Whether you want it to or not, like painting with watercolors, the pigment is at the mercy of the current, tends to have a mind of its own and swirls into ever changing patterns. One of the reasons I love watercolors so much is that there is an inherent imperfection to the medium... water tends to flow as it wishes and so part of the process is giving in to a moment, relinquishing total control and letting it take you to a beautiful new place. There's something very meditative about that. Understandable then, why the art of Suminagashi speaks to me as it does.  

I spent more time swirling ink on water than actually dipping paper in... loved the movement. 

I spent more time swirling ink on water than actually dipping paper in... loved the movement. 

A few of my works, drying next to my pan of marbled water... my colors;) 

A few of my works, drying next to my pan of marbled water... my colors;) 

Of course, those who are familiar with my art and design will recognize that I have been hand painting designs for years that mimic the natural undulating patterns of the suminagashi technique. I love organic lines and I study them... In my world of design, those lines often become part of patterning which graces many products in my fine art and home decor portfolio, from bedding duvets, to fabrics, to wallpaper, to wedding invitations to wall art... Here are a few of my hand painted versions... see the inspired connection between them? 

I loved the class, met some great people and really enjoyed learning the basics. Now I'd like to dig a bit deeper into this medium and really see what's possible. I am picturing something a bit grander in scale... oh yes, I have a vision... so stay tuned;) 

Picture Source Somerset adds Shell Rummel to lineup

Shell Rummel for Picture Source Somerset
Shell Rummel for Picture Source Somerset
Shell Rummel for Picture Source Somerset

It's always exciting when I sign with a brand new Licensee, but even more so when they seem just as thrilled about collaborating with me! Very proud to share that my newest collaborative design partnership is with Picture Source Somerset. They will be unveiling approximately 35 new works of art from my portfolio of watercolor and alcohol ink in their High Point Market Showroom this April. The new wall art collection includes works on paper under glass as well as giclee prints on canvas. Read the press release to the trade, which was featured in Home Accents Today.  

Feature Article in dpi Magazine Taiwan

Shell Rummel|海的律動 | The Rhythm of the Sea

I recently received my copy of dpi Magazine Taiwan (Vol. 217), which honored me by running a lovely feature article on my work along with a short Q & A. Happy to share a few images from my eight page spread as well as several passages from our interview. Warm thanks to the editorial team of dpi Magazine for including me in this beautiful, professional and high quality publication! x

Shell Rummel DPI magazine


Q: Would you share yourself with us? 

A: I’m Shell Rummel, an artist and designer whose art and design studio is located just outside of Washington DC.  I have an extensive fine art portfolio, having worked as a professional artist for nearly 20 years. Watercolors are my chosen medium and the unpredictable quality of painting with water suits my love of fluid, organic shape and line. I often detail my works with ink to add intricacy and depth and this has become a signature style for my work.  I have a passion for textiles arts and as a designer, I am proud that through licensing my art, my designs and patterning can be found gracing a large variety of home décor products such as rugs, pillows, bath and bath and textiles, via the Shell Rummel brand.

Shell Rummel dpi magazine taiwan

Q: Your paintings are full of organic lines and layers of color. You’ve said that your inspiration is all things from the natural world.  Where do you get the inspiration the most, sea, shell, tree or something else?

A:  Inspiration for a painting comes from many unexpected places but more often than not, there is a connection to elements found in nature. It’s no surprise that I am drawn to the water, specifically the ocean, and often pay homage to it via my paintings and design work. I paint what I feel more so than what I see…and nowhere is this more evident than in my modern coastal inspired artwork which tends to abstract natural elements into line, pattern and shape. The things that most often catch my eye? Many a seashell, oyster, tideline, variegated rock and seagrass have inspired my work…I try to pay tribute to the details of their distinctive organic shapes.

Shell Rummel DPI magazine taiwan
Shell Rummel dpi taiwan magazine
Shell Rummel DPI magazine Taiwan
Shell Rummel DPI magazine taiwan

Q: It seems you like all kinds of blue and green colors a lot! Why do you like these colors? How do these colors make you feel?

A:  My go-to color palette includes watery blues and greens offset by neutral greys and browns. There is a grounded calmness to this combination of colors that I find very soothing and of course, reminds of the ocean I love so much. 

Shell Rummel dpi magazine taiwan

The Heart Surges - A Review, by Artist /Writer, C.J. Shane

Back in 2012.... artist and accomplished writer, C.J. Shane posted a review of my ink and watercolor painting, The Heart Surges. It's always a bit surreal/fascinating when someone looks deeper into my work and then offers their unique perspective. I love what Shane wrote...she understood the essence of my art which begins with my own layered approach to storytelling. It's years later now, and I have come upon her words again. I'm still honored by what she wrote and I invite you to read her review (below my painting post) and offer your own interpretation of The Heart Surges, if so inclined. 

The Heart Surges - original watercolor by Shell Rummel

"Even now, all possible feelings do not yet exist, there are still those that lie beyond our capacity and our imagination. From time to time, when a piece of music no one has ever written or a painting no one has ever painted, or something else impossible to predict, fathom or yet describe takes place, a new feeling enters the world. And then, for the millionth time in the history of feeling, the heart surges and absorbs the impact." ~ Nicole Krauss, The History of Love

Shell Rummel
Saturday Art Review by C. J. Shane

Some artists present us with images that can bring forth different stories in our minds. These images tell a tale that instruct or inform us. It’s impossible to miss the story in Picasso’s Guernica, for example. Or perhaps an image carries within it a spontaneous story laden with diverse ideas or emotions – ideas and emotions that are very often related to what we are thinking or feeling in our personal lives.

Other artists have the capacity to go beyond concept or emotions in storytelling, and instead they present images that can be seen, interpreted, or read in many different ways not bounded by one story line.  In these works, the essential nature or structure of the image can be read in different ways. It’s up to you and me to say what we are seeing. The image can be seen as micro or macro level, as a landscape in one minute, or a figure in the next; as abstracts now, or an  impressionistic rendering in a future viewing. These multiple understandings of a single image are especially intriguing to me

Shell Rummel is one of those artists who can provide us with those compelling images. In fact she says herself, “The fluid grace of nature and its infinite interpretations is my inspiration.” The word “fluid” catches my attention here because it seems to encapsulate the character of her work. The very ability of her images to be read in different ways manifests this idea of fluidity.

Take this watercolor painting, The Heart Surges which is accompanied by a passage from the book The History of Love.  From the title of this work and the book passage, an immediate interpretation comes to us. We imagine a “new feeling” entering the world, and we get to speculate on what the new feeling might be based on the image we see.

But there are other ways to read this. Are we looking at the interior space of a creature that carries within itself a heart and blood vessels and surging flood flows?  That micro-level interpretation of the inner life of cells or structure of tissue appears often in Shell’s work. Or stepping back a bit, do we see a reposing figure with pulsating vessels just beneath the skin’s surface? Or perhaps this is something entirely different. Perhaps it’s a sea creature with tentacles floating on undulating waves. Step back again.  Could the image be an island floating in the great ocean? We see rocky cliffs and sandy shores, tree lines and open grass prairies, trails and roads and little villages?  Or perhaps this is the great Ocean itself with that pulsating, surging life-giving substance that gives planet Earth its true name, the Water Planet.

One can always be sure that Shell’s images will be organic, made of earth and sea and sky, of tissues and cells and atoms that make up the things of life. Her color palette is distinctive and perfectly supports her artistic message. Although I know much of her time is taken with her design business based in Virginia, I am always very pleased to see her artwork appear in her G+ stream. It has become something of an entertaining puzzle for me to see how many layers of reality I can see in her paintings.

Something New

Time this week, to begin working on some of the creative projects that have been on my list for a while. Ink is cool, because it flows as it wishes. It's a lot like watercolor...maybe more headstrong, though. I did spend a good deal of time trying to manage it but eventually gave up on that and enjoyed the unruly flow. Ink is messy by nature. I am still finding splatters of indigo and moss.

And while I'm here, let's talk about this palette. I only had three ink colors in hand which meant I had to work with what I had...which felt surprisingly ok. Yes, my eye generally prefers my ocean colors but these, in their own way, still feel soft to me... just in a different way. I like the monotone melding where the overlaps occur amidst swirls of ink. I really like the organic shapes, lines and edges. I love that it was something new.

More work/play to be done, I think.

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