Best of 2016: Artist’s Choice

Wednesday, December 21st, 2016

Artist's Choice: Best of 2016 from Amy Crook

2016 has been a terrible year for so many reasons, but as I went through my backlist I found that I still like a lot of the art I made, despite everything else that was going on.

I’ve chosen all art that’s unsold this time around, a baker’s dozen with one from each month and an overall favorite that I can’t really explain my devotion to, but really, really love.


Ghosts of Years Gone By by Amy Crook

Ghosts of Years Gone By, 5″x7″ watercolor and duochrome watercolor on Arches cover buff paper

Not quite abstract, these ghosts are almost adorable yet still somehow creepy, representing the years we’ve let pass behind us that still somehow manage to plague us with their expectations.


Bees 2, ink art by Amy Crook

Bees 2, 7″x5″ pen & ink and ink wash on paper

The first Bees painting was last year’s top pick, and this smaller, busier sequel holds much of the same feel. The rich tones of the ink are so much like honey, and the bees have their own sort of loosely-rendered charm amongst the modernist honeycomb.


Discontent by Amy Crook

Discontent, 10″x8″ watercolor on Arches cover buff paper

If one was going to pick a painting to best represent 2016 this one might be it, all cold colors and sharp angles. Its stark beauty is still compelling, despite the harshness of the image.


Tentacle Deeps 49 by Amy Crook

Tentacle Deeps 49, 8″x8″ watercolor on Fluid watercolor paper

Tentacles! The bright colors of this painting beautifully offset the wibbly-wobbly layers of tentacles, a kraken in some tropical paradise reaching up to enjoy a bit of sunlight on its vacation.


Pond Diptych, abstract watercolors by Amy Crook

Pond Diptych, two 6″x4″ watercolor and duochrome watercolor on Fluid watercolor paper

This beautiful green pair of abstracts has such a feeling of light and motion that they uplift me every time I see them. They’ve got the 2017 Color of the Year among their many greens, a perfect way to make next year better than this one.


Inlets, abstract map by Amy Crook

Inlets, 9″x12″ watercolor, Primatek watercolor, and pen & ink on Strathmore watercolor paper

Another favorite that never found its home, this addition to my Map series is full of subtle color and texture. The lines are in a sepia ink rather than black, adding to the feel of an antique map that leads to who knows where.


Twisted Maple by Amy Crook

Twisted Maple, 8″x4″ pen & ink and Primatek watercolor on Fluid watercolor paper

It was a year with a lot of trees, but there’s something gorgeous about this silhouette, which holds a lot of texture in both the rainy sky and the twisting, leafless bark.


Garnet Fox, original art by Amy Crook

Garnet Fox, 8″x8″ watercolor on Fluid watercolor paper

This fox is just so full of joy and lovely detail, the shape basic but the decorations shining out atop the garnet fur.


Leafy Sea Dragon by Amy Crook

Leafy Sea Dragon, 12″x9″ watercolor on Strathmore watercolor paper

A dragon for the Baggins’ birthday month! This one has a glorious mane like splashing water, and an attitude of scolding that contrasts amusingly with its graceful curves and flowing scales.


Painted Ladies 2 by Amy Crook

Painted Ladies 2, 10″x8″ gansai watercolor on Arches cover black paper

Another visit to an Addams family version of Victorian row houses, these lovely leaning laides are full of tiny details, standing proud beneath clouds like puffs of cotton floating above in the dark night sky.


Shadow City, art by Amy Crook

Shadow City, 8″x8″ ink wash on Fluid watercolor paper

Which is real, the city or the dripping moon behind it? The sky full of glittering golden stars so thick they’re like a carpet, or the shadows that block its light? The third building from the right with its cracked-mirror facade is especially delightful.


Corona, abstract art by Amy Crook

Corona, 8″x8″ ink wash and watercolor on Fluid watercolor paper

And thus we bring the closing of the year with a dramatic abstract that puts a corona of pure shadow around the rich golden central circle. Moon or sun, planet or star, this piece looks elegant and striking in a black frame.

Best of 2016

Growth 6, abstract art by Amy Crook

Growth 6, 5″x7″ pen & ink on bristol

To quote past me: There’s something charming about the exploration of liminal space here, with the clusters expending their energies both inward and outward from the almost-not-there line that defines the boundary.

Which of these beauties is your favorite?

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