Inspiration versus imitation

Australian artists Jessica Baker and Nicki Comelli

Australian artists Jessica Baker and Nicki Comelli, sisters from Victoria, Australia, are certainly not afraid of colour!

Nicki and Jessica are all about bringing high energy into their paintings. Their artistic processes, however, are very different. 

Artist: Jessica Baker is known for her bold and vibrant impressionistic brush strokes, and if you were to see her in real life, she is often said to be the ‘walking palette’ as there wouldn’t be an item of clothing in her wardrobe not covered in paint. If you were to meet her, she is a confident, fun and vibrant personality, and when she paints, all of this energy is transferred to her canvas with thick textured brush strokes, palette knife work, the simple use of her hands and graffiti-style mark making.  

Her paintings are created with lightfast acrylic paints, ink and spray paint. She uses a mix of cotton canvas and Belgium linen. Her impressionistic style is very much like a performance. She lays down colour upon colour with ease as she paints; Creating a fun emanating ambience that transfers to her canvas as she works.

You can quickly draw connections between Jessica’s obsession with her Australian farm lifestyle, love of nature, texture, colour and street art. Each of her paintings: Broken Wood, Damper, Old McDonald, Run Fox Run, The Shearing Shed and G’Day Mate, are all entirely original artworks by this prolific painter.

Australian artist Jessica Baker and her painting influences  

A mix of Claude Monet, Pro Hart, and a throw-in of street art influences Australian artist Jessica Baker’s work very impressionistic. 

Impressionism was developed, discovered and expanded upon in Paris by the French painter Monet. Monet enjoyed painting mostly ‘en plein air and was fascinated with portraying natural light in many outdoor paintings. To show his subject matter, he had to work quickly and often on the spot. Through this process of creating, the movement of impressionism was developed, explored and pushed by him. 

Monet’s work today is recognised for its modernity; he was a pioneer in the impressionism movement with his rejection of established art styles at his time of painting. Monet’s artwork characteristically had its own style. His brushstrokes were loose. He played with depicting the subject of light using vibrant coloured paint that was often unblended. 

When drawing comparisons between Monet’s artwork and Australian artist Jessica Baker, you can compare many exaggerated impressionistic techniques. Her broken brushstrokes convey forms alongside her longer fluid brush strokes. Her pure unblended colours exist alongside intermixed paint; Jessica has pushed her colour mixing as though her canvas is her mixing palette. 

Both artists’ loose brushwork gives an effect of spontaneity and effortlessness. Both artists cleverly mask the intention and well thought out creative processes of their very constructed compositions.  

Pro Hart, one of Australia’s most iconic artists, most famously known for his stain-resistant carpet cleaning advertisements, also painted with broken brushstrokes and a rich colour palette; you can see this in his famous dragonfly series. Colours are mixed straight on his painting surface, where brush strokes are intuitively placed to form very symbolic shapes. His artwork is said to be distinguished by his almost semi-primitive style and use of bold, vibrant colours. 

As with many art genres over time, boundaries are pushed. They are expanded upon and explored by current modern artists, and thus new art forms are pioneered. There are distinct similarities when comparing Jessica’s painting techniques to Monet and Australian artist Pro Hart. 

Her love for street art furthers her modern-day twist on impressionism. Each one of her paintings explores the flow and line of graffiti scrawl work. You can see graffiti style can work in the background of her working surface behind her thick textural impressionistic strokes, and the foreground, the same linework can be viewed. Her unique scrawls bring the back, middle and foreground of her paintings together and are unique to her impressionistic style.

Australian artist Nicki Comelli

Artist: Nicki Comelli intuitively paints in her studio. Colour and fashion inspire her paintings, along with the mantra, “When you smile, you make other people smile. It makes the world a better place.”    

Nicki is an abstract mark maker. Her artwork is often completed over months and sometimes years; This allows her to work on several paintings simultaneously. She builds her paintings up using lightfast acrylic paints, spray paint, Sumi ink and oil stick. 

Her artwork finished with Sumi-e ink belongs to her ‘Zen Collection,’ which focuses on colour, simplicity and spontaneity. Inspired by the ancient art of Sumi-e, to paint the energy of an object, not so much the thing itself. Her paintings finished in oil stick are categorised as her ‘Urban Collection.’ This work is powerful and portrays strength through the use of bold hand-drawn strokes. 

Zen Collection: Hunter, Forest Bathing, Grange, Gucci Gardenia and Temple. Urban Collection: Louis Stompers and Versace Tears.         

A shared studio space       

Australian artists Jessica Baker and Nicki Comelli have shared an open art studio which they often paint together in for many years. You can see their large-scale canvases mimicking colour palettes as they paint in unison. 

These modern Australian painters are full of life and personality. The sheer number of paintings in progress in their art studio is beyond impressive. They both have sold paintings to collectors internationally and nationally with much success.

Both Jessica and Nicole’s work are hero pieces in any space they are hung. Their varied colour palettes make them easy to work with interior styling. 

When choosing a piece of artwork, there are surprising parallels that you can draw between what you like and your personality. So what does your taste in art say about you? Are you a Cartel Flowers, Zen or Urban collector?  

Jessica Baker

  • Broken Wood
  • Behind the Chicken Coop
  • Damper
  • Old McDonald
  • Run Fox Run
  • The Shearing Shed 
  • Shearer’s Breakfast
  • G’Day Mate

Artist Nicki Comelli

Zen Collection:

  • Hunter
  • Forest Bathing
  • Grange
  • Gucci Gardenia 
  • Temple

Urban Collection: 

  • Louis Stompers 
  • Versace Tears

Australian artists Jessica Baker and Nicki Comelli both welcome painting comissions.

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