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Obsessive Geometric Backgrounds: Art by Donna Howard

A painting of some cartoon chickens on a blue backgroundBowled Over, acrylic on canvas


Donna Howard paints in acrylic, creating bright and colorful images of whimsical cartoon animals that often hide a slightly darker, deeper, and more emotional core. The sense of tension in Donna’s works is reinforced by her intricate, almost obsessive geometric backgrounds.

A painting of two pink elephants holding martinisMartinis for Two, acrylic on canvas


I like the contrast between Donna’s geometric abstract backgrounds and her highly simplified characters. While at first glance these paintings appear fairly straightforward, with saturated colors and naïve-style forms. However, the artist’s compositional choices and the details she chooses to pay attention to are demanding of longer observation. Donna herself has noted that that the characters in her works often directly reference people she knows in real life, a fact which turns each work into a direct and interesting allegory waiting to be unpacked.

A screen capture of Donna Howard's art websiteThe front page of Donna's website


Stylistically, Donna’s characters remind me of the works of David Faulk, particularly in recent works where these figures stand out defiantly from the backgrounds. In older works, Donna’s figures tend to almost disappear into the backgrounds, appearing to be consumed by them.

A painting of a large mushroom and some human figuresPsylliness, acrylic and ink on canvas

About the author

Dallas Jeffs Art Writer

Dallas Jeffs is the Editor of Artist Run Website's blog. They hold a degree in Critical and Cultural Practices from Emily Carr University of Art and Design, as well as a certificate in Technical Writing from BCIT. Dallas has a passion for speaking and writing about art, and sharing that interest with others. In their studio practice they are an illustrator and budding tattoo artist, but they consider themselves a writer foremost. If you like art, books and culture with a science fiction twist, check out Dallas' personal blog, HappySpaceNoises or their art on Instagram.

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