The Pastel Journal


When Kari Tirrell was growing up in the ‘70s, there wasn’t much “good TV,” so drawing was her entertainment. She enjoyed drawing people and animals, and honed her self-taught skills using charcoal and ink. “It was kind of like meditation,” she says. “I got into a

Zen place.”

These days, that place results in stunningly realistic renderings of ordinary items often arranged in playful jumbles: toy cars, game pieces, toys, holiday ornaments, baking ingredients and more.


Tirrell’s first attempt at these chock-a-block “jumble paintings,” as she calls them, was inspired by a box of Christmas ornaments. She enjoyed the challenge of assembling a pleasing composition that appeared haphazard. The subjects for these jumbled compositions went on to include toy cars and trains—even jigsaw puzzle pieces. Her latest subjects of choice are antique tin toys, which she likes to arrange in portrait-like (above).

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