Monique Crookes – "Two Zebra"

by Cindy Paul

Monique Crookes is self-taught and her work exhibits a great flair for drawing and illustration abilities. She paints using mostly acrylics and a mixed medium with watercolors and creates pictures of a wide range of subjects, from fantasy abstracts to dramatic portraits of African wildlife. Many of her paintings have a stylish graphic nature, such as is the case with "Leopard" and "Uno," a striking portrait of a white lily with fanciful yellow globes on a maroon background.

Crookes frequently shows a gentleness in her work that contrasts pleasantly with her mostly very graphic subjects. "Two by Two" is a lovely example of this overall aesthetic. It shows silhouettes of two giraffes standing next to one another in stark shadows, while busy gold and red globes threaten to take over the background behind them.

"Two Zebra" is a masterfully accomplished acrylic depicting the faces of two zebras nuzzling the ground, nose-to-nose. Crookes has taken full advantage of the amazing black and white markings of the zebras to create an interesting, very graphic painting. There is a sweet, highly approachable look in the zebra’s eyes that communicates clearly they are not to be feared, but loved.

To see a representative abstract by this artist, visit "Window," a remarkable canvas divided into six rectangles and saturated with her now-familiar circular and oval shapes. This picture, which measures 40″ by 30″, uses hugely satisfying high contrasts in color, light and shadow to create large diamond shapes beyond the "window."