Category Archives: Drawing

You will not believe what I found in the forest…

I decided to go for a spontaneous walk in the forest, because I felt overwhelmed by the emails I had to answer and the admin that I had to do. And I could not think, because my head ached so much.

Me in the forest

Me in the forest

I decided to only take my camera and my new summer hat along. And since I longed for a good foot massage, I went barefoot. I love that there are almost no thorns in the area where I live now. Back in Namibia there are so many, small ones which we call ‘dubbeltjies’ and large thorns, for instance from the Camelthorn trees. Going into the bush without shoes would be hell.

The forest ground welcomes you with soft moss. What a delight. Yet there are also broken off branches and pinecones, which can be quite painful when stepped on.

I found that walking barefoot in the forest made me walk slower and take every step with more consciousness. Not only did I get a foot massage, but I was also enjoying the sensations of the different textures beneath my feet. The feeling of being supported by a soft, green carpet made me feel connected and happy.

I found peace, trees and ferns in the forest.

I know, you will think that is nothing special. But it is. On a hectic day, peace is really special. And trees and ferns are too. Especially once you decide to see them, and then be grateful for their presence. They also make wonderful playmates and soul soothers.

Tree with line of fern leaves

Tree with line of fern leaves

Together we played a silly game and had a good time. We placed small parts of the fern leaves into the bark of a tree to form a line. And yes, just so that you know, I do ask permission and say my gratitude for the donation of the leaves from the fern. Here you can see what we have done.

 

Detail: Tree with line of fern leaves

Detail: Tree with line of fern leaves

Scrolling up and down the green line on the bark of the tree (the line is about 2m long )

Scrolling up and down the green line on the bark of the tree (the line is about 2m long )

I even made a small video.

 

Then I found 4 young birch trees, which have been driven over by the forestry vehicle. They were still holding on to their roots and growing, but they were lying flat across the earth, instead of growing upwards. I pulled them up and secured them with each other so that they can grow upwards again. I believe that were grateful and will soon go back to see how they are doing.

 

Lastly, I found a dirty puddle of water and the awesome orange peels of bark lying around.

This gave the impulse to one last game I played. I carefully arranged the bark in a long line on the water, taking care that they do not sink in. Suddenly the puddle looked much happier.

 

Detail view of the Bark Line

Detail view of the Bark Line

 

Bark Line in puddle of water

Bark Line in puddle of water

When I finished with this, I could even save a beautiful butterfly from drowning in a dirty puddle. 

See the video to get to know my unexpected co-creator:

 

So, two hours later I got home and felt much better.

I hope that you too have the chance to slip out into nature, every now and then, to get grounded and recharge your batteries.

 

The Morning After… Gold and Glamour in Kiev

Looking at the hotel and a stunning rainbow over the Maidan, Kiev

Looking at the hotel and a stunning rainbow over the Maidan, Kiev

My hotel overlooks the Maidan in Kiev and I had two hours before sunset to find some food and spend time walking around this famous square. It was a national holiday, so the square was filled with people and music. And numerous reminders of the lives lost at the recent Euromaidan uprising which happened here just a few months ago…

So, once again, it was in the middle of the night, that I could start with my intervention to turn the hotel room’s decorative print into an original and unusual art work.

webBeforeAfter2015 Hotel Deco Busting

Intervention Against Tasteless Wall Decorations in Hotels and Holiday Apartments. (Part 14)
Intervention gegen geschmacklose Wanddekoration in Hotelzimmern und Ferienwohnungen.

Wow, this was already the 14th intervention! So, let me tell you about this one.

The hotel is prominently located and surely has seen really glamorous times, but that must have been some years ago. It still has the old-world charm and the rooms are fine. The decoration which I found in this room, was a print on cardboard of a painting depicting a boat close to a waterfall.

When I know that I will be staying in the hotel, I try to take a small selection of art supplies on the trip, but since I never know what to expect, I usually have to be inventive and work very spontaneously. And again, I only had limited time to do this, as I only stayed here one night, arriving late and leaving before breakfast. So I decided to try to keep this one simple.

Inspired by the rainbow, which I have seen earlier in the evening, and the golden frame of the deco print, I decided to once again make use of a golden felt pen, just like I did in Charkiv already. It is graphic and dries fast.

Gold seemed perfect. This beautiful old city and hotel, reminded me of glamorous, golden past eras. Yet in this time where there is a war raging in the east of the country and many young people have lost their lives, the future looks uncertain for this country and its people.

I added a square of 9 x 9 golden circles to the centre of the print. The metallic golden circles are almost invisible, when looked at from the front, but they glow beautifully when seen from an angle. I hope that this can remind us, that sometimes our reality looks bleak, but looked at from a different perspective we can find hope and beauty in every situation.

We just need to be open to find the opportunities and gifts of every situation. Just like believing in finding the pot of gold at the end of the rainbow.

And this is my wish for the Ukrainian people and in fact, for all of humanity.

The number 9 is an auspicious number. In numerology Number 9 is the number of Universal love, eternity, faith, Universal Spiritual Laws, the concept of karma, spiritual enlightenment and divine wisdom. And it is linked to the colour: gold.

Some have asked before, how I ensure to have the right materials handy. I try to take some useful things along, but am always limited by stuff like baggage allowance and the fact, that I seldom know what to expect. I try to work with what I find and what I have. And to make a plan. Here I had the vision of adding the circles, I had the right pen, but I wanted to make sure they are at an equal distance from each other and the same size.

So in the middle of the night I went down to reception and asked for a punch.

Not an easy task, since they only spoke a pretty basic English and I don’t speak a word of Ukrainian or Russian. And I do not think that many guests are requesting a punch at 11:45 at night. I took a card along, punched a row of holes into it, thanked them, and went back to my room. Now I could get started…

Getting started, with my newly created stencil.

Getting started, with my newly created stencil.

Well here is the final result of this late night hotel deco-busting intervention:

websideviewIRust

And some more pictures, just click on the images to get a larger and complete view:

Did you like this? You can find more similar interventions HERE.

I wish you a wonderful, hopeful and golden week ahead!

Creative Value Adding

ProcessDetailOMG hope you don’t vandalize hotel art…I know it’s not good. .but it serves a purpose. ..as all art does. …  A friend asked on Facebook.

Me: Nope, I am just donating my awesome creative skills to adding value to the cheap hotel deco and turning it into a unique, original piece of art.

2015 Hotel Deco Busting

Intervention Against Tasteless Wall Decorations in Hotels and Holiday Apartments. (Part 12)
Intervention gegen geschmacklose Wanddekoration in Hotelzimmern und Ferienwohnungen.

I have just returned from a business trip to the Ukraine. As my regular readers know, whenever I happen to stay at a hotel I have a special mission. I upgrade the usual bleak and cheap hotel deco, by turning it into an original piece of art. I use my time and resources to infuse the found hotel deco (I cannot really call it art) with some humour, style and creativity. So the hotel ends up with something better and more valuable.

In Kiew I found a cheap and slightly fading landscape print in my hotel room. It has been printed on canvas and framed in a solid wooden frame. I arrived late at night and had to leave early, so this piece of work was done in the early morning hours.

I like to not plan too much and rather react spontaneously to what I find. Besides this faded print, I found a complimentary sewing set from the hotel. I decided to use that and originally thought of just doing some kind of geometric shape. After a few stitches, an abstract geometric shape did not feel right and suddenly it became a house, with a shed and a dog.

The complimentary sewing set, does not offer a lot of thread, so I had to be very economical and selective with my lines and stitches. Anyway, without further ado, here are the pictures! I hope you enjoy them.

Please sign up on the right side to receive updates, if you want to be informed about another two hotel deco busting works which I have done during this trip.

Please click on the images to see a larger view and read the information about them.

Find more similar interventions HERE.

Unseen Dialog

When earth is thinking... Photograph, tippex and scratchmarks, 15 x 10cm

When earth is thinking…
Photograph, tippex and scratch marks, 15 x 10cm

Recently I bought a beautiful book about the artist Ana Mendieta. Most people have never heard about her. And people who have heard about her, usually only know or have access to a small portion of her art.

“Ana Mendieta (November 18, 1948 – September 8, 1985) was a Cuban American performance artist, sculptor, painter and video artist who is best known for her “earth-body” art work. Originally born in Havana, Mendieta arrived in the United States as a refugee in 1961, shortly prior to the beginning of the Cuban Revolution.”

The book is entitled Unseen Mendieta and tries to give an insight into her creative output during her short live, which came to an abrupt end when she fell from her 34th floor apartment window after a row with her husband.

Several weeks after placing the order the book arrived by snail-mail in a blue postal bag. I was so excited!

Several weeks after placing the order the book arrived by snail-mail in a blue postal bag. I was so excited!

Although she produced many ground-breaking, interesting and amazing works, most of it had never been exhibited before her death and has left her family with the huge task of researching the work and try to decide what to make available to the public and in what form. A daunting task.

I am sharing this with you, as it made me think about my own work, and how many of my artworks or creative outpourings will probably never make it into a gallery or a publication. And I am not sure if anybody will care (or have the time and nerve) to comb through my computer and other documentation and artworks, and then decide which is worth to keep and to share. It is a task that even I would find too daunting.

I had to search through my old folders for some specific works which have been requested for a publication and realised that I have accumulated so much work, that I need to find a better system of storing and finding it again. If that is possible…

When airplanes leave secret signs in the sky...

When airplanes leave secret signs in the sky… (Photograph and scratched text, 10x15cm)

Fortunately today we have the internet and can share many works without ever officially exhibiting them. And people can see art they like, at their own convenience. No need to travel to visit a gallery to see an artist’s work from another continent. No need to stick to opening times of a gallery.

And today’s world also makes it possible to share the ‘little works’. The ones which happen in between, which are fun, creative, curious, etc. but which do not amount to a serious body of work ready for a gallery show. When I searched for my other artworks, I stumbled across some of these, and thought: they put a smile on my face every time I see them.

They make me feel alive and creative, in a different way than the more formal artworks.

Small Accidents happen and turn into tiny, fun artworks. (home printed images with water spilled onto them by accident, deliberate felt pen markings added) about 5x5cm

Small Accidents happen and turn into tiny, fun artworks. (home printed images with water spilled onto them by accident, deliberate felt pen markings added) about 5x5cm

Small Accidents happen and turn into tiny, fun artworks. (home printed images with water spilled onto them after accidentially finding out what cool effect that has) about 5x7cm

Small Accidents happen and turn into tiny, fun artworks. (home printed images with water spilled onto them after accidentally finding out what cool effect that has) about 5x7cm

I decided to share some of them with you, so that they get noticed by a few people, if only for a few seconds, possibly maybe gifting you with a smile or a short moment of curiosity before they return to their secret and forgotten virtual life.

After all, I believe art is visual communication, so it needs an observer to make it complete. I hope you enjoy this chat and turn my monologue into a dialog, even if that just takes place in your head.

Say What? Secret dialog happening between the rider statue and a bird. (Photograph with scratched text) 10x15cm

Say What?
Secret dialog happening between the rider statue and a bird. (Photograph with scratched text) 10x15cm

...and another secret dialog possibly happening between the miltary men in Istanbul.

…and another secret dialog possibly happening between the military men in Istanbul.

An Artist’s Life

Many exciting new things are happening in my life and I did not have much time to write for my blog. Today I thought of sharing a few pictures from my life with you, to give you an impression of what has been happening. That is, the fun stuff, which happened between all the admin work that took up most of my time.

First, as it is becoming warmer, I decided to prepare one of the outside rooms as a temporary summer studio, so that I can paint again on bigger canvasses, be messy and not mind paint splatter on the floor and allow space for offering workshops.

Those who have followed me for a while, know that I moved to a small village close to the forest, with a garden and an outbuilding and garage, which we want to turn into a wonderful, light and spacious studio. Unfortunately we discovered that we first need to get a new roof, as the old one is leaking beyond repair. So it may take a while, for our/my dream to come true. But the temporary studio will work fine for the warmer months for a while.

I have also been lucky to have received a second-hand drawing cabinet and large drawing table as a gift, which I am so grateful for.

Studio pics:

(Click on the images to see them in full.)

Yes, there was also time for making art. And I have noticed something odd happening in my life, kind of like a deja vu, just different. Similar kind of circumstances, situations or images appearing two or three times in a short period, without any relations between them. Only that I see them connected because they are so similar and unique in a way. I am feeling, wow, I just saw the exact same situation in a different way yesterday. I guess this means something, just not sure what. Let me explain it with an example concerning my art.

Recently I saw an image on the Internet of an adult woman sitting on a small children’s rocking horse. I liked it for its weirdness, and saved it as inspiration to draw from later. During the open studio event, I met the wood-carving artist Bodo Henke. One of his small sculptures was really adorable, so I decided to buy it – a horse with a rider, who is much too large for the horse…

When I came home, I realised the similarity to the image I had found in the internet. So I decided to actually start drawing my version of the lady on her rocking-horse. To me my painting looked more like a horse on a carousel. I decided to add white stripes and turn the horse into a Zebra, to express my connection to Africa and it just looked more exciting.

Yesterday, at the harbour festival, I saw an exquisite, antique, mini carousel for children. To my amazement, the riding figures on it actually were Zebras!

(Click on the images to see them in full.)

 

In between admin and other work, I also really take great pleasure in experiencing the spring for the first time in our own garden. I love to watch all the sprouting and blooming, and revel in the shapes and colours. Here are some impressions:

(Click on the images to see them in full.)

 

With the spring weather and more sun, I have also felt much more like getting out and do things. We have been to visit several artists in the region during an open studio day, watched the aeroplanes land and take-off from the side of a highway during sun-downers (a Namibian habit of celebrating the sun going down with a drink and good company) and briefly visited the harbour festival in Oranienburg. Here are some pics:

I wish you an awesome, happy and creative week ahead!

PS. if you missed my previous post, please have a look for the exciting announcements of our up-coming film debut in Berlin.

 

 

The Ghost of the White Lady

2015 Hotel Deco Busting

Intervention Against Tasteless Wall Decorations in Hotels and Holiday Apartments. (Part 11)
Intervention gegen geschmacklose Wanddekoration in Hotelzimmern und Ferienwohnungen. (Teil 11)

(Since 2010 I have secretly been slightly altering tasteless or boring hotel or holiday apartment art whenever I had the chance to.)

It is that time of the year again, when my husband and I travel to Frankfurt for the LEA (Live Entertainment Awards) and as usual we stayed in the Marriot Hotel.

They have upgraded all of their rooms 2 years ago and fitted them with new decorations. I must admit, the new canvas prints of colourful digital collages of Frankfurt buildings are pleasant to look at. They look much more modern and add a pleasant colour highlight to the rooms. Certainly the best hotel art I have seen in a long time. (And ok, I must admit, I do not often stay in hotels, especially not in upper-class hotels, so there sure is more good art out there somewhere.)

At least since my public confession many of my regular followers know about my passion for improving hotel and guesthouse décor. I just cannot help myself and there is always ‘room for improvement’.

Hotel room and digital canvas print as found

Hotel room and digital canvas print as found

So, although I do appreciate the tasty art in this hotel room, there was something bothering me, about Frankfurt, the hotel and the art. The inner city is dominated by imposing skyscrapers and concrete, the hotel is decorated in a very masculine, dark style and the art represents this materialistic, powerful, male atmosphere. It’s a man’s world. I missed the humanity and the female touch or balance of yin energy.

A close-up view (or the BEFORE picture)

A close-up view (or the BEFORE picture)

As usual I let myself be inspired by what I find and then determine the best approach then and there. It did not take long and I knew I just had to add some positive Yin energy to the artwork. Also something that puts people in the foreground and add something personal, to draw attention to the individuality and humanness of the guest who stays in this multi-storey hotel.

I am not sure where she came from, but without a doubt I knew clearly that the White Lady of the Brandberg wanted to make her appearance here. Like a ghost she wanted to travel the world and inspire the modern-time city dweller.

For those of you, who do not know her, let me introduce her to you. She is most widely known as a cave dweller, a rock-painting situated at the Brandberg in the Namib desert, Namibia. Her age is not known, but she is ancient, and probably has been drawn by the forefathers of the San people. She is striking, mostly for her different appearance in relation to the other drawings. She wears strange clothes, is elegant and looks powerful. She dominates the scene.

The White Lady in new surroundings...

The White Lady in new surroundings…

She is called the ‘White Lady’ because of her white garment. Some people claim she is not female but male, but it is difficult to know for sure. Some people also assume that she was a stranger to the land and that she was honoured like a goddess or queen. There is even talk about her not being from this world. It is said that her strange headdress and suit could resemble that of an astronaut, complete with helmet and all. And if I look at her, I can very well imagine that to be true. She is also holding a strange object in her hand, I always think that it is a wine glass, but who knows, maybe it is some gadget to control her spaceship?

She definitely is full of self-confidence. She is powerful; she even has her own bow and arrow, in a time when hunting used to be the men’s job. She is a traveller. A stranger who is welcomed and honoured… She is African – at least that is where she was last seen. She is proud, elegant, and beautiful and knows where she is going. And she enjoys life… if it is indeed a wine glass in her hand. 😉

So she, or her ghost, wanted to come to Frankfurt and inspire people here too.

Inspire us to honour the female role in the world more.

To put humanity back in the forefront.

To remind us to honour and welcome strangers in our society, especially when they possibly have fled from war-torn countries.

To remind women of their strengths and the important role we need to play in this world.

To remind us of old traditions, rituals and art which honoured our spirits and the connection to nature.

The White Lady in Frankfurt (or the AFTER picture)

The White Lady in Frankfurt (or the AFTER picture) – Acrylic on found printed canvas.

She did not come alone. She brought three female friends with her. Friendship is important and together we are more powerful and have much more fun.

More white ladies...

More white ladies…

I hope you, and the guests who will stay in this room, enjoy their presence and the fact that you/they are viewing a very unique, personalized artwork.

The room and unique, personalized art work.

The room and unique, personalized art work.

Many people have asked me how come I have all the right materials on hand to do such things. Well, I am an artist by profession, so I usually travel with some basic art making tools. I cannot plan in advance, since I usually do not know what kind of artwork I will find in the hotel, but part of my creativity is to make a plan and use what is available. Also, usually I do not have much time, so I have to work spontaneously and use what I have. I do get creative. Once I was faced with an artwork behind glass and none of my pens were permanent or working on glass and I only brought watercolours, so I had to borrow a scissor from the hotel staff and used their in-house magazine for images, begged for some double-sided tape from the people laying out the red carpet in the hall and created a collage on top of the glass. Have a look at that here.

If you want to see other similar projects, just click HERE.

Facing the Creative Mess

I have not been feeling well these past days. But I tried to paint anyhow - it was a long, painful and frustrating process, cause nothing wanted to go the way I hoped... actually I do not even know what I really want to express with my art anymore... I feel lost. Although I enjoy her (the painting) I could happily do without the struggle.

‘Born of Frustration’ Mixed Media on Watercolour paper, 200g/m2, 32x24cm. I have not been feeling well these past days. But I tried to paint anyhow – it was a long, painful and frustrating process, cause nothing wanted to go the way I hoped… actually I do not even know what I really want to express with my art anymore… I feel lost. Although I enjoy her (the painting) I could happily do without the struggle.

I went a whole month without writing a blog. I miss sharing my thoughts with you, but it felt as if my thoughts and feelings were on a roller-coaster ride (and still are). I just could not focus on any single thing and write about it.

On the positive side it also means that I have been working more on my art and facing all the gremlins that come with that. You know, stuff like fear of failure, insecurity, questioning the sense of it all and wondering if what I do really makes a difference to the world?

“Anyone can slay a dragon, she told me, but try waking up every morning & loving the world all over again. That’s what takes a real hero.”

(Brian Andreas of Story People)

I often return to this piece of wisdom when I get fearful of life. And in my personal way it means facing an empty piece of paper or canvas all over again, not knowing the outcome and not knowing if it will make any difference to the world. Or if it will touch anybody in a meaningful way? Will it nourish my soul? And will it support my survival financially. Will I mess it up? Will my insecurities get the better of me and let me abandon it?

Creating art is messy. Not only in a paint-splatter way.

It messes with your soul in a weird way. I cannot tell you all the emotions that I am going through when I create art. It teaches me that I never really can control the outcome, that I need to trust the process and myself and it teaches me, that often what seems like destruction or failure is the biggest blessing to the creative process. All difficult lessons and challenges for me, but I am trying to bravely ‘face the dragon’ every day, even when I feel lost and unsure of which direction to take.

It is strange how my passion for making art can also be so uncomfortable, challenging and forcing me to face my deepest fears and insecurities. But, oh the bliss, of finishing an artwork and thinking: wow, I struggled through that and something beautiful came out of it!

Today I thought of giving you a glimpse into my studio, so that you can see what I am up to and why I have been so quiet.

I also would like to show you the wonderful packaging that my Teabag Totems now come in and the perfect frame, which I found for them. You can buy any of these existing unique little artworks as shown here or I can create one with your favourite or totem animal. If you missed reading about my Teabag Totems and want to find out more, click here. (Cost: €20 plus postage).

Please click on the images to get a larger view.

I just love these frames and how the Teabag Totems look in them! So I have decided that I will offer the option to buy the frame with the artwork. Just ask me about it.

It feels vulnerable to share with you my working space and creative mess, but hey, this is me and how I work and I know that every now and then everything gets cleared and tidied up again. 🙂

View of my working space and creative mess...

View of my working space and creative mess…

And here some views of the artworks which are partly in progress or just finished or waiting to be decided upon. When I am not 100% happy with a work, I love to see it regularly until I either change something again, or I start accepting (and loving) it for what it is.

Small drawings on watercolour paper

Small drawings on watercolour paper

The larger drawing below, started of as a black ink drawing and I expected it to stay that way. Instead it surprised me with this outcome. I love the feeling of lightness and softness, despite the tension and a bit of dreamy sadness that I feel in the figure.

Mixed media on paper and board

Mixed media on paper and board

And hey, look who appeared again! The kudu…

This painting started of with a female figure in black and white, then the kudu appeared and stole her show, so she got painted over. I am not sure if this will be the final version though…

Acrylic on canvas (detail)

Acrylic on canvas (detail)

Ok, that’s it for today. Now I have to start cleaning up the mess, because this weekend I am celebrating my 40th birthday with a few friends and need the space. Currently I am working from our living room until we get the out-building turned into a non-leaking, warm and light space – hopefully in the next few months.