Category Archives: Drawing

Teabag Totems

I love the alchemy, which happens when you take something insignificant and useless which is about to be discarded and turn it into something special and exquisite.

For a long time I have been saving my used teabags, as they are very helpful when you want to light a fire. Now it has become winter and we will not make a fire outside for a while, and my husband urged me to rather get rid of the teabags we are now using…

He is right. But I cannot help it, that once I get pressurised into discarding something, my mind will switch into alarm mode to check if there are not any other ways to recycle or reuse it.

And so the Teabag Totems were born. A series of animal portraits painted onto used teabags.

It is not so easy to paint such tiny portraits on crumbled teabags, but it is lots of fun and I enjoy the different animal characters surfacing in the portraits. Everybody who has held one of these Teabag Totems in their hands loves them.

Their fragility, the softness of the teabag and their unique personality turn these tiny works of art into something truly precious and special.

If you are interested to have your favourite animal or totem animal painted on a teabag and delivered to you or a friend, then just contact me in the contact form below. You can also select one of the finished little teabag artworks shown below. The portraits are painted with high-quality gouache paint and fineliner onto 6 x 4cm used teabags.

The price for a unique Teabag Totem animal portrait is 30€ (excl. postage). It comes in a see-through plastic box, which is also suited as a temporary display stand. After I received your order, I will send you an invoice. Only once I have received your payment, your Teabag Totem will be sent to you.

(Please click on the images to see a larger view.)

View more Teabag Totems by clicking here.

And here is my framing suggestion:

Contact form for ordering your own unique Teabag Totem, painted by Imke Rust:

Cute is the new black.

It feels as if I have not posted a new blog for ages… Even though I have promised myself to just write and share things when I really feel called to it, I do also feel a bit guilty, when I neglect my blog and all you wonderful followers.

And the longer I do not get to write, the more difficult it is to decide what to write about. There are so many things I dream of sharing with you, so much art just waiting to be seen and ideas I would love to let out of the cage of my skull.

(Click on the images to see a larger version of the artwork.)

Today’s choice has been influenced by a dream I had in the night. I almost never had repeating dreams, but it was the fourth time I dreamed about a similar situation: A little colourful bird comes flying up to me, right up to my face. Without any fear, instead with full intention, trust and love. It then kind of snuggles up to my face, always on the left side, and I can feel its soft feathers, the lightness of their touch and a mix between the warmth of such a small body and the coolness of the stirred air around their wings. Every time I am surprized by this unusual behaviour and feel so honoured and happy to experience it. I wish I knew what this means!

So, in honour of the little dream birds, I will share with you a series of works on paper depicting small birds. I started painting them in a whimsical mood two weeks ago.

I shared them on my Facebook page and while some people really liked them I also got a remark by a fellow artist (whom I do not know personally) saying: Kitsch as kitsch goes…

Well, yes. It took me a lot of time to be okay with such comments. And still I get a tiny bit insecure, as I have been filled up with all these preconceived ideas of where I should fit into the art world, and kitsch was/is generally frowned upon.

But I have to admit, I have found that there is a part of me, which just feels as happy as a little playful and carefree girl, when I create or see cute, pretty sweetness, adorable animals or some gooey fairy tale magic. Yes, sometimes that gives me the warm and fuzzy feeling, which I need to submerge in every now and then, to feel complete.

I love what Amanda Palmer had to say about creating art:

“People working in the arts engage in street combat with The Fraud Police on a daily basis, because much of our work is new and not readily or conventionally categorized. When you’re an artist, nobody ever tells you or hits you with the magic wand of legitimacy. You have to hit your own head with your own handmade wand. And you feel stupid doing it.

There’s no “correct path” to becoming a real artist. You might think you’ll gain legitimacy by going to university, getting published, getting signed to a record label. But it’s all bullshit, and it’s all in your head. You’re an artist when you say you are. And you’re a good artist when you make somebody else experience or feel something deep or unexpected.”

I am getting better and better at just listening inward to who I am and what my needs are and follow them. Not caring too much about the opinion or reaction of others. I am proud of that! And I love that I can do it all in my creative expression: serious art, political art, big, small, land art, installations, drawings, prints and warm and fuzzy sweetness. After all, there are no rules. Really.

And maybe you can also use a bit of adorable cuteness and lightness in your life today?

(Click on the images to see a larger version of the artwork. Oh, and in case you do not know: all my work is for sale, unless stated otherwise. And I happily ship to anywhere in the world. )

Mixed Media Artworks from my Land Art Project

I realised that I have never put up my mixed media artworks from my land art project on my webpage…

So let me share some of the works and the thoughts behind them with you today!

 

This artwork is called ‘What will be left’

All currently awarded mining licences were cut out from a tourist map, to make the actual impact visible. Not all licenses will be used immediately or at all, but companies would not pay for such licenses if they did not have the intention of using it sooner or later. Also many of the areas are awarded more than once, for instance for diamonds and for nuclear fuels at the same time.

(This information can be found on the webpage of the Ministry of Mines & Energy of Namibia).

Open Pit Near You Photo of the Namib Desert, acrylic, cardboard (Recycled), wood glue 14,7 x 19,7 x 1,7cm

Open Pit Near You
Photo of the Namib Desert, acrylic, cardboard (Recycled), wood glue
14,7 x 19,7 x 1,7cm

From photographs which I took of the Namib desert I cut out an ‘open-pit mine’.

Concessions Areas 2 Digitally manipulated photo of the Namib Desert Digital print on photo paper 15 x 20cm Numbered Edition

Concessions Areas 2
Digitally manipulated photo of the Namib Desert
Digital print on photo paper
15 x 20cm
Numbered Edition

Concessions Areas 1 Digitally manipulated photo of the Namib Desert Digital print on photo paper 15 x 20cm Numbered Edition

Concessions Areas 1
Digitally manipulated photo of the Namib Desert
Digital print on photo paper
15 x 20cm
Numbered Edition

Most of the Namib desert is sliced up into different concession areas for mining purposes, awarded by the government to interested parties, very often foreign companies. Once again I used my photographs and imagined what it would look like, if we could see these areas while we are in the desert.

Repeating History (Maharero & Leutwein) Ball-point pen on magazine image 27,5 x 43cm

Repeating History
(Maharero & Leutwein)
Ball-point pen on magazine image
27,5 x 43cm

There is a pretty famous old photograph of the Herero Chief Samuel Maharero and Governor Leutwein. Samuel Maharero has sold off much of the land of his people to the Germans for very cheap in return for being helped to fight the Herero people who did not accept him as chief.

I used this photograph as a reference and drew the people into a modern-day setting (an interior from a magazine) as I imagine similar dubious and far-reaching deals are happening still today, especially in awarding mining concessions.

The problem with selling off our countries resources in such a big way, is that we will never be able to get them back. Once they are depleted, they are gone forever and we are left with big scars in the earth and probably a lot of pollution.

Fata Morgana Welwitschia Acrylic and pencil on canvas 15 x 20cm

Fata Morgana Welwitschia
Acrylic and pencil on canvas
15 x 20cm

Or: Not everything that shines is gold…

I guess only Namibians will understand this work immediately. The Welwitschia is a unique plant found in the Namib desert. An abstract representation has been used as decoration for the statehouse’s fence. The golden Welwitschia decoration is made by North-Koreans and it is not cast in metal, but in plastic.  The statehouse has been the source of much dispute, since it was build mostly by foreigners and at a huge cost to the nation. The lavishness and pomp and huge expense feels like a laugh in the face of all the Namibian people who are living in real poverty with no roofs over their head.

Also, the Welwitschia is a special ancient, protected plant found in the desert and just like the minerals, metals and nuclear fuels which can be found here, I feel that our government would sell it off to some foreign investor without further thought, if they were offered the faintest promise of getting rich quick.

If you would like to see some more works from this project, please visit this LINK.

Permission to Play

Please click on images to see a larger version.

Recently I have allowed myself to make some abstract paintings for the first time in my life.

Do I need permission, you might wonder? Yes, because most of my life I thought it is too easy and superficial and thus not becoming for a ‘serious and deep’ artist like me. So I just did not allow myself to go down that route.

I had so much fun playing with my new colours and I loved the results! I posted some of these abstract paintings on Facebook and got a lot of positive response and my heart just warmed up and I felt happy and satisfied.

Those of you, who follow my musings here regularly, know that I have had my struggles with fitting into the art world and making sense of it all. I had serious doubts about just about everything. Always questioning if what I am doing is purposeful, important, serious enough, good enough, likeable and sellable and so much more.

This used to drive me crazy and kind of paralyse my creative flow for most of the time. It took so much effort to do things anyway. To get up and paint or draw or create despite all my doubts and insecurities… To make art, even though I have already so much art piling up, that will probably never find a way out into a gallery or somebody else’s home.

To deal with depression and try to not to loose hope…

Somewhere along the way things turned so bad, that I decided to take a break, even though that thought seriously freaked me out. But I knew I had no real choice. Being depressed and creatively paralysed was anyway not really supportive of producing any good art or make me feel happy and excited.

Sea Turtle by Imke Rust (Water-colour pencils, Acrylic and gel pens on acid-free 170m/g2 paper, 29 x 21cm

Sea Turtle by Imke Rust
(Water-colour pencils, Acrylic and gel pens on acid-free 170m/g2 paper, 29 x 21cm)

So I quit going to the studio. I quit pressurising myself to produce any serious art. I stopped writing proposals for stipends, grants or exhibitions. I even stopped going to see other art exhibitions, as I realised that every time I see other art, I start comparing myself: either thinking that everything great has already been done by people who are much better or feeling I have so much more to offer than the artist I see, yet they have a show and sales in a fancy gallery and I don’t.

It took a lot of courage, but I decided to start doing only things I really want to do, things that are fun or make me happy. Even if that meant sleeping most of the day – if I felt like it, I did it. Yes, my mind was racing and blaming and I was feeling so guilty and lazy, but on the other hand, my body gratefully accepted and turned around for just another few minutes of rest.

The struggle between my critical mind and my soul’s desires was huge. Mostly I could not even remember what my soul wanted and my mind was loud and full with ‘should’s and should not’s and trying to know and understand it all from a rational perspective. And very often I ended up wasting time in front of the computer, because that at least felt like I was doing something productive.

Ever since I can remember, I was very aware of other people’s needs, expectations and emotions. My survival instinct as a child quickly realised this could be a valuable gift that I hoped would help me to fit in perfectly and make everybody around me happy. I was good at that – always being thoughtful, kind and pleasing.

I am sure in many ways this unconscious strategy really ensured my sanity and survival. But it was not always successful. The more people I had around me that needed pleasing at the same time and the more complicated things became, the more I felt like failing and was failing. And the more confused I got and ultimately depressed. Especially because there was this deep, throbbing feeling that there was more to my life, than pleasing others and being socially acceptable. Just how could I ensure my survival if it depends so much on others? On a more practical level: people have to like my art in order to buy it, so that I can pay my rent.

Rhino Angels, Pencil on  grey paper 110g/m2 29,7 x21cm, © Imke Rust

Rhino Angels, Pencil on grey paper 110g/m2 29,7 x21cm, © Imke Rust

 

Anyway, I promised myself to follow my heart and listen to my soul and was adamant to push through on that. Until I figured out that I have absolutely no clue who I really am and what my own desires are – I was so good at soaking up other people’s desires, that I never gave much attention to my own. So, I tried to remember. I just could not. And every time my heart or soul nudged me with a little idea or urged me to just draw a cute little picture, my mind was racing and shouting again, finding hundreds of reasons why I should not.

I tried to compromise. I told my mind, that it is ok to play, I have a few more savings and one small alternative source of income and for right now, my survival will not be jeopardised (one of my greatest fears). I told my mind, that I will spend ‘just a tiny little snipped of time’ playing with paint or resting or enjoying watching the clouds pass by –surely that would be ok? This little time will make me happy and give me more energy to one day show up for the big work with all new enthusiasm and creativity.

The negotiations were tough and endless, but somehow, I guess out of pure desperation I nudged out more and more time and space to just be, to play, to muse and to not worry.

And I decided to ignore the inner critic as best I can and give myself permission to at least try to follow up on some crazy or fun ideas I have. To try out different things, so that I can finally figure out my own true inner desires again and express them.

 

Neon Butterfly, Acrylic on acidfree paper 170g/m2 29,7 x21cm, © Imke Rust

Neon Butterfly, Acrylic on acidfree paper 170g/m2 29,7 x21cm, © Imke Rust

The struggle has not ended, but I have a feeling I have come a far way. Being brutally honest with myself has helped a lot. And being kind and understanding with myself – wow, I did not realise how difficult that is!

It has also helped me to share my experiences and thoughts in this blog. Even though I have only allowed small glimpses every now and then, I feel that I have so many thoughts and experiences swirling around in my mind, that it would help me to just express them. And I hope it might help others reading it, to find some inspiration, help or just a feeling of not being alone with your troubles.

Much of the time I spent on the computer, trying to be busy and avoid looking deep into my own soul, has been spend on the Internet. I have read a gazillion motivational, self-help, inspiring blog posts. And yes, many of them were helpful and inspiring and I am so grateful for the access to all this information we have.

It struck me how so many people who can be viewed as successful and happy from the outside, are or have been struggling with many of the same issues that I struggle with. When such people are willing to share and expose their most vulnerable parts, their fears or mistakes, it gives me hope, as I realise we are not alone, nobody is born ‘perfect’ and if they can find answers and solutions, so can I. And I can learn from such a great pool of wonderful teachers, who probably never even see themselves as teachers.

That is the reason, why I feel that I want to share more of my inner world and thoughts in this blog, even if they are not directly related to my art. And I hope in some small way it might be an inspiration or helpful to some of you too.

Please click on the images below to see a larger version.

Learning From the Ancient Rainmakers

The world is in upheaval.

Do you also feel a sense of helplessness and anxiety, when you turn on the internet, radio or television, only to be bombarded with daily increase of violence, war, terror, poverty, sickness and disaster all over the world? And in addition to the world news, do you feel a rise of death, tragedy, disease and problems within your personal circle of friends, family or acquaintances?

Crying Oryx (Acrylic & charcoal on canvas) ©Imke Rust

Crying Oryx – an artwork I painted last year in despair over the lack of proper social care in Namibia. (Acrylic & charcoal on canvas) ©Imke Rust

I do. And I have started to avoid the news as much as I can, in an effort to prevent myself from becoming depressed and sad. To escape the feeling of being so powerless about what is happening in the world, far away and sometimes really close-by. But I keep wondering if blocking out what is happening is the answer? Is it right to try to ignore what is happening in Syria, the Ukraine, Irak, Central Africa etc. ect.? And how can I possibly help somebody, even closer to home who is struggling with cancer, with depression, lack, fear and so much more?

The answer is probably different for everybody, but I have come to this:

We are all one

That is my believe. And that means, if something happens to any being, it happens to me. So yes, what is happening on the other side of the world IS affecting me (if I watch the news or not).

But turning that thought around, it also means, that what I am doing, feeling or thinking, is also affecting the rest of the world. So maybe, if I focus less on the negative and instead try to increase the positive vibe, inspiration and love, it can help everybody everywhere. If more and more people will do that, it will spread… Remember how it only took one best friend or one great teacher at school, to turn your life around? And once you felt empowered or loved, suddenly you could be a blessing to others around you, too?

Where can I (can you) be that one special person that makes a difference in another’s life?

Live in the here and now

What can I do right here and right now to help? I realised that I might not be in a position to stop the Ebola virus or the wars raging in the world. And I most likely cannot heal a sick friend or bring back a lost loved one, but I can give a smile to the person on the street, support my friends and family with some practical stuff, emotionally or spiritually and approach everybody I meet with respect and kindness. I can be the rainbow in somebody’s cloud and a sunbeam in somebody’s dark day. I can offer some inspiration, some light-heartedness and some alternative perspectives. There are many small (and bigger) things I can do to improve somebody’s life in the here and now. That is what I want to focus on, because I believe that is the most effective and useful, which I know I can do. And for those who are not here, I can offer a prayer and beam over some positive energy and love.

Mostly, let us help where we can and not worry about the stuff that is out of our reach. While we pray for peace in the world, let us remember to act peacefully and lovingly towards our neighbour, the cashier and the beggar you are passing in the street.

The outer reality is shaped by my inner reality.

Yes I do believe that, and even if it is often difficult to grasp, I feel its truth in my life more and more with increased awareness and time.

I would love to share a little story which I found doing research on the old practice of rainmaking. It made me think and remember that this is probably one of the deepest secrets to understand when making rain or trying to change the world (or your life).

Cloud experiments by Imke Rust (Acrylic on Paper)

For a long time I have been experimenting with different aspects of ‘making rain’ as a way to understand reality, spirituality and how and if we can influence what is happening around us. Here are drawings of raining clouds.  ( ©Imke Rust, Acrylic on Paper, each 29 x 21cm)

There was great concern in a small village as the rains were not coming. Without the rain in due time there would be no harvest and they would not survive the harsh winter. The rainmakers they sent for created elaborate ceremonies, but without success.

Finally they remembered an old man living on his own high up in the mountains, who could possibly make rain. The sent for him and he came. He was asked what he needed to make rain and he asked for a small hut outside of the village and that the villagers would bring him a bowl of rice everyday and place it outside of the hut. ‘That’s all?’ they asked and he affirmed: ‘Yes, that is all.’ He walked through the village and then left. It took three or four days and then it finally rained.

When the man was asked, how he managed to create the rain, he answered:

‘When I came into the village, I saw that you were not in harmony with each other and with nature. So I have asked myself where there is disharmony in myself. I sat quietly with this question and returned myself to order and harmony. Through this (my) harmony, nature could remember its own harmony again, and it could rain.’

The original story, in German, was written by Harald Jordan, Orte der Kraft, and found at http://www.news.ita-est.de/der-regenmacher/ .

 

So, I am trying to live a harmonious life, to be in peace with my immediate surroundings and myself and to help where and if I can. And trust that the rest will have to take care of itself somehow, especially if there are more and more people who are willing to spread good energy through their own lives in their own ways and means.

Times of Change

Recently sold artwork (via my Facebook artist page) Mixed media on 170m/g2 acid-free paper, A4.

Untitled (Blaue Kudufrau) – Recently sold (via my Facebook artist page) Mixed media on 170m/g2 acid-free paper, A4.

Social media is awesome!

But also a bit complicated… There are so many easy ways to share my arts and ideas with friends and strangers, connect and get feedback and interesting conversations happening. It is also a challenging world to navigate, as I post on this blog, on Facebook and sometimes on Pintrest and Twitter. And I post very different stuff depending on the general idea of what a blog or a Facebook page is used for.

I realised that many people who follow me on Facebook, miss out on my blog posts and my blog readers do not get to see all the art which I post on Facebook…

When somebody mentioned to me that they love to see much more of my art, I realised that in my blog posts I focus mainly on ideas and concepts in my art. On Facebook I try to post an artwork or sketch per day (except weekends), with brief news or info. So there you see what I am up to much more regularly. Yet I also know that many people are not on Facebook – and I totally understand you.

I love making art and being creative as a way of life, but just as much, I love sharing my art and ideas with people. I hope to inspire, to bring happiness and joy, to provoke some new and different thoughts or alternative perspectives. With that in mind, I am considering posting more often to share more of my art and thoughts, maybe in occasional shorter, news-style posts. I am still not sure how exactly I can and want to do this best and ensure that it is still lots of fun and interesting for you, without becoming too much.

The best way to find out how things work best is to try it. So I guess I will just slowly feel my way forward and would love to hear your feedback.

Recent Art

As I have just mentioned, I regular post new art on my Facebook page. I enjoy the immediateness of it. FB followers see the image in their news feed and can press the ‘LIKE’ button when they enjoy what they see or they can easily leave a comment to which I can reply. And recently the fact that more people see my art there has led to increased direct sales.

Always be your imperfectly perfect self... Acrylic and pen on the back of a discarded Toffifee (choclate) box... approx. 15x15cm

Another work which was recently seen and sold via my Facebook artist page: ‘Always be your imperfectly perfect self…’
Acrylic and pen on the back of a discarded Toffifee (chocolate) box… approx. 15x15cm

Facebook is also the platform where I share experiments, sketches or little projects which will probably never see the inside of a gallery, a frame or somebody else’s house. I might consider to share some more of that on my blog in future too.

Here are some recent images:

Magic Sticks. I bought myself some funky new colours and had some dried rose stems which needed some love. This is the result. (Posted on FB on 17th of July)

Magic Sticks. I bought myself some funky new colours and had some dried rose stems which needed some love. This is the result. (Posted on FB on 17th of July)

Just finished this one... no title yet. Mixed Media on 170g/m2 acidfree paper, A4  (Posted on FB, 12 July2014)

Just finished this one… no title yet.
Mixed Media on 170g/m2 acidfree paper, A4 (Posted on FB, 12 July 2014)

'I just smell that this is going to be an awesome week! - Can you smell it too?' Pencil sketch from my sketchbook, posted on FB on 21st July 2014.

‘I just smell that this is going to be an awesome week! – Can you smell it too?’
Pencil sketch from my sketchbook, posted on FB on 21st July 2014.

 

New Moon – New Beginnings

But before you expect a whole lot of new posts in the next few weeks, I have to tell you, that it might still take some more time before changes to happen. Because we are moving!!!

We have bought a little house in a little village just outside of Berlin. The house is really sweet, but even better: it comes with a beautiful garden (with a very own cherry tree!) and a lovely outside building and garage, which we plan to convert into a studio. Another absolute bonus is that the area is really pretty awesome and idyllic. There is a large forest just 100m down the road, the Havel river meanders past about five-minute walk into the other direction and there are several pastures for horses in between. We are so excited! And cannot wait to finally get the keys at the end of this month and start moving in and doing some renovations.

I have the feeling this move will be the start of a new magical time in our lives. I cannot wait to be closer to nature again, see how a desert girl can adapt to the forest and real running rivers, picking cherries and planning my own herbs and vegetables again!

Depending on how soon we will have our internet connection installed there and finished the move and the renovations, I will probably write the next blog from our new place, sitting under a tree…

Here is a sneak preview of our new place and surrounding area (click on the thumbnail image to see a larger view):

Wishing you all a great start to this new week! May the new moon energy fill you with wonderful energy!

Pendlerin zwischen den Welten – Commuter Between Worlds

Excitement!!!

Some time ago I was contacted by a journalist who likes my art and wanted to interview me for an article in the magazin ‘afrikapost – Magazin für Politik, Wirtschaft und Kultur’. I agreed, although I have to admit that I was so nervous and almost said no.

Now the article is published and I am so grateful for a wonderfully written portrait of my art and me. Thank you, Tobias Döpker, editor of the Mannheimer Morgen Newspaper for taking the time and interest and for summing up the long interview in a perfect way!

So writing today’s post is made very easy for me, as I have the kind permission to share the article with you! Unfortunately for all my English-speaking readers, the article is in German. I am afraid you will miss out this time. I am sorry about that!

But, according to my site statistics the German readership of my blog and webpage has increased tremendously in the past two years and is actually leading in numbers, so here is a small special gift to all of you who are fluent in the German language. 🙂 Viel Spass beim lesen!

Please click on the image to be taken to a readable PDF version.

Magazin spread of the article in the Afrikapost Magazin (2/2014/Juni)

Magazin spread of the article in the Afrikapost Magazin (2/2014/Juni)

I hope you enjoyed the article! I would love to hear your thoughts about it!