Category Archives: Sketches

The Ink Oracle

Girl Playing withInk and Foxes (Watercolour 6 ink on paper, 20x20cm by Imke Rust)

Girl Playing with Ink and Foxes    (Watercolour 6 ink on paper, 20x20cm by Imke Rust)

It is a blessing to be versatile and enjoy working in so many different mediums, styles, sizes, themes and approaches.

It is a blessing to be versatile and enjoy working in so many different mediums, styles, sizes, themes and approaches.

It is a blessing to be versatile and enjoy working in so many different mediums, styles, sizes, themes and approaches.

Yes, neither you nor me are drunk, I DID repeat that three times.

I need to remind myself (and the world out there) about that. Too often, I get frustrated with the challenge of trying to explain who I am and present myself to galleries or other people who are used to people specialising in one thing. People love the simplicity of boxes, into which you have to fit nicely and which can easily be understood and stored…

And I understand…

I will never forget meeting the ‘plastic wrap artist’ in Beijing in 2008. He showed me several really thick catalogs of his work. All he painted was super-realistic renditions of people wrapped in see-through plastic. That simple. Nothing else.

Even if I do not remember his name, I will always remember what he does and if ever I need a painting of a person wrapped in plastic, I will know exactly whom to ask. That is the beauty of specialisation. And it is real easy and great for marketing and selling your art.

Every time I make art and do something different, I get extraordinary excited.
Every time I fall madly in love with the new work, the style, the medium and the subject matter.  But, no matter how successful the work or how much fun I am having, I could never imagine doing thousands of those same different-similar works for the rest of my life. Or even for the rest of the year, or month…

You might have noticed that I have changed my ‘job-description’ from political artist to environmental artist to painter to conceptual artist or a combination thereof. I have never been fully satisfied. I am or have been all of that, but never exclusively.

I am all of that… and so much more.

So my latest change is to this description: Multi-Passionate Creative Being. For now that seems to be the best short description I can find. Even if it is probably not as easy to understand as ‘The Plastic Wrap Artist’.

In celebration of my versatility I would like to share a small insight into one of my current explorations. The common denominator: working in a small square format and on paper. Mostly in inks and watercolours, but not limited to that.

What makes these works really exciting for me, is that I have promised myself to work as intuitively as I can, i.e. paint the first thing that comes to mind and then just continue with what the artwork dictates. It is kind of like a dialog.

Wildly scary is the second aspect that I have challenged myself with: just draw or paint what I feel, without any judgement.

In other words: banning the inner critic. (Which feels like overthrowing the lifetime president…) And no labouring to get things to look ‘perfect’. Rather let them feel right and let them be.

Thank you for bearing with me and my ramblings and reading till here! Finally you can have a look at a selection of these latest works:

 

 

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Connecting the Dots

I am on a mission to connect the dots of my life to finally figure out some important things. As part of that, and for some fun learning, I enrolled into an exciting course learning about totem animals and how they can help and guide us in our lives.

The course gives so much food for thought. Even though I initially I enrolled in the hope of ‘just some creative fun’ to add spice to my serious soul search for deeper answers, the course has completely drawn me in and provided such a lot of serious and exciting insights.

Between happily jumping into the fun world of the animals and wonderful kindred human souls who are part of the course or tribe and drawing back in resistance to so many different issues, I have managed to delve deep and hold on to this crazy ride.

I am trying to really let myself go with the flow and allow things to happen. And that is what I want to tell you about.

Black Leopard Sleeping

Black Leopard. Sleeping

Ok, so my main foundational totem is the black leopard. I guess I need to write much more about that at another time, but now I am onto something very different and more immediate. I had been thinking about how the leopard pulls its prey into a tree, to keep it safe from other bigger predators. Two other totem animals of mine move into trees (or live there) for safety.

Then it struck me, that I had a vision about myself as a tree two days ago and because it was so striking I made a small painting in my sketchbook about it.

I felt as if I was a tree growing from the top downwards, with the bottom trunk and roots missing.

The tree could not bloom or produce leaves until those parts eventually grow and connect it with the earth and its nurturing soil and water, its hold and steadfastness. A place to be.

Floating Tree

Floating Tree (quick sketchbook drawing)

I took a photograph, in order to be able to share it or continue working on it in a digital format. When I downloaded it, I realised that there were still a whole bunch of other older photographs I have taken, but not downloaded yet…

Interestingly they were mostly of trees – treetops in the mist and a wire baobab tree that we got as a gift for our wedding. And of the bottom of my coffee cup, where the residue has left…. You guessed it: the shape of a tree floating in the air.

Coffee grounds tree

Coffee grounds in my mug:  can you see the floating tree?

Wire Baobab from Namibia

Wire Baobab Tree from Namibia – another photo found still on my camera

My favourite tree is the Baobab. So I looked up its symbolism. Its protective, nourishing and healing and can survive in harsh climates, because it stores water in its trunk. It is also a symbol of strength…

It is also known as the ‘upside-down tree’ – according to myth, the gods planted the tree upside-down in error.

Which reminded me of my initial version, of the tree growing from the top to the bottom and also about something I created just over a year ago, when I felt depressed and generally pretty lost:

Sometimes the world seems upside down

Sometimes the world seems upside down

These are so many dots connecting and I will have to ponder about the lessons that entails. So I decided to write it down. While writing, I thought I could just as well post it as a blog. I thought that this is probably a bit too spiritual and way-out for my main art blog and I decided to post it first on my Baobabs, Magic and Art blog.  And then it struck me that even the title of this blog adds another dot to connect to the mystical tree…

And it led me further to another poem and image, which I had made and posted on there in June last year:

trying to grow new roots

Trying to grow new roots
In a foreign land
With my feet on unfamiliar ground

Trying to become grounded
Return to the earth
And feel at home

Drawing strength
From below
From belonging

I have no roots
Here
Yet

© Imke Rust

And hopefully I will eventually find or grow my roots so that this tree won’t be floating around in uncertainty anymore, but will find its place and grow into a big nurturing, protective, creative and healing tree. 🙂

Wishing you a beautiful start to the week!

Ready to Shoot

If you are a regular follower of my creative experiences on my blog, you might have wondered what happened to the kudu painting. Yes the one that asked me to ‘Shoot it – if I can’. And as promised, here is an update.

If you have not read the other posts, you might want to just quickly return to them, to know what this is all about. Part 1- There is a Kudu in my Studio  & Part 2 -Shoot Me!

Shoot Me - If You Can (Digitally altered painting)

Shoot Me – If You Can (Digitally altered painting)

When I finished the painting, I had to wait for a stretcher frame to be made, so that I could transport it safely and easily. Unfortunately it was Christmas time and the framers were just ready to leave on holiday, but they promised to make it as soon as they return.

That gave me some time to

  1. Decide what I am going to do and
  2. arrange everything necessary.

I kept looking deep into the kudu’s eyes, to try and decide if I could shoot her. And if yes, how exactly would I go about it. She was silent and I knew the ball was in my court. She asked me to shoot her, and I had to answer.

Finally I agreed. If that is what she wants, I will do it. Yes, I will shoot her. She will show me how.

For the practical part of doing it, I have talked to a dear friend, and after some hesitation he agreed to help me take the painting out to his farm and shoot it. So everything was set. Just waiting for the frame, so that I could stretch the painting…

I realised that shooting the painting stirred a lot of emotions and questions in me. Why was her request so unsettling? And, on the other side, intriguing? Shooting to me is about killing. So I would have to kill this painting.  Why do I have such a problem with killing something that is not alive?

Oh, but wait. It is not alive? Who said that? To me a painting is very much alive. Artists are often asked, when they know that a painting is finished. I know mine is finished, when it suddenly feels alive, when it becomes an energised, almost breathing entity, when I have the feeling it has a identifiable personality that can survive on its own in the world. When it becomes separate from me.  (I know this sounds strange, but that is what it feels like to me.)

Anyway, I could write so much more on the thoughts and emotions that I had, but I am afraid this post will get too long. I hope to still share my insights in some other form later. I think the main thing was to go through the motions, make up my mind and trust life to take its course.  Who knows what will come from it.

So here I was, ready and well prepared to shoot. Honouring my part of the agreement. Shoot her – if I can.

I could not.

By some fluke the framers took longer than expected and the painting literally arrived back in my studio a few hours before I left to Europe. There was just no time to shoot.

She is save and I am relieved!  🙂

Preparation Sketch for the kudu painting

Preparation Sketch for the kudu painting

 

Leopard Sighting in the Forest

Once again I have swopped the warm African sun for the cold, dark and wet winter in Germany.

As a reminder of the creative fun that can be had in the cold I decided to share with you a little sketch I did on an outing to our favourite forest last year.

There were lots of frozen puddles of water and I liked how clear they were, like solid three-dimensional piece of nature art. Feeling a bit homesick I instinctively decided to add some African imagery to it. Maybe something like rock-art on ice?

I happened to have a white Tippex marker with me and started to draw a kudu. I was moderately happy with that. So a bit further away I started again, drawing a person, thinking this might turn into a traditional hunting scene.

Kudu and man on ice in the forest

Kudu and man on ice in the forest

The lines I drew dissolved and moved in weird ways on the ice surface, so I did not have much control, and thought adding a bow and arrow would totally mess it up. I felt awkward and unhappy with both figures. It needed something interesting to happen to save it…

Along came the leopard.

Leopard and man on ice in the forest

Leopard and man on ice in the forest

Interestingly the leopard started to chase the person and not the kudu, who was watching from a safe distance.

Unfortunately I cannot tell you how the story ended, as it got so cold, that I rather put on my gloves again and walked on.

Last view of the scene with the leopard chasing the man into the distance

Last view of the scene with the leopard chasing the man into the distance

Wishing you a happy and playful week and the perfect weather for your creative expressions!

Imke

Bird of Darkness

sketch, dark bird, vulture

Sketch illustrating the feeling I tried to describe in words

So,
Bird of darkness, you are back again,
nesting forcefully in my crown.

Thrusting your claws into the depths of my heart.
Stubbornly refusing to be shooed away.

You spread out your wings
not to take flight,
but to cover everything under your gloom.

You stifle me.
Repeatingly
pounding your angry beak against my head.

Oh, when will you leave my branches again?
Lift your heavy weight of me
and let the sun flow back into my emptiness?

And why have you chosen me
To make yourself at home?

Oh, when will you return to your own darkness
again
and give me space to breath?

…to be?

(Sometimes I get overwhelmed by feelings of depression and on the advice of my friend and  healing facilitator Jutta Dobler I decided to try and embrace the feeling instead of fighting it. And this is what came out of it – the text and a few days later I made the quick sketch while waiting for the dentist. I am no poet, but still thought I would like to share these scribbles with you.)

Text ©Imke Rust