Tag Archives: teabag totems

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.

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: