Sunday, November 19, 2017

Tiny Mandalas

Tiny mandalas must be the most convenient art form. They are simple, they don't require a lot of materials, they can be done relatively easy and they are...well...tiny! That means they always fit, both timewise and sizewise.

Lately that is even more true, because my cat Spooky has decided to become a bit of a lap cat and especially likes doing that when I am drawing on the couch with my feet up. So when a big cat is already taking up most of your lap space it's nice to have a small hardbound sketchbook you can just hold up easily to work in.

Here are some recent mandalas, some done with the help of a cat and some done without:

All these were drawn with a Sakura Micron pen (size 05) and coloured in with Stabilo 68 felttip pens. The mandalas measure about 7 cm across (3 inches tops) and they are very fun to do and a good way to add some colour at the end of a busy day.

Hope you are adding some colour to your life and wishing you a wonderful and artsy day!

Thursday, November 16, 2017

Morning Mosaics

My current morning art project is all about mosaics, watercolour mosaics that is. I use a Seawhite of Brighton A4 sized watercolour book. I have used their sketchbooks for years, but this is my first watercolour book of theirs and, as I might have expected, it is excellent!

Doing the mosaics is pretty excellent too, but as I have said before it is very slow going. I often say that a lot of the patterns and art I do is a bit like meditation, but with these that is even more true than usual. Just the act of slowly filling in these little shapes with paint is a perfect way to start a day, especially if that day will consist of lots of other non artsy things. I think this is the biggest reason I am able to keep up with my morning art (I've been doing it for almost 800 days now): it makes me start my day with that which is most important to me. It's like saying to the universe that I put my art first. It's funny how my brain doesn't really function all that great that early in the morning but I somehow still manage to create.

Anyway here are the first five mosaics I did in my current project:

Most of these, well probably all of these, are experiments. What if? And they don't always turn out the way I imagined. I really don't like the first one for example. The third and the fifth are my favorites so far.

But whether I like the end result or not does not really seem to affect how much I enjoy working on them. It almost seems beside the point. It's the art of the process that really comes forward in these paintings and I am very curious where they will take me in the future.

I hope you are doing something fascinating in your neck of the woods and I wish you all a wonderful and artsy day!

Monday, November 13, 2017

Kreadoe 2017 - Art Supply Loot

Every year my sister and I visit the Kreadoe in Utrecht. It is a huge art and craft supply fair that is like a  piece of heaven for anybody who likes to make stuff. A very busy piece of heaven, but still...

All year long I save coins and recycling money especially for this fair, so I always have quite a surprising bit of spending money when I go there and don't have to worry too much about what I want to buy. It's my day to splurge on things just because I like them.

Because it was very busy and I just wanted to focus on my visit there I did not really take any pictures while at the fair, except for this one:

I just loved the look of these huge handmade chandeliers that were hanging from the ceilings.

If you want to see more pics of the fair itself you can check the list of labels in the sidebar and click on Kreadoe, which will lead you to all my previous posts about this fair. Although every year there are new products and different trends, the concept as a whole is pretty much the same every time.

What I do want to show you is my loot of that day, because of course I bought stuff. Stuff I don't really need, but love to have anyway. The pictures were taken at sister's kitchen table late at night so there may be a bit of glare from the overhead lights, but I'm sure you get the idea.

Stamps, inks, washi, journaling cards, bookmarks and a pen holder you can strap to your journal.

Some additions to my Tombow and Ecoline brush pen collection and a Dylusions journal.

A letter stencil, three christmas collage packs and two artsy books.

A jigsaw puzzle, double sided sticky back plastic and a huge paper pack.

The huge paper pack was really unnecessary, I have tons of pretty papers at home, but I couldn't resist it, because it's full of lovely small retro patterns that just make me so happy to look at. I might even use them too, haha.

The book by Yellena James just blew me away. I had never heard of her, but her work is just stunning. I had been thinking about doing something with more organic forms in my patterns/drawings and this book will help me practice just that.  But frankly I mostly bought it for her artwork. Here's a close up of some of her work in the book:

I am swooning just looking at this.

So that's my loot of this year's Kreadoe. Now I have to start saving again for next year. Because sister and I already know we will be going then as well! We are Kreadoe addicts! ;-)

Wishing you all a wonderful and artsy day.

Friday, November 10, 2017

Grid Drawings

When I first started drawing patterns and other abstracts based on grid paper I knew I would enjoy it, but I didn't expect to be doing it for as long as I have. It seems that it just never gets old for me and I'm still finding new ways to implement colours and shapes to form new types of patterns.

Here are some drawings I did in the past few weeks:

In the first one I wanted to experiment with open spaces, which I am somehow always avoiding. Not just in my patterns, but in just about any drawing/art I do. I'm very much a fill-up-the-entire-page-person, so to me this is a challenge. I do like how it turned out though and will definitely try more.

The second and third are very obviously inspired by my current morning project. I have fallen in love with colour gradients and was trying to translate that into these drawings in felttip pens by slowly moving from one colour to the next trying to make interesting effects.

And the last is just a lot of triangles, haha.

As always I do these drawings mostly on my couch while listening to podcasts, often to unwind from a busy day. They are a really good way to calm my mind, and when it's as busy in your head as it is in mine, you can use all the calming you can get!

Hope you enjoyed this peek in my grid sketchbook and wishing you all a wonderful and artsy weekend!

Tuesday, November 7, 2017

Rainbow Mosaic (step by step)

Well, after all that vacation posting you must be yearning for some actual artsy stuff!

My current morning art project is all about doing watercolour mosaics. It's incredibly show going. One page/mosaic can take up to nine sessions to finish.'s also very satisfying to take the time to do it anyway.

After a couple of more random mosaics I felt the need to use a lot of colours in my paintbox and create a kind of rainbow somehow. Here's how that turned out:

Each picture is the result of one morning session, that is one half hour of work. Differences in colour are due to differences in lighting circumstances and angles. 

Ever since this page I have been fascinated by colour gradients and slowly meandering hues. I'm even trying to implement it in my regular grid drawings with felttip pens. I like how even after years of doing mosaics and patterns and related things I still find new ideas to be fascinated by. I have a feeling this means that this is really 'my thing'. ;-)

Hope you enjoyed this peek into my process and wishing you all a wonderful and artsy day!

Saturday, November 4, 2017

Vacation, the long version - Part five of five - Hackfort Estate

I was born on a farm outside of the town of Vorden. The area there is lovely and Vorden is mostly known for the fact that it has eight castles inside its borders. The one I most fondly remember from the old days is Hackfort Castle. It and the area around it, including a beautiful watermill, always seems to touch my heart just a little bit more than all the other beautiful places in that region.
So whenever I am close by I try to visit the Hackfort Estate and the castle that forms the heart of it.

On the seventh vacation day I biked about 30 kilometers to get there (and back) and took two walks around the estate. Here's an impression of that day.

And with that last day trip my vacation came to an end. It made me a bit sad to have to go home again. Don't get me wrong, I live in an amazing place and I like my life there, but I do get a little homesick sometimes for exactly the kind of landscape that's all around the area my sister lives. And I think when you look at my pictures you  may at least understand a little why.

Farmland, waterways, fields, forests of leaf shedding trees, cows, castles and many other things that are aplenty in the east, simply do not really exist on my beautiful island where it's all about pines, dunes, beach and ocean. Both landscapes are utterly stunning, but they do not seem to come together geographically in my country, so I am always a bit torn between my roots and my current location. If only for that reason I am very fortunate my sister still lives in the east and lets me stay in her house from time to time and no doubt next year I will be staying there again.

But now it's back to my own life on my own island with my own artsy stuff. Hope you enjoyed looking back on my vacation with me and wishing you all a wonderful and artsy day. 
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