Wednesday, July 30, 2014

Early mornings

After a no winter winter we are having a full summer summer. It's been warm and sticky a lot. I think for the tourists (summer vacation has begun a few weeks ago) this is wonderful, for me personally...meh....not so much. ;-)

I've said it before: I'm  not a warm weather person. I think I would thrive in places further up north where the summers are short and the winters long and where the temperature rarely goes above 20 degrees Celsius (68 F) and is preferably mostly a lot lower.

I am however a walking person and now that the island is full of tourists and warm weather I have made the decision to take my daily walks early...very early. I leave the house around 6.45 am and don't have breakfast until I come back. Even though these days even at that time it can be sticky (especially if there's no wind) it's still a hell of a lot more comfortable than later in the day.

It's kind of nice to be out and about that early in the morning. On work days I always go out that early, but that's just to walk to work. On my days off however I get to see the world in its quiet state before the hustle and bustle of the day begins. And of course I take pictures....

Midsummer was already over a month ago and the days are slowly beginning to shorten again. Soon the sun will not be up yet around 6.45 and I will get to see the sunrise again. I look forward to that.

The warm weather also means I cannot really be in my studio, but I am enjoying myself at my journaling table downstairs, under cool trees in the office garden during lunch and every now and then I even take the time to settle in a comfortable chair behind my house and have some tea and a book and a lot of down time.

Hope you are all enjoying your summer (or winter down below) and wishing you a wonderful and artsy day!

Sunday, July 27, 2014

Kunst aan de Dijk (Art at the Dyke)

On the south side of our town runs the Wadden Dyke (Waddendijk). It protects the town from the Wadden Sea coming in. Along the dyke are a lot of houses with their gardens pointing south and in these gardens every year Kunst aan de Dijk is organized. Kunst aan de Dijk literally means Art at the Dyke. It's like an open air exhibition where local artists show their work in people's gardens. It's a pretty cool concept.

This year I was asked to join and I said yes. At first I was a bit hesistant. Most of my art is done in books and I didn't feel I had that much to show, but going through my house I found out how wrong I was. I had plenty!

So last Saturday, which just happened to be the hottest day of the year so far, I took two big bags of paintings and some sketchbooks to my appointed garden and set up shop. It looked like this:

It turned out to be a most interesting and educational experience since, even though I've exhibited some things before, I've never really been around when people took in a bunch of my work.

I liked observing the people looking at my work. You could immediately tell if somebody liked it or found it interesting. Those that did not say anything, sort of avoided your eyes and were gone in no time obviously didn't care for it. But many took their time, asked lots of questions or talked to each other about what they saw. Only one woman was very tempted to buy a painting, but in the end unfortunately decided against it. I sort of understood that, when I go to things like this I am often tempted as well, but never buy. Buying art is not something you do a lot on a whim. Actually I haven't heard of any of the participants selling anything, it just wasn't that kind of event, but of would have been nice. :-)

What I found surprising is that I didn't really care when people didn't like my work. I mean, I loved it when they did, but I didn't take any disinterest personally. Tastes differ. There's a lot of art I don't like or don't care for much. It's a thing you cannot change no matter what. I didn't get any really negative comments by the way, but body language can be very telling, haha. Anyway, I think it was good to find this out, that I actually stand behind my work. If somebody doesn't like it that's perfectly okay and I respect it, but I cannot do anything with it, because it's MY work, you know? I was rather happy to find out that I have grown enough artistic confidence over the years to go my own way and do my own thing.

I think the above is also the reason for my second surprise: I have a certain pride in my own work! Yes, I do see I still have a lot to learn and where existing paintings might be improved (which I never do, when it's done it's done forever), but this is a sample of what I've done so far and I want full credit for it.
So when someone came by, didn't seem al that impressed,  and then asked "Did X draw those girls?" first I was all "Huh?" (as in 'does this woman seriously think I would sit here presenting another person's work as my own?') and then I said rather firmly "No, I did!" (as in 'don't you dare assume I don't do my own art just because there are other people who also draw girls!'). I don't think it was meant all that condescending on her part as I'm making it sound now, but the fact that it came across that way says a lot about me and my relation to my art. It's MINE dammit! :-)

So all in all I learned something about myself I was not sure about and that is always a good thing. I enjoyed the experience and if possible will probably join again next year. The only thing I ask for is some cooler weather on that day, because 32 degrees celsius (90 F) is no fun when you are in a southside garden without even a breath of wind.

Have a good weekend all! 

Thursday, July 24, 2014

The new journal

A few weeks ago I filled up the Real Journal and started my current one. It's again a regular notebook and it looks like this:

It was a gift for my birthday by my friend Monk (who's always gifting me lots of notebooks and journals just to enable my addiction (which she shares by the way). It's a simple lined notebook, but it has a wonderful size, just larger than A5, and there's a plastic cover with pockets on the insides which makes it possible to store all kinds of loose stuff in it which turns out to be really handy. 

Like the last notebook journal this is not a pretty art journal, but there is art and collage in it. It's pretty much a catch all for anything I feel like putting in. It makes it a big mismatch of stuff, but I rather like that about it.

Anyway, here's a peek at some of its first pages:

As you can see, most art is done on separate sheets, because the lined paper in the book itself is not really suitable for wet media. But since the pages are a little bigger than those on my sketchpads, it is rather perfect for this. In fact I like this book so much that I actually bought another one myself for future use.

As for a name for this journal: on the first spread you see the word "Geluksboek" that I found in my stash of magazine clippings. I thought that was perfect. Literally it means "Book of Luck" and I can't think of a better name for this one. ;-)

Wishing you all a wonderful and artsy day.

Tuesday, July 22, 2014

Typography in the Fodder Book

The Fodder Book that was intended as a sort of art journal to work with a book by the Journal Fodder Junkies, has become a watercolour book instead where I fill page upon page with patterns, doodles and other ideas. Mostly I just draw something in a hard pencil (lighter lines) and then colour it in very patiently with watercolour, doing my best to stay within the lines. I tell myself this is a good way to practice my control over the brush.

It's strange how in this book I can bring up this patience, where as in other art forms (like drawing) I have much more trouble doing that. Maybe it's because doing this doesn't really require any brain work. It's very zen, and when you have a restless mind like mine anything zen is most welcome. ;-)

The following pages are part of an experiment I'm currently working on trying to combine these watercolour pages with typography. I have a ton of letter stencils and it's fun trying to figure out attractive compositions with them and then colouring them in.

As you can see I'm also trying to combine the typography with my mosaics idea, but I'm still not fully happy with the results. Still a work in progress I guess. Must keep trying to find the right approach.

In the meantime I'm just enjoying the process of carefully colouring stuff in. If you have any suggestions as to how I can make that whole mosaics-combined-with-typography-thing work better, I'd love to read about them!

Wishing you all a wonderful and artsy day!

Sunday, July 20, 2014

Sketchcrawl Gouda - the actual sketches

Last post I showed you some pics of the amazing location that was picked for the Sketchcrawl I attended in the city of Gouda. But of course a Sketchcrawl in the end is all about sketching so today I will show you some pages from my journal with the drawings I did that day.

The first two were actually done as a bit of a silly warm up at my friend Monk's house. So they are not really Sketchcrawl sketches. I'm not even sure they are really sketches as such, haha.

On the graveyard itself I did six pages. I brought a simple drawing pad and later pasted them in my journal, since my current journal itself does not really have paper suitable for drawing and sketching much.

What fascinated me most on the graveyard, besides the obvious graves, was the plant life. I think a botanical drawer would have had a field day there, so my first drawings were of a few plants and a grave that was overgrown with them.

Especially the second one took me a lot of time and effort and its the only drawing where I did a sketch in pencil first just to get all those different layers right. I am somewhat proud of it though, just because I actually took the time to do all this.

After that though my patience was wearing thin. I'm not a patient sketcher, especially if I'm not sitting behind a desk on a comfortable chair but on the ground in the blazing hot sun. ;-)

So after this I moved to a cooler spot underneath the trees and did my favorite thing, which is making very quick sketces with a pentel pocket brush. It does not make for admirable drawings, but I think it does show the fun I had making them and they are full of energy.

Despite my pride in the more intricate drawings above, these quicky sketches are my favorites. It shows me you don't really need a lot of time to draw (the thing that always prevents me from doing it more), but can just do quick impressions instead.

Well, that's all I did that day. Hope you liked looking at these and hope you are inspired to do some quicky sketches too. Or maybe you are a more patient person than me and will gladly spend hours on one drawing. (Good luck with that!)

Now, as a little bonus, I want you to meet this guy:

His name is Bob and he's my friend Monk's personal assistant. Just to show you I'm not the only one who has a cute furry assistant around the house. He's about as useless as mine, but  oh well...who can resist hiring a face like that? ;-)

Have a wonderful day all!

Friday, July 18, 2014

Sketchcrawl Gouda - The Graveyard

It had been a while since I had the opportunity to join an actual Sketchcrawl. If you don't know what a Sketchcrawl is, you can read all about it here. It basically means that a group of people comes together on a set date all around the world in order to...well....sketch!

My friends Monk and Loes organize the event in the city of Gouda four times a year, but I've only been able to attend a few times so far. Luckily the past weekend I actually could come.

They always choose the most interesting locations, but this time it was even more special than usual. It was an old graveyard! The place was full of overgrown graves and the atmosphere was absolutely .... I don't even know the word for it. There was a big atmosphere, let's leave it at that. ;-)

Before I show you the sketches I did that day (next post), I wanted to give you an impression of what it was like. Because you know that in the end I will always choose photography over sketching and no way could I come to such a place and not take pictures.


Now that I look at these pics again I think I can say that the atmosphere was decidedly gothic. ;-)

It was amazing how such a magical place was hidden between houses and a factory. Like stepping into an alternate universe just by passing the iron gate. Fascinating.

Next post I 'll show you what I drew. For now I wish you all a wonderful and artsy weekend.

Friday, July 11, 2014

Ferris Wheel

Last weekend I visited the Tall Ships Races and I showed you a whole bunch of pictures of that day on Saturday and Monday. But I felt like this subject deserved a post all of its own.

See, there was a huge Ferris wheel there, and for a lover of lines and photography it was an abolutely irresistable subject to take pictures of. And so I did, and then I took some more.

Those white lines against the blue sky, I don't know, maybe you have to be a little crazy to get it, but if you do, you are in for a treat. Lookit:

I hope you see what I mean and if not, well, just skip this post. There should be more artsy stuff in the making soon. I'll be going to a Sketchcrawl again this weekend (it's been a while), so that means instead of taking pictures I will actually have to draw some stuff.  ;-)

Let's hope the weather cooperates. Keep your fingers crossed!

Wishing you all a wonderful and artsy weekend!