Monday, March 28, 2016

Walking Pictures

Here are some photographs taken on my many walks over the past weeks. I prefer to walk alone, but I don't mind taking you with me vicariously on the blog, so enjoy!

All of these were taken on my beautiful island except one. Guess which one, haha.
That one was taken on a day trip to the city of Leeuwarden. Sometimes you gotta get off the island and join the civilized world!

Wishing you all a wonderful and artsy day and hope you had a lovely Easter weekend!

Thursday, March 24, 2016

Doodle drawings

I am so enjoying these big doodles that I do from time to time. They are completely abstract and have no deeper meaning whatsoever except bringing me joy and hopefully some pleasure to those who view them. I love playing with colour and patterns and thus making an attractive composition.

I think in the end that's what most of my art is about, just making something that is pleasing to my eyes and a bit of a puzzle to work out when making it. A play with shapes and colours. It must be why I love patterns so much.. They are just soothing.

Here are three abstract doodles on A4 paper that I have done recently:

I still have to smile about that last one. It's the first thing I did in my studio after I got back from my Texel vacation. Remember how I only took black pens with me on that vacation? Well, this was how I got over the lack of colour that I experienced those weeks! :-)

I really still want to make a huge doodle painting on canvas or wood at some point, but I haven't really had the chance to try it yet (or the courage?). It will come, eventually, I just know it. Give me time.

Hope you're all making art that makes you happy or doing something else that brings a smile to your face. Have a wonderful and artsy day.

PS If you want to know how these doodles come into being, I did a little step by step a while back that you can find here.

Monday, March 21, 2016

The last of the Morning Paintings

About two months ago I did my very last Morning Painting. For almost exactly a year I painted every morning right after getting up en before breakfast, mostly in gouache. After that year I now have seven sketchbooks and 330 paintings. Why not 365? Because of life. I did not paint during my vacations, I did not paint when I had the flu and once or twice I skipped because of practical reasons. I'm not a painting machine thank you very much!

Anyway, here are the last ten paintings for your viewing pleasure, no. 321 to 330:

#321 - Flowers

#322 - Grids in  Squares

#323 - Connect the Dots

#324 - Plaid

#325 - Plaid

#326 - Plaid

#327 - Crossed Diamonds

#328 - Flowers

#329 - Star Pattern

#330 - The End

After that last painting (right before my Texel vacation in January) it was really strange to wake up the next day and not go to the studio to paint. Hmmm...maybe I had become a bit of a painting machine after all? ;-)

I will do a separate post in which I will look back on the whole experience of painting every morning and what it did for me. It will take some time to put it all in words. It was a wonderful experience I can tell you that much!

For now I wish you all a wonderful and artsy day.

Friday, March 18, 2016

From the Picture Book

My Picture Book is a very simple scrapbook in which I simply put any image that speaks to me. I also refer to it as my Printerest (you know like 'printed Pinterest').

I usually collect images for weeks and then sit down for a few hours and paste a new bunch in, often decorating with one of my many many many washi tapes. It's fun to do and it's fun to look at.

Here are some of my latest pages in this book:

The book combines a lot of imagery and art by other people and I try to source them as best as I can. They are for inspiration only. Mixed in among them however are also some of my own photographs. Often (not always) if an image isn't sourced it is one of my own. If you're curious about some of the images you can click on the image and probably read my handwriting where I put down the names of the artists.

When it comes to this book I'm not really concerned very much with copyright. This is not art, this is not anything really but me collecting pretty pictures. I think this is the most basic form of scrapbooking there is.

Thanks for taking a peek and I hope you are being inspired wherever you are. Have a good weekend all!

Tuesday, March 15, 2016

A Spooky update

Today it's been exactly two weeks that I picked up Spooky, my new and very very black cat and possible assistant in the making. I introduced him here where I told you he was a pretty spooked Spook. The first few days I did not even really get to see him, which is a pity, because he's such a handsome fellow.

Now he's been here for two weeks and things are definitely improving. It's obvious he needs his time and that he's as careful around me as I am around him, but in comparison with two weeks ago we have moved mountains. When he feels the need to retreat I simply ignore him and when he comes out or seeks me out he always gets a treat and positive attention. He is easily seduced by food and snacks. In fact I managed to get him to dare to go upstairs simply by going up and down with him and some kitty snacks a few times. After a few days he followed me up on his own. Seduction seems to be right way to broaden his horizon.

Spooky is also beginning to show real cat behaviour:

Making sure I behave myself. (I have my eyes on you human!)

Sitting in boxes.

Sleeping next to me on the couch every night.

Stealing my seat the minute I get up.

I can tell he's still not fully at home with me and this house he has moved into. This cat simply needs more time for that. I kind of like that his friendship is not easily given. It makes me feel all the more privileged when he does show affection or seeks me out. But for himself it would be so much easier if he were a bit more easygoing and relaxed. Still, he sits with me every day, meows for food and attention and seems pretty comfortable walking around the house, even if he is still skittish.

On the other hand the fact that he is feeling more at home also brings out some traits I'm not so happy with. It seems the previous owners never played with him really, at least not with toys. I've tried several different things and he simply looks bored and has no idea what to do with them. Even wand toys (which were a hit with my previous cats who were actually quite lazy and unplayful in nature) have no appeal to him so far.

Unfortunately he does from time to time consider my hand a lovely moving toy, which can be pretty painful (although so far I must admit I have no scratches on me, he's not vicious). It makes me wonder if the previous owners were the kind that found it cool to use their hands as a plaything (yes, people like that exist, the fools). He's not mean or anything, just playful in the wrong way. Often he will try to grab or bite my hand and immediately follow it up with a head butt, purring all the way as if to say 'aren't we having fun?'. No no no, we aren't! Luckily he seems to understand the word 'NO!' very well so if I pay attention I can stop him before he goes too far. I think with patience and time he will learn new ways to play from me. If you have any ideas for toys or ways to play for a stubborn no play cat, I'm all ears.

Also after a few more weeks he will be allowed outside, which I think will be good for him. He was an outdoorsy cat, so he must really miss exploring the garden and neighbourhood. Apart from being new to my household he is not yet neutered, vaccinated or chipped and I want all those things done before I let him out. I think that is simply the responsible thing to do. Having an outdoor cat comes with enough risks (even in a quiet cat friendly place like this) without taking extra precautions. I think however he is pretty bored inside for now and since he does not fully trust me yet and does not understand play with toys yet it's hard to alleviate this boredom. I feel bad for him for that, after all he's still quite young (three years old).

Daring to wash himself while lying on his back, a sign of trust, but always keeping his eyes on me, haha.

All in all I think we still have a long way to go and in no way is he anything like my previous assistants. He's not my assistant yet. He's not even really my cat yet. He really is my Spook!

Wishing you all a wonderful and artsy day.

Saturday, March 12, 2016

Morning Paintings #311-320

Time to show you another batch of Morning Paintings, the paintings I did for about a year every morning right after getting up.

The next ten were done around the holidays and here and there it shows. :-)

Here are paintings no. 311 to 320, as always done in gouache:

#311 - Merry Merry Merry

#312 - Alien X-mas

#313 - Circles in Circles

#314 - Dots in Circles

#315 - Connect the Dots

#316 - Layers of Flowers

#317 - Old Year Mandala

#318 - New Year Mandala

#319 - Dots and Circles

#320 - Triangles

In this series of paintings you can see that a lot of focus was on the four same colours: red, yellow, blue and green and seeing where such a simple palette could take me. I love how a few colours can have such different effects depending on what you paint and whether you cover the entire page with colour of not.

Hope you enjoyed this set of paintings and I wish you all a wonderful and artsy weekend!

PS There'll be an update on The Spook in my next post, thanks for your encouraging and welcoming words for him. 

Friday, March 4, 2016

A new assistant in the making

As you all know I lost my lovely furry assistant Peer last August and he is still sorely missed.

I took my time before I started looking for another cat both for emotional and practical reasons, but for the past month or so I have actively been searching and I found this black beauty:

Picture taken by previous owner. 

This is Spooky. Spooky is three years old and has always lived with the same person/family. The family split up because of divorce and the owner had less and less time to spend on him so decided he would be better off in another home. That home is mine, obviously.

I think it's because it's been such smooth sailing for Spooky until now that he is well....totally spooked! I picked him up three days ago and the first two days I didn't even get to see his handsome face, he was just that scared. It's totally understandable from his point of view. He was ripped away from his home, put in a travel basket, then moved into another travel basket by a complete stranger, then this creepy stranger took him on a ferry in stormy weather (a bumpy ride) and just expected him to live in her even stranger house. Spooky was not amused and he still isn't.

He has pretty much hidden in a corner in my little shed (which is attached to my living room, so he can just get into that as well) and mostly finds me the scariest person ever and this house the most horrible ever. I feel so so bad for him.

Now here's the weird thing. Last night, after I came back from work I managed to seduce him. And I don't mean that in a shy way either. He totally transformed from scaredy cat to what I assume is his actual nature, a cat that just loves loves loves to cuddle and be with you. Lookit:

I swear I spent the entire night with my mouth open in total amazement that this frightened boy had such sweetness in him. I mean I knew in essence he was a pretty social family cat, but I didn't know he could be this adorable.

I'm not sure what turned the switch in his head last night, but whatever did turned it off again as well, because while this morning he was still (after a little seduction) very sweet and even stroked my face with his (I died when that happened!) right now he is hiding again in the shed and doesn't want anything to do with me.

It's not that there has otherwise been no progress at all, he does dare to get his food from the kitchen with me in the room for instance, an unthinkable thing two days ago, but it is slow going and it makes me so sad, because now I know what cat lies under the surface and I wish I could explain to him that there really is no need to be scared of me. I raised the most spoiled cats in the universe for god's sake!

But cats will be cats and you cannot force them. It would only make things worse. I think the problem is that he loves food and he loves to cuddle and he really misses that right now, but he doesn't trust me or the home he now lives in and he somehow can't combine the two yet in his system. This takes time. I don't know if last night was a fluke, but if it was it was a wonderful one. This seems to be one of those cases of 10 steps forward, 9 steps back. I must be patient.

I'm not used to this at all. So far all my cats have been superrelaxed and easygoing, so this is going to be a challenge. I think it will be worth it though going by what I saw last night.

Anyway, as you may guess my energy and focus are all on Spooky right now (or The Spook as I like to call him) and I will not be blogging for a few days. I'm sure you understand.

As soon as things settle down just a little I'll be back. I'll keep you posted!

Also if you have any suggestions or tips for winning his trust a little I would surely appreciate them.

Wishing you all a wonderful and artsy weekend, I am about to have a spooky one! ;-)