Work in Progress: Drawing and Painting

I was able to go and do some work in the art studio, for the first time in a few weeks. I am painting my rhino mask and an oil painting of tomato plants. Both of these will need more work, but not until they are dry.

I’m also doing a drawing class online. One of the assignments was to draw a boot/shoe with mainly lines and to then add in some basic shading.

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And I mounted the door knobs on the little grey cabinet. I purposely went for a variation of knobs to make it look more eclectic. Things are fun when they are not all uniform all the time :)

 

The Thing about Success…

Just now I got a text message from a friend asking how my paintings were coming along. I haven’t been at the studio for weeks, so I had to tell her that they were not coming along at all right now.

This got me thinking: When people picture an artist, they imagine a talented superhero of a person who effortlessly whips up one masterpiece after another.
But this is a problem, for two reasons:
One, it places unrealistic expectations on the artist.
Two, it makes the “laymen” intimidated, thinking they can’t be “creative” in their own right.

Neither of these are true: Being a professional artist requires a ton of practice and a ton of failures. For every good piece of work, there will be at least 10 bad pieces behind the scenes – and insecurities to go with it. It’s not easy.
And no, there is no monopoly on being creative. It’s not a “professionals only- zone”. You don’t need to feel lame when you copy your craft ideas off of Pinterest as a hobby. It’s allowed. :)

So if you are a “laymen”: Don’t compare yourself to me, or to any other artist. If your art turns out good, cool, but even if it looks crappy, you created something new, thus having sucess.

The same goes if you are working toward being a professional artist, only add this: don’t think you can loop out of the work it takes to get better. You won’t get great without the inglorious warm-ups and failed sketches. Even if those are not the finished product that everyone sees, take them seriously and enjoy those steps. Success comes from work, so consider every step of work a form of “success”.

 

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Gourds and Kings

I am on vacation and am relaxing a little. But to prepare for a new season of art and studying, I am also taking some online drawing classes. You can always learn something new.

I also found a gourd that we had in our guest room. My parents grew it last summer and dried it, I got to paint it. I went with an African-inspired pattern, though I am aware that there are many different “African” art styles from different cultures. Not trying to copy a particular look, just having fun with patterns here :)

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And I also am getting further along in designing the characters for my book “Somehow Something is Missing!”.  I did some work on the king character, trying to figure out his colors, shapes and facial expressions. I have a clearer idea what he will look like, but it’s not 100% set yet. They say that you should draw at least 100 versions of your character before settling for a design. I think that’s pretty accurate. I did about that much, maybe not quite. But I’m getting close. :)

And for good measure, here are some pictures of the finished palette shelf and of a hawk mask that I made. (Because, hawks are awsome ;) )

Vacation Travel Log, Day 1-2: Arrival in Tuscany

I will be in Italy for one week. Yesterday we got up at 4AM and drove from Germany down to Tuscany, near a town named Lucca. It took us 14 hours and we were wasted when we got here. But the view from the house could be enjoyed, even with travel exhaustion.

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Today, we still didn’t do much and mostly hung out at the house. We jumped in the pool for a little and then I took up a sketchbook and did some drawing. There are many things to draw here, but I decided to depict an “Olive Grove at St. Gennaro”. I’m not a master at colored pencil drawing, and I didn’t have any real green tones apart from a neon green marking pencil. But I like the result, anyway. Kind of reminds me of Cezanne and Van Gogh… they drew from similar scenery.

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Busy in Berlin!

My spring break is almost over. But I still have a few weeks before classes start, so I figured: Why not go to Berlin!
(Actually I am helping out with our school’s information booth at a conference, so it’s a school-related outing)

I got here on Wednesday, and will stay until tomorrow. So far it’s been relatively relaxed with some cool highlights. When on duty I am at our booth and talk to people about our school. Off duty, I could go to listen to some good main speeches and look at interesting booths. Sometimes I got around to drawing caricatures of passing people.
Yesterday our team went out to dinner together at a 60s diner. The place had some fun murals, which were also well executed.
And today I had a free afternoon to fill. I took a short walk around a neighborhood and saw some wall art and a cool book store. I had also told my former art professor that I was visiting Berlin, and since he lives here, we got to meet up.

A “Kunsthalle” Art Show!

I got to participate in an art show at the “Kunsthalle”, one of the major museums of Karlsruhe. They have a range of summer events to promote the museum, and this art show was one of those events. It was under the motto “Montmartre-Art Market” (named after the artist’s area in Paris). I ended up showing “9th Street”, my Mandrill-mask and my Portfolio and Postcards. I also took the time to sketch some of the people who were walking by. And there were quite a few people to choose from!

All in all, I had a good time. There were some interesting people, fascinating conversations and astounding shifts in the weather throughout the day (we went from full sun to rain and back several times within 8 hours)

 

Another Kind of Awsome!

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Today I, my mom and Sarah got to Prague (Czeck Republic). We are here to pick up our new dog, Lucy. We will get her tomorrow afternoon, in a small village east of Prague.

In the mean time, we got a taste of the city. I’ve never been here before, and I’m impressed. They call Prague the “Paris of the East” and I can see why: The city is beautiful, the people cultivate a high interest in arts and music and there is a lot of intellectual history here.

First we stopped at a beautiful art-noveau-restaurant for some cake and coffee. The entire place was built and furnished in the authenic art noveau style (from the 1890s), and the pastry was really good.

Next we walked over to the Jewish quarter to visit the synagogue and cemetary. But we got there just when they were closing at 6PM. Since we were tired, we decided to eat before we’d go back to the appartment. We saw the “James Dean” American Diner and thought we’d give it a try. And we were not disappointed!
I am not exaggerating when I say that their food was the best diner food I’ve ever tasted. Even better than any place in the US. We liked it so much that we will eat breakfast there tomorrow. It’s another kind of awsome! :)

And when we got back to the appartment, I finally managed to take some better pictures of the sketches/art I was making for the last few weeks. I got pictures of lots of people, so maybe some sketches will follow. But that’s for later.
For now, it’s time for bed and off to get Lucy in the morning. :)

Inspired and glad to be Home (Italy in Retrospect)

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I just got back from a 2-week vacation in Italy with my family. The first week was in Tuscany, the second in Venice. I could post updates in the first week, but when we were in Venice the internet connection was next to inexistent. So here’s Venice after the fact:

Day 7: Trip from Lucca to Venice. A very long and stressful trip, because my sister Jessica is autistic and afraid of large crowds, new places, and water. Venice has all these things, so it took my parents 7hours to get her from the car to the appartment. I and my younger sister Sarah couldn’t really do anything except carry luggage and go on ahead. So we were all exhausted, but relieved when we finally all reached the appartment.

Days 8-14: Venice. We went to see parts of the city, some churches, museums and shops. My dad loved the water and going different places with the “vaporetto” (the water-bus), Sarah liked the beach at Lido and some shops and gelato, Mom loved the Santa Maria de Salute-church and the Frari-church. I liked the light and the art, both in museums and in details all over the general city. All of Venice is a work of art. I got to draw some of the details, faces and other things, as well as see the Guggenheim-Museum, the Accademia, and the Frari Church (which contains a lot of art in its original setting).

The trip home was almost as stressful as the trip to Venice. But we got home after 16hours. Glad to be back!

Updates on the Art Side!

I promised to show the art I am making here, so here it is.

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I am trying to impove my skills in colored pencil, as well as drawing cloth and caricatures. The chickens are concept sketches for my book “Chasing Chickens”.

 

Travel-Log Italy 2016: Day 1-2 (Overcoming Obstacles)

I am on vacation in Italy with my parents and my 2 sisters. We will be near Pisa for a week and in Venice for a week. My 2 brothers are staying at a youth camp at the same time.

Day 1: The ride down to Italy

We left the house at 5AM. The ride was smooth and we didn’t face any traffic. Still, it took us until 4PM to reach our destination.
When we got to the vacation house, we were greeted by the home owners. They showed us around and gave some suggestions for local restaurants, etc. They were very nice, and their vacation rental is great, as well.

Day 2: Overcoming Obstacles

My older sister Jessica is autistic and so she has very particular anxieties. One of these is the fear of water, eventhough she used to love water. So when my parents decided to try to get her into the pool this morning, she resisted that. She cried and made it really clear that she didn’t want to swim, but my parents didn’t give up. In the end, Jessi was in the pool for 10min, and she was proud of it. She had done something extraordinary.

Later, I went with my dad and younger sister Sarah to Lucca. We had lunch, ate Italian gelato, and rented a couple of bikes. This might seem like nothing special, but for me it was, also, extraordinary:
In the past, I had to  struggle with chronic fatigue issues , and even a year ago, a simple bike tour would have been nearly impossible. So for me, riding a bike on the city wall and through town was out of the ordinary. For me, it was overcoming an obstacle.

 

While I take the surroundings in, I am keeping my eyes open for stuff to draw, there is no shortage of intersting things here. While we were in Lucca today I drew a quick sketch of the guy next to us. And I think some of the stuff I took pictures of will be worth a sketch or painting. Right now I am resting, my dad has my packpack, which has the sketch in it. So pictures will have to follow later :)