2017- Recap

I would like to take the opportunity to recap the year, and thank those of you who followed the year with me.
Thank you to everyone who supports me, in what ever way. Everyone who comments, likes and shares my work, online or in real life, that really means something to me.
So in honor of the last day of 2017, here’s a short poem review. God bless you, and Happy New Year!

2017

Grateful for new places and faces, new cultures and more

Uganda. Albania. None of it asked for

Old challenges, redone. New versions of old

Masks in a new form

Some illustrations and paintings

And stories told.

 

All work and worry

All sickness and joy

Feeling strong, yet lame.

These are all part of the game

 

Where to? God knows

And I know he does

So I thank him

for all that was

And move forward

And trust him with all that follows.

 

 

 

 

 

A Trip to Tirana!

I was on a 4-day trip to Albania this weekend and got back yesterday evening. I went with my mom and a friend of hers to a conference in Tirana, the capitol of the country. It was a great an inspiring time, one I didn’t see coming at all at the beginning of the year. Sometimes things happen that you didn’t expect, and occasionally those things are unexpectedly good :)

We were mainly there to help out at the conference, but we got to see the beach, the National Art Gallery of Albania, and some of Tirana’s landmarks. I hope I can come back to Albania some day :)

 

Inspiring others :)

Some people in my class decided to do a gift exchange, and as mentioned in the last post, I made a football pillow for that. But what I didn’t know is that I was not the only one who prepared a hand-made gift. The girl who prepared my gift is normally not someone who would call herself “creative”, but she was inspired to make me a little pin board.I think it’s really cute and the thought she put into it put a smile on my face :)

 

And yesterday I was at a church service and painted on stage. It was fun, and the resulting picture is based on psalm 1 from the bible. Its main point is that a person grounded in God will be strong like a tree by the water. They will not be easily shaken and even be able to bear fruit (be supportive of others).
After the service I gave the picture to one of the visitors. He and his wife were happy for it :)

It’s satisfying to see how you can inspire people.
I hope that you can find people who inspire you, but also that you yourself can become someone who inspires others. And with that thought, have a great remaining Sunday and a great week :)

Highlights of the Week: Art History, A new Painting, a finished Mask

I had another busy week at seminary. Classes, projects and art progress.

What I am learning more and more is that there are quite a few connections between art and theology. I am, for example, going to give a presentation in Church history about the 12th century German mystic Hildegard of Bingen. What I find interesting about her is that she wrote down a lot of things, most notable her visions, medical teachings and her songs. The illustations that accompany those writings are among the most interesting of the German middle ages. And the fact that she did all of that as a woman in a male-dominated society makes it even more interesting.

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The Creation of the world in 6 days (From Hildegard’s “Scivias”)

I could also get some art done this week: sketches, drawings, painting ideas, as well as a finished second “Kasperle”-mask. Unfortunately my camera is messed up again, so I can’t upload any pictures. But I’ll post pictures when I can.

The mask is painted in the same style as the first, but the colors are more red and green as compared to magenta-blue. I actually think this version looks more refined than the first. It’s nice to see progress!

The drawings are preliminary sketches for my children’s book “chasing chickens” and a colored pencil caricature of a guy I saw at the “Montmartre”-art show.

I also (finally!) have an idea for a new painting, and I think it’s size will be about 5′ x 4′ (150 x 120 cm). Again, I don’t have a picture to show yet, but I want to try something in the direction of Van Gogh, Hopper and Pieter Doig. It will be based on the view from my bedroom window (flat rooftops, an appartment on the right, hills in the background), but with the uncanny atmoshpere of a Hopper and the “mystical” style of Pieter Doig. And I probably want to use a similar color style and brush stroke as Van Gogh.
These artists are all great in their own ways, but my goal is not to simply copy them. I want to be inspired by them and make the pictures that come of that my own. We will see what that means for the art piece. Whatever the case, it will be fun to pick up a brush again :)

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Pieter Doig’s “Swamped” (1991)

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!

Days 4-7: Marvel Pillow!

I and my mom have been hanging out here in Corvallis, helping with chores and occasionally seeing the area. I went with grandma for a walk by a nearby river. There are beautiful trees here and there are so many shades of green. I took pictures but they can’t be uploaded to the computer.

I also went with my mom to the Goodwill (Second-hand-store) and we found this marvel comics pillow :)

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Hans Zimmer!

I was like a kid in a candy store last night: My dad and I got to see Hans Zimmer live in the SAP Arena in Mannheim! Hans Zimmer is the mind behind a huge amount of the music in the movies of the past 30 years. (Lion King, Pirates of the Carribean, Da Vinci Code, Interstellar, Crimsion Tide,…)

My dad works at SAP and got VIP-tickets for any SAP-Arena-event, so that’s the only reason the evening was affordable.
We drove up to the VIP-entrance and showed our tickets. There was a champagne-reception at the door, then you got you concert bracelet and went upstairs to the VIP-lounge. Just like in a movie, a staff member asked for our name, checked us off her list and showed us to our table. The loung was fancy, but not uncomfortable. There was a buffet of good food and many little desserts. We probably had more than our share of the buffet :) And while we were eating, we looked around, seeing all sorts of people. Some were wearing really fancy clothes, such as the woman in white with a fancy hat and glitter shoes. Others were just wearing a t-shirt and jeans. I guess the VIP-lounge is a glimpse of what a big fancy vernissage (art show opening) is like. It’s fascinating but also intimidating and kind of shallow. If you were surrounded by this environment all the time, it probably would be easy to lose tough with “real life”.
While we were thinking about this stuff, it was time to go to our seats. We sat close to the stage at angle, but could still see most of the musicians.

The concert was great! There were about 70 people on stage, and not one of them was unnecessary. Hans Zimmer came across as very humble and “normal” and he was funny, too. When they started playing a Medley of “The Lion King”, Lebo M. sang the opening lyrics and I almost cried. (Lebo was the guy who sang the solo in “Circle of Life” for the movie, back in 1994) Everything else was brilliant, too, but that was my highlight!

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Back in the Studio!

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Yesterday I went to the studio for the first time after the holidays. I got about 2,5h of work in, especially putting highlights and details in the grass- and water areas. I also started tackling the proportions of the figure (my dad). His head was too big. Surprisingly, the rest of the body seems to be pretty accurate. I always need more practice on proportions, that’s probably my greatest weakness.

As I mentioned before I am studying for an art history exam. Some f these artists were true masters. They are and inspiration and humble me as well.
Here are pictures of some of my exam artists: Titian, Diego Velazquez, John Singer-Sargent and René Magritte.

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Art…History!

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I have an art history exam coming up on Feb 3rd. The exam is only 20 minutes and oral, but you still need to know your stuff.
My desk is covered in notes and books, and will be for the next few weeks. It can be a bit tiring to read all the books and commentaries on artists, but you also learn a lot of significant things. I need to study 8 topics, I have 5 down, 3 to go. So far I’ve learned about Diego Velazquez, John SInger-Sargent, Jeff Wall, Marcel Duchamp and Frank O’ Gehry. I realize just how talented, hard-working and prolific some artists were while others were lost in philosophy and thought, to the point of producing very little work. I also see how much art has changed over the centuries, showing the change of culture, thought and values that go with it. Modern art was a reaction to the new theory of relativity and new technology (automobiles, cameras). One was fascinated by new technology but also felt that art no longer should imitate nature. (cameras could document reality in a “neutral” way now. Painting was emotional, subjective, no longer “authentic”) Instead, art split into countless groups, all trying to make sense of a senseless world. Some worshiped rational thought, while others idealized the subconcious. In either case, it was a reaction to reality.

So my lesson from that: Art should be “real”. I don’t want to be pretentious, nor pretend to be unpretentious. Knowing where art came from gives you an idea where art could be going.

Star Wars!

Everyone is hyped about Star Wars these days, I am no exception. I loved the movie and thought it fit the old movies very well.

Today I was with a good friend to downtown Heidelberg and we visited the “Geek Store” (Not it’s actual name but that’s what it is). There was some pretty cool stuff there, including this BB-8 cap. I think my brother Philip would have loved it for Christmas. But then I looked at the price tag and thought “yes… he WOULD love it”… but it doesn’t cost anything to take a picture :)

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And speaking of Star Wars, this is the papermaché-sculpture I did of Greedo in 2012… my favorite bounty hunter who gets killed after 5 min of screen time! ;)

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…Back to Work!

I was in Cyprus for 7 weeks, that was amazing. But now I’m back in Germany. Back to normal, back to work!

I went ahead to work further on my painting “Portrait of Sarah” and became aware of something: I hadn’t seen the picture for 7 weeks, and last time I worked on it, I thought it looked pretty finished. But seeing it again after some time, I could immediately see the areas that needed improvement.

This experience shows me how important an “outside-perspective” can be when you are working. When I am working, I see how the piece is progressing and don’t necessarily see what still needs to be done. Someone from the outside can see the piece without bias, that is an advantage. It can be scary to allow honest feedback, but it’s so important. I want to stay teachable, and try to “step back” to see things as neutrally as possible.

How hard/easy is it for you to recieve feedback? What halps you to see things from an outside-perspective? Leave a comment if you like!

Ready to go!

I got my manuscript ready to send to 10 different publishers by mail and another 3 online.  Each of the envelopes includes a query letter (a formal way to ask them to take a look), a short biography, the manuscript, in some cases a German translation and several copies of the illustrations and sketches.

The manuscripts will be sent all over Germany, one to the UK and another to the US (Michigan). You have to send out a lot of submissions, since only 5-10% of manuscripts get accepted. Dr Seuss even had to send 28 submissions before he got accepted with his first children’s book. Having endurance and determination pays off in this business!

I am confident and not in a big hurry. Seeing the stuff looking so nice is amazing!

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Inspirational Art: Music Video “Keep Making Me” (Sidewalk Prophets)

I love the way this song is done, both musically as well as in the music video animation. It inspires you to do your best and at the same time rest assured that you don’t need to try so hard to “make yourself”.

Artist’s Life Extended: My Passion for Plants

As an artist, I obviously spend a good amount of time working on art projects. But other stuff has room as well, sometimes more, sometimes less.

These past two months, I’ve been starting several hundreds of plants in our greenhouse and on our kitchen window sill. I love plantsl, so the work comes naturally for me.
I am going to give most of the plants away to raise money for my trip to Cyprus this fall. People will be able to get different vegetable varieties, sunflowers and marigolds. All of the species are heirloom (that is, pure-bred) and some of them date back as far as the early 1800s. It’s amazing how much artistry is involved in nature. And every little thing has it’s place. This makes me marvel at it and is, for me, a pointer to an amazingly creative God.