Everyone is back from vacation and school has started again. The new class of freshmen is finding their place and the rest of us are getting back into studying routines. With all of this, I am excited for what lies ahead. But I am also excited about what is going on right now. Like, the art projects that are coming together more and more:
The painting of tomato plants is (mostly) done. I might add some small touch-ups, but that would be it. It was an experiment that turned out differently than expected, but that’s ok!
I had two shipping box units that were sitting around unused, so I made a simple, small kitchen shelf out of them. The paint job will be similar to the palette shelf. I will add 1-2 layers of light blue on top of the brown and dark blue. So it won’t be as patchy as it is now ;)
I met another artist on Tuedsay! She is from the area and does sculptures. I was excited to meet her and talk to her. Turns out she’s the mother-in-law of a friend of ours. Who knew!
There are also some creative people among the freshmen class. We’ll see what ideas and possibilities come from that :)
While writing this post, the rain is pressing in on the paths and houses. Grey light, cold, strong winds, and brown leaves dominate the landscape. But I won’t be depressed about it. After all, we are watching “Singing in the Rain” tonight. One of my favorite movies, fitting for a day like this.
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.
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 :)
I was in Italy for another 3 days before returning home. We went to a Canyon to do some rock climbing on the last day. Apart from that we just enjoyed the sun :)
Now that I’m back in Germany, I went to Ewersbach for a few days. I’m moving from one room to another room in the dorm. Packing things, carrying them over, walking back and forth. Things are moving.
On the art side, I feel inspired and stressed at the same time. Inspired because of new ideas, stressed because I don’t have much time. In between stacking books and sorting clothes I have some small projects going: final touches on my rhino mask, painting the palette shelf and starting a new painting. All these things are works in progress, and they don’t happen themselves. But I’m moving.
Then, something else that might not be so obvious. A mysterious health issue that has been following me for 7 years and might now be uncovered: a fungal infection in my intestines. It’s treatable, but the treatment is tedious and takes a long time. I’m taking the medication and I’m not excited about the way I feel physically, but I’m glad to finally have a lead. And as tedious as the treatment is, I know this isn’t going to last. It’s slow, I’ll probably have setbacks. But most important… I’m moving.
I am still working on the oil painting and am probably half done. I’m starting to get a hang of the rough canvas material I am painting on. (I had a smooth material before, but I’ve used Burlap for the last couple paintings, just to try the texture.)
And I started a new mask! :) It’ll be a remake of my rhino, which unfortunately got eaten by moths a few years ago. So, different glue and some experience later, this is what it looks like, so far. The picture on the right shows the old mask.
I got some progress done on my oil painting. Now, most of the pink coat is covered and has a base coat of color on it. It still looks really wild, but I can see where it’s going :)
And when I went to check on my garden, I saw the first tomato flowers on one of my plants. They are really small and could easily be missed, but if you look closely, you can see them. If you keep your eyes open, little things are bound to surprise you at random moments. And when that happens, you just stop a second and smile. At least that’s what I did today :)
I have a lot going on these days, and haven’t gotten to painting for quite a while. However, a painting won’t finish itself, so when I found time today, I got some progress done.
I’m not sure what I’ll call this picture, but for now, it’s “A Chair and a Wall”. What do you think it should be called? If you have any ideas, leave a comment! :)
Also, I planted my tomatoes, kohlrabi, and sweet potatoes in my raised bed garden. They really needed to be transplanted, they were starting to grow out of their little pots. When something needs space to grow, give it space to grow :)
I started the actual “painting” part of painting my new canvas by putting on a base coat of magenta pink. You won’t see the pink when the picture is done, but it makes the colors that come after it stand out.
I also started building a raised bed in the student gardens. I didn’t plant it yet because there’s still a risk for frost at night. But in 2 weeks, this white cube will go green! :)
The steps are really simple:
1. place bag securely on the ground (use bricks to hold it in place)
2. fill bottom third of the bag with old wood and twigs. They should be so rotten that you can break them by hand or easily crack them
3. add a thin layer of cardboard. This attracts worms, which makes the ground healthy
4. add old dirt
5. add a 15-20 cm layer of good soil
6. cover with mulch (straw, grass cuttings, wood chips, or similar). This keeps the ground moist and prevents weeds.
I was down with a cold for a week, so I was confined to my room and the campus area. But today I was better, so I got in the car and went to buy some necessary tools and supplies, among those a new hammer. With the hammer, I could finish the canvas. I also did some work on the lion mask, widening the face and adding some lower cheek area. It’s good to be back! :)
I had some white summer squash from last season that had to be used. That combined with a bunch of left-over vegetables were a good basis for an improvised dish:
Baked Summer Squash stuffed with Spinach, Garlic, and Mushrooms, in a Tomato-Eggplant-Sauce.
Meanwhile, I am working on 2 projects in the art studio: A lion mask and a new canvas for an oil painting. I molded the shape for the mask with regular kids’ clay and covered it with special papermaché-paper (it’s really cheap and it absorbs the glue really well) and wall paper paste. It’s fun to get back to papermaché :)
The canvas frame is recycled from some cheap foto-print-canvases I found. I started stringing the burlap on the frame, but I had some problems with the stapler. I think I’ll need to get a hammer and nails to finish the frame off. Sometimes the good old-fashioned tools are more reliable!
I started my new semester with some really inspiring classes and interesting topics. Opens up the mind.
I’d sown out some tomato seeds on my window sill in mid-march. Now, there are about 30 little plants in my room, waiting to be transplanted.
I get to display 8 of my paintings at my school. It took me a whole day to hang the pictures, but it was worth the trouble. Now, I can think of new paintings.
Right now, I am surrounded by creativity and inspiration. And I’m taking it in. In some ways it’s a comparatively easy choice to do so right now. But it’s a choice nonetheless. You often think that the “hard times” are when you grow the least. But it’s the “easy times” I try to keep an eye on, because you can get lazy when everything seems “ok”.
I’m not wishing for trouble or anything, I just don’t want to lose my focus, now that things are “easy”. I’m grateful for these times and want to make the most of the opportunities.
So in that sense, I hope you can grow, too. Wherever you’re at right now. Have a great day!
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 :)
one of many communist monuments
at the beach in Durris
these were all over the beach. I assume they are rolled up fibers from the palm trees, but I’ve never seen anything like them before!
houses in Tirana are often painted in all sorts of colors and patterns. The mayor studied art before taking office and encourages people to renovate their run-down buildings by painting them. This makes Tirana one of the most colorful places in Europe
despit many renovations and new constructions, Albania still has plenty of unfinished, abandoned buildings
this pyramid is a famous communist monument, visited by many, but equally hated. It is in very poor shape, and its future is uncertain
Today I wrote my last exam for this semester, and apart from some smaller stuff, I am now on vacation until April. Spring Break!!
I felt great today, not only because the exam went well, but also because I could kick off the vacation with some art. I finally could get back to my oil painting and I consider the picture (almost) done :) I might add some small touch-ups, but that’s not certain yet.
(the 2 pictures show the comparision from before and after today’s session)
the painting before (mid Jan 2017)
the painting now (Feb 8th 2017)
And I finished a song that I was working on! I haven’t sucessfully finished a song for over a year now, so this is exciting to me. It’s called “Somersault” and is about my little brother and the ups and downs of him growing up. He’s had some issues over the past 2 years, but he’s in a good place now. I sometimes could roll my eyes at his behavior, but I also admire him and have learnt a lot from him. So that’s what this is about :)
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 :)
what I got for the gift exchange
the picture from the church service
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 :)
(I know I’m late on this, but happy New Year 2017!)
I had a lot going on, but due to severe technical issues, I was not able to actively post anything. It was frustrating, but if you have a dark sense of humor (which I do) it was also funny:
First, I broke my laptop screen by getting headphones stuck in the lid. The result then looked like I had been in an earthquake, so I had to send it in to get that fixed.
Then I lost my cell phone for a day when I went to the Frankfurt airport to pick up a friend. Thinking the phone was at the airport, I had the card blocked and requested a new card. Turns out the phone was in the car. I was glad to have my phone back, but now there were issues with activating the new card…
…Long story short, I figured the phone out after a week and got my laptop back today! :)
So now, “back from the dead”, I bring you the news:
football pillow: happy face
football pillow: sad face
desk shelf, side view
desk shelf, front view
the theater painting, almost done
The elf costume is done! I dyed it with turmeric to make it orange-yellow, and since that looked so good, I just kept it that way (instead of adding a green shade)
I made a christmas present for a class mate. He’s a football-fan and he and his wife are about to have a baby, So I made them a football pillow with 2 faces on it. Depending on how you catch it, it’s sad or happy :)
I reorganized my desk by building a little shelf. The whole area was completely out of control, but now I have a place for my folders and school/craft supplies. It actually turned out better than expected!
My painting is about 70% done! The last 30% will be tricky, since I don’t want to add too much or make it too detailed.
That’s it for now. Enjoy your day and greetings from winter-wonderland Ewersbach!