Costume Party!

I have been working on a cowboy costume for the past few weeks. And on Sunday, it got to present itself to the world of the student costume party! :)

The motto was “Throwback Thursday”, and the best costume got a prize. Quite a few people showed up in costume, including a fighter pilot, a dutch maid, a hippie, and a knight in chainmail armor. I personally liked the hippie the best, but I also liked the knight costume a lot. It was not surprising to me that he took the prize in the end.

(Unfortunately, I don’t have good pictures of the party itself, but I can say that the hosts did a great job, and that it was fun!)

A Christmas Market Fundraiser!

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Yesterday, I spent the afternoon creating a collage sign.
Today, that sign was out on the annual Christmas market down in the village: I, and a few other students set up a booth there, so we could get in touch witht the locals a little. We sold cotton candy, handmade soap, and handmade paper-beed necklaces. New for me: It isn’t often that you get to make cotton candy or see so many people in one spot around here!

The money raised from the soap and the necklaces will sponsor a group of young mothers in Uganda, to help them learn a trade and to support their families. They are learning things like sewing and gardening and soap making. Their lives are often times very hard, but they have hope, because they will be able to stand on their own feet someday. My mom is in direct contact with them and works with the local leaders. Check out the her blog to read more about this project:

http://teenmopsuganda.blogspot.de/

Now, a few hours later, I’m in my room with a hot cup of tea and a blanket. Christmas market work leaves you cold!
I wish you a great weekend, and that you get to try something new! :)

Some Updates

It’s cold and rainy these days and it gets dark before 5 PM. This is not the kind of thing to encourage a person. But luckily there is a lot you can do indoors, like studying, or reading, or making costumes.

I finally could bring my mannequin out from the art room in the basement to my dorm room on the top floor. Eventhough it’s hollow, it’s heavier than you might think. It now stands at the far end of my room and lightens up the costume corner:

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I put my mannequin right to work by modeling my costume for the party next week. I have been getting a cowgirl costume ready and could see the pieces coming together for the first time. I really like how the pieces are working together and just prepared some final details like the holster and some fringe. Soon, I will have it done!

I also got some work done on the elephant mask. It will be a gift for a friend, so I want to get it done really well. I seem to have trouble with the painting techniques, though. I get the procedures of oil painting and acrylic painting mixed up, meaning that I apply the colors in the wrong order and intensity at a time. This can result in kind of a mess. But I had the same issue with the rhino mask and it turned out just fine. So this will work out, too.

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Work in Progress: A Costume and a Mannequin

I’ve been working on my mannequin and adding new layers to stabilize it. I will add a final layer of white-painted burlap to finish it off.

The reason I made this mannequin is to use it in making my costumes. And for starters, I will be making a cowboy-costume for a christmas party (costume party with the motto “throwback thursday”). I could probably put together a good costume as is, but I wanted a challenge. So I will take it to the next level with some custom parts: two gun props, a customized hat, a lasso, (maybe some leather gloves) and a leather skirt. I’ve finished parts of the first gun and the weathering on the hat.

Spontaneous Build!

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How did you fill your day? I had a day off from school and several options to act upon. And though I did do several things, the most noteworthy among these would be a spontaneous build: A mannequin to hold up and display my costumes.

I built it out of reclaimed materials I had lying around the studio: wire mesh, wood scraps, screws, string, and papermaché. The frame will probably need some more reinforcement, but the basic structure is in place. I’m actually surprised at how well it is turning out and can’t wait to dress it up! :)

If a Tree falls in the Forest…

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I haven’t done much in terms of art in the past few weeks. I’ve done little things here and there. But overall, there isn’t much to show for it.

Does that mean I am “no Artist”, or that I am somehow lesser than those who do more? Would I be “better” if more people saw and approved of my work? Or, to put it in philosopher’s terms:

“If a tree falls in the forest, and nobody hears it, does it make a sound?”

At first, this question by George Berkeley seems silly, but if you think about it, it actually raises deeper questions about perception and about the way we value things: What meaning does something have if nobody sees it? What worth does a work of art have if nobody values or appreciates it? What are you when nobody likes your newest profile picture on Instagram? Who are you apart from other people’s opinion?

Don’t get me wrong, I wish I had more time to do more creative projects. I consciously make time for that sort of thing and I greatly appreciate the positive feedback. But as much as I love to get creative and get compliments for it, I know that that’s not who I am. Those things are things I do.
And for me, my value in life can’t come from stuff I do, because those things are not lasting. (e.g. I could get sick and lose my abilities, I could move away and lose contact with friends, etc.).
There are many attempts to deal with this, whatever values a person might have. But for me, the one things that remains is Jesus Christ and the assurance that I am part of God’s family because of what Jesus did for me. This basic assurance gives me the “power” to just “be” without having to prove myself to anyone. Because no matter what: God is.

Tomatoes, Shelves, and another Artist

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.

A Dorm, a Rhino, an Elephant!

I am a few days late with this, but here are some pictures of the dorm living room. It’s still missing some pillows and some new pictures on the wall, but apart from that, this project is basically done. :)

Also, the rhino mask is now varnished and done. I think I like it as much as my old mask, if not more :)

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And finally, I did some more work on an elephant mask for a friend of mine. Today, it got the ears and some more wrinkles on the trunk. I think it’s the first time I’ve tried to cover such large free-hanging spaces with paper-maché. I used cloth, which seems to be working well. Excited to see how it turns out!

Renovating the Dorm!

It’s 2 weeks before the next semester begins and we are taking the time to renovate the dorm living room. It probably has been in it’s before-state since it was built over 30 years ago. The room was just asking for a make-over!

I have been working with another student on this project. so far it’s day 4.
We started by sanding off all the chairs. That took us 2 days -or 8 hours.

Then we put a coat of wood finish and some clear varnish on them. The chairs look so much better now!

We also painted a little coffee table and started painting some patterns on the table tops. I will hopefully finish the paint jobs by tomorrow, then the bulk of the work is done!

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 :)

 

I’m Moving…

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.

Travel Log, Day 4: Cinque Terre

cinque-terreWe were out all day, and out of it by the end of it:

We left the house by 9AM and drove to La Spezia, where we parked the car. Then, we took a ferry to Manarola, the second of five villages on the coast, the “Cinque Terre”.
Here, the cliffs are steep all the way to the ocean. The 5 villages used to only be acessible by a mountain trail and by boat, but today they are more open. Tourism has definitely become the main source of income. Why do the tourists come? To see the unique, colorful houses on the coast, that are seemingly stacked on top of each other, and to admire the clear water and the rock formations.

The ferry ride to the village was fun for me, and the village itself was beautiful. We walked around for a while, sat down for lunch and took some pictures.

By 3PM we decided to go back to the car, so we took a train to La Spezia. Unfortunately, my brother Thomas then realized that he had lost his cell phone. It was too late to go back and get it, so we had to leave without it. He will get a new phone and all is well, but that was kind of a bummer.

Finally, we got home at around 5PM and jumped in the pool. Then, I was officially out of it for the day!

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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Lord of the Flies?!

I revamped an old desk lamp and made it into a taller lamp for the new student living room. The stand is made of concrete and a metal rod from an old bed. I think it will look great when it finds its home in Ewersbach. :)

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Speaking of light, you know what is attracted by light?
Flies. In our case, about a hundred (!) of them. I have no idea where they are coming from, but they have taken over the kitchen. They are all over the windows and don’t seem to be impressed by the fly trap that has been there for the last 2 days.
Finally, I decided enough was enough, and I took a kitchen spatula and herded them out the window. Surprisingly, this actually worked quite well. There are still about 20 flies left, but I still think I can crown myself “Lord of the Flies” for tonight!

Project Progress: Furniture and Masks

We are officially into our summer break. From now until Mid September, I have more time to catch up on creative projects that were on hold for a while. Here’s what I’ve tackled so far:

Project 1: The dorm living room.

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This will be an ongoing project for the summer. I will be working with other people to renovate the living room, which has been the same for at least 30 years. The first step of this project was to paint two wooden side boards. They were an ugly mid-brown tone before, now they are covered with several coats of grey chalk paint (normal paint mixed with water and plaster) and a coat of varnish. Eventually some door knobs will be added.

Project 2: The Rhino.

This has been going on for a while, but now the rhino has its ears and most of its facial details (wrinkles, refined eye shape,…). Now all it needs is paint!

Project 3: A Painting

Paintings are not a thing you just “do”. The work that goes into making a canvas makes you think twice before starting. It’s like a hill you need to overcome before you even start. But when you do, it ends up being worth the trouble. In this case, I built a frame that is almost the size of a door. The canvas will be horizontal, so like a widescreen TV.