We 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!
We slept in and had a simple form of fresh bruschetta. I just put together some tomatoes, onions, garlic, mozzarella, spices and olive oil and vinegar. The lemon rind added a nice touch :)
Then we drove into Lucca and rented some bikes for a few hours. You can ride on top of the city wall and also inside the city center. We’ve been here a few times before, but it’s beautiful each time. I got to see the inside of St. Martin’s Cathedral, with an original painting by Tintoretto. We also saw a giant horse sculpture while cycling the city wall. I think it must be new, I don’t remember it from before. You always can discover something new if you keep your eyes open :)
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.
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.
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. :)
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!
I have a lot to do these days, so I haven’t been posting updates like I wanted to. But better late than never, I guess:
I bought a bundle of tightly-woven, raw burlap last week. I am using it for two projects: a costume and an oil painting.
I started making a “Lord of the Rings”-inspired elf-costume. I am modeling it after the character “Tauriel”, so it’s technically a “Hobbit”-inspired costume. The leather vest and arm pieces are already done, now I want to make the green elvan dress. I am no seamstress, but I still needed a sewing pattern. So I got a primitive pattern by wrapping my arms and torso in plastic and clear packing tape, marking the cut lines and cutting the pieces out. I probably looked a little wierd when I was wrapped in plastic, but the strategy worked out! :)
I finally could start a new oil painting today! I used the burlap as the canvas material, and put 3 coats of primer on it. Now the canvas is ready to go!
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.
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 :)
To summon up last week: I was in Bavaria for 5 days on a retreat (Monday-Friday), and moved to Ewersbach in Hessen on Saturday. The reasons for this are that I am now a theology student, and the school is in the little town of Ewersbach. The retreat was a “beginning-of-the-year-retreat” for the students.
The retreat was great, and the view of the Alps had a certain amount of class :)
Then, the day after the retreat, my dad and sister helped me to move an unreasonable amount of stuff to college. Ewersbach is in the middle of nowhere in Hessen, a 2-3h-drive away from my parent’s house. Interestingly I only had a small cars-worth of stuff for my dorm room, but dad was driving a whole sprinter-full of art-supply-stuff… 30% dorm room, 70% art room!
When we got there some students volunteered to help, and this made the process much faster. The dorm room is not very big, but it’s got everything you would need. And the art room is better than I expected. It’s in the basement, but the lighting is pretty good and the space has potential :)
Yesterday I took a trip to a nearby charming village.
Today I finished unpacking my stuff and made some improved covers for my folders.
And tomorrow is my first day of school. I am excited!
I eventually found my phone again (hooray!). I seem to be in the mood for displacing things and getting into little messes, since that’s what’s been happening lately: I lost and found my phone twice within 2 months, ruined the original table top by messing up the epoxy and had to start my Kasperle-Mask over. I also have a lot of bumps and scratches from working and playing with a giant puppy. And I am moving out in a week (October 1st), which means there are packing jobs to be had.
But I am glad for all of this, obviously it means that I am trying things and learning:
I will remake the mold for my mask, this time with latex and a plaster shell.
I remade the table top and covered it with epoxy, this time only as a thin layer. It worked!
The scratches are part of having a giant puppy, so I don’t mind those either.
And the boxes are mostly packed and labeled. I’m actually moving more art supplies than anything else. My “normal stuff” (clothes, guitar, books,…) only take up about 30% of the space. Those seminary students better watch out! :)
when you don’t let clay dry long enough and have air bubbles…
I had to get up unexpectedly early this morning because my brother overslept and needed a ride to his workplace by 7AM. This was not to my liking… but while I was listening to the radio I learned an unexpected fun fact: There is a German saying to describe that all is well, it literally means “everything is in butter” (alles in Butter). The reporter said that the origin of this saying lies centuries ago, in the export of Venetian porcellain. In order to keep the pieces from breaking during transport, they would stack it in barrels and fill these with liquid butter. When the butter hardened it would keep the ware safe. When the porcellain arrived at it’s destination, they just melt the butter again. You never know when you’ll learn something new!
I spent the day in a low-key way, but still got some cleaning/packing done for my move to seminary. I also figured I should post some updates on my art projects:
The oil painting “Bangkok Rama 3” is looking good, I filled in most of the base colors.
Bangkok Rama 3, Aug 31st 2016
Bangkok Rama 3, Sept 7th 2016
I cut my “Kasperle”-mask in 5 pieces and made clay molds of each of the parts. I’ve never done it before, so considering that it’s looking great. But there are several things I’d do differently next time.
Goodbye, masks and Bruce (the mannequin). It was fun while it lasted :(
I had my Mandrill Mask at the “Montmartre”-Art Show on Sunday, and that was a good decision. Most people looked at the mask before the painting, some even asked how much the mask would cost. I unfortunately had to tell them that I couldn’t sell it with a good conscience, because the mask is infested with bugs. Looking back it’s because I used the traditional (and cheap) flour-and-water-mix for the glue. This is often recommended and works really well, but obviously it was too tasty for the bugs to resist.
Despite several attempts to seal off the surface, the bugs keep getting through the laquer. So the Sunday Art Show was the last time the mask was shown. I will sadly have to throw it away, along with the other sculptures I have. I guess that’s one way to make room for new projects, though: I am starting work on a puppet mask-series, also made of papermaché. But this time with elmer’s glue, and not with flour and water, we can learn something from this :)
My stand was at the front of the line, even though I didn’t have much art to show (lack of space)
Some of the other art
The “Montmartre”-show was packed like this from 12AM to 6PM
Some people were very well dressed (also, the guy in the orange hat was there all day)
Caricatures of some of the passers-by
My personal favorite caricature. The guy smiled when he saw it :)
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)
Tomorrow I get to participate in a group exhibit in the Botanical Gardens of the Kunsthalle Karlsruhe. There are 19 other artists there, each can take up a 1 x 1,5m-space (3’4” x 5′), so I will show “9th Street”. I tried it out, and it looks good on my portable easel :)
Yesterday we picked up our new dog “Lucy”. We had to drive to the eastern part of the Czech-Republic, 3h away from Prague, to a tiny village.
When we drove up to the house, the breeder was outside waiting for us with her. Lucy is already twice as big as Mickey ever was, and she’s only 4 months old! She’s very social, smart and calm in temper. We went inside to finish up some final paperwork and to meet the mom and brother dog. Her mom “Dora” is amazingly well behaved, so much so that has a trophy shelf. And her brother “Asterix” is really adorable. We stayed for about a half hour and then we drove back to Prague. The night in the appartment was a little restless for mom, since Lucy isn’t toilet trained yet.
And today, we drove back home and introduced Lucy to the rest of the family (except Philip, he’s at camp). Lots of training ahead of us, but she’s a fast learner!
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! :)
sketch for “Chasing Chickens”
sketch for “Chasing Chickens” 2
sketch for “Chasing Chickens” 3
caricature of a restaurant guest in Lucca, Italy
cloth studies in colored pencil
sketch of a statue
caricature of a lady in Venice, Italy
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. :)