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.

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 :)

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!

Day 3-4: A Road Trip

Day 3: My parents and Sarah took a short trip to Lucca. I took the day off with Jessi.

Day 4: Day trip to Orvieto. We left at around 10AM, went to a really good restaurant for lunch, and drove all the way down to Orvieto (3h south). The church is beautiful and the town is charming, without too much tourist traffic. We got back by 6PM, so we were tired by the end of it. It was a good trip :)

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 :)


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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Updates: Paintings and Costumes!

A few days ago I had posted that the painting “Shadow under a Bridge” was finished. But when I went to show it to my professor, he suggested to change the sky and the hills. I did what he suggested and like the result. It was good before, but now it’s even better!

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Shadow under a Bridge (new background)

As for “Works in Progress”: my remake of “Water Power Plant” got its first coat of background paint. It’s a bright pink (contrasting color) so that the layers on top (mostly greys and greens) will have more depth.
I am also going to remake “Devil’s Canyon” in oil. The frame is assemled and glued together, I still need to add the canvas and the primer before I can start painting it.

Now for something completely different: It’s Carneval-season here in Germany, the time when everyone dresses up for “Fasching”. I just recently watched all the Lord of the Rings/Hobbit-movies and because I liked the elves so much, I decided to make an elf costume. It’s based roughly on the character of Tauriel, though I won’t make an exact copy of her look.
I have inherited stacks of leather and leather sewing tools from my grandfather (my dad’s father). Working with leather is really fun, but only if you have these special tools; without them it’s impossible. So thanks to the tools, I managed to finish the vest and one of the arm guards. The patterns are done with paint markers. I’m no seamstress, but I think the stuff is turning out pretty good :)

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Back in the Studio!


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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The Back Yard Mural!

I have been comissioned by my parents to paint a mural on a back yard wall. It is based off of Edward Hopper’s “Early Sunday Morning” (1930). I’ve never done a mural before, so this is like a big experiment. Makes you feel honored and slightly anxious at the same time. But I think it will turn out great. Can’t go wrong with a Hopper painting!





early sunday morning

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”.

Inspirational Art: Calvin and Hobbes

Scan0013 (800x565)Calvin and Hobbes is one of my favorites! The comedic timing, color balance and draftsmanship are all amazing! The creator of the series, Bill Watterson, is an extremely recluse guy, yet he somehow managed to make his characters world-famous. Doing “only art” and no marketing/PR doesn’t usually work, but in his case it did.

These books were literally a school in humor for me: When I was a kid, I didn’t really “get” jokes, so I would read my parent’s Calvin and Hobbes books, trying to understand the humor behind each story. Obviously this didn’t work over night, but over time it did. So here’s a strip about Modern Art. As always with Calvin and Hobbes, it hits the nail on the head!

Inspirational Art: Big Hero 6 (Baymax)

Today we had a little birthday party for my little sister’s 12th birthday. We went with some of her friends to see the movie Baymax. I’m a fan of animation period, but there’s stuff that’s ok and stuff that’s amazingly well done. This movie was amazingly well done! Visually, story-wise, very good. It makes me want to do my best in my work, too. You could say we all had a great day at the movies.