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.

New Painting: Dorm Room Window

I got the room painting done yesterday. I am happy with it and decided to call it “Dorm Room Window” (Or: “Edge of the Woods”) for now.

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A Painting, a Flower: Work in Progress

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 :)

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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 :)

Work in Progress: A Chair and a Wall

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! :)

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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 :)

Work in Progress: A Paint Job and a Garden!

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.

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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.

A Mask, an improvised Dish, and a Canvas!

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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!

Growing Season!

I started my new semester with some really inspiring classes and interesting topics. Opens up the mind.

Growing Season.

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.

Growing Season.

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.

Growing Season.

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!

Spring Break – Time to work!

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)

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 :)

(I couldn’t upload the youtube-video to the blog post, but it’s on youtube. Here’s the link to that video with the lyrics: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=khfTGnUvQ1M&feature=youtu.be )

 

Back from the Dead!

(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.

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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:

  • 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!

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the view out my window on sunday

 

 

Work in Progress: A Theater in Seattle

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This is what my newest painting looks like so far. It’s an entrance to a movie theater somewhere in Seattle. I got most of the base coats in and will be working on the shading and “details” from this point on (it intentionally won’t be detailed in the end).

Speaking of movie theaters, what do you think it should be called? And what do think of Disney’s new movie “Moana”? I haven’t seen it yet, but I’d be curious what your thought are :)

 

Burlap Stories: Plastic Wrap and a new Painting!

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! :)

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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!

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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)

Wrapping Things Up!

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! :)

Of Butter, Oil and Clay

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.
  • 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.

Works in Progress: Painting and Sculpture!

I managed to work on my new painting (current title “Bangkok Rama 3”) and my “Kasperle”-mask.

The painting is about the same size as “Devil’s Canyon” (2016, 5′ 10” x 4′ 2”/ 175 x 125 cm) and in its beginning stages. I first painted the whole canvas magenta and drew in the basic shapes with chalk. Now I am in the process of blocking in the basic colors (depth and brightness come later). I’m pretty happy with it, you can already see the basic layout coming clear. I think it’s turning out well :)

Meanwhile, “Kasperle” is doing well, too :) I refined his jawline and his cheeks, added ears and hair and just tried to make the shapes more clear and polished. When all this is done, this will actually be the mold for the mask, not the mask itself. The reason I’m not just making the mask straight away is so that I can make copies when I need them. The mold will be cut into 5 pieces, but I am still trying to figure out how the mold will exactly work. I believe in learning on the job ;)