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 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 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!
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 :)
(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!
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 :)
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 :)
Yesterday night (Saturday) there was a church service at our school. I was allowed to paint during the service, as an expession of prayer. When I sit down to paint like that, I never know what will come out of it. But I believe that God can speak to us through images and many other things, and that whatever he shows me is what I can paint. (This is the process for painting in prayer, when I paint other things I go about it differently).
So I sat down, and I got a picture. It was a picture of a half-open door, standing in a dark grassland, with light coming from it. It could mean an invitation to God’s opportunities in a situation where you think there’s only darkness. But I think the picture can speak for itself, even if it means something different to someone else.
Either way, I enjoyed the evening, and several people were happy about the picture. I talked to several people and those conversations were all good. But I especially enjoyed talking to this one girl, who was an art student from Gießen. More artists, more creativity for everyone! That made me smile :)
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.
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 :)
Bangkok Rama 3, Aug 31st 2016
Kasperle, Aug 31st 2016
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 ;)
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)