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.
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!
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.
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 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.
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 :)