I’m Moving…

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.

Travel Log, Day 3: Lucca

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 :)

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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 :)

 

 

Vacation Travel Log, Day 1-2: Arrival in Tuscany

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.

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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.

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Busy in Berlin!

My spring break is almost over. But I still have a few weeks before classes start, so I figured: Why not go to Berlin!
(Actually I am helping out with our school’s information booth at a conference, so it’s a school-related outing)

I got here on Wednesday, and will stay until tomorrow. So far it’s been relatively relaxed with some cool highlights. When on duty I am at our booth and talk to people about our school. Off duty, I could go to listen to some good main speeches and look at interesting booths. Sometimes I got around to drawing caricatures of passing people.
Yesterday our team went out to dinner together at a 60s diner. The place had some fun murals, which were also well executed.
And today I had a free afternoon to fill. I took a short walk around a neighborhood and saw some wall art and a cool book store. I had also told my former art professor that I was visiting Berlin, and since he lives here, we got to meet up.

A Train, a Letter, and a Strange Building

The illustrations are coming along and these are the updates. Three more illustrations to go for this project!

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A strange but friendly Place
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A Letter and a Train Ride

A Trip to Tirana!

I was on a 4-day trip to Albania this weekend and got back yesterday evening. I went with my mom and a friend of hers to a conference in Tirana, the capitol of the country. It was a great an inspiring time, one I didn’t see coming at all at the beginning of the year. Sometimes things happen that you didn’t expect, and occasionally those things are unexpectedly good :)

We were mainly there to help out at the conference, but we got to see the beach, the National Art Gallery of Albania, and some of Tirana’s landmarks. I hope I can come back to Albania some day :)

 

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. :)

Travel-Log Italy 2016: Day 1-2 (Overcoming Obstacles)

I am on vacation in Italy with my parents and my 2 sisters. We will be near Pisa for a week and in Venice for a week. My 2 brothers are staying at a youth camp at the same time.

Day 1: The ride down to Italy

We left the house at 5AM. The ride was smooth and we didn’t face any traffic. Still, it took us until 4PM to reach our destination.
When we got to the vacation house, we were greeted by the home owners. They showed us around and gave some suggestions for local restaurants, etc. They were very nice, and their vacation rental is great, as well.

Day 2: Overcoming Obstacles

My older sister Jessica is autistic and so she has very particular anxieties. One of these is the fear of water, eventhough she used to love water. So when my parents decided to try to get her into the pool this morning, she resisted that. She cried and made it really clear that she didn’t want to swim, but my parents didn’t give up. In the end, Jessi was in the pool for 10min, and she was proud of it. She had done something extraordinary.

Later, I went with my dad and younger sister Sarah to Lucca. We had lunch, ate Italian gelato, and rented a couple of bikes. This might seem like nothing special, but for me it was, also, extraordinary:
In the past, I had to  struggle with chronic fatigue issues , and even a year ago, a simple bike tour would have been nearly impossible. So for me, riding a bike on the city wall and through town was out of the ordinary. For me, it was overcoming an obstacle.

 

While I take the surroundings in, I am keeping my eyes open for stuff to draw, there is no shortage of intersting things here. While we were in Lucca today I drew a quick sketch of the guy next to us. And I think some of the stuff I took pictures of will be worth a sketch or painting. Right now I am resting, my dad has my packpack, which has the sketch in it. So pictures will have to follow later :)

 

 

5 Professors and an Alien!

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“Greedo”
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“Devil’s Canyon” and “Window (Open)”
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“Mountain Town”
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“9th Street”, versions one and two
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my portfolio on its stand. I made the stand to cover the sink and hold the postcards and portfolio.

Today was my practical diploma exam. I presented 5 paintings and my sculpture “Greedo”. There were 5 professors and the exam was about 15 minutes.

I was asked about my process and about other (sometimes obscure) stuff: They asked e.g. why I did the American theme and I told them that I was from the US. One of them blurted out “Oh I’m sorry about that” to which I said “Well I’m not”. He didn’t mean to be offensive, just to provoke and see what I would do.

The important thing in situations like these is to keep calm and show confidence and honesty at the same time. If a critic sees a weak point, they’ll dig deep and push you into a corner. As an artist you are (or at least will be) faced with critics, everyone will have a say about what you should or should not do. Part of being an artist is shaking it off and keeping confidence. You have a choice as to how you respond to stuff. As for me, I have the rest of the day off :)

Updates on the Setup!

I’ve been spending the last few days with setting up the room for the art show. It’s still not 100% done but it’s getting there!

I especially like my Twinkie-Tire-sculpture and the restaurant painting (9th Street (2) )

It’s fun to see things come together after you put all the work into it. I hope whatever you are working on suceeds :) Have a great day!

The opening of the show is on Thursday, July 7th at 7PM at the art academy in Karlsruhe (Reinhold-Frank-Str 81, 76133 Karlsruhe). The show is there until July 9th at 9PM. Come check it out! :)

Travel-Log Day 12-15: Work, Rest and Writing a Song!

After going to Salamis and Varosha (the ghost town), the rest of the week was spent with hearing and participating in teaching. I got to know some of my interns and support the art workshop session on Friday. Also, I went on Friday evening to visit two of my interns at their appartment and cook dinner with them. We made a lentil-curry soup, simple but effective!

Today I am resting from an intense 1st week: cleaning, cooking, going to the beach and writing a new song. Some songs take ages to write, some don’t turn out, but I think this one will be good…

Travel-Log Day 11: Salamis!

Today we went to the ancient city of Salamis in Northern Cyprus. This is where the apostles Paul and Barnabas landed when they came to Cyprus for their first missionary journey. It was a bustling Roman city and the ruins speak of its former glory. We all went to the ampitheater and prayed for the island and for reconciliation. Since a war in the 1970s the island has been seperated by a wall into the Turkish-speaking North and the Greek-speaking South, even today people remember the traumas. There is no war anymore, but the wall remains. But the prime ministers of both sides are negotiating peace right now, this is very encouraging!

We also saw a ghost town on the coast nearby, which is under Turkish military control. It has been abandoned since the 1970s, making it a concrete ruin. It is strictly forbidden to take pictures of it, but I managed to draw a picture of the city. The site was quite bizzare: A military zone right next to a lively beach. The beach was completely deserted a year ago, but apparently things have changed quickly.

Travel-Log Day 8-10: Countdown and Lift-Off!

This weekend was fun and relatively relaxing for me, I hope your weekend was cool too :)

On saturday I visited with two of the other ladies on staff, one is from Russia (Irina) and the other is from Ireland (Carol). So that made 3 people from 3 nations! We spent the afternoon together at the pool and just got to know each other a bit. They are both great people, so that was a pleasure!

On sunday I and Maike (one of the interns) took the bus to Larnaca to go to the house church there. The bus driver was really helpful, but the bus ride was long and rocky. I got a little carsick and took about 30 min to recover…
I was worth it to take the trip, though, because the house church is awsome! Maike and I spent part of the service with the youth and told some curious teenagers about who we were and what we were doing in Cyprus. It’s a fun group of kids and teens :)
Afterward we had a generous lunch with the whole church (they do that every week). I was glad for the free meal, especially since it was a good one. And we spent a long time talking to different people, not leaving until 6PM. Time flies when you’re having a good time!

And today was the start of the internship! The team and the interns met, we had some intoduction stuff and a group lunch. I think it will be a great 6 weeks!

Travel-Log Day 6-7: Mops, Chicken and Chalk!

The week of staff training is over, so I’ve got some time on my hands. This won’t be happening again anytime soon, so better make use of it:

I started the morning off by doing some much needed “deep cleaning” of my appartment. This basically meant sweeping, wiping down surfaces and mopping the floors. Cyprus is a dusty place, so the mop-water was quite grey after I was done with it…

On Wed evening I made a delicious barbecue chicken dinner with some rice. Since it was enough to feed 2-3 people, I had some of that for lunch today. And as it is with other types of foods: it tastes better the second (or third) day!

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I also tried to use some chalk pastels (something I don’t usually do). My attempts to use chalk have often failed because of it’s tendency to smear, but I decided to not be defeated just yet. So I sat down and did a chalk painting of the cacti in the back yard…
eventhough I see definite room for improvement, it turned out better than expected :)

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Travel-Log Day 5: Biggest Pumpkins Ever!

Today we had another preperation meeting. Afterward one of the other staff members took me by a produce shop. And the store had the biggest pumpkins (actually they were gourds) I had ever seen in a little produce shop! I could lift one out for a photo, but not so easily!

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