When your "why" changes

 
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In the last couple of years most of my art work was watercolour based, but at university I preferred drawing to painting. Sketching has always been a way of communicating for me. I used to draw absolutely everything, my morning coffee, clothes, people, animals, houses and things that happened during the day.

At some point I fell in love with painting, mixing colours with textures and tried out different techniques. Somewhere along the way, when I started posting on Instagram, the “line work” disappeared and my art started to look “neater” and “cleaner”. Gone were the messy lines, the wrinkled and stained paper and the illustrations done without pre-sketching.

I love the illustrations that I created in the last few years, but I miss the spontaneity, the grit and the “energy” in my work. It is exactly this “but” that made me start to think about my “Why”. I am a big advocate of reflecting on my work which led me to introduce some changes to my creative process and strategy.

One of them is to go back to basics (graphite drawing, sketching), trying out new techniques and materials (fine liners, dip pens, ink). I am also making myself think less about how many “likes” an illustration gets on Instagram and to post more here on my website. The most significant change will probably be the new subject matter of my art work. This will not only affect the stories I am telling with my art but also my audience. I am expecting, and the results are already here, that there will be a shift in my followers on social media.

Creating is a journey and there are so many opportunities for growth.

Cherry blossom hair and red lips

 
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I miss painting “editorial style” illustrations once in a while, as I am working on a new, more narrative portfolio. So I decided to procrastinate a little bit yesterday.

Originally I posted this on Instagram as well, but took it down again. Instagram is an extension of my portfolio and I felt that this little painting does not fit the direction I am going. In the future these kind of illustrations and sketches will be shared here on my journal.

Illustrating emotions

 
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In February I shared some of the illustrations with you, which I have been doing to improve the facial expressions of the characters I draw. This month I am going deeper into this topic and am working on illustrating emotions. Especially between two or more people. I started with some mother daughter paintings and might extend this exercise to pets and their owners.

Art Prints, Commissions & Instagram 2019

 
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Happy New Year, hopefully you had a fantastic start to the new year. I decided that I am not going to write a detailed recap of the old year or about New Year’s resolutions. One thing I can say is, that 2018 was all about trying things out, experimenting, learning and growing.

I found myself as an artist and know what path I will choose with my illustrations and in what direction my art will take me. Because of this I am currently working on my new portfolio and subsequently on updating my website.

My plan is to make more journal entries this year and to use social media in a different way that will suit my art work better. Before Christmas I found a wonderful text about “The Instagram Happiness Algorithm” by Tom Froese. His words resonated very much with me and I am inspired to make some positive changes. If you would like to have an insight in his art work and thoughts you can find him on Instagram @mrtomfroese.

Other news are, that besides offering commissions, I will also start selling original art work on my shop. I am still contemplating if I will continue to sell prints or if I should do this via Society6 only.

The illustration I am sharing with you today is called “Is it time to wake up yet?”. It will most likely be the last “cold season” illustration. During the festive season my art featured very strong colours, a lot of red and brown tones that I applied in a very opaqu way. However, now I am ready for brighter colours, more lightness and energy in my illustrations.

I would love if you would join me on my artsy journey this year. Have a nice day.

Landscapes and textures

 
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How are you today? Time seems to fly this December. There are so many things I would like to accomplish and I feel there are not enough hours in the day. I am working on updating my portfolio and I will be adding several new themes that you have not seen from me yet.

At the moment I am painting a landscape piece in mixed media with lots of texture. It is interesting to see how much my style and what I like to illustrate has changed this last year. Thank you for coming along on the journey.

A Green Living Room

 
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This piece was meant to be part of my portfolio update. In the end it turned out differently than expected and I decided to share it here rather than add it to my portfolio.

I decided to finish all illustrations in the future, even when there are painting mistakes or if I do not like it anymore all of a sudden. Every illustration is part of my development and I can learn from it. And sometimes a painting can change so much in the process, that it turns out fine in the end after all. This has happened several times already and is a welcome surprise.

Anyway, I wanted to share this illustration with you, so I can show you what my dream living room looks like. I love plants and cannot have enough of them. Also the colour combination is such a dream. And of course a velvet, orange couch.

Cats in coats

 
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Yesterday I found Yuma, a very cute bengal cat, on Instagram. The weather was rather grey and the picture of her wearing a yellow raincoat brought a smile to my face.

This is the third raincoat I painted in one week and I start to think, that I am slowly getting obsessed. However I believe it has more to do with the use of very bright colours in combination with my usual palette than with the raincoat itself.

An additional influence is of course the book “On a magical do-nothing day” by Beatrice Alemagna, whose work I love very much. If you have not read it with your child (or by yourself), please do because it is absolutely entchanting.

I wish you a happy Saturday.

All the rain

 
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Usually I do not find grey, rainy days very inspirational. Yesterday was different for some reason. I tried to make the most of the atmosphere by lighting a pumpkin spice candle, listened to calming ambience music and started sketching.

I liked the result so much, that I turned the drawing into a mixed media painting. I know it looks different to my other work. And in my previous journal entry I talk a little bit about this.

Hope you like it.

About Happiness

 
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The weekend started with a perfect winter’s day. The sun is shining, there is a slight breeze trying to blow more leaves from the trees and it is not too cold. I won’t have time to go outside, as I slept in a little bit and I have a lot of commission work to finish. So I will enjoy creating today and will go for long nature walk tomorrow.

I started watching “The Secret Book of Kells” and I am absolutely enchanted. Hopefully I have time to finish it tonight. Then I can tell you more about my thoughts on the film soon. I am about thirty five minutes in and can already say, that it definitely belongs to my favourite movie list. If you like 2D animation and beautifully created films, you will love it. This film is art.

Speaking of art, if you follow me on Instagram you might have noticed that there is change slowly creeping into my work and that it is a little bit quiet at the moment. Partly, this has to do with the Christmas commissions I am working on at the moment.

The other reason is that I have changed quite a bit in the last year. As I immerse myself more into my art, I want my illustrations to be more than “well made, pretty pictures”. I would like them to evoke feelings and to tell stories. It is hard to put this into a few words. I have so many stories in my mind and I would like to bring them alive with my illustrations. I also noticed that I follow a bigger variety of artists on Instagram, that the visual language I am attracted to has changed and I started listening to different music as well. This change has been happening over quite some time now and I am not sure where it comes from.

From the outside it might look like that I have art block at the moment. It is the opposite though. There are many images and stories inside me that I would like to share with you. I have been sketching to try out this new visual language. But I did not share it on social media as this work differs a lot from what I have been creating so far. Maybe I hesitated to share my new illustrations because I do not want to, in a way, disappoint the lovely people who follow me on Instagram. They joined my art journey because of the neatly painted watercolour illustrations of animals, plants and humans, most of them on plain white background.

However, at the moment I want to create messy, lively illustrations full of colour and texture, not necessary drawing in a “realistic way”. I want to show the process, including pencil lines that remain under the paint. I feel that a story is not only told by what the image depicts, but also by how it was created.

In my opinion an artist’s journey is ever evolving and change is inevitable. I am sure some people will be surprised to see my new illustrations/style and hopefully I can inspire them. For me painting/creating is also about happiness and staying true to myself.

I am excited to embark on a new creative journey and I would love it, if you would join me.

Cozy clothes for slow days

 
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Last weekend I decided to enjoy a couple of slow days which were very much needed. I stayed away from the studio, social media and let my paint brushes rest.

Instead I slept longer than usual, wore cozy clothes, ate comforting (but still healthy) food, read a lot, forced my mind to stay in the present, went for long walks in the park and drank a lot of herbal tea.

I find days like these very calming and relaxing. We live in such a noisy world that it can sometimes be difficult to hear our own thoughts. It is important to slow down every now and then. After this weekend I feel much better and more energised. Try it yourself, I can very much recommend it.

 

 

 

 

New work

The forest is definitely the place where I go to relax and recharge my batteries. So it is only natural that a lot of my work features green hues and plants.

However having grown up in a small town surrounded by two rivers, water is also very important in my life. And long walks along the riverbank meadows always made me very happy.

So far the colour blue and water is not really present in my art. But I would like to change this because I find it always very calming to look at blue paintings. Especially when they show a lot of white areas as well. I love the contrast.

I am starting with a watercolour painting based on a photo of artist and wood worker Aleksandra Zee.

 
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Plant people project

A while ago I started painting plant people. Especially because I am one myself. Oak trees are my "spirit animal" and I love my ferns so much that I can happily create a little jungle in our flat.

Instagram is a great inspiration for plants and plant people. Somehow I always find myself looking through "green accounts".  So I decided to continue this illustration project and I will be sharing the paintings with you here on my blog.

In the meantime I am posting some of the previous illustrations.

 

 
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