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.

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.

Society6 - Phone cases, totebags and more...

I cannot believe that it took me so long to write a February studio update. How did this happen?

The last few weeks were rather busy with commissions. I received several messages from lovely people asking if I they could get phone cases with my artwork on it. So I did some research and decided to sign up with Society6. Some of my illustrations are now available on phone cases, tote bags, mugs, duvets, pillows, laptop skins etc....

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It would be lovely if you were to check out my store: https://society6.com/theremaybecats

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Thank you and have a great start to the week.

 

January juices

Are you a fan of healthy juices? If so, I might have something tasty for you. Always searching for new recipes I recently found the blueberry, peach and oat smoothie from Deliciously Ella.

I am planning to illustrate several recipes over the next few weeks because they look cute in the kitchen and are also helpful. No need to look them up online all the time or note them down in my recipe book.

 
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You can find the entire recipe here, at Deliciously Ella. Enjoy.

January notes

 

I am writing this whilst listening to the New Year’s Concert by the Vienna Philharmonic Orchestra. It is a tradition in our family to watch the concert on TV on New Year’s Day. I especially love the performance by the Vienna State Ballet during the second part of the concert. For me this concert has always been a sign that the cosy, festive season ended and a fresh year awaits ready for new goals and adventures, making the reality of January less gloomy.

The first of January is also a day (not the only one) to reflect upon the old year. I am re-reading my notes from last year which are more like thoughts on goals than new year resolutions. Last year was pretty great and I am very grateful for all the lovely people, experiences and opportunities. Like probably many of you, I also love stationary and it is so exciting to start new journals and note books. My small, black one is for work, to do lists, appointments etc. and my big, mint coloured one is for inspiration, creative thoughts and goals. There is some kind of magic in beginning to write into a new notebook. Over the years I noticed that I tend to make written notes on new projects and art work rather than sketch them in my sketchbook. Are there any other artists doing this as well?

A few months ago I had moments were I felt a little bit lost on my creative path. It seemed my goals where hidden behind a hazy, foggy, white wall. I had difficulties seeing them and I was totally confused. This resulted in unproductive days in the studio and my work/painting style being all over the place. So I took a few steps back, tried to analyse the situation as objectively as possible and did a few things which got me back on track:

-          taking time off social media

-          focusing more on creating than on numbers

-          reminding myself what kind of art has always made me happy

-          reading a lot

-          writing more

-          being grateful

-          back to basics

-          drawing more, sharing less on social media

-          letting things unfold naturally

Now I can see my creative path again and I am really excited for the paintings I will create this year. I would love if you come along. Thank you.

 
 
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Pre-Christmas baking: How to bake a Krampus

A few days ago my boyfriend came across a recipe for a brioche Krampus on an Austrian newspaper website. In the article there was also a link to a video on how to make them. Watching the video brought back a lot of childhood memories I have not thought about in a while. Since I live in London it seems I had completely forgotten about these traditional baked goods.

So I thought I would share the recipe by Christian Ofner for a yeast-dough Krampus with you and include a watercolour illustration of my sweet baked devil. Maybe you would like to bake your own this weekend. I believe I should explain what a Krampus actually is, just in case.

In many European countries St. Nicholas’ day is celebrated on the 6th December. St. Nicholas rewards well behaved children with little gifts. Traditionally the presents are walnuts, hazelnuts, oranges, mandarins and sometimes chocolate. Krampus is his horned companion (half demon, half goat) who visits the naughty children on the 5th December and “punishes” them. This folklore figure has a long history and is believed to go back to pre-Christian Alpine traditions. Regardless of what we believe in, this baked Krampus will delight your taste buds and made of dough he is not even that frightening. This is what the little devil should look like.

 
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Ingredients:

500g plain pastry flour

7g salt

90g sugar

90g butter

2 yolks (medium size)

14g dried yeast

200ml lukewarm milk

1 egg (for coating the pastry)

Raisins for decoration

  • Put all ingredients together in one bowl, knead them into a smooth ball of dough
  • Cover the bowl with cling film/clean kitchen cloth (cotton) and leave to rest in a warm spot for 20 minutes
  •  Put the dough on your floured, clean kitchen counter and divide in several units each weighing 120g
  • Shape all unites into smooth balls, put on a baking sheet, cover with clean kitchen cloth and leave to rest in a warm spot for another 15 minutes for the dough to rise
  • Knead each dough ball thoroughly and shape into long dough rolls
  • Pinch the dough roll a little bit a third in to create some sort of neck
  • Flatten each unit with your hands, take a dough scraper and split the first half of the dough above the neck into two pieces to create the horn
  • Split the lower half of body to create the legs
  • For the arms make a little cuts on the each side of the torso
  • Put all your Krampus bodies on a baking sheet, leaving quite some space between them as the dough will rise in the oven, moisten a little bit with water, cover with your kitchen cloth and leave to rise for another 40 minutes
  • In the meantime pre-heat your oven to 190°C
  • Beat one whole egg and brush each Krampus evenly with it
  • To create eyes, use raisins and push deeply into the dough
  • Bake for about 20 minutes or until brown
  • Take out of oven once brown and leave to cool before eating

They are a truly delicious treat and fun to make with your family or friends. Please find the link to the video here. It is in German but in combination with my instructions the video demonstrates in a few easy steps how to shape the dough units into Krampusse.

Enjoy.

How to be more productive

Listening to podcasts is perfect for painting in the studio. I tend to overthink my illustrations a lot so I find podcasts really helpful in order to get into the flow state. They are also very mind-opening and can teach you a lot.

Lately I have been listening to many episodes of Debbie Millman’s Design Matters. I noticed that several creatives she had on the podcast talked about meditation. How powerful this practice is and how much it has helped them. Since I felt rather restless lately with my creative process I thought I give it a go.

My mind is constantly active thinking about creative ideas and how to put them into practice. I knew from the start that it would be a challenge for me to sit still for a while trying not to “think” but focus on breathing and “being” in the now. Therefore I decided to start with baby-steps only a few minutes at the time and whenever I caught myself drifting off into thought I focused on breathing again or I stopped in order to continue the next morning.

It has only been a few months and I must say that I feel meditation is already making a difference in my daily routine. I am making it a habit to start my day with meditation. It helps me to be calm, focus and become more productive. Sometimes when I start my day later than planned and I feel I have to skip my meditation practice to be in the studio quicker and to “safe” time I definitely feel a slump in my productivity. I am still a novice at this and I am trying not to be too hard on myself. Today I started my morning with a brief meditation session and if you like I will keep you posted on my progress.

How about you? Are you meditating or have you tried it? I would be very interested to hear from you and learn from your experiences.

 

 
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New beginnings

There seems to be no better time to embark on new adventures than the beginning of a new year. It is also a time to reflect on the previous year, to be grateful and to make plans. In the past months I had the pleasure to work on some amazing commissions for greeting cards, personal gifts and the opportunity to collaborate with Flutter Magazine on designing a wrapping paper for their winter issue.

I created THERE MAY BE CATS to share my art and to inspire positivity and creativity in you through my paintings. It was first born on Instagram where I am posting pictures of my work process and sketches. Of course there are also photos of my cat Momo,  hence the name. I decided to keep it for my website as Momo is an important member of my art studio and she will most likely appear in my journal entries.

My paintings are inspired by nature and in my recent project I am exploring our relationship with plants in the urban living space. Last year my work was mostly figurative and I would love to venture more into abstract art as I am diving deeper into the topic this year.

In my opinion it is very important to fill our homes with happiness and colours. Art speaks to our souls and can magically transport us to a happy place and I am excited to share it with you.