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.

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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Project: Painting Food People

I love all things food, cooking, food packaging etc. and recently I started a new project called "Painting Food People".

I am going to illustrate chefs, restaurateurs, food writers and also food photographers and -stylists. Today I am sharing the first illustrated portraits with you.

Maya Jankelowitz from "Jack's Wife Freda":

 
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The inspiring Sophia Roe. You can find her here.

 
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The cook, writer and broadcaster Rachel Khoo.

 
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Who do you want me to illustrate next? I am very grateful for your suggestions.

Pizza Fiorentina - Illustrated Recipe

During the day I am so focused on painting that I sometimes do not even notice when I am hungry and I forget to eat. My lunch often consists of leftovers or a quick sandwich. Also, eating heavy, warm meals around midday makes me really sleepy which in turn is not exactly good for my productivity. So it is very important to me that I take time to cook at the end of the day and eat a nice dinner. Nothing beats a homemade meal shared with your loved ones. 

Sometimes I stick to a recipe but  more often than not I research food images online and make it up as I go along. This is a great way to get inspired. Especially when you are making pizza. The creative possibilities for toppings are seemingly endless.

For the base, which I always make from scratch, I use my mum's tried and tested recipe (makes a medium sized pizza). It is super easy to make and only has a few ingredients:

- 250g pizza flour

- a pinch of salt

- 7g dried yeast

- a dash of olive oil

- some lukewarm water

Mix all ingredients together in a bowl and add only as much water as you need to shape a smooth and soft (not sticky) dough ball. Knead the dough thoroughly (with lots of love) on a clean kitchen counter. Then place the dough into a bowl, cover with clingfilm and leave to rest in a warm place for one hour.

Last Sunday I made the Florentine Pizza which I found under Tesco's recipes.

 
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Recently we discovered Matthews Cotswold pizza flour at Lidl and I am loving it. This flour is extremely fine and makes a very smooth, soft dough. It was the packaging that first caught my eye. I really love the logo, the font, the colours and the vintage inspired print job. And I can say, that the product is as good as the packaging.

 
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What is your favourite pizza?

An artist's guide to denim

Yes,  it happened again. London is once more skipping a season and moving from winter right onto summer. Personally, I love all seasons and my favourite is autumn. But for the moment I am very much enjoying the sunny weather, warm evenings and the fact that I do not have to wear too many layers when going outside.

I am definitely a trousers kind of person. Simplicity and practicality are key and most days you can find me in a uniform of jeans, white (t-) shirt, flat shoes and good knitwear. Jeans are a classic wardrobe staple and I love how versatile they are. They can be casual, comfortable but also dressed up and sexy. I wear them all year round and only buy new ones if I absolutely have to. For one, shopping is not one of my favourite activities (buying art supplies exempt) and in addition I literally wear my jeans until they fall off me. The older they get, the more comfortable they are and the more I love them. Please tell me that I am not alone here.

 
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Most days I work in my studio and often sit on my chair with my legs crossed like a tailor. I move around a lot and want to be comfortable. For this purpose jeans in sweatpants style are absolutely perfect. And they can collect as many paint splashes as possible.

When I have client meetings in a coffee house or else, I prefer high waisted denim which I can dress up with a crisp, white shirt, a black blazer and a nice pair of heels. Lower rise, darker and straight legged jeans are my choice for after work and long walks on the weekend.

 
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As the temperatures are rising, nothing can beat denim cutoffs. Depending on what you combine them with, they can equally look as classy or sexy as other types of jeans. Having said that, my only personal rule with cutoffs is, the shorter the trousers the flatter the shoes.

What is your favourite jeans brand?

(Today's music: Cozy Friday Evening | An acoustic mix by MrOtterMusic)

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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Spiced tea recipe

Do you like tea as much as I do? I especially love herbal tea. During the winter I enjoy drinking spiced tea to warm me up after a long walk and to get me into the festive spirit. Of course there are many tea options you can purchase from the shop but I believe it is really fun to make your own spiced tea.

Personally, I find fruit tea often too acidic for my stomach and even though I love black tea I cannot drink it too late in the day as the caffeine will keep me awake at night. The spiced tea recipe that I am sharing with you today is based on rooibos tea, sometimes also called redbush tea. It is perfect for drinking at any time of the day as it does not contain any caffeine and has low tannin levels. Rooibos tea is offered by several companies and easy to get a hold of. My favourite is from Clipper tea.

 
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Ingredients for two cups of spiced tea: 

- two and a half cups of water

- two rooibos tea bags

- four whole cloves

- one cinnamon stick

- two star anise pods

- four cardamom pods

- four slices of fresh ginger

- honey or sugar

- milk

 

How to:

Pour water in a pot, add all the spices and the ginger.

Bring to a boil, add tea bags, take off the heat and let the tea steep until it is your preferred strength (at least 5 minutes).

Strain into your cups, add milk (optional) and sweeten to taste with honey or sugar.

I prefer this tea strong, with a tiny dash of milk, honey and a slice of Linzer torte (might write a post about the recipe soon). If you try it please let me know how you liked it.

Enjoy.