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.

 

 

 

 

Recipe: Summer Salad

 
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When the weather gets warmer I prefer to eat more salads and sandwiches rather than warm, cooked food. At the moment one of my favourite recipes is "tomato-strawberry-salad". I know this combination sounds a little strange but I promise, it tastes lovely.

The sweetness of the strawberries and the nuttiness of the olive oil balance out the sharper flavour of the tomatoes.

Ingredients: (one portion)

- three big tomatoes

- eight strawberries

- 3 tbsp olive oil

- a dash of apple cider vinegar

- fresh basil to taste

- fresh mint to taste

 
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Slice the tomatoes and strawberries. Mix them with the olive oil and vinegar in a bowl.

Add the basil and mint. This is so simple and your taste buds will be very happy.

This tastes especially lovely with toasted sourdough bread. Enjoy!

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)

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.

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.