I've been on a homemade art retreat at my mum's place in Germany. That means: lots of time for painting, a great working space and tons of different materials, combined with good food and warm care in between the working sessions. I couldn't wait to start messing around with paint and let the creative cravings flow.
Inspired by a painting e-course I experimented with layering. It is the long-known process of painting in layers: one layer with paint on top of the other. The clue is, that even when you cover most of the first layers, it is still there, having an impact on the total painting. When you have a closer look, you can still see some of it. Layering gives paintings more structure and makes them more interesting or even mysterious.
As you might know, my earlier paintings are pretty linear, so layering is new to me. It is all about letting go, giving up control and having fun instead. Being playful and full of joy. So I decided to go for it.
While experimenting, I made a paiting and took photographs in between the different layers. I want to share the proces with you as I found it super interesting and even funny to see how the canvas evolved.
This is the final painting. It took me more than 10 layers to get there. Are you curious to see how it all started? Keep on reading.
This is the beginning! First I started dripping warm colours with fluid acrylics and a water spraybottle. This is a fun, messy way to start. I had no clue where it would lead me.
I turned the canvas around and added more drips, experimenting with stencils and stamps.
After drying, I enterd with cool colours using my brushes in all kind of ways.
Adding more blues and aquas and greens.
While the layering proces, it's all about letting go pieces I like to create what I love. Covering up to 80% of the red colour layer with more paint, only saving 3 or 4 pieces that I really, really like.
I also added 3 blue paper collage pieces with gel medium (in the end, this was a little too early in the process as I covered them up completely in the following layers :).
Adding in more white and dark blue to create contrast and more marks, using different brushes, fingers (I love to paint with my fingers directly on the canvas) and many tools. It is getting chaotic.
Turning around the canvas. Adding different greens.
This is getting very chaotic. I call it the ugly teenager phase. It doesn't fit and match anymore: no color cohesion, no harmony. I didn't like it at all and I found it a little painful to even take a picture of this phase. But heyoh, that's part of it. It is all about being patient and trusting that this will lead to something actuallly nice and beautiful.
To bring back harmony and a little peace, I added a green wash with an old cloth, covering most of the canvas. For the first time, I've been seeing imagery, reminding me of little corals underwater.
I liked the underwater theme and decided to get along with this image. Comitting to the coral reef scenery, I added in more marks and coral-like lines.
With the spraybottle I created a watery background. I also added more marks. (note: this photograph does not perfecly show the real colors). In the end I found it again a little too chaotic with too many details.
I decided to quiet it down with a sandy, stony layer and some special brain coral shapes. I searched for more inspiration and checked out some of my underwater photographs from diving in Colombia, Curacao and Brazil. To incooperate the upper water piece of the canvas, I added a big, dark coral with spraybottle.
Some final marks and little details. I added more light and sprinkled some darks and whites. I like how the scenery evolves and how it all comes together.
Then I call it: DONE!
Hugs and kisses,
This week I went to artist’s heaven: hundreds of colours, pencils, pastels, ink, papers, brushes,.... I found so much new inspiring awesomeness, I wanted to paint right away. Together with a fellow artist we had a wonderful morning shopping art supplies at Harolds Rotterdam. In the end the bill summed up. The voice in my head (the one I introduced earlier) showed up and started whispering about money.
That reminded me of the one thing that struggles me a lot: how to make money from my passion?
Prices, selling, income, money, economics, marketing, strategy. It's the business part.
I haven't even mention this part of my journey in my earlier blogposts. You know why?
For me it's the most difficult part, the one I'm the most scared of. And the most unexperienced. If I could, I would skip it, totally. If money for my art would just magically fly in, I could just lay back - lazy and happy. I am not in an entrepreneurial mood. Until now.
This has to change. And it will (fingers crossed).
So I decided I will dive into my fears and be friends with the business part. Again the internet was a helpful friend. I read a lot about business plans and there are very few but interesting options for creatives.
I'm a big fan of podcasts and I really liked these ones. If you are interested in selling (any kind of) creative stuff online, check them out:
Melissa Dinwiddie has another great podcast with fantastic inspiration about how to live a creative life on a day to day basis and inspires to check out different business options. But next to usable tips she also motivates to forget the business part for an hour or two and just start playing with paint - and I am grateful for a little distraction :)
I also had fun reading this short eBook from another artist about art marketing.
When a friend asked me why I don't just start with painting and try to sell it and if a plan is really needed, I stopped my business plan mania for a second. It's a good question. I asked it myself, too and hoped I could find a way to avoid the confrontation with hard numbers, with reality. But would it be a good idea to just start without a plan when you want to, let's say, build a house or if you want to open a new shop without a strategy and clients?
The quite radical artist and business woman Ann Rea is pretty clear about it: you need a plan and take it serious.
She is a sales person (something I am normally allergic to), but when she comes to the point, she offers extremely helpful information. And she is radical and helps to shift the mindset. One of her favorite statements is "selling art sucks." Especially without a plan. And she is totally right, it is important to know the essentials to make money from your passion, to know your why, what, how and who of your passionate plans before you step out in the world and hope everything just magically happens.
So let's start talking business!
Hugs and kisses,
I am back home!
It's great to come back to Europe after 3 years and I feel at home right away. After years of discovering foreign places, it is relaxing and enjoyable to stay in an familiar environment. A lot has changed, but it still feels all the same. It makes us happy to be together with our friends and families.
And it feels like I am in front of a blank canvas. A new beginning. I can choose how I want to spend my days, what to do, what to eat, who to meet.....total freedom.
Knowing that I will have the freedom to design the life I want to have, during the last weeks I was asking myself the questions that pop into my mind: what do I love? What do I stand for?
The answers are not always obvious. But I found a way to connect to my inner self and to get an answer to these questions. It has to do with your own manifesto. If you have never written a manifesto (like me) you might wonder what a manifesto really is: According to Merriam-Webster dictionary a manifesto is a written statement declaring publicly the intentions, motives, or views of a person or group. In business it is also referred to as a 'Mission Statement'. It says what you stand for, the rules you want to follow and what you believe in. Artists and creatives use it like a manual for staying focused and authentic. Here is an example that I like from Kelly Rae Roberts:
Sounds good, right?
But how do you get your own manifesto? How do you know where your 'home' is - for yourself but also for your work or business? Having a manifesto sounds great, but it doesn't just appear like this.... so I was questioning if I would really need it and I didn't know how to start.
Then, after reading an interesting blog from Rhapsody design about writing my own statement, I was inspired and ready to give it a first try.
Nothing is permanently - don't wait for perfect timing.
So I started to write my manifesto with a mindmap. I wrote down my first ideas, wrote about it in my journal, meditated, thought about it and talked to friends. It all helped me to find our my core values and what I believe in. It took me a couple of days to tweak it and it is still in progress, but it's worth sharing my first attempt.
This helped me during the process:
So now it's time to do the next step: May I proudly present my first manifesto!
I believe in falling in love with our lives. We are responsible for our own happiness.
I hope I can motivate you to start thinking about your own statement. And to write it down! I liked it a lot and I will do my best to let it be my manual for staying focused.
Leave a comment, I'm curious what you think about my statement, if you have any tips, if you have ever tried to write your own manifesto and your experience with it.
On this blog I share the tiny steps it takes to realise a dream and to document the journey for myself. Maybe it is inspiring for you- I would love that and it is the reason why I share it with you.