Coronavirus self-portrait

Painting

In the delirium caused by my raging fever and fatigue mind, I somehow managed to sketch and paint a self-portrait, with my self-made mask, that actually resembles me!

No, I didn’t have the COVID19 virus, well not that I know of anyway, but the doctor said it was a minor virus, bronchities, it seems. So I suffered without the glory, or even the advantages of having the COVID19. What advantages you say? Well not suffering as much, for a start, and 14 days of self isolation! I have to say I was tempted to tell my family that I could not cook for them, nor wait on them hand and feet for the next 14 days, and just put my feet up and relax… especially since I must have got the bug from them, as I’m the only person in the family that hasn’t left the house in the last 2 weeks!  But my mother instinct got the best of me, and instead I popped some pills and went home to cook them dinner.COVID selfportrait prod wm

Well back to the self-portrait, I think there’s something about being mad with fever or other madness (think Van Gogh, Goya, Beethovan…) that maybe stops some part of the brain from functioning (the part that holds you back) and lets you just get on with creating, cause I never thought in a million years that I would be able to paint myself!

This is the original photo I took of myself. Apart from giving myself a white forehead, I think I managed to capture some likeness don’t you think? I guess having a mask covering up half my face makes it easier to paint myself too!original photoWell, I hope you liked my self-portrait. I’m going to try and sketch something else, now that I’m on the road to recovery, to see if it was a momentary flash of talent, or hopefully, that I am becoming a better artist!

Thanks for stopping by and have a great day doing something you love!0aablog-signature

Growing as an artist

Blog, daniel smith watercolors, Painting, Watercolor
Day 3 Sunset lake

Watercolour on 36×48 Clairefontaine cold press. Daniel Smith watercolours

I just started a 100-day grateful painting challenge to improve as an artist and try to find my style and voice along the way. As I am also listening to Oprah & Deepak’s free 21-day meditation on “Manifesting Grace Through Gratitude”, I’ve combined my challenge to express what I’m grateful for each day. You can follow my progress on Instagram or Facebook.

Day 4 jean lurssen class skillshare

Watercolour on 30x 40 Fabriano cold press. Daniel Smith watercolours. Jean Lurssen class on Skillshare

So I’m painting anything and everything, mostly with watercolours although my self-portrait above is with gouache (more about that painting later…) I’m trying to improve my technique so I’m taking lots of online classes from Skillshare and Artists Network tv and either painting the class project or using what I learnt to paint a photograph (the sunset lake) or still life (my orchids & gin).

Day 6 colourful orchids

Watercolour on 30×40 Clairefontaine semi-glazed. Daniel Smith watercolours

I’m amazed at the progress I’m making and how far I’ve come. Things that were difficult to do a year ago seem to come more naturally, like blending on paper or loose free interpretations, even if they still don’t come naturally to me, I’m not disgusted with the results anymore, like the magnolias below.

Day 5 loose magnolias

Watercolour on 30x 42 Canson XL Aquarelle. Daniel Smith Watercolours

And as I read that to find my style I need to copy artists I like, I’m doing that too, like the eagle I watercoloured featured in Carrie Park’s course on Artist Network tv. My dimensions are all wrong but I’m rather pleased with the result.Day 7 Carrie Parks.jpg

As I’m a new fan to gin and tonics since I discovered great gins made in Germany and France, I had an idea to make a gin and tonic calendar for my fellow gin and tonic fan friends, so I started the painting below of one of my favourite gins, in my sketchbook. It took me three months to complete it and was the hardest painting I had to do on the art of observation as the original picture was just all greys and whites. First time I painted glass too! So not sure if that project is still on my list! 😅 At least now I know I can do it so I’m not afraid to paint glass anymore.

Day 10 gin n tonic skillshare

Then I found a class on Skillshare with food illustrator Eugenia Sudargo and absolutely loved painting the fruit tart in her course, but I got sooo hungry doing it that I got tummy cramps! Honest!😂 I’m going to eat before I paint my next project, a chocolate cake!! Its funny though cause I’m lactose and gluten intolerant so I can no longer enjoy the desserts I want to paint, but this way I’ll get to enjoy them another way.

Day 12 fruit tart

Watercolour on Guardi Artistico 30×30. Daniel Smith watercolours. Realistic fruit tart from Eugenia Sugardo’s class on Skillshare

I’m also finally using ALL my different watercolour papers. I have at least 10 different brands and sizes. Mostly cheaper paper but I have 2 Arches 100% cotton and I have to admit they are so much better. Those will always be on my birthday list ;)! The painting below was painted on Arches and the border was inspired by Jean Haine’s way of creating loose backgrounds with salt and cling wrap and the koi fish comes from Camilla Dumsbo’s class, on Skillshare again, about using liquid watercolours.Day 11 koi fish

After painting for 2 weeks already, I’ve learnt alot of different techniques and confirmed that I’m a rather good copier… I’m still very unsatisfied as an artist as my goal is to paint with emotion and convey what I have to say in my paintings. Problem is, I’m an artist with nothing to say, nothing important anyway. I’m not putting myself down, I just realised that through self-reflection, during a short art course I enrolled myself in our local community college here. In that course, we learnt how to let the inner child out and play with our feelings and go with the flow. And every time they asked me what I’m passionate about or what I hate, I realised I’ve become rather neutral about things. I do hate dishonesty and narrow mindedness, but how do you paint that?

YinYang

Yin Yang. Indien ink on wallpaper with walnut shells and sticks

It was also very difficult for me to just doodle or randomly paint as I feel everything I do needs to be worth something. Years of working full time and raising 3 kids I guess, doing nothing is a luxury I feel guilty for doing. Even now, I fill my days with all kinds of projects and a day off where I don’t produce anything or do something “useful” is a wasted day for me and I used to feel really guilty. Lately though, I just say tomorrow is a new day to try again… so I am learning to be kinder on myself.

Anyway back to letting it go in art class, I did manage to get into it, took afew hours and my first painting was the above fish representing the Yin and Yang (balance) I need to have in my life.

Day 13 self portrait

Self-portrait – Gouache on wallpaper painted with paper napkins

Most shocking of all was to discover a dark side that came out of me. The last 2 lessons produced violent images like my self-portrait above, which I did not set out to do. I just dabbed paint on paper with a napkin and this appeared. The last painting which I threw away, depicted the pain of being a mother, with bloody tears and broken hearts… Even though it scares me, I am very pleased that I managed to paint something based solely on my emotions. To do that, I translated my emotions to colour and as I was feeling some really strong negative emotions at the time of painting, red and black were my obvious choices.

Apart from the enormous progress I feel I’ve made as an artist, the painting above sort of exorcised all the negative feelings I was feeling and I feel more at peace now… or do I? I guess I’ll have to try that again and see which colour I go for… in the meantime, it’ll be pleasant food, floral or animal paintings again! 😉

If you’ve made it this far, thank you so much for accompanying me on my journey of self-discovery and I would love to hear your thoughts. Have a great day!

Hugs, 0aablog-signature

 

2019 A Year of Opportunities

Painting, Watercolor

Hi all. It feels like I haven’t blogged for ages and its not for a lack of desire but I’ve been working on my painting and I started 2019 with a few orders for my handmade cards and another project for a German charity group, so busy busy! I’ve decided that 2019 will be a year of opportunities for my paintings, which means I will sell them and I will improve my techniques by daily online lessons. Hopefully I will also find my style in the process or at least find what and how I love painting the most!

flowers in a stream

Flowers on a river – a Jean Haines inspired painting

 

At least I’ve put together a palette made with colours which I love, actually I made 2 palettes, one for floral paintings and one for scenery as I just started taking a “real” physical painting class at my local community college, called the Volkhochschule in German. Online classes are great for the variety and the instant access, but nothing beats the real time feedback from a professional while I’m painting and all my other more experienced class mates are so supportive and helpful too.

vibrant tropicals

Colour overload – trying my new palette in full force!

The theme for this class is “Light and shadows” and this is the result of the first class. In the process of painting it (afew times), I started out with just trying to paint the colours, before I realised I needed to understand what I was painting and once I did, it got better! Sounds logical doesn’t it but we all see paintings in different ways I guess and I see colours before shapes!

vh light & shades lesson 1

I also decided to refurbish my Etsy store and stock it with paintings instead of my pop up cards, even if they were selling really well. In fact Etsy said I sold better than 75% of other shops and my shop was Number 2 in Germany because of them, but I hated making the same design over and over again and they took alot of time. Whereas if I sell my paintings, once they’re painted, they can sell as prints or to be printed on products, so more time for me to paint!

I’ve been researching on how to do this and decided to use Etsy, linked with a print on demand website, mainly for my American customers, and Zazzle which is a website for customised product with designs from Independant artists, like me, for my European fans! 😉

wild flowers

Its hard work trying to do all this though and I never seem to have enough time… and I feel a little guilty my housework is getting very neglected… Anyway, I just feel very lucky my family is very understanding when the house is less than perfect and the food is on the table late, although they should be used to it by now! My friends are actually calling me too, to see if I’m still alive…😂

On that note, I do have to go get some laundry done cause there might be a little riot if they have nothing left to wear! Happy Monday everyone and I hope you do a little of what makes you happy this week.

Hugs,

paint signature base

Naked in public

Blog, Painting, Watercolor

I have the chance to live in a country where being naked in front of strangers is completely normal. And while some might see this as completely abhorrent, I have come to embrace it (not while I’m naked mind you 😆) and I will try to expose the reasons why I unrobe in public without batting an eyelid, and not because I’m staring so hard… 🤣

I had a “normal” Asian Christian upbringing, meaning puritanical and guilty about everything 😉 which didn’t mean I stayed like that, in fact I went the complete opposite way…but that’s for another post. Nevertheless I don’t think I saw another naked woman until I was 26, at the gym showers in France, and of course all those topless women on the beaches in France. I picked up the topless bit on the beaches fairly quickly but never really felt comfortable and still walked around with a towel in the gyms.

25 years later and I find myself in Germany, where kids and adults unabashedly strip naked on the beaches and lakes to get into and out of their swimsuits (the naked swimmers come at sunset…), where they sunbathe in the raw in parks (the Englischer Garten in Munich)  and the famous public “textilefrei” (free of clothes) saunas and pools, where you even see whole families with kids enjoying the heat of the numerous saunas together, without a stitch of clothing on!

I’m the very “when in Rome” type of person so I tried it at my gym for the first time. When I walked in, there were only women so I laid down and relaxed. Then they left and a man came in and despite trying to stay calm , I counted up to ten and left! I didn’t try it again till 6 months later and now I’m hooked!

I love the FREEDOM of being completely unashamedly stripped of all inhibitions and not caring in the least of what people think! Coming from France where the culture of being slim is omnipresent, it was such an eye opener to see people of all sizes walking around and just letting it all hang out (pun intended), without a care in the world! I was also (mistakenly) under the impression that since the Germans are so used to seeing all that nudity, that they don’t bother looking, so I felt almost invisible in my birthday suit! I myself don’t let my eyes wonder below the waist (yes I promise!) and anyway, at the times I go, I rarely see anything worth looking at! 🤣

There is something really powerful about being able to be so exposed and not worry about any consequences. It created a real shift in the way I think and changed my perspective on how I do things now. For one, I don’t let other people stop me from doing what I want to do, well I never really did…, but now its the physical aspect too. For example some people (my husband included) don’t like going to the sauna/visit places/do stuff if its too busy and there are just too any people. I don’t care anymore, if I want to do it, I can now blank out the rest of the world and enjoy what I went there to do. I’m also less affected by what people think of me (I actually don’t really think about it).

Mind you, I still haven’t come to the point of walking around completely uncovered as some do in the common areas of the sauna, and I still don’t love my body 100%, especially with my clothes on 😉 but I no longer feel disgusted when I see my belly rolls. I’m eating healthy and going to the gym and at 53, I know I can’t get my 25 yr old body back. I definitely don’t want that skinny 46kg body with all its complexes and doubts back either.

Well thanks again for listening to my ramblings. Oh and the painting is a my first sky painting and its for a Christmas card I’m making, which you can see if you come back tomorrow evening. Its supposed to represent the heavens opening up for the birth of Christ and I love it so much I’m going to try and do a much larger version of it!

Have a great day doing something you love!

Hugs,0aablog-signature

Daniel Smith extra fine watercolour – Payne’s Blue Grey, Moonglow, New Gamboge, Green Apatite Genuine

Winsor & Newton watercolours – Lemon Yellow Deep  & Scarlet lake

Da Vinci Cosmotop mix B no 10 brush

Clairefontaine 200g cold pressed

 

 

Thankful for…

Blog, Painting, Winsor and Newton watercolors

Its been a great week! The house is (relatively) clean, I’ve been exercising, I spent a wonderful day yesterday just with my daughter… and I finally finished painting 75 cards for a German charity!  I feel like I really accomplished stuff this week and it feels so good.

So I guess that’s my recipe for happiness, spending quality time with my family, exercising, painting for a cause…and yes having a clean house especially since I hate cleaning, this has to be my greatest accomplishment, week after week. 😉 I’ve also made a conscious decision to not go back to work. I was seriously thinking about it these last few weeks, and even had a job interview for a great company, but I realised that going back to work was just a reaction to my fear. Fear of the future. I started my 54th year and I was afraid that if I didn’t look for a job now, in 4 years, when the kids are gone, I’ll really be too old to find a job if I needed one. However I finally decided not to let fear decide what I really want to do,  which is spend these last few years just being there for my kids, before they go off to university somewhere in the world, but not here in Germany.

This may seem strange to my friends who know I haven’t been working for the last 5 years. For me though, I always had my French job to fall back on so I didn’t really have to decide anything, but letting it go made me realise I had to decide what I was going to do for the rest of my life. So even if it seems like I’m just continuing what I’ve been doing the last few years, in my head its different and I have to say I’m more at peace with myself now.

So today, I’m grateful for many things. For my husband who can’t give up his job just yet to be a blues guitarist 😉 so I can do what I want, for my kids who, even though they are teenagers, are loving, rarely moody and still agree to spend an hour or so with us each day… for my friends (physical & virtual) who support me and patiently listen to my complaints, doubts and just general ramblings, for having a creative passion that challenges me each day but brings me such joy, and for my health, even if my arthritis is telling me I’m not so young anymore I can still do TRX!!

And you, what are you thankful for today?

Hugs,0aablog-signature