Samstag, 3. Dezember 2016

Missing the wedding ceremony can turn out in a painting

I had one job at our neighbours' wedding: 'Stay by the car and watch it. If necessary, drive away out of the non-parking-zone.' Which meant, I will miss the ceremony in the church,... but, ok. Usually, I take my drawing stuff wherever I go. Most of the time, I just feel good having it with me. At the wedding day, though, I got motivated to use it. While killing some time with a pencil sketch, the cute, little wedding car drew some attention with by-passers. Colouring and framing it wasn't the first idea. But hey, if it turns out ok, it could well be a nice after-present for the couple.

Gouache Painting 
The original Beauty

Sonntag, 13. November 2016

A discovery, we could not have hoped for!

Look at those fine, accurate lines. One letter, one word almost perfectly matching the other! Endlessly practicing. Do you see writing like this often? I think, we can agree on, that this is a skill, mastery of handwriting, calligraphy, art? Nope, no art. Those are pictures I took from 8th grade school books of my grandmother from 1922. My mother found them stored away in an old box which had not been opened for a long, long time. Surviving centuries of family history, moving around the country from place to place, collecting dust in dark basements.

So, it is 'just' school. And I hope, I am not alone here! I could not believe, and I cried out turning page after page, the precision and how beautiful the words are written. And she was not even gifted in the arts and drawing. Six or seven small books were stacked in an old, beautiful red binder. Mostly handwriting or calligraphy classes, which seemed to be an integral part throughout the years of school, a math book and a book from the art class. One day, then 15 years of age, my granny probably came home from her last day of school and threw her schoolbag in some corner. This might just be the state, in which that bag was in, when my mother found it in the box two months ago.

The back front of the red binder reveals part of the timetable. Also, two postcards slipped out. The darker one saying a 'Happy Birthday' and the other hinting at a lost 'Ladys Fan Talk' (Fächer-Sprache) with a quote 'What the Fan denies, fair Love yet desires'.


Of course, I took a look into the school bag. Could have been, that there are pens or other writing instruments to be found. Sadly, after opening the hardened leather lid, it was empty. But most likely, there is much more to discover going through those old school books. Whispers from a time gone by. For now, I and my family will saviour the lost and found and dwell in newly restored memory.

Donnerstag, 27. Oktober 2016

Details in the making - A visit to the National Gallery of Slovenia, Ljubljana (SLO)

It was interesting, even though I did not know any artists or their work, to experience a kind of familiarity. The walk through the National Gallery in Ljubljana is logically structured beginning from the 12th to 20th century. The story paintings tell are not that different from similar galleries in other cities and countries. And as always, I really started to get invested in paintings from the 18th century onward. Maybe because the images string more of a relation to my experiences, my way of thinking. Definitely, because the work gets looser. 

Studies in oil, unfinished work, sketches mostly drew my attention. Examples show the way the artist worked, how they started and structured the painting:

Jurij Subic, 1885
Sketches for the Ceiling of the Grand Staircase of the National Museum of Slovenia
Loved the work on the hair
Ferdo Vesel, 1897
Pre-Sketch in oil, establishing tone and color
Effective, how the building starts with a dark underpainting
 and the lighter tones were added on top

Examples of paintings dominated by their use of Lights and Darks. They will serve for own monochrome studies:

Federiko Benkovic, before 1750
The Liberation of St Peter
Study of Light and Darks, starting with a red pencil, watercolor wash
(which is probably not the greatest idea, since it takes too much effort to mix greys), getting detailed with charcoal
Ivana Kobilca, 1886
A Dutchwoman
Other paintings I liked for several reasons:

Matevz Langus
Self Portrait
(interesting lead holder)
Anton Karinger, 1869
Painter's Wife Roza Karinger
Detail from above
The color effect is just awesome  
So much facial color
Matej Sternen, 1902
A Redhead
Anton Azbe, 1888
Sitting Female Semi Nude
(Loved the work on the contours, striking sharp in the face
and loose and soft on the back and hair) 


Sonntag, 3. April 2016

Always looking for a trail

Walking up the glacier-road in Kaunertal (Austria) and scanning the area for some interesting trails. Especially this small path sounded pretty promising by sign. It leads to the 'Hidden Lake'. In winter, this might not be the greatest idea without a group and a lot of time. Everywhere off the road you need snow shoes and how quickly you move forward depends on the mass of snow. Definitely goes on my summer-hiking-list, though.

Mittwoch, 30. März 2016

Hiking in Austria

Easter vacation in Austria is skiing time... for my family, that is. I, myself, resort to exploring the surroundings on hiking trips. I am not just terrible on ski but also a pain as a hiking partner! Chances are, I take a lot of unannounced long breaks, pulling out the book, sketching whatever strokes my eye. Consequently, I am on my own most of the time. Which does not really bother me, though.

Two days ago, we brought our daughter to a doctor, about 20 km away from where we stay. Since it was just a harmless precaution visit, I felt free to roughly plan out the trip back on foot. Walking on the sunny side of the valley Kaunertal, I passed Castle Berneck, which sadly was closed at this time. I peeked through some holes in the door, but that was just about it of what I saw of the inside. Castles, in general, are a prominent site: Built to impress, taking center stage of the surrounding area. Could I resist?

Occasionally, I had to guess or just ask around for my way home. A friendly fellow named Klaus, living right by such a confusing crossroad, invited me in and we started to chat. We got along pretty well and watching and listening to him, I remembered one of my favorite artists doing sketches of interesting people he meets. Giving it a shot, I asked Klaus if he would be alright with me drawing him. He probably did not expect this question, but since we created a comfortable atmosphere, I found the courage and he his trust.

Thanks for reading... and leave a comment, if you like!

Donnerstag, 10. März 2016

One Grande Latte, please... for here

There were way more participants than there are on my cup! Actually, our Urban Sketchers regional group Duesseldorf/Cologne broke its' record last Sunday at the Starbucks Café Leverkusen, Germany. More than 15 people got together to sketch in this cozy store and spend the afternoon with a welcoming host, yummy lattes and tastes of juicy cake.

There was some commotion going on, I was told, since it was an unregular open Sunday at the mall. People streamed into the place the whole 6 opening hours. Despite overly human concentration on my part and so, not being aware of much around me, I ultimately failed my set goal to draw every single member of our happy group of sketchers. Tells you something about my work speed. Also, I took some time off, giving a radio interview for a local station (which sucked on my part, by the way... hope they cut out, like, everything!).

So much creativity and felt interest of the people watching us sketch... I dearly love our monthly get-togethers. Starbucks, the embodiment of urban and lifestyle, and the team (or shall I say partners) in Leverkusen did their part to make this memory last.

What else... here are some close-ups of the penciled Starbucks cup, I took home with me:

A little... ok, way over my head: The Extra-Special-Making-Of, which you get only in this blog:

Thanks for reading... and leave a comment, if you like!