Mittwoch, 19. September 2012

A rural view on Art

Living and working in a rather rural area sometimes gives you a very special view on things.
Far away from the more or less thriving german art scene it's hard to loose contact to the "base".

Actually the base is made of concrete round here, with a lead filling.

Every once in a while, well yeah every week, I see myself confronted with people / potential customers who tell me in rather blunt words that they "would" buy some colours, brushes etc. "if" they had any talent.
There I usually start to explain to them that art isn't about being good or having talent but to have fun whilst doing it!.
and I hit a wall on a regular basis.
It's really frustrating because I know where they're coming from. Of course it's important for an artist that the result of his/her efforts turns out good.
But painting or drawing is like learning an instrument or picking up a sport.
You don't get to be instant master.

And there I am. confronted with people who seem genuinely interested in art but who are too scared to pick it up. Who are even to scared to buy materials because someone could think it's a stupid idea.
Some days selling art supplies feels like selling porn.

Donnerstag, 9. August 2012


i know tis cheesy.
last week the german actress Silvia Seidel died.
apparently she comitted suicide. 
roughly 25 years ago she starred in a christmas mini series on german TV
25 years ago i was glued to the screen. 
She stuck to acting and from time to time you could see her on german tv usually in some guest part in semi good tv shows. but still she seemed to be working.
I saw her on a talkshow last, 8 years ago, there she talked about the difficulties of getting work as an actress, how she tried to become “nonfamous” again so people wouldn’t always compare the adult to the 17 year old girl.
A Story similar to that of Romy Schneider. 
But then, Romy Schneider was still a star as an adult, Silvia Seidel barely made ends meet. 
A fate she shared with about 98% of all german actors.
By now there’s a running gag in the acting scene:
“Sorry no pay but the catering is good”
As a painter and designer i can relate on that plane.
A lot of people request layouts or even full blown paintings and are not willing to pay decently for it. 
things like “quote me a decent discount and you may use it for your portfolio” is as common as “you do the painting and i’ll invite you to dinner”
The special highlight is always “but painting is a hobby” and “c’mon we’re friends”
Artists in all branches share this problem.
actors get paid minimum wages just like musicians. and actually get responses like “but isn’t the applause payment enough?”
Painters and designers are substituted by laymen because they do it for free or really cheap.
And what suffers isn’t only the standart of the artwork and the quality, but also all those people who didn’t get the job. 
And when we, the people who call themselfes artists, dare to complain to nonartists friends we get lines like “get a decent job then” or “that’s what you get from trying to get money for a hobby”
The same people who dare to comment on the quality of paintings and actors in films.
They all want good entertainment, nice looking furniture and clothes, have nice paintings, books and design objects in their lifes. But don’t the designers, actors, musicians dare to claim decent money for a decent job.
Silvia Seidel’s death shone a light on this, again.
It won’t chance anything. We all will continue to fight for our money, keep on leading unsteady lifes, because we’ll never know when the next job will pay out. Or we’ll reduce our profession to a part time job or hobby just to make ends meet.
As i said, i can relate on that plane, better than you may think.
I didn’t know Silvia Seidel as a person, all i know is she was 9 years older than me, roughly the same age as my brother. She was a good actress, a childhood idol for me. she had a kind voice, a nice laugh and kind, warm eyes. 
And she shoudln’t have died at 42. 
I can only hope that, in death, she finds the things she lacked in life. 
And i know, when things get a bit quieter around here, one evening i’ll open a bottle  of merlot and re-watch Anna. 

Freitag, 13. Juli 2012

the quiet.... (edit i had to repost this again cause something went really, really wrong lol)

before the storm.
Or so some may think.
The day after tomorrow, aparently in the wee hours of the morning we'll leave for spain.
We'll do a litle road trip 2 days in france then on to spain till we'll finally reach salamanca on thursday in time for the 200 years celebration of the battle of salamanca.
Yeah, talk bout weird hobbies...
I took tomorrow off from work so I have plenty of time left for packing and last minute shopping.
This will be my first "road trip" I've actually never been to france nor spain.
And I've never done the whole round trip thingie.
Well there's a first time for everything I guess.

I prepared well. collected a few cds I like, books, and I even started a little sketchbook in which i pre scetched a few portraits. so I can keep occupied during the drive.
(photos below)

Tomorrow morning I'll make a detailed list and will run through my flat like a headless chicken for a few hours but I think then I should be all set for the journey.
But right now there's nothing more left to do then think about what might come in handy.
and you can do that best with a glass of port, a cigarette and smooth jazz ;)

so see you all in roughly 2 weeks.

Sonntag, 8. Juli 2012

Jazzfestival Weekend in Stuttgart

What I saw:
Melody Gardot (of course!)
Jill Scott (of course!)
Sun, storm, rain, thunder and lighning. people driving like nutters....
Wonderful landscapes
the expression of my mans face change with every song that shuffled through the IPod (OMG alice cooper!!! Oh Shit is that the pipi longstockings theme!?!?!?!)
Good friends

What I heard:
Melody Gardot (of course!)
Jill Scott (of course!)
Rain and storm
My all time favourite songs shuffling through the IPod
My man gasping and laughing and singing along to Doris Day (that was a tad scary, I admitt...)

[I might add if you are just here for the concert recap you might either scroll down or be in it for the long haul :D]

How Everything Began:
Once upon a time...
somewhere in april my man called me up at work. We had been to see Zaz a few days before and had decided to "do something like this" more often.
I was more or less on my way to the Netherlands, sitting on packed bags just finishing my last half shift at work before I could leave to Duisburg and from there to Bourtange, NL.
All I got was a link and the question "wanna come along?"
It was a link to the Stuttgart Jazz Open ticket website, prominently featuring Melody Gardot.

Melody Gardot is, and has been, a very important artist for me for quite a while. 
So of course I wanted to come along!
We quickly checked the date and my man ordered the tickets. 
whilst I made my way 250 kilometers north and 200 years back in time :)

In bourtange I mentioned the concert tickets at the campfire and a friend mentioned that we could crash with him. I live 445km away from Stuttgart, he lives IN Stuttgart so that seemed like a nice idea.
A plan was formed.

And this weekend, finally Executed.

The Trip:
We left on saturday morning around 10. and drove straight to stuttgart. which turned out to be a 5 hours drive. 
When we arrived with my friend we were sweatty, sticky but in high spirits. Till we found out if we wanted to be there for the opening we had about 30 minutes to freshen up....
So farewell shower... A quick wash up and change of clothes and we were ready to go.
Sadly, after the long drive and due to the warm day (and continuing back problems) I had to leave my nice (and quite expensive) italian heels in the bag. *sniff*

So my man was suited up and I had a nice blouse a nice skirt and yellow dockers.... well... 

We drove in by train and took a nice walk to the palace where the concert would be held. 
During the drive we had some bad weather so we were really relieved to find blue sky and burning sun in Stuttgart. 
Well partly.... me and sun... we still have our differences.
I'll never get how one person (me) can have bad reactions to sunlight on so many planes...
Mentally I was cursing that I didn't bring the nice, dark, wraparounds I usually wear for such weather.

We strolled through town, grabbed a bite to eat and then entered the compound. We found our seats (and of course they were spot on in the sun...) and met with another friend who also had a ticket. we decided to grab a drink and sit in the grass for a while, talking till the concert would start.

The Concert:

Was an Experience!
To my shame I have to admitt I hadn't heard from Jill Scott ... but that's something that'll change soon.
She has an enormous presence on stage. a really good voice and you feel how much she enjoys her music.
And of course how much her fans enjoy it. She really had the crowd in the palm of her hand.
The "Main Act"
(sorry for the blurryness but well...)
By the time Ms Gardot entered the stage the sun had sunken deep enough that I could swap the (nonprescribtion) shades for my regular specs hoping the blurry spots on stage would get a bit more in focus.
Looking at those photos in hindsight I have to say they give a rather good impression of how the world usually looks to me...

She was amazing, but then, I think I am biassed ;) 
Knowing her music so well I had to remind myself a few times that it was live and she actually was there on stage, singing and it wasn't a tape.
But there was something different.
Partly because the music was a different style than what Jill Scott hat performed earlier. 
The crowd gathered closer together. 
Seats in the middle section which had been empty were filled, so the people could see her at the piano

(for me it was a bit like playing where is Waldo)

She moves slower, more focussed, her gestures are smaller, her voice, strong and confident can become faint and volunerable. 
The crowd leaned in more. 
And there was the headscarf issue.
Don't get me wrong I like headscarfs I wear them too, from time to time... 
With the outfit she changed into after the first few songs and the scarf she appeared more distant. The image broke when she told an anecdote about french aiprorts and revealed quite the good soprano when channelling  Maria Callas.
But this aside we got the impression she was hiding behind her stage outfit.
A good part of her face covered by the shades, all her hair hidden under the scarf.... 

I think it's an occupational hazzard but I have a thing for faces and impressions. (yeah comes with the job, and the way I execute this job...)
One notices how much she loves her music, singing, and playing the various instruments. Sometimes a huge smile flashes across her face. And the way she talked to the audience... wow.

It was a strange mixture, this stage persona and the woman surfacing from time to time. 
But that didn't kep me from enjoying the music, on the contrary I made it my special game.
Leaning back against my man, from time to time lighting a fag (it was an open air no one bothered me lighting up), watchting the (slightly blurry) person on stage and submerging in the music.

The Aftermath:
We decided against the hunt for an autograph in order to reach our train, which we missed. (of course)
So we hopped on the next one, along with a bunch of Die Ärzte fans who had been on a slightly different concert... yay...

We made it home by midnight.
Again, or better still, sticky and exhausted but, again, in high spirits.
I didn't feel up to the challenge of taking a shower, I prefered sitting in the room with all the fans and talking a little to our host.

The night  we spent in true fashion on a marass with an army blanket. and thanks to the open roof window we managed to get the blanket soaked, too. 
Just like on any given event LOL.

The Day After:
Truth be told I didn't feel up to another 5 hours drive. My back still hated me for the first one and the time spent on that chairs at the festival. 
I had, beforehand, checked in with a close friend in Wiesbaden. 
Wiesbaden was about half way home so a perfect spot for a break and an even better opportunity to meet a good friend.
So after breakfast  we packed our stuff and headed out.
Due to the hot weather and my black car I decided to travel light in my cosack pants and a sloppy tshirt... 
The shower finally postponed to when we'd get back home... (the morning wash had to be enough lol)
Typical after event routine somehow...
we hit Wiesbaden around lunch time. it had gotten warm and warmer already and we were happy to leave the car for a bit to spent some time in Biebrich and take a little strole through the park.
(impressions here)

We stopped for a nice icecream at the rhine waterside and enjoyed ourselfs.

The last 2.5 hours drive were okay. my man and me were joking, singing along to old songs, taking in the scenerie...
and of course hit the next thunderstorm close to home this time.
After a little drive though dinner we made it home by 6pm.
And for i guess no one read this far i can tell you now:
and I finally got my shower!!!!
And now I'm sitting here, in my bassetti kimona, sipping tetleys decaf, eating cookies... smelling fresh of lavender and sage...totally content.
I had a marvelous weekend with my man and a lot of good friends.
And a weekend where I could take a step back and just enjoy for a change.
I should do that more often...
But then; Melody Gardot should give concerts in germany more often...
I should be honest; I just have 1 week of work left to go before I head out to Spain, so I shouldn't complain.

Mittwoch, 27. Juni 2012

A leap of Faith

I think it's time for a little rant.
Just a little one, and not really a bad one.

Did you know there are "trust issues" of a different kind?

Sometimes, people trust someone too much, or trust them on the wrong plane so to say.

I do a lot of comission work. Therefor I have to communicate with customers on a multitude of different planes.
About motivs (of course), techniques, sizes, and colour range.
Usually my customers trust my opinion. I offer different techniques, suggest colours, sizes.
When I'm told the motivs or see the photos of which I am told to make a portrait I can tell what would be the best technique etc.
And my customers trust me.
That's good.
Sometimes my customers have more faith in my skills than I have. Sometimes they have too much faith.

From time to time I hesitate when it comes to difficult motivs and it's pretty nice to have someone tell me "I trust in your skills, you can do it!"
But there has to be a line.

Lately I had several customers whom I told that I couldn't do the requested paintings with the material they offered. sometimes the photos were too bad, sometimes the research was incomplete....
In those moments I stand there and tell them "I can't do it with that data." or "those photos are nice but they won't do as a painting."
And my customers tell me "I trust you, I have faith in you."
But faith has nothing to do with it.
They trust me and my skills but aparently they give a shit about my professional opinion.
Recently I had such a customer "overpower" me and the result wasn't that nice.
The comissioned work turned out okay but we had some majour difficulties. ending in dissolving the contract.
So now I am more careful.
And I stick to my standarts, even if that means that, from time to time I have to decline a comission when the data doesn't suffice.
I just wonder; why do these people listen to me when I explain techniques and used colours but completly ignore me when I tell them; the better the data to work from the better the outcome?

I guess I'll never get an answer...

Donnerstag, 14. Juni 2012

sold a painting today

Today was a rather weird day.
It started off with a doctors appointment to get my hands checked out....
Good news; ts not carpal tunnel (at least not this time...)
The doc made a lot of fuzz but the chances are high i just trapped a nerve somewhere.
i'll get over it, as usual ;) hopefully i get a prescribtion for some nice massages :D

It was my day off, well afternoon off... and i had another doctors appt planned, dentist this time. i decided to skip it. the early morning appointment emptied my resources for medical talk and waiting rooms... so after work i went to bed to watch some tv and stretch out a little.
little did i know.
i was just getting comfy when my phone rang.
the customers who wanted to drop by this week to see me about that comission had just dropped in....
of course!
so i went to work, talked with them, they bought the painting i suggested
(yay for me)
and we went to my place for some tea and cake :)
and for a little strole afterwards.
and by then it was already time to go feed the cats and meet with uli for some tshirt printing.

so much for my day off.
and of course we didn't talk about definitive prices...

but i got money in my pocket :D and some more coming my way soon.
that'S good i guess.
and if my hands don't get better i can still paint with my mouth and charge higher prices :D

Sonntag, 10. Juni 2012

painting, painting, painting...

When I go on like this I'll end up like Monet with the brushes tied to my wrist.
I've had some issues with carpal tunnel lately. That plus a possible (untreated) boxers fracture 2 years ago... I should go see a doctor, I know...
Or, at least, I should take it a little easy on the painting and writing.
But, alas...
The new technique is such fun and I can't keep my hands away from the brush for long.
But I really should.
I guess I will if the pain gets worse.
Right now tis just hindering my piano play (found that out the hard way, recently) and picking up and handling small things like needles...
as long as I can hold a brush I guess I will...

On the schedule for next week is;
working on with that oil portrait I have been dabbling with for a while now.
a possible watercolour comission.
and probably making a new (comissioned) sweatshirt design.

This leaves me enough time inbetween for some more working on the new technique.
see? I can't keep away.
Tomorrow is "office day" so I might give my hand some rest.
wish me luck!

Montag, 4. Juni 2012

Thank god it's monday!

Yeah I'm serious!
Never underestimate OCD when you left an unfinished painting at work.

Usually I can compartmentalize, but I was trying out a new technique which prived to be a lot of fun. And when OCD meets fun it gets difficult :D
Since saturday afternoon that half finished watercolour kept nagging me.
So you can imagine when monday came I was relieved to go back to work.

And what a great day it was!
I finished the first test painting:

And whilst still adding the last strokes I already had the idea / urge to paint something "original in the same technique.
I had a photo in mind which I had found a few days ago.
My all time favourite singer, Melody Gardot. The few times when her music isn't inspiring me her amazing photo shoots usually are.
So putting the first on the side to dry in peace I grabbed my sketch pad and got at it again :)

Turned out quite OK I think. 
Basically I'm still using too much colour but I think I'm getting there.

This technique is basically a common watercolour technique. 
You start with really light colours and then start blending in the darker shades and details. I'm working on dry paper, only moistening the parts I'm about to paint so I get clearer lines. 
Everything is allowed, I use straws and tissue  to move the colour across the paper.
It helps to stay within a narrow colour range. not too many different colours 3 maybe 4 are enough otherwise it'll crowd. 
A neat trick is using Derwent Inktense Blocks cause they become permanten once they're dry. so you can put different colours on top of each other without ending up with a huge brown blob :)

So if you want to try it out:
go for it!
here's some music to inspire :D

Sonntag, 3. Juni 2012

Music vs Painting

I do both.
Schooled in several painting techniques I also can play a few instruments and used to be a singer, too (ugh in another life, so to say)
I've always been better at painting tho. 

Painting is quiet. no one notices you. You can sit in your little room and paint and no one will notice. When you sit in your little room and practice piano every neighbour will tell you when you hit the wrong key.
(I know that first hand...)

On the other hand... no one notices you. 

For me, music has the deeper impact. It's intimate, intensive, emotional. 
When I look at paintings or prints they touch me in one way or the other. They make me think or smile, I ponder about techniques or brushstrokes. About the artists message... There are paintings at which I can look for a long time and just feel content doing so. 
But tis still shallow somehow. 
With music it's more umpf! There are songs that immediately make me cry. Not because they're so sad but because they're so beautiful. I have that a lot with piano music. 
Just today when driving to a friend my playlist jumped to Michael Nymans the heart asks pleasure first. 
I know it's probably a little cheesy but this song always touches me. At that moment it made me smile feeling whole and warm. 
I never had such a feeling when loking at a painting. 

Perhaps that's the reason why I have no issues showing my paintings but keep my music close to me.

Making my art public, selling it. I have to take a lot of crap. Including things like
- customer throws painting away
- painting given as present gets stowed away so no one sees it
- customer giving so many "helpful tips" that finished artwork is ruined

and of course the usual
- uh that's ugly !
- don't you think that's a bit pricy?
- don't you think that's ways to cheap?

A long time ago I found ways to seperate myself from my paintings. 
I can't do that with music. 

Samstag, 26. Mai 2012

If you're wondering why this Blog is called Thursdys Child;
This is the reason:

For the record; I was born on a Wednesday... somewhere round lunch time 
or was it an early winters evening in a dusty attic in Paris?

i don't remember.

This is my first blog entry so it actually has no content. I just made it to fill the emptiness.

Thursdays Child just because I like the song and i find it has a certain truth to it.

I guess I'll try to update weekly (keep your fingers crossed!)
Topics will be arts, crafts, reenactment, and everything else that comes to my mind :)