Wednesday, 21 August 2019

What I've been doing in the last 7 months ....

Hey there! It feels strange to write on my blog again! So many months have passed, and it felt completely natural not to blog anymore. But lately I've started wondering how everyone's doing and who is still out there in the virtual world. Also, I made a promise to keep you up to date on what I've been doing :-) So here I am!

journal page

Those of you who subscribed to my newsletter already got an update of my digital sabbatical. As it turns out, the extra time I should've had by not being so often on the internet anymore wasn't spent creating and experimenting and painting. It just kinda disappeared into daily life things and duties. Which is a pity, but on the other hand maybe this was just what I needed. There was less stress, so that's a positive.

The first three months of the year I  painted quite a bit. The last weekend of February I taught a live weekend workshop artjournaling, and most painting was done as a preparation for that.
Here's a journalpage I finished during that time:

In April I had an exhibition, and for that I finished one painting, and about 15 small woodblocks that were given to visitors of the exhibition. Here's the painting:

"Summer Dreams" - 40x40 cm - mixed media

And some of the woodblocks:


I find that for paintings lately I seem to go more to these kind of negative space paintings, while leaving my intuitive work for my art journals. I really enjoyed working in my journals. I experimented with 2 kinds of spreads: one more collage, of wich this one is an example:

And one more intuitive, like this one:

And then my exhibition started, and I was done with painting. Just like that. Too many other things going on, nothing in the future that required me to finish a project, no need to get art ready to post on social media... While I enjoyed the fact that I could just relax and didn't need to prepare anything, after a while I started to get this nagging feeling that I should do something, that I should get out of this slump and start using my art materials again, before they all dried up.

So in July, when I went to Lissbon for one week with my daughter, I took my doodle-book with me and "forced"  myself to work in it in the mornings while my daughter was sleeping in (she's a teenager, they seem to be physically unable to get their ass out of bed in the morning ...) Well, in reality I only had to force myself the first day. After that I couldn't wait to get out of bed and start doodling again.

I am now finishing all the doodles I started last year, and will use these for my new 2020 calendar. That'll give me an incentive to keep going and make art part of my daily routine again. And I'm hoping I will also find time to paint, so I might even be able to make 2 calendars this year!

In October I will be teaching two workshops about lettering. Here's an example of a journalpage I did while experimenting with different ways of lettering:

I have in-progress pics of most of the spreads I showed here, but since this is already such a long picture-heavy post I won't show them now. I might do so in later posts though, if you're interested.

Sooo, that's a bit about what I've been doing artwise this year. Sorry for such a long post, but I guess that's inevitable when you only blog once or twice a year ;-)

Don't know yet when I'll be back, only that I'll be back. I will be visiting blogs this week, see what everyone's been up to. And I'll also link to Paint Party Friday later this week.

To keep up with an old habit: here are some funnies and thinkies :-) (yes, I'm still collecting them!)

Well, that's it for now! Not sure whether there's still somebody out there reading this, but if you are: thanks for still being here! 
I'll be back! 

Wednesday, 19 December 2018

An overview, a goodbye and a very big thank you!

As 2018 draws to a close, I've found myself reflecting on last year's new year resolutions. And finding that, once again, time flew by too quickly and I didn't find time to do some things I really wanted to do this year.

JANUARY: I started out the year well with a sketch a week :-)

It's been a long time since I posted (except for the one post about my calendar) And that has its reasons. I already told you about the non-art-related business that was going to take up all of my time in November. Well, it turned out it also took up all of my time the first half of December.... I also had a market the first weekend of December and a group-exhibition that is still going, and my todo-list seemed endless. I needed to post updates on Instagram and Facebook, I needed to update and reorganize my Society6-shop, I needed to get things ready for the market and make publicity for the exhibition, and, and, and, ....

FEBRUARY: finished a painting "Find the light" 

And while I was stressing away about not being able to make art and not being able to keep up with my blog, I suddenly had a wake-up moment. I realized I don't HAVE TO keep up. I realized I don't have to blog every week, I don't have to post on Instagram and Facebook as often as possibe in order to market my stuff, I don't have to create just so I have something to post on the internet, I don't have to do markets and try to make money with my art, I don't have to keep up with other people's posts. I am responsible for putting all this presssure on myself to keep up and it's time to stop. Just like that.
Time for a break.
Time to back off.

MARCH: Finished another painting! "Teach me to fly"

That's a big decision for me. My blog is very important to me. I love the people I met through my blog, the possibilities it has created, the interactions and discussions with like-minded individuals.

APRIL: started a third painting

But: it's taking too much of my time. Not just my blog, but the internet in general. I look around me and I see people glued to their screens. Not talking, not interacting with "real" people, but fixated on that little (or big) screen in front of them. My kids do it, my neighbours do it, my friends do it, I do it. And it saddens me and scares me and I have had enough. I long for evenings without a screen, I just want to sit on the couch and read a good book or knit a sweater, play some board games with my family, do things together, interact with real people.

MAY: started my map-paintings again

And I want time to play. To paint, to try things out, to experiment without the pressure of putting something out there. Make art just for myself and for the fun of it.

JUNE: experimenting with weird faces and alcoholmarkers

While I was living in Australia I didn't have a job anymore and I tried to make a small business with my art. I might have succeeded had we stayed in Australia. But back in Belgium I soon realized it would be so much harder here. Much less opportunities for unknown artists to get out there and be seen, less galleries and the ones that are there prefer well-known artists, plus having your own business is so much more expensive here. So I looked for and was lucky to find a part-time job, so I still had time to make art.
At least, that's what I thought...

JULY: journal play

But it turned out that the 2 days I don't have to go to work were filled with household duties and grocery shopping and administration and all kinds of daily life-duties that took up all of my energy so that I didn't have anything left to experiment and play. Art became a duty in order to be able to put something on my blog. Okay, that sounds harsh, and it wasn't always like that, but it did become one more thing on my todo-list.

AUGUST: painting colourful slippers for the warm summer weather :-)

And so for the new year I choose to back off, to get back to my inner circle of family and friends and leave the internet alone. And ever since I made that decision I've felt a huge relief. The internet and social media has given me a lot over the years and I'm thankful for all the great people that I met (that's you!) and all the things that I learned. But it's taking up a too large part of my life nowadays and I want to have it back and spend it on other things.

SEPTEMBER: doodling again, and making plans for a doodle-calendar 
(which in the end I didn't have time for ....)

What does that mean? I can't give up this blog completely, it's too dear to me. So I will post approx.  twice a year an update of my work, of what I've been doing. Maybe none of my followers will remain, maybe no one will read what I write.
So be it.
It's the risk I've got to take. I will also write a newsletter twice a year (you can sign up for it here, or via the link in the sidebar).

OKTOBER: I participated in Inktober and managed to make 31 drawings in 31 days! 
I'm still amazed by that ;-)

And that's it. My Facebookpage, my (new!) Instagram and my Pinterest won't see much action anymore. And that's okay. For now at least. Who knows what might happen in the future.

NOVEMBER: I finally put my new calendar up for sale. Many thanks to all who 
already purchased it! If you're interested: here's the link :-)

So I want to thank you for being here and sharing your news and your comments and your wisdom with me. I have hugely enjoyed interacting with you, and I've learned so much from you. I will still visit every once in a while, I'll look on from afar, and of course you can always contact me through this blog or via e-mail.

DECEMBER: my very last art market. All that is left will be given away or kept for myself ...

I just want to share with you something a friend of mine posted in Facebook, and that really resonates with me, and helped me realize that this is the path I need to take right now. It's by Brandon Stanton:

"The general trend of media and art has moved in the opposite direction. Content has become more bite-sized, more consumable, and less nuanced. In a world of decreasing attention spans, brevity is seen as the only way to compete. Importance is placed on the quantity of output rather than quality. Many ‘social media gurus’ teach that success is frequency of contact. Publish or perish. Either you constantly remind the world that you exist, or you will be forgotten.

I’ve spoken with a lot of artists on the Internet who feel burned out by this dynamic. They feel stifled by the treadmill of daily content. It can be impossible to reconcile the demands of social media with the demands of art. Social media tells you to go quickly. Art tells you to go deep. Social media tells you to replicate what works. Art tells you to experiment. Social media tells you to always be visible. Art tells you to disappear, figure something out, and come back with a discovery worth sharing. It’s not an easy puzzle for artists to solve. Because social media is the lifeline to our audience, and artists can’t survive without an audience. But it forces some tough questions. Is your purpose to create art? Or is your purpose to create an audience? And what happens when those two things compete?"

Sorry for the lengthy post. But I didn't want to just disappear. I feel I owe it to my followers and my internet-friends to explain why I won't be present anymore. And it's always fun to do an overview of my artistic year :-)

The only thing left to do is wish you all the very best for the holiday season and the new year that awaits us. Let it be full of love, full of laughter and full of joy.

Just one more funny ;-D

 And this ....

Take care! I'll be back ♥ ♥ ♥

Thursday, 29 November 2018

Map calendar for sale!

Finally! My calendar arrived! It has taken 5 weeks, almost 6, thanks to the Belgian post going on strike. But it's looking good and I'm happy with it, so I put it up for sale right away. Here are some pics:

The link to my shop where you can purchase it is in the side-bar, or you can just click here.

I'm doing a market this weekend, so this will just be a very short post. I haven't been able to get back to you yet, but I'll be visiting your blogs next week. I'll finally have a bit more time then :-)

I'll leave you with some funnies and thinkies :-)

Thanks for your visit! Wishing you a glorious day ♥ ♥ ♥