Urban Sketching in Hamburg


Over the weekend I visited my best friend in Hamburg and we went around the city looking for good places to draw. We had a lot of fun trying new art styles and messing with colours.

Which one do you like most? 🙂

Advent Calendar 2016 #2


I Found a Story.

Dear December,

last night I found a story. It probably came to me because I freaked out about having none. Because I was desperately searching. Or maybe it was there all along and I didn’t notice it, wasn’t ready for it. You should write the novel you would want to read. So I sat down and wrote about what I wanted to read. Then I realised that it was actually a nice idea.

I need a plan. I always need one. Through many Ted Talks I have learned how to proceed. Imagine you book on a shelf. Where is it located? Next to which authors does it sit? That’s your genre. I figured, I’ll be writing a crime novel, a thriller, something along those lines. Write your idea down in one sentence. What is the book about? Break it down into a number of words. For mine it will probably be around 150 000. That’s a goal. Goals can be reached, abstract ideas cannot.

I will make my first plan in December and go on to write this whole thing in the following three months. 50 000 words a month. I have already done that twice. It was hard but not impossible. After that comes the most difficult part. To transform this disastrous first draft into something that is actually readable. Sort out the mess. Find all the flaws, make the characters more interesting etc etc. I tried to write in German today but I found that I have become so clumsy! The words do not flow anymore! I mean every book I read, every video I watch, every text I type is in English. It was never my intention to get so bad at my own mother tongue, though! It’s kind of frightening. Furthermore, because English isn’t my native language, I always feel insecure. I actually don’t know that many words and I haven’t grown up with it. Maybe my writing is extremely awkward and I don’t even notice! Please tell me honestly.

Lots of Love

Verena

NaNoWriMo Day 6: The Importance of Learning


NaNoWriMo Day 6: The Importance of Learning and a Painting

“If you feel naive, learn.” That’s what my dad said to me after we had a long conversation about the environment, society and politics in general. I get very passionate when it comes to the way we treat our earth. Then again, with every additional information I get, I feel like I know nothing at all. Every piece of knowledge opens up another world. You see that you haven’t discovered anything yet. It’s like the people who thought that the earth is flat. They knew everything about that round disc. Then they realised that our planet is in fact a sphere they knew nothing about. The more we learn, the less we know.

I believe in life-long learning. With every book you read and every person you get to know, you realise that you haven’t considered so many things yet. My dad and I were talking about carbon emissions. He said: “Wait a moment, has anyone considered that more people on this earth will also breathe out more carbon?” I said that this portion wouldn’t be that significant. Turns out that just the breathing of India’s population equals the emissions of our German transport system. Diving deeper into any kind of topic you find how little you actually know. There are three ways to react: a) You don’t care. b) You don’t consume any media anymore because it is too much for you. c) You want to know everything and you often feel naive and uneducated. Therefore you read book after book and try to keep up.

I love learning and studying. When I went vegan I read every book my library had to offer. I watched film upon film and read articles about it. I became obsessed with the topic once my eyes where opened. I found out that everything I should review everything I have ever been taught about nutrition. Now my family and friends ask questions about being vegan and I can answer them. I still feel like I don’t know enough yet. I still feel that I have to educate myself on nutrients and where to get them.

“I only trust statistics I have faked by myself.” My dad always asks me where I have those facts from. We live in a world with no independent media. Even if they talk about incidents objectively, they still can leave certain parts out. “History is always written by the winners. When two cultures clash, the loser is obliterated, and the winner writes the history books – books which glorify their own cause and disparage the conquered foe. As Napoleon once said, ‘What is history, but a fable agreed upon?” You find that sentence in The Da Vinci Code by Dan Brown.

This is why we need science. You can objectify it. You can measure something and the finding stays the same. The interpretations may vary. The basis does not.

To be a good citizen in this world it is important to learn. To be open-minded and to accept criticism. It is always dangerous to adopt an opinion without any or little information. For me, it is difficult to stay up to date with the news in this world. To get them from different sources, compare their messages. We simply don’t have the time to think about every little piece of knowledge we acquire from five perspectives. We have to make sacrifices. Our news come in little portions, bite-sized.

Sometimes I want to cry out: Give me everything you have about this topic, I want more! In the era of the Internet, it is so easy to inform yourself. You can get knowledgable on the subspecies of rays. A little excursion to tree species that lived in the Ordovician?

Stay curious. With every new fact you learn a new door opens up and you find yourself in another corridor of doors. We are build to be curious and to seek knowledge. If our ancestors wouldn’t have played with fire, our whole evolution wouldn’t have been possible. Well, what’s that interesting animal over there? Ouch… Oh, Gaby, it’s hot! Let’s put some food around it and see what happens. I don’t know why my hypothetical Stone Age woman is named Gaby, but you get my point. Knowledge is a vital part of our development.

My favourite fictional character is Hermione Granger. “When in doubt, go to the library” seems to be my new motto. I adore her passion for her movement S.P.E.W. and how she pieced all information together before anyone else did. Her curiosity inspires me. She always read books before the term even started. She helped her friends when they needed it and she even used a time-turner to be able to take all the courses! Solving riddles, she always mentions the books she got the solutions from.

I’m sharing a painting with you today I completed last week. My admiration for Michelle Obama is endless. I listened to a lot of her talks she gave in the previous weeks and I just love how she speaks. She has the ability to capture people with her words. She values education and knowledge. The painting I did of her sits over my desk, next to Malala. Every time I feel discouraged or unwilling to study, I look at them and find strength. If you have any suggestion which amazing woman I should paint as well, please tell me!

The process of painting has been difficult. I started with a sketch and as I put some colours on the canvas I knew that it wouldn’t work out. I was discouraged, I had to turn the painting around to not look at it anymore. I tried again. The next sketch turned out a lot better. Creating a painting is a lot like writing. You put a sentence on the paper. Rewrite it. Change words. Change their order, their tone. In painting you try and add a bit of a risky colour. Sometimes it works. Sometimes it doesn’t. You paint over it. Start again. It’s also a lot like making sculptures. You work a face out of a canvas until if finally looks at you. Nods. You’ve done a good job.

I’m not that easily satisfied with my work but I’m proud of this one. Painting, just like writing, is hard. There are days when it really doesn’t work at all. Then you have those days when everything falls into place. Where all the days you spent studying proportions of the human body are worthwhile. When all the hours you spent learning grammar make sense. You can never learn too much, stay curious.

Current word count: 10547 Edited: 7674 (605)

Artist Struggles: Painting


Over the last weeks I was never really happy with what I painted. I did a lot of practising sketches for anatomy but I wasn’t able to produce something I actually liked. I even started a portrait that now sits on the top of my shelf because I just can’t look at it anymore. The struggle is real. Today I made a second attempt and this went soooo well. I can’t wait to show you the result once it is finished.

How many of these struggles do you experience? I’m curious!

  1. Never having the right material at home when you have a good idea.
  2. Having the material but no idea what to paint.
  3. The fear of the blanc canvas.
  4. The smudges pencils make on canvas when touching water.
  5. Trying to copy a reference image onto a canvas.
  6. Not being able to decide which colours to use. Acrylics? Oil? Watercolours?
  7. Not really knowing how to use all those different materials but using them anyway.
  8. Brushes that lose hair.
  9. Little brush hair all over your painting that you can’t get off the canvas.
  10. Your own hair covered in paint.
  11. Your face covered in paint.
  12. Basically inventing a new nail polish.
  13. Not noticing that you are covered in paint and then asking yourself how many people have seen you with that blue on your cheek.
  14. Water that got so dirty from paint that you ruin the bright areas of your painting.
  15. Being too lazy to change the water.
  16. Knocking your water glass over and covering your whole table in black soup.
  17. Accidentally dipping your brush into your cup of tea.
  18. Accidentally drinking out of your painting glass.
  19. Putting the wrong colour in the wrong place.
  20. Trying to wipe this colour off but thereby ruining the whole picture.
  21. Getting too much colour out of a tube.
  22. Getting no colour at all out of the tube.
  23. Trying different needles, pencils etc. to get it working again.
  24. Colours that have separated into the pigments and something unknown.
  25. Colours that are already solid because you forgot about them.
  26. Paper that gets wavy when soaked in water.
  27. Not being content with what you are painting at all.
  28. Hoping that it gets better.
  29. It’s not getting better.
  30. Sitting on your chair defeated.
  31. With your back aching.
  32. And your head tired.
  33. Wanting to tear that canvas into pieces.
  34. Instead just turning it around so that you don’t have to see it anymore.
  35. Finally overpainting your first attempt.
  36. Getting loads of comissions from your family.
  37. Not having any paintings at home because you gave all of them away.
  38. Trying a new style.
  39. Having to answer the question: “What is that?”.
  40. If is is an abstract painting.
  41. If it actually should have been a person you both know.
  42. If it is the person himself you tried to paint.
  43. The smell of oil colours.
  44. After three weeks. In your one room apartment.
  45. The drying process of oil colours.
  46. Just having one little corner of a painting you actually like.
  47. Trying to do the whole painting in that way.
  48. Not liking this one corner anymore.
  49. Never being able to stop painting so that you sit there at 3am.
  50. Falling asleep with your head on the palette, a brush in your hair and your arm on the canvas. Good night.

 

All of these things have happened to me. With which of them do you identify?

Have a lovely weekend.

xxx

verena