Why Our Art Matters


John Green made a fabulous video about artists and their work today using the metaphor of the world’s largest ball of paint. I let him tell the story:

He said we might put all our energy into painting that one layer, and making it the most beautiful, only for it to be painted over by others. In the end, our layer of paint did contribute to the size of the ball, to its magnificence. There will be people remembering how we painted that one layer. One day, they will be gone as well. The artwork remains.

As artists we spend a lot of time wondering about if it matters what we do. Certainly through the blog I have shared my work with more people than I would have ever imagined. But even this is temporary. At only a few years old I did a lot of arts and crafts. I loved that. I always glued pieces of paper together and drew on them. That was my art. It is probably tucked away in some box I will never find again. But it contributed to the ball of paint that is my life. Five years ago I started drawing portraits and I still have these first sketches in a binder. Another layer on the ball of paint. Now my artwork is a lot better than those old sketches. I have painted over the old layers. All this time invested contributed thin layers.

If we see our development as artists like that, no perceived failure will ever trouble us again. Because they are all just lumps and bumps in a layer of paint we will soon go over with another colour. We might decide that we don’t like this ball anymore and start a new one. We might glue some paper onto it. We might write some verses on it. But with everything we do, it grows. We grow.

We also spend some time discussing the inevitable question in our head: Are we really undiscovered geniuses or are we just normal human beings thinking too much? Can we really ever know? Is it important?

What do we want our art to do for ourselves? Do we want to be recognised in the streets for our artwork? Do we want to appear in fancy magazines? Do we want our art to sustain our lives? Or do we want to make people happy, make them think, bring them joy? Do we want to send a powerful message? When we pose these questions we will know what we expect from the world. What the world can expect from us.

A genius can work silently in their studio day after day, from dawn to dusk. A genius can get up at 4 in the morning to cram in some extra hours of painting before the day job, only to come home at night exhausted and tired. A genius can get up at 12, write for ten minutes, eat ice cream the whole day, and go to bed five hours later. A genius might have picked up ballet dancing at forty years old and be amazing, despite everything everyone ever told them. We are all geniuses in our own way. We make it work. We struggle through insecurities. Through self-hate. Through doubt. Through anger at ourselves and our equipment. At unsaved documents. At word counts that won’t grow. We will curse our writer’s block and the muse that has left us. We will curse ourselves most often. That is just part of the process. We go on anyway because we have to. We are artists.

Whatever you might want to create today, know, that it will count. It will count for your own development, your growth. It will count for the world. It will count for the large ball of paint that is our culture, and our common humanity. We have always created something to make life more beautiful. We have always used art as a means for communication, to express our wonder about the world. These are challenging times we live in – let your art tell the story of this time. Use it to create even more. Art is what connects us on a much deeper level and this connection is what we need right now. There is so much division, hate, and fear out there. Let’s work on the beautiful ball of paint together that is our planet Earth.

In which way are you an artist genius? Let’s have a little chat in the comments!

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Love.


We never thought that it would happen. Now it is official. We have to go on, work on.

The moment Trump took over the social media platforms as a president, the pages on the White House website concerned with Climate Change and the LGBTQ+ community were shut down. Today a lot more things happened that frighten me. This is the world we will live in now.

As a student, as an environmentalist, a feminist, a human being, I fear for the world. But fear is the wrong incentive here. We always have to fight to make something better out of this world, to make it a safer, more equal and loving place for everyone. I still believe in people, I still believe in change.

We live in times where facts are less significant than feelings. You can state something which you deny the next day. We can make instant comments on every subject. This is due to social media and the presence of news all around us. You can offer an opinion seconds after you have read about something. The thought process, the critical analysis is lost. False news lead to international diplomatic conflicts. This has to stop.

Let’s put these points back on our agenda:
Respect.
Honesty.
Tolerance.
Openness.
Understanding.
Empathy.
Love.

These are the grounding principles of interaction between humans. We need to make these the principles of our societies! They need to be the guiding ideas of our every action. We need to consider other people as complex. We need to step back and analyse the situation from a different point of view.

Why did we lose these qualities in our communities when they are so essential in our relationships? Why did we move back from communication to just shouting at each other? Why are we trying to prove others wrong when we are never faultless ourselves?

It’s important to distinguish between feelings and thoughts. Find the source of your feelings and analyse how you drew conclusions. Often we make rash decisions because we are lead by unclear assumptions. Break them down into pieces and identify which of the facts coincide with your personal values and your goals.

We are bombarded by horror news and hateful comments. It’s our choice to change that system. You can either not be part of it or do something against it.

A friend and I talked about the book “How to win friends and influence people” which I really want to read. There are some important messages in there which I liked:
Give people credit for their work.
Be interested in their lives and consider their point of view.
Build a good reputation in your mind for a person to live up to.

Yesterday, I handed the application for my semester abroad in and I came to the office of the tutor with a big smile on my face. I thanked her for all the support she gave us in this process and told her that she does a great job. She asked me what she could improve for the students next year. She told me she has a lot of trouble with some of the universities. She talked about the difficulties she faced and confided in me.

Every time I had gone to her office before, she had been stressed out, busy, annoyed. She didn’t even want to answer my questions. This time, I gave her credit because she had helped me a lot. I was kind and open and genuinely interested in her work. She asked me for advice. She gave something back – trust.

We all have the capacity to improve the relationships with people who are important to us. Even with those we just met. By being kind and open. We must not be divided because in our union lies our power.

Everything feels like it’s falling apart. The world crumbles. We seek places to hide and grieve. What we really need to do is stand up tall. Stronger than ever. Growing with the task before us. We need to lay out a foundation of love and companionship to save this earth. This will help us with all the challenges we are facing. We are all in this together, we are all humans. Love is a verb, go practise it!

Hope.


Climate change causes more and more horrible storms and floods and is destroying homes all over the world. People are suffering from droughts and water scarcity, they can’t feed themselves or their children because it doesn’t rain anymore. This is the reality we live in and there is no point denying it. However, there are still people who believe that climate change is not real. That our earth is not heating up, the ice is not melting, the levels of greenhouse gases in the atmosphere not rising, the climate not becoming more extreme. There are people who ignore the opinions of experts, who simply do not accept a reality we have known for so long.

It may be because I am a student and students have been driving change since there were universities. It may be because I’m young and have not yet seen my ideals shattered to the ground, because I still believe in the good in people. But why not? Is that necessarily a bad thing? To believe in humankind? As a young person I hear a lot of that: Oh, you don’t know the world yet. You are so naive, that’s not how the world works. Grow up.

If growing up means losing your ideals, I’m not into it. If only young people had the power to change things because they are naive, revolutions would never have happened. Revolutions happen because there are people in every situation, every age, people who just don’t want to live that way anymore. Together, people have a great power. This is what I believe to be the only way this whole thing could work.

Listen, there are problems we can only fix economically. But who is going to communicate these changes to the public? Who is going to implement them? Yes, we are. It’s on us to change this world and make it a better place. I believe we can do this. I believe there are huge numbers of wonderful people who want to make a difference.

In the documentary about the “The Yes Men” the two activists did a fake conference announcing that the United States will change their energy sources to 100% renewable until 2020. The people attending, high security and weapons industry bosses, danced together in the end, lead by a Native American, celebrating this announcement. They want to be good! They want to bring change!

I have a problem with saying, that big changes have to be made on an economic level. Sure, it seems to be easier than changing people’s minds. We have a greater power through little bits of paper or 1s and 0s than we have on the actual brains of people. Here lies the base of my concern. What would happen if we don’t let people themselves change the world they are living in? What does that tell us about society?

  1. We come to believe that people are not capable to bring change. This is simply false. Looks at all the revolutions we have had, all the rights movements in the last centuries! They are surely not completed yet, no question, but we made a progress!
  2. People will say that this problem is only solvable on an abstract basis and therefore don’t do anything anymore. Place their lives in the hands of big financial bosses. We are nearly there already.
  3. We all will lose hope that ANYthing will EVER change. When that happens, everything becomes irrelevant. So what, we are emitting more and more greenhouse gases? So what, we get killed by hurricanes and floods… We can’t do anything, it just happens to us.

This is why we need HOPE. I believe in the magic of hope. It drives people to make things possible that they never even dreamed of. It makes people get working on problems that concern us all. Hope makes people move forward and this is what we need here. Every small action to counteract climate change helps. It may not be on a big scale, it might only matter to you personally but it does have an influence. It all adds up in the end. If you take the bike instead of the car tody – I want to cheer you! It might feel insignificant but it isn’t. Our actions influence our whole environment and maybe because you didn’t take the car today, your neighbour doesn’t either. See where this is leading?

If we still have the hope that our children will see a better world, we will make it a better place for them. If we still have hope, we can bring about change. I believe in humankind and yes I may be naive. Let me word it another way: I am hopeful and so should you be.

(If you are interested, watch this awesome documentary on climate change with Bill Nye, it’s really good. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=29Xv_npmS6E)

What are your thoughts on this? I would love to know!

A Little Blog Transformation


In this first year of studying Environmental and Resource Management I have learned a lot. I have realised a lot. People from all over the world helped me to broaden my perspective, think critically. Books changed me, so did films, so did conversations. I love art and I will keep creating. However, you might have seen that I didn’t write any texts for my pictures anymore. I didn’t have anything to say, to add.

I love writing, though. I love telling stories and illustrating them. I love how pictures and sentences can change and inspire people and give them hope. I will not delete my older posts because they are a part of me, a part of my story. What I want is to enhance the blog. Give it some context, some stories, some discussions. I want to write and share thoughts with you, I would like you to engage with the content.

Here is how it will work: I will make a post every week on Friday. This will be a text combined with photographs or sketches or illustrations. If you have any wishes on what you would like me to write about, please tell me! 🙂 I would love to read and learn from you! Furthermore, I will have a little portfolio which you can have a look at in the menu. If you like to see works in progress or little doodles along the way, you can visit my instagram, where I will be sharing all of those. The Festival of Leaves will also continue this autumn and I am so excited for it!!

See you next week

xx

verena

The old man and the sea


novellais a fantastic novella written by Ernest Hemingway, which was one of his last ones (but he won a nobel price with it!).

For those, who don’t know it: It’s about the Cuban old fisherman Santiago, who had no luck with fishing but on his 85th day without luck, he catches a Marlin. It’s a big fight between them, but the old man wins and kills the fish. Because of the blood, many sharks are attracted and finally eat the complete meat of the fish. Santiago sails home after long fights and hard work, but just with the skeleton of his catch…

It’s a great book about the fight between humans and nature. Santiago always feels with the fish, sees him as a brother and thinks about him and nature very much. That’s the thing, which impresses me most. All situations and all actions are described in every detail, so that one can easily understand it.

I thought of drawing some of the scenes and maybe making an illustration for the text. It’s funny, because a few days ago, I made a sketch of a fisherman, without knowing the novella – and then, when I read it yesterday, he is described right like the man of my drawing… 😀

P1000494 marlin

Sketchbook publications 06/04/2013


In the last few days I drew a lot of things, that came in my mind. It’s a book of sketched dreams and thoughts…

Sky stories


sky

Lying in the gras, watching the clouds, telling stories from far away. Listening to the lovely singing of birds, smelling the scent of spring. Feeling the grass and the warm hug of wind.

Intensive smell of flowers, smell of grass, smell of love and life and spring.

The sky is telling stories. Big ships, small figures, wonderful patterns made of dreams. Big ships taking you far away, cute animals, making you smile. Patterns of clouds, thoughts in your mind.

Neverending whisper of wind, clouds playing games with the sun. Neverending sounds of birds, an orchestra of nature, conducted by spring. Neverending life.

Watching the clouds getting darker, running faster, winds getting stronger, sun is away, Waterdrops on you face, sunny dream blown away. But only lying in the rain, you can feel the LIFE.