Local Heart, Global Soul

December 10, 2019

New Lease Of Life … As Art!

Following on from yesterday’s post, I am visiting a sculptor’s work during one of the 2019 “Parels” (Pearls) weekends. This is the piece that was in the “advertisement / guide” booklet that shows off all of the Parels exhibitors, and I suspect that, like me, many visitors were curious to see this up close. There are two, very similar pieces in style here and I know that one of them is called “Möbius serpentijn”, I am now just not sure which of the two it is. (my bad, apologies to the artist). I’ve zoomed in on some parts so that you can see how every day objects have been given a new lease of life… as art!

(Below) Möbius serpentijn, 2019  (Sorry. I have no translation for this title).

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

December 9, 2019

Spiralling Into Something New…

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

My next visit during one of the 2019 “Parels” (Pearls) weekends, was to a sculptor.

I am not sure what I expected but it was certainly something different to what I usually go and see (art-wise).

If I think about it I find that painting is the favourite art form that I make an effort to go and see, that said, it pays to broaden the mind a little sometimes and step out of my comfort zone.

From the outside this looked like an ordinary home, but once inside was set up like a gallery, complete with name, date, detail, tags for many of the sculptures on the walls next to the pieces.

Most of the household furniture I expected to see was absent.

I have no idea if they have this space spare and use it as a “showroom” for their artwork, or of they cleared out their living room for the Parels weekend so that members of the public could enjoy the pieces without bumping into the dining room chairs.

I’m suspecting that it’s the former, due to the fact that there are name tags on the walls, maybe adult children have moved out and the artist now has space in their home to display their hobby. Either way, it’s an interesting space and whilst I was there a constant stream of visitors also arrived to enjoy this exhibition.

A few of the pieces appeared to follow a serpentine theme, so I’ve grouped them together here.

(Left & Below) “Bloeiend” , Portugees marmer 2019. (Translation: This can mean either “blossoming” or “thriving”,  Portuguese marble 2019)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(Below) Ontwikkeling serpentine, 2004 (Translation: Developing serpentine, 2004)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(Below) Samen serpentijn, 2008 (Translation: Together serpentine, 2008)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

December 8, 2019

Capturing Artistic Talent…

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

As someone who leaned towards Printing as my artistic medium of choice, I was well aquatinted with working in, for instance the fine scratched lines of etching.

I could then add aquatint to produce “shading”, or in a different technique, work backwards printing from dark to light using the mezzotint method.

Adding colour to intaglio (Etching, drypoint etc), relief (linocut, woodcut) mono prints, or lithographic ones was something I generally did with a roller rather than a brush.

That colour was then kind of smeared onto the print for me by the printing press.

I never got around to screen printing, although it’s on my “one day” wish-list.

When I was required to exhibit technique in a painted medium, I did so using Gouache because it was quick drying and perfect for painting in layers to build up detail.

Water colour and oils were something I secretly feared (still do) but also want to one day master.

At the moment I am trying to just get back into drawing again, pencil, pens, ink being safe and comfortable so far, except that I am incredibly out of practice.

Many people think that artistic people “have talent” and whilst this may be true to some extent (depending on how you define “talent”), few realise that drawing is actually an acquired skill, meaning the more you practice the better you get at it.

My personal opinion is that some people are drawn to more naturally inclined to pick up a pencil than others, in the same way some people love to curl up with a book next to a fire on a snowy afternoon, and hate the thought of going outdoors.

Other people just have to get outside and enjoy the cold, skiing, tobogganing, building snowmen, snowboarding, whatever.

This is more the character of the person than the “talent”, for example: if you gave even the most “non-arty” person lessons, guidance and enough hours of practice (many, many, many, hours), everyone could easily recognise that they had artistic “talent” in the way that the general public perceives it.

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

The key is the inclination to sit down and put in the hours of practice that it takes to get good at art.

For some that inclination comes far more easily than for others.

Self doubt is also one of the biggest factors; generally kids give up drawing at a fairly young age.

They look at the work of their peers who are naturally inclined to practice and then look at their own work, deciding that they must not have any “talent” at all.

If I ruled the world and had my way, I would put the most amazing, inspirational art teachers into schools at this young age, teaching technique, getting kids to practice, practice and practice.

The rate of improvement would skyrocket and art as a “genre” would influence many other things.

The patience and imagination that was demonstrated in their art world, would spur advances in many other technical fields.

Design would flourish, people would appreciate beauty more, possibly even rates of suicide and depression might drop as people had the outlet to unwind at an easel, sketchbook, printing press and the like.

People might be swapping anti-depressants pills for a simple pen and paper, enjoying sketching outdoors and producing something beautiful.

Well, that’s my opinion at least. Now all I have to do is to overcome my fear, sketch a heap of leaves and attempt to add colour with water colour paint. Who, knows, give me time to practice a ton and I might even produce something that tells a little voice inside me “you might have a tiny spark of talent after all”.

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

December 7, 2019

Reflecting On The Water…

In recent posts I have detailed paintings by Russian artist Natalia Stefanova, who lives in the Hague, the Netherlands, with her husband Bob. He is also artistic, but instead of joining his wife in painting, his medium of choice is photography. One of his favourite topics is that of building reflections in water, something that I have found to be extremely difficult to capture on the occasions I have tried it. I am impressed at how much intensity of colour he has managed to capture in the reflections, and I also love the duck on the left in the first photograph. Regular readers will know I am interested in (attempting) to photograph birds, and ducks have featured heavily on my blog in the past. If I remember correctly the second photograph is of dried orange peel, combined with a light effect, but I can’t find the reference to it in my notebook so maybe I’ve blundered with this attribution. If so, apologies Bob.

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

December 6, 2019

Small Space, Prolific Work…

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

Whenever I see a painting or art form, my mind often wonders about the space in which it was made.

I imagine large studios, some clean and tidy, others chaotic with things strewn around the “work in progress”.

I know that Dutch houses don’t have a lot of space to spare and so then I wonder how they manage to work in their small spaces. I was offered a tour of the paintings various rooms in Natalia’s home, and that included a look into her little studio.

Once upon a time I painted in acrylic paint too, loving the fact that it is a quick drying medium, and that I could build up the images using layers.

I was delighted to see that acrylic is Natalia’s chosen medium too, because it’s a paint often classed as a poor relation to it’s more famous cousins: oil and water colours.

In fact this is far from the case, used well, acrylic is often the favourite of many artists who paint in a super realist style, and love the near photographic results that can be achieved using acrylic paint.

For instance, check out Jason de Graff if you want to see exactly what I mean.

Natalia Stefanova’s work space is a tiny room, well organised, paints on a rack to one side of her workspace.

The width of the room is pretty much what you see in the second photograph, it’s not too much deeper either. Painting some of her bigger works must have been a tight fit.

An article written by Ine van den Boer for “ArtiBrak” was in Dutch, so Himself helped me out by providing an English translation:

Natalia Stefanova – phantasy rooted in Russian tradition”, “Magic realism – Natalia uses acrylic paint on paper or canvas. She has chosen acrylic for a reason.

“With acrylic paint you can realise the effects of all techniques and materials, such as oil paint or water colours, depending on the substances you add. “she explains.

Often she applies a base of textured paint or gesso which gives her art a weathered wall look. At first she painted figurative still lives but slowly her work developed towards a sort of magic realism. Figures from tarot cards are a source of inspiration, and alchemy and mysticism too, about which she has many books.”

This studio space may be small, but it has a window for natural light and enough space to work…. and work it certainly does because Natalia is a prolific artist, with many beautiful paintings.

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(Below) Latest work in progress…

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

December 5, 2019

Imagine These In Your Office!

During one of my “Parels” visits I come across a Russian artist, who is not only a prolific painter but has also had an article written about her by Ine van den Boer in a local publication, Because the article was only in Dutch, we gained permission to translate it into English and post the texts in my blog.

Natalia Stefanova – phantasy rooted in Russian tradition”, “She shows beautiful drawings of apartments she decorated. “Posh, modern, czarist aesthetics”, she calls it with a smile. But actually she preferred – and found it more useful – to decorate industrial estates and offices. “People spend a big part of their lives in these”, she says.”

Imagine these in your office!

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

December 4, 2019

Recording Your Work…

Following on from yesterday’s post, a mostly photographic post today…

Natalia Stefanova – phantasy rooted in Russian tradition”, “She refers to herself as a ‘visual artist’ which probably describes her work best. “I make figurative compositions with a touch of mysticism and magic realism”, she says. “I look at my paintings from a gnostic perspective; with an intuitive knowledge of the world”.

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

December 3, 2019

An Architectural Basis…

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

Continuing with my posts about the Russian painter Natalia Stefanova, and the translation into English of the Dutch text of an interview for “ArtiBrak” by Ine van den Boer.

(Permission was obtained for translation and use in my blog).

Natalia Stefanova – phantasy rooted in Russian tradition”,

“Although she graduated as an architect, Natalia started to paint in the Netherlands.

“That is not so strange” she explains. “The architecture study programme in Russia takes six years and is very broad.

Constructional drawing, but also free drawing and painting are an important part of it. So I have always been drawing.“

She also attended the art school of Julia Schult in Chimky, a Moscow suburb.

For years Natalia worked as an architect and later as an interior designer in Moscow. She married and had two children.

The younger one (now grown) has moved in with her and Bob in The Hague.

“After the perestroika there were more rich people in Russia who bought villas which had to be decorated. There was plenty of work”, she explains.”

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

December 2, 2019

Painting From Imagination Alone…

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

Continuing with my posts about the Russian painter Natalia Stefanova, and the translation of the text of an interview for “ArtiBrak” by Ine van den Boer.

(Permission was obtained for both the translation and it’s use in my blog).

Natalia Stefanova – phantasy rooted in Russian tradition”,

“Her own thoughts too can inspire her to put her colourful imagination on canvas in powerful strokes.

She points to a painting in which a butterfly can be recognized.

“Dreams are like a big butterfly; fluttering away from this daily world into a fantasy world”.

I asked during my Parels (Pearls) visit if Hatalia had any particular favourite life model for these paintings?

Natalia laughed and told me that she uses no models at all, and rather prefers to paint every face in her works from imagination alone.

I can now see similarities in many of the faces, but without a human model for reference it still amazes me how different she makes many of her faces look.

I am certain that I could not paint as many faces as she does without the faces eventually looking completely alike.

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

December 1, 2019

Russia Is Grey, The Netherlands Is Green…

Another instalment of Russian painting from one of my Parels” (Pearls) day visits. I’m, also continuing with the translation of an article written about her Ine van den Boer given for the “ArtiBrak” publication. (Text translated and used with permission)

Natalia Stefanova – phantasy rooted in Russian tradition”,  “In 2005 Natalia (born in 1958 in Yekaterinburg, Russia) came to the Netherlands for  (her now husband). This time the move was permanent, after she had visited a few times and love persisted. Natalia loves the Netherlands, the sea, the dunes and the people. “The Netherlands is green and the people are open and they always smile”. She says. “I had a good life in Moscow, but whenever I return to Russia I think the people are sullen and the country is grey”.

Well, there is certainly no grey in Natalia’s house, it’s filled to the brim with paintings and colour.

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

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