bookart, dailysketches, oil portraits, picasso, and me in blue

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It’s a long grey winter here. Even the statistics confirmed it: the darkest winter since years. Things that cheer me up on grey days: Going for walks nevertheless. Sketching. Reading. Making plans. Visiting museums. QiGong. Instagram’s gentlejanuary task…

All of this combined lead to some watercolor paintings, and a plan. Here are some notes from the way:

Daily Sketches, Books, and 100 Days

Sunday 21. January

Sunday watercolor sketch, inspired by a winter walk and seeing birds. It’s amazing to think of how those little cheerful feather balls make it through winter. A thought along the way: I really could continue sketching on a daily basis, see where it leads to.

Plus, I did some calculation: the winter semester will be over soon, and it’s a longer pause until the summer semester starts. So some kind of daily practice would be good to keep me in the color flow.

The winter birds brought back a memory of a poem – it’s part of a small, lovely collection of winter poems. It opens with Friedrich Hölderlin’s „Winter“, written in January 1842, in a town not far from here, in Tübingen. And it has a poem about „Wintervögel“ – „winterbirds“, written by Zuckmayer. When I read it, an idea bubbled up: to try a collage-like sketch, right on the page:

And thus, the winterbirds turned into an idea to an idea, for a series of sketches: to revisit some of my fav books, and paint a sketch that connects to the book. That way, it would be not simply random sketches, and it would combine sketching and revisiting books, which I miss. It would be a very different way of revisiting books, not reviewing, but reflecting them in a more visual way.

I am excited about it – and now started it as 100 days project: #dailybooksketch

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Portrait task

The sketches are also counterparts for the big challenge I am up to right now at art academy: Self Portrait. In my art class, the current task is: painting a self portrait with oil colors – which I never did before. I am still struggling with oil, but after one of the sessions, I went back to watercolor, and arrived here, which surprised myself:

The portrait theme, it also brought some good talks at the art academy:

„Seid mutiger“ our teacher said to us, as advice for the new year, and for painting: „Be more couragious.“ And he added:

„Look, these are only paintings. What can happen? Even if you mess up, it’s not Really messing up. It’s part of painting and learning.“

It’s good advice. And I guess, after working with self portraits, other things will feel „relatively“ easier.

In a neat coincidence, one of the tasks/themes at the daily Insta group was „Smile“ – I first tried to sidestep the theme by posting a sight that made me smile. But then I got inspired by those who posted selfies, and tried some photo experiments with a selfie from a recent series I took as reference for painting – and arrived at this blue version which almost feels like digitally painting.

A Picasso book surprise 

In a nice coincidence, I read about a Picasso exhibition near here, with a focus on: books! Didn’t know this, but Picasso illustrated over 150 books. It’s an ongoing field of work for him. There was a guided tour, here some moments / themes:

Yes! There were many portraits included, too. And a lot of longer series. It felt like visiting a 100day-project exhibition.

I drove back, happy. And the answer to the day’s insta theme later arrived by itself:

I CHANGED… my way of looking at things – by looking at art

…like the end and the way

The sad news of the week: author Ursula K. Le Guin died. She was an inspiration in so many ways. I read in one of her books, and then put a visual together, to add in the online-memorial-notes: #ursulakleguin

and here’s another quote from the book:

„It is good to have an end to journey toward; but it is the journey that matters, in the end.“