Artwork: "German Course, Whack!" Series

22.3.17

I made this series of collages right before my exhibition in October. They all incorporate figures, palette scraps, map, and bits of my other paintings. They are a 4 part series. 3 of them are still available for sale in my art shop.



They tell mini stories in themselves. The pieces were a challenge to me as an artist to let go of a little bit of control and make works that are made of preexisting materials and to let the individual parts of the collage choose one another.

Each collage has a figure which seems very much in control and out of control at the same time.


acrylic, paint, portraiture, realistic, book, vintage, found object, german, collage, bookpages, abstract, figurative
German Course, Whack #1

acrylic, paint, portraiture, realistic, book, vintage, found object, german, collage, bookpages, abstract, figurative


acrylic, paint, portraiture, realistic, book, vintage, found object, german, collage, bookpages, abstract, figurative
German Course, Whack #2

acrylic, paint, portraiture, realistic, book, vintage, found object, german, collage, bookpages, abstract, figurative

acrylic, paint, portraiture, realistic, book, vintage, found object, german, collage, bookpages, abstract, figurative
German Course, Whack #3, SOLD


acrylic, paint, portraiture, realistic, book, vintage, found object, german, collage, bookpages, abstract, figurative

acrylic, paint, portraiture, realistic, book, vintage, found object, german, collage, bookpages, abstract, figurative

acrylic, paint, portraiture, realistic, book, vintage, found object, german, collage, bookpages, abstract, figurative
German Course, Whack #4

acrylic, paint, portraiture, realistic, book, vintage, found object, german, collage, bookpages, abstract, figurative


I love making collage. Especially using bits of old books and practice paintings of mine. It's fun to mix different preexisting sources together to make something new. And tell a little story.

Thanks for reading lovelies,

Anna

Check out my art shop for pieces that are available for purchase. 

Vanlife with a Baby

14.3.17

Our first week on the road was filled with amazing views and lovely times meandering south towards the coast. We are ultimately headed to Spain. We’ll see if we ever get there.

Newborns are snoozy. We’ve been on the road now for two weeks. It’s our first longer trip with a baby. Vigo was 6 weeks old when we left Heidelberg, Germany. He has done well on the road. He finds home in the two of us, so being on the road is home for him, I suppose. We have been making several stops on his account, if he’s hungry or needing a snuggle. We can travel for a few hours at a time before he begins to squawk. He’s still at the multiple nap a day stage so we time our travel for after he’s been fed, changed and snoozing.


Tiny space, loud cry. Dom recently learned that our ears are specifically attuned to hear the frequency of a baby’s cry. Is that why they sound so loud? The toughest part about having a newborn in vanlife is when he is in an unconsolable state at night.  Sometimes he gets very worked up and then he just has to cry it out. Being in such a small space with such a loud little human is tough. Luckily there are two of us parents and we can pass him off when one of us has reached our limit. I don’t know how you single parents do it without going insane and feeling like a failure as a parent.  Dom was doing laundry at the laundromat the other day and Vigo cried in the van with me for 45 minutes straight, I cried for about 20 minutes of it along with him. But this kind of thing was happening at home too. It’s just that now it’s happening in a 8 square meter space. There is sadly no second room to escape to except the great outdoors, which sometimes is not very welcoming, like when it is raining and stormy.

Breastfeeding is so great for living on the road. I have the pleasure of breastfeeding my little babe and I couldn’t be happier. I’ve always got my boobs with me and they are all that Vigo needs in terms of sustenance. How cool is that? I don’t have to worry about bottles and formula. And as I have heard breastfed babies poop smells a lot better, so when there are dirty diapers in our trash in the van for a few days it’s no worries.

He doesn’t make special requests or require extra entertainment. We have spent most of the last week stuck in southern France. Our faithfully shitty van has broken down again, but we have been making the most of our time, heading to nearby beaches and cooking delicious meals in the parking lot at the mechanic’s. It’s somewhat embarrassing to have bought such a p.o.s. but we still love her and are willing to invest in her a bit longer. We’ll see if we get through the rest of this trip without another repair, or just leaving her here, down south. For Vigo, luckily, it makes no real difference whether we are parked at a beautiful ocean view or in the parking lot at a mechanic’s. So in this respect he’s a great travel companion when things go south, without actually heading south. ;)


Tiny babies don’t take up much space. We have a little nook at the side of our bed for Vigo, which makes night feedings easy peasy. We also have a baby hammock for him above our bed, which we rock him in sometimes during the day. His car seat fits in the seat between us in the 3er front seats when we are driving. Well, I take it back, his THINGS take up a lot of space. His stroller takes up a big portion of our under the bed storage and he has more clothes than the rest of us, but anyway, he’s tiny. He fits wonderfully in a carrier for urban and nature hikes.

Newborns don’t need many baths. We haven’t bathed yet on our trip, don't judge, but we have all been making use of the baby wipes. They keep our most sensitive areas clean and it hasn’t been hot and sweaty yet so we haven’t “needed” showers. We can't afford fancy restaurants anyways, so a bit of greasy hair and cradle cap are fine with us. Pretty soon we may go to a public pool and get a nice hot shower in. It’s about time.

Overall, I don’t think we are too crazy for bringing a newborn along on the road. Vanlife is working out with our newborn baby. He would have just as many fussy times at home as he does in the van, I think. He’s definitely not an easy going baby, he needs a lot of attention and movement, so I think the road and staying active is what he likes.


We’re two weeks in now, we’ll see whether our tune changes after the 8th week. 8 weeks my goodness! We are so grateful to have this much time on the road, what a privilege.

Thanks for reading lovelies,

Anna

Golly, I Love Teal

8.3.17

Yes, olive green is my favorite color, but recently I have been so very drawn to the color teal. It's very calming and warm at the same time. It's one of the warmest cool color, I suppose.



I'm not sure if other artists have this, but I at times can become somewhat fixated on a color. Pablo Picasso, Yves Klein, and Joan Miro, all had a blue period. There may be something to this color that artists can't escape. Teal or turquoise is a very warm blue, it's not quite as infinite as a darker, blue but it has a wonderful warmth about it.

Teal is a mix of blue and green. The "color blue expresses calm, gentle, serene feelings, while green symbolizes growth, strength and spirit" (reference.com).  I found this website, and it has several insights about the color turquoise. "The meaning of the color turquoise is open communication and clarity of thoughtIt presents as a friendly and happy color enjoying life."  I resonate with this meaning, and maybe that's why I've been drawn to it. I have recently been feeling like I have been able to communicate well in my artwork and have been sensing more clarity about what to make. I'm also incredibly happy. :)

Our kitchen table, with a pillow designed by Karli Ingersoll


Maybe I'm also loving this color because it is really communicating my intrigue and desire for calm and the subtle warmth of life. I'm finding some comfort in the color and love to look at it.

I loved Jaroslaw kozlowski's work at ABC Art Fair in Berlin



Has there been any color that has been sticking out to you recently? One that you have been drawn to? What does that color communicate to you?

Thanks for reading,

Anna

Luxury Problems

1.3.17






Do you ever feel like your thoughts and feelings don't even seem relevant in this troubled world? 

My joys, delights, my struggles and pains, just seem minuscule when considering the state of affairs in the world. In light of terrible politics and poverty, my artwork and artistic pursuits also feel like they aren't really relevant and don't add much to the betterment of the world.
At times I feel guilty sharing about these delightful things and somewhat trivial problems with all the tragedy in the news and all the wars that people are living in. But I really don’t feel it my calling to bring light to those tragic things. I feel strong desire to share the beauty that I find in the world and to share my experience of life. I want to share my experience living a privileged creative lifestyle. It sounds so luxurious. It really is. 

Dom (my husband) and I both grew up with parents who are missionaries. They lived lives of service, teaching and helping people in developing countries. They felt called to move their families across the seas, partly for adventure, I am sure, but mostly because they wanted to help people and live selfless lives. 

Is not the life of an artist, such a narcissistic life to lead? At least as an art teacher, I was teaching others about creativity and making, which was at least somewhat altruistic. 

Dom and I were listening to a podcast about having different points of reference for suffering. I think it was a "This American Life" episode. One woman shared about how her mother was jewish and the mother's reference point of pain and suffering was based on the Holocaust. In affect, the woman who was sharing the story, the daughter, her problems were so trivial to her mother in the grand scope of things. There was no empathy for her teenage heartache or being bullied at school. The daughter's struggles were never as painful as what her people had been through. This lack of empathy was very difficult to live with. It discounted any pain that the daughter had experienced.
My experience was nothing like this. My pains were acknowledged, listened to and considered legitimate, growing up. But I do feel as though I have lived in this paradoxical frame of reference. Growing up in Thailand with several poor/poorer people around me, helped me keep my problems in perspective. 

Usually when I have pain or suffering, I often think about those who are suffering more than me, to put my suffering in perspective. When going through a miscarriage, I had a lot of physical pain. However, imagining people who have chronic, consistent pain made my physical pain some what banal. Same goes for when Dominik and I broke down in our van in Denmark. We were frustrated and disappointed but, we both thought about the thousands of refugees living in camps in Europe today and their journey to the unknown future on their way here. They weren’t expecting to be in refugee camps for years in Greece. Our vanlife problems just were nothing in comparison with people fleeing persecution and war and now stuck in limbo. 


Dominik also feels the same way, maybe more extreme than me. His father’s favorite line to say when there is a pause in conversation is “Mensch, gehts uns gut!” “Man, we have it good.” It is nice to hear and to be reminded of. But it also has a tinge of reminder that others are not as privileged and taken care of as we are. It’s a grateful comment, but reminds me of others' suffering, which makes it hard to enjoy and actually be grateful. Dominik also saw more poverty growing up, than I did. He lived in places that had conflicts occurring nearby. I was in an international school bubble and my jr high problems were not brushed off because of a "real suffering" frame of reference quite as much. 
I suppose I have a similar conclusion to "This American Life," in that, neither way to live is perfect. It's not healthy to live in a bubble and never think of the suffering in the world. And it's not healthy to discount our struggles and pain all the time in light of the suffering of others. Neither one is healthy, but it may be most healthy to live in this paradox. Knowing that our problems are luxury problems, but acknowledging them as legitimate pain and suffering none the less. 

How do you live with this paradox? What are your frame of reference in terms of pain and suffering?

Thanks for reading lovelies,

Anna

*My narcissistic art-making is pretty much all I want to do. How can I justify this, coming from a family who's lives are dedicated to service and self sacrifice? I guess I may have to work through this in another post...


Creative habits for the Effective Artist of the 21st Century

22.2.17

 Dominik and I were talking about what creative habits we want to foster in the next months and so we began to compile this list.

We plan on living by these and hope they are useful and inspiring to you!


  1. Never start before you are ready.
  2. Always aim for perfection
  3. Check facebook (real quick).
  4. If you are unsure how, don’t.
  5. Let your instincts guide you. Never plan it out.
  6. Make sure all your loved one’s needs and wants are met first.
  7. Nutrition is key. Only begin after cooking an elaborate healthy meal.
  8. Now wash the dishes.
  9. If the first attempt is a failure, it’s probably not worth your time and trouble.
  10. Share your process with others. Post a selfie on instagram before you start.
  11. Check the music/art store for new materials you might want to use for your next project.
  12. Be an expert. Watch as many tutorials on the subject as you can find.
  13. Spend adequate time comparing yourself to better artists. Be very conscious of your weaknesses.
  14. If you haven’t been in the studio for over a month - you are likely not a real artist.
  15. Sold records/artwork are the true measure of quality work.
  16. MOST IMPORTANTLY: Surround yourself with people that don’t understand or care for art. This will help keep you grounded.
If you're an artist, what are some creative habits you can share with us? 

Simple Van Renovation

17.2.17


To see what the van looked like when we bought it check out the "Before" post I posted a week or so ago. Dom and I have zero experience with car repair and almost just as little experience with carpentry/ building things. We were very happy to have bought a van that as mostly built out already.  But we were excited to learn and make additions and changes to the interior of our first car!

To start we stripped everything out of the van except the front 3 seats. 




Then we deep cleaned every surface and crevasse.  Dominik's oma (grandma) is a cleaning wizard so we summoned her enthusiasm to help us get the job done. After cleaning everything we began putting up this self adhesive insulation foam covering the entire interior of the van. 

 Then we painted the wall mount boards and the shelving white.
We sealed the storage boxes and put on nicer handles.


We then began putting in the side paneling, reinstalling the newly painted shelving and bed board. Next up was to install some floor insulation and laminate flooring.



With the help of Dom's cousin we installed a new sink.


I made some curtains for the back and side windows.

And still to come are some solar panels for the roof. 
Again, we were so happy to have a mostly finished interior and to have the freedom to alter it. It's not the best build out but it is working so well for us so far. To see our semi finished van renovation check out this post. The photos for that post were taken right after our 5 weeks of summer travels in Scandinavia. It is such a great place to live and I can't wait to spend two months in the van very soon. 

Dominik and I are traveling to Spain and Portugal with our little baby Vigo.  We can't wait!

Anna