Travel: Van Gogh’s Footsteps in Arles, France

19.4.17

When traveling south, from Germany to Spain I knew I wanted to stop in Arles, France. I wanted to see some of the town and countryside that inspired Van Gogh in his time in the french riviera. Supposedly he created over 300 works in his 15 months living in Arles. He was such a productive man. I thought 5 paintings during my month long residency in Berlin was good.





He was also such a troubled soul. His work and life has always fascinated me. He spent time in a psychiatric hospital in Arles, and made some of his most famous works here. Van Gogh at that time was not permitted to leave the hospital. So he had his mother and brother send him some of his own sketches from previous years. Some of his most expressive and famous works are based on sketches he made previously. They were then painted from memory. Starry Night for example is one of these. He was painting from a sketch but mostly trying to evoke the place in his memory and with more meaning.

His style was very influential in the beginnings of abstraction. He augmented reality and was much more expressive than artists had been before him. His expressive desires influenced art conceptually, not to mention his technique influenced art visually. His strokes were so dominant that one is forced to think of the artist at work when looking at the painting. Which is a big shift from the realism, which preceded him. Realists before him were trying to hide the artist’s hand and make paintings so real that you couldn't’ see the artist in the piece. Once impressionists began to use such evident brush strokes, the viewer imagined the artist at work much more. Which gives the piece that much more depth. Not only formally but conceptually.

It was such fun to imagine Van Gogh sketching and painting these same places just 140ish years ago. How amazing that he walked these same streets. That he was challenged mentally in these buildings. He is the classic "tortured artist". But he made so much work. He was not plagued as an artist but as a person. He made such beautiful work and developed his style in such a short life. What courage it must have taken to sketch in public and let alone live life as an artist even though he only sold one work in his lifetime. I have sold more art in my lifetime than Van Gogh. How can that be?

I'm moved by learning about and seeing the spaces that preceding artists have occupied.

What other art stops should we make when in Spain? Any tips?

Thanks for reading lovelies,

Anna

Strange Things about living on the road

16.4.17


Vanlife is super strange and I think it it making us stranger people. Different things are becoming the norms in our lives. 
Showers become a reason to stay somewhere for a day or two to have the luxury near by. We have been staying on some beaches just because they have public, cold showers. It’s a bit embarrassing to use soap and shampoo, because it’s a dead giveaway that you don’t have a proper home. You’re homeless. But it’s so nice to get free showers a few days in a row, and to not worry about going for a run and having no shower around. Yuck.
Some days are shit days. I know you won’t believe it but living on the road is still life. We do have magical days where we are on the beach all day and Vigo is a dream baby. Then we have other days when he just hates his car seat and not even the baby hammock or nursing will calm him down at night. Other days we spend 7 hours driving around Barcelona trying to get an adapter or a new gas canister because our German tank just ran out. 
Outside is our “other room”. Dom practices guitar and ukelele outside of the van when weather and neighbors permit. When baby Vigo needs to be in the baby carrier to fall asleep, one of us usually goes for a walk wearing him. I often make art outside of the van and have an outdoor studio if we are parked close to a place I can be somewhat solitary and have a bit of ground space.  
Water is a luxury. We have two twenty liter water tanks that we fill every week or so. I have been able to wash my hair with 2 cups of water. We cook multiple meals a day in the van so conserving when washing dishes is very important. And we are choosing to have this limit in resources, imagine those who are living in drought and HAVE to collect their water. 
Very close quarters. You have to be comfortable peeing in front of one another. Dom and I were talking about this the other day when he was sitting on our little camping toilet. He thinks not all couples could do this, because of how closely you live with one another. You brush teeth together, you dress together, you cook and play together most of the day. If you’re not doing it together you are usually doing it in the space with the other person. 
You loose your sense of shame. You forget to close the curtain or door and begin to pee in the toilet enjoying the view, only a few seconds into it someone walks by, sees you, and you smile and nod because that’s all you can do. Or you consciously and voluntarily look like a show off or a crazy by doing yoga on the beach in the morning, or you look like a freak recording a surrealist music video out on a windy beach all alone. Because you needed to get an upside-down close-up of the sand whisping into the water.
You find and use wifi at the strangest places. Last week in Madrid, we found ourselves standing outside of the adidas shop for 5 minutes to write a quick note to family and post a photo on Instagram. 
You question whether you are on vacation or actually changing and becoming a drifter, hobo living on the streets. We had to ask an ex-colleague we met in Madrid whether we smelled, because we wondered whether it was one of those, getting used to our own stank situations. 
We are a month into our travels through Spain and we are at a point of ultimate relaxation. Embracing this simplistic, nomadic lifestyle. 

Thanks for reading lovelies,
Anna





Artistic Output: #DailyBraveryPainting

12.4.17

I read about Meradith’s Daily Bravery Paintings and I knew I wanted to join in. She is taking the leap to show and sell her works that she is making daily. It is all about output and just taking those risks and completing something and making it available. 
Dominik and I were talking about this. We were talking about the importance of having output as an artist. Creating something somewhat quickly and putting it out into the world. And doing this will a little bit more abandon than is comfortable. Doing these quick projects gets the work out there and makes the pressure of perfection much less. 

"Your mood #1" it's 15X20cm acrylic, ink and pastel on paper. 50€ or $. Shipping included. 






So here are a few of the works from my Daily Bravery Paintings. I am still making them on the road and can ship them from the road too. So please contact me if you are interested. 

"Don't Look Away #1" it's 42 X56cm acrylic, ink and pastel on paper. 70€ or $. Shipping included.



"Your mood #3" it's 15X20cm acrylic, ink and pastel on paper. 50€ or $. Shipping included. 


"Shhhhhhh #2" it's 15X20cm acrylic, ink and pastel on paper. 50€ or $. Shipping included.



Thanks for reading lovelies. 

Anna
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Artist Excuses even on the Road

9.4.17

I don’t know about you other artists, but I have this artist block where I think that conditions have to be perfect in order to make art. The lack of perfect art-making conditions is one thing that honestly, often keeps me from making.
Perfect art-making conditions include: I have to be alone. I need a lot of space. I need at least 3 hours of uninterrupted time. I need every material available that I may ever use. Well, these circumstances will never all happen at once. And few of them will ever occur, letalone living the artist vanlife with a baby. 
Living on the road has been challenging this artist block. I’m barely ever alone, I usually have about a meter of space, my baby breastfeeds every 2ish hours, and I have only brought a few art supplies because space is limited. But I do have other ideal art making circumstances. I’m surrounded by inspiring things, I have a husband that shares baby time, I can take time for art, if it’s only an hour here or there. And at times it’s good to have limitations when making art. Limiting my materials can be a good challenge in art-making, it is influencing my process and artwork too. 

 Despite this silly artist block, my husband is my biggest artist advocate. He encourages me to take time to make, he loves my artwork and he loves me. I have been creating on the road and I have a number of pieces which I am making and selling from the road if you are interested, I can send a piece to you at the nearest post office on our travels.






What’s keeping you from taking time to make? What are your excuses?
Thanks for reading lovelies,

Anna

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