Art Of Living as an Artist

Inspired by New South Wales, Australia

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After our time in Melbourne we went on a road trip and drove about ten hours to Sydney which is located in New South Wales  which is a pretty big state…bigger than Texas, sorry Texas ;)  And on this long long ride the “Wombat” Signs here and there were quite the most exciting view …if you do not count the radio news that a dingo tried to steal a baby in the Western Territory (and that is no joke- it happened! )

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I loved those road signs.

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And of course when you spend time in Sydney you have to see the opera house -which btw- several years ago when I was in Sydney before, I visited for a concert. Last row seats – amazing sound- I can totally recommend this!!!

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We visited to the Botanical Garden which I love so much. I wanted to show Julie the Flying Foxes that I had seen there a couple years ago, but they were gone. I was told that they were not good for the trees and plants in the garden and were therefore relocated. Here is the blog post with a photo from several years ago . I think Julie was kind of relieved ;)

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Awesome flower bud sculpture

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And more giant trees – where is Julie?

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This was the entrance to our apartment in Sydney- we referred to it as the jungle. Unfortunately it was so humid and full of mold in the apartment that it felt a bit like a jungle too. I wasn’t sad when we left since I have a terrible mold allergy and I could not stand being in the place for a long time. Too bad- it was a beautiful place.

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So was this house – ohhh – I so want a house that is painted orange and has a turquoise iron work balcony – I mean…helloooo – this is beautiful!

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Oh wait …who are those people again …yep …goof balls ;)

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No idea what is growing out of my head but I love the picture of the two of us. We were just sitting there, relaxing and chatting and enjoying some warm sun rays.

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On our way to Berkeley Vale where we taught our second workshop at Darkroom Door, we stopped at a reptile zoo.

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These little critters sleeping in the sun spreading out their legs (lol- it makes me laugh) are Echidnas – they are ant eaters and the only living mammals that lay eggs.

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ANNDNNNDDDDDD – Squealllll – a Wallaby – – ohhh – yeah- I so love them – they are so cute.

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They were just hopping around with us and they were super fluffy. I know they look as if their fur is kind of scruffy but no no- they are so soft and these were very cute. BTW- do not try to touch one in the wilderness …they can get quite vicious, but these are used to people.

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And a little snoring Koala ….this didn’t look so comfortable to me but on the other hand …if you do not have anything else you even fall asleep on an economy class seat on a plane, right?

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The horror on the side of the path …oh man ….spiders big like houses- my nightmare….

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better look at the next koala.

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or at this Tasmanian Devil … yeah not quite like the one from Bugs Bunny …but …I saw one with it’s mouth open …also not one you want to touch – LOL

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This one was just passing by and ….

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Sorry- gotta go back to this little wallaby – did I tell you they were super cute?

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On our last day in Berkeley Vale, our friend Rachel took us for a little tour on the coast. It was beautiful.

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And because Anzac Day was coming up, there was this beautiful red poppy arrangement . Anzac Day is a national day of remembrance of all Australians and New Zealanders who served and died in war and on operational service.

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It was a wonderful time in New South Wales- the flora and fauna, the animals, the landscape and the amazing blue sky are so remarkable and inspiring, I am sure some of this will be part of my artwork in the future in one way or another.

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I hope you like this little trip :) I wish you a wonderful day!

Comments (8)

  • Jan T Baillie

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    Where I live, Natalie, in midwest New South Wales, we see roos, wombats, echidnas and platypus every day in the paddocks, and in our river which runs through town. Glad you loved NSW. Sorry the apartment was bad.

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  • Seth

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    What an amazing adventure you had Nat. Just so exciting.

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  • Denise

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    Did you get to hold or pet a koala? They are the softest fur ever. I just love Australia. So beautiful and such wonderful people.

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    • Nathalie Kalbach

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      Not this time Denise, but last time I was in Australia- it was really cute and fluffy as you said :)

      Reply

  • Rob Keogh

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    Wonderful photos Natalie, it looks like you had a wonderful time in our little corner of the world. I really love the orange terrace house too. How beautiful it is.

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    • Nathalie Kalbach

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      I really did have a wonderful time in your neck of the woods again, Rob! I hope I can come back some time and I would love to travel around a bit more too :)

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  • Gayle

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    WOW and WOW again! Amazing travelogue – your pictures and comments transported me to that wondrous corner of the world. Definitely an artist’s paradise – How does one take it all in without the mind exploding with so many possibilities. That turquoise house…what can I say….I want one too! Thank you Nathalie and regards to Julie as well. Your classes must be so much fun.

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    • Nathalie Kalbach

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      Awe- thank you so much Gayle :) I know …I am still dreaming of this beautiful house – i think it would look really good here in New Jersey :)

      Reply

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Mixed Media Circus Workshop at Darkroom Door in Berkeley Vale, Australia

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After the workshop in Melbourne, Julie and I taught in Berkeley Vale at Darkroom Door, about 1 1/2 hours North of Sydney. My wonderful friend and awesome manufacturer Rachel Greig hosted us in her warehouse and classroom and it a great group rocking out the paint, art supplies and art journals!

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Everyone was working for three day, creating covers, painting, stamping, stenciling, book binding – getting messy fingers and tables:) It was so much fun! I loved the class room with high tables and high top chairs, making it possible for everyone to choose to work standing up or sitting. Since I work standing up- this was a dream :)

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Look at all the beautiful colorful pages …with Birds, and Elephants, and other stamp sets :)

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Birds mixed with Julies Stamps and Stencils.

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and more elephants :)

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the Urban Scribble – love the staggered city look!

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And lot’s of stencil patterns for background papers

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I loved how everyone embraced having two different teachers and stencils and stamps from two different persons as well.

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Love the look of the Fashion Dame Stencil used in different colors for pattern

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And the Lilly Wallpaper stenciled with black gesso

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and the Arabesque Stencils used with white over black gesso

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Batik

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one of Julie`s Face Stencils used with my Ornament Stencil for hair

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Another hybrid page with Julie’s stencil on the left and my Art Deco Wallpaper Stencil on the right

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And this is so true – :) If all fails, join the circus :)

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I think this one did? Love the girl taking a ride on the Elephant Stencil!

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So much creative energy and colors in the classroom

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And here is Julie explaining something – it was really fun teaching together again :)

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And here are some photos of me teaching …which usually- you know…there aren’t any :)

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Thank you so much Rachel for having us- you are the best!!!!

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And here we are :) Bound and colorful finished art journals!!!

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And thank you Amanda and Amanda, Belinda, Rachel, Robyn and Robyn, Paula, Kristy Lee (mmmmhhh did I butcher your name again???? please forgive me with your super cute smile, ok?), Lorraine, Genevieve, Vesna and Vesna! We will always have “I pet a kangaroo”, the dog on the tucker box, create you own at mäccas, don’t hesitate to mess up the table, fire alarms, Lemingtons, Anzac Biscuits and lot’s of laughter together. It was wonderful to spend those three days with you!!!

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I will post some photos from Melbourne and Sydney, street art and kangaroos in the next weeks – it was such a fun trip :)

 

 

Comments (16)

  • Tracy Moloney

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    F U N times :)
    I thoroughly enjoy watching Rachel in action on ScrapIt tv as well!!!

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  • Jackie P Neal

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    Looks like everyone had a blast and the creativity was flowing!!

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  • Becca Yahrling

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    Oh what fun and creativity at it’s best.

    Reply

  • Teresa Godines

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    Wonderful projects. Looks like everyone had a great time.

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  • Karen Petitt

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    Lucky ladies! Looks like everyone had lots of fun and enjoyed it too. So wish I could do classes but being disabled is a real issue for me and getting to and back from one I just can’t right now. Lucky, lucky ladies Karen x

    Reply

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Winding Down The Year: Best Nine of Instagram 2015

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According to #bestnine2015 these are my most liked photos of 2015 on instagram. I loved seeing this.

Top Row – left to right: 1. Julie while we prepare our Australia Workshop, 2. Bags I had printed with one of my paintings, 3. My self bound new Art Journal

Middle Row – left to right: 4. Painting of the Stanley Theatre in Jersey City, 5. The 2 Tallest Painting in Progress, 6. Water tower Painting and Water towers – kinda geeking out here ;)

Bottom Row – left to right: 7. Art Journal Spread in Progress, 8. Shipping some of my paintings to a show, 9. Playing with a baster in my art journal

If you want to do this too on your instagram account just go here to http://2015bestnine.com/ – be patient -it takes a long time until it loads- and don’t go to the other stuff they pop up- that was a little bit annoying- but in the end – it is fun to see the collage :)

Have a wonderful day

 

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Inspired by Buenos Aires, Argentina

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About a week ago I came back from a wonderful trip to Buenos Aires, Argentina. My husband had to work there and decided to take me with him for a short holiday over Thanksgiving. He is the best!!!

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The flight itself was long – with a change in Houston we traveled almost 24 hours – but on the plus side – there is only  a two hour difference to the East Coast at this time of the year, so the jet lag wasn’t as bad as going to Europe. I fell instantly in Love with the City!

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Right now it is summer in Argentina – and the city is not only amazingly green …it is also purple as this tree, which I just learned from my friend Jane, is called Jacaranda Tree. And the one day it rained, the purple reflected on the streets ….did I say magical yet?

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I think “shabby chic” was the word I used most often while describing what I saw :) The city is full of beautiful but also decayed buildings and a huge amount of street art – which I will dedicate a whole extra blog post to (oh yeah- you thought you would be spared of this, didn’t you ? ;) )

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A former student of mine, Ceci and her husband Javier, were so wonderful to spent a day with us and show us around. It was so much fun! One of our stops was La Boca, a neighborhood in Buenos Aires. There are a couple of streets in the neighborhood that are well known for their colorful houses .

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I totally enjoyed – the colors – loooveee! And of course the Argentines are very proud of their pope.

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To not make this sound too romantic …this neighborhood is a very poor neighborhood and while there a two streets that are very touristy – which are the streets you should stick to on foot, it is pretty obvious that the colors and materials are not necessarily used as an artistic choice but rather to beautify what they have.

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Nonetheless my heart rate went a bit up upon those sights and I was craving a sketchbook!

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“Republica” La Boca is also very famous for it’s soccer team – to name only one famous player coming out of there: Diego Maradona.

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Javier is a fan of the rivaling team …so he wasn’t very comfortable in the area- LOL

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And of course what would be Argentina without Tango music and dance? Every time we took a cab with an older taxista, he had Tango playing …LOVE

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And here are Ceci and Javier! Thank you two so much for a wonderful day! You are amazing and I am happy for our friendship!

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I loved those floral paintings called Fileteado that you could spot on signs, or walls or busses all over the city.

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Now ….may I ask all vegetarians to skip this picture? This country is definitely a heaven for the Steak lover. As my husband puts it after a very popular German book “Meat is my vegetable” . I enjoyed it a lot, but I am also on a meat diet since back :)

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On Thursday we spent a couple hours downtown. This is the famous Casa Rosada, well …the back of it, which is most famous outside of Argentina, I guess, because of Eva Peron.

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We went to the Plaza de Mayo at around 3.30 pm , not being aware that every Thursday  around that time the Mothers and Grandmothers of the Disappeared march there. During the dictatorship in the 70s an estimate of 30,000 activists, students and journalists were “made to disappear” by the regime and the mothers of those children started marching in silent protest with the pictures of their children in front of the Casa Rosada every Thursday. I had just recently read and watched a documentary by the New York Times about the Grandmothers of the Plaza de Mayo and I was very very touched by this, it is very emotional. I recommend to watch it, but be aware it might make you cry as well!

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And even though this picture is a bit dark …can you count the lines of cars? I counted 13 lines while trying to get over the street before the light turned red – no island in the middle – just saying – and this is just in one direction. So believe me, when I say the streets in Buenos Aires are wide …although this one was by far the widest, I have seen :)

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And how about Thanksgiving? We spent Thanksgiving with loads of friends from the States and from Argentina and managed to create a decent ….kind of ….Thanksgiving dinner for our argentine friends …instead of Turkey we had 3 pre-roasted chicken, the stuffing had a little south-american twist, mashed potatoes and pumpkin pies (yeah for pie filling cans ;) ) as well as cornbread. There was a lot of singing , guitar playing and eating …and as you see even a little sign for everyone to add their thankful thoughts too. A Thanksgiving that I won’t forget- it was amazing!!!

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There is more coming …but I think you need a little break :) Have a gorgeous day my friends – hope the pictures did inspire you a little bit!

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Inspired by Chicago Architecture

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As you might know, a couple of weeks ago, I meet some dear old friends in Chicago and we had a fun weekend. One of the repeated recommendations to do in Chicago had been the Architecture River Cruise and since this is one of the few “touristy” things that even my friend A. who lives in Chicago loves – we were in!

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It was pretty pretty awesome! I am interested in architecture but there is a lot of mid century and more modern building where I am a bit at loss as to the initial appeal. Hearing a lot of background motivations and ideas for buildings was a total eyeopener. It started with this building which was in my “love it without much explanation” range. The Wrigley Building built in 1924 shining in it’s white terra cotta facade inspired by Seville’s Cathedral.

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333 West Wacker built in 1983 – I love the reflection and the fact that the curved facade is mimicking the curve of the river as well as it’s color. That I can see and it made me kind of like it more :)

 

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Chicago Avenue Bridge Tender House- can I have my art studio in there? Love this!!!

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One of the many draw bridges

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Lake Point Tower – 1968 – by John Heinrich and George Schipporeit, two students of Mies van der Rohe. It looks elegant with it’s curves. It probably has the most stunning views in all directions -but I still wouldn’t wanna live there, I think.

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Marina City 1967 – by Goldberg (another Mies van der Rohe student) who believed since no right angles exist in nature, none should exist in architecture. I looked at some floor plans of those corncobs and found them super intriguing. Think living in flower petals.

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Finished in the 80s is this River City building also by Goldberg. While I found the windows fascinating and they reminded me of some Gaudi buildings in Barcelona – this one looked like a nightmare to live in especially upon coming closer with the boat. I don’t know – but the shapes – intriguing again and inspiring.

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Gorgeous reflection – I would love to paint this!

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And more gorgeous reflections- the reflection that changes everyday is making the building interesting for me.

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This was actually the view from our hotel room.

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After the river tour we walked to The Rookery 1888/1907  – Frank Lloyd Wright – which was unfortunately closed already -but boy did I love all the details on the facade. It contains decorative elements reminiscent of late Roman, Venetian, Moorish and medieval-European architecture

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Stunning!

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I see border stamps ….

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This building is the Chicago Board of Trade – 1930 – a breathtaking art deco building which makes me think of old Chicago Gangster Movies and Gotham City :)

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My favorite door – can I take this home, please?

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And the famous Chicago Theatre built in 1921.

All in all I felt pretty inspired by the architecture of Chicago – the shapes, patterns, reflections and I am sure some of them will move into future artwork :) Time to get into the studio. I hope you enjoyed the little tour. Have a gorgeous day!

 

P.S.

My friend Julie Fei Fan Balzer and her Mom and I had a conversation about

At the Museum With a Friend

tune in and listen to the podcast –

I hope you enjoy it. Do you like going to a museum with a friend?

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Recap of the Jersey City Art & Studio Tour 2015

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At the beginning of this month the Jersey City Art & Studio Tour 2015with over 1000 Artists and 200+ Art Events took place. It is an amazing event and a token of how many amazingly creative and talented artists live in this city.

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This year my artwork was shown in my friend’s Lori and Julia’s Interior Decoration Studio and Antique & Home Goods shop : Beekman Lane . I love this shop and have bought many wonderful pieces in there plus …it has become a sort of a neighborhood living room and a lot of new friends I made since I am living in Jersey City, I made in this shop.

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We loved how well my artwork and the goodies at Beekman Lane looked together and we had a wonderful time meeting a lot of people during the 2 day show.

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It was wonderful to talk to people about the artwork, what they see or how they feel about it and also about living in Jersey City.

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Selling a couple of my favorite pieces and knowing that they go to loving homes and interesting people was amazing too. It is kind of like giving up your children (well ok…that might be exaggerating but …mhhh- you get the idea ;) )

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I think this mirror-bench should be called selfie bench ;)

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The star of the show was definitely Winnie <3

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We had too much fun as you can see: The photo below makes me laugh senseless ;)

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99 Cent Dream found a great display place in the shop too , I love how it looks on the grey wall.

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We also had fun decorating the window with artwork on a beautiful art deco Wakefield desk.

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Chicpea JC wrote a great recap of the event, having a lot of her contributors out on the streets to check out the different art locations and artists. I was stoked that Erin came by and chatted with me and wrote a little bit about my artwork in the blogpost.

And because it was all so much fun and we had such a great time …Beekman Lane and I decided we will be part of ARTober JC – Downtown and have the show open on October Thursday 29 and Friday 30th from 2pm – 8pm. Come by if you are in the area to see some art, some fun decoration and antique stuff, chat with us and snack and have a drink :)

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Jersey City Art & Studio Tour 2015, Oct. 3rd&4th

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If you are in the area, I would like to invite you to visit one of my favorite stores in Jersey City – Beekman Lane on Jersey Ave next weekend. Julia and Lori are having my artwork inspired by Jersey City in their store as part of the Jersey City Art & Studio Tour.  You can find the whole map and all stops for this event here – we are Number 31 on the Downtown listing.

It is a pretty amazing event that is worth a visit, there is so much insanely great artwork and talent in this city, that I hope you plan to explore and I would be stoked if you would include me on your art-tour :)
Have a wonderful week

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Nah No Worries My Friends …or NYC Adventures

I got some questions if I am alright as I have been neglecting my blog a bit – Nahhhh, no worries my friends – I am well off.  I am just scrambling right now with time! The last couple weeks I have been doing a lot in NYC and there was just not enough hours in the day to get everything and blogging done :) I’m just keeping it 100!

I spent some time at Pratt Institute to prepare things for my workshop and took dorky pictures at  The InkPad later ….but hey …I think my high school art teacher would faint if she could see this – LOL

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I had amazing students and I loved the room I am teaching in too …and btw …I got a locker for my supplies – YEAH- hahahaha- I know, crazy Europeans …get excited over lockers ;)

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The other reason I spent loads of time in NYC …particularly at MoMA, was that I took a four week long class on Cubism there. Corey d’Augustine was the Instructor and as the classes I had taken with him in the past, this was awesome. I learned a lot.

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Here is Corey in front of Picasso’s Les Demoiselles d’Avignon showing some early signs of cubism and the influence of African Masks.

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One of the best things of the class was, that I could convince my friend Julie to join me …although she told me she “hates” cubism and if the class stinks she would “let me know” every single session. We are still good friends…so I think it wasn’t that bad for her- LOL

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The most amazing thing about these classes is, that you are with about 5 people alone in the evening in the gallery – you can see paintings up close and without a crowd of people poking their cameras in front of you – love !!!

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Even on the flatest Cubist Paintings the brush strokes and hand of the artist are evident …makes me always super happy to see this!

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here a close up of Umberto Boccioni’s Dynamism of a Soccer Player. I definitely appreciated the return of color into Cubism – the super intellectual approach to Cubism is interesting and I appreciate it but it is not really my cup of tea

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Picasso’s Three Muscians make me happy :)

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and collage elements like in Kazimir Malevich’s Reservist of the First Devision.

While walking around I also took notice of those non-cubist paintings – which totally inspired me at home to take a different approach to a new urban painting- I will share later :)

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Paul Klee’s Pastorale (Rhythms) – the sgraffito …LOOOOOOOVEEEE

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Jean Dubuffet’s Building Facades – OMG – I wanted to touch it …so so cool – I didn’t …believe me…I would not want to be excluded coming back to MoMA- LOL- it is my second home ;)

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but seriously …look at that!!!

And then some wonderful friends from back “home” came to visit

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And it was wonderful to spent time with them and speak Denglish …that is what happens when you have English in your head and try to speak German ….the first three sentences are a weird mix – LOL. Miss my friends already.

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We went to ….MoMA – yep – I spare you with more MoMA pictures and walked from there to the Rockefeller Center and well…then just up ;) Nice view… I like that you can see Jersey City on the right corner :)

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After a stop for Korean BBQ in Korea town we passed the Flat Iron building and walked down to the Highline. It is fun to play tourist in NYC especially when the weather is so nice!

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I just love the Highline- yes it is crowded but the views and the different perspective of the city is just awesome.

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I loved this sculpture called “physical graffiti” by Damian Ortega which looked so cool against the wall.

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And this is the last picture …which is a pretty good one for a last picture of a post :)

Hope you had fun seeing what I was up to in the last weeks in the city …now …of for some studio time ! Have a gorgeous day you all!

 

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Back To School …or Printmaking Class

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I love teaching but I also love taking classes. When I saw that Bruno Nadalin was teaching an Introduction to Printmaking class here at the Jersey City Art School and it did fit with my schedule, I signed up right away. 4 Thursday evenings – well spent :)

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We did Linocuts in elementary school and I have been interested in picking this up and incorporating it into my artwork for a while again- as stamp carving is all the craze right now – but for some odd reason, I needed an outside push to do so. And so the class came at a perfect timing. We started with basic shapes and patterns in linoleum and also rubber to get used to the tools and materials.

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I started playing with those two very simple cuts on the top and trying them out with all kinds of Acrylic Paint Mediums in my Art Journal but also as collage elements after printing.

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In the 2nd session we started cutting designs based on our own images. I started cutting linoleum and chose a painting of mine – On The Flip Side . I loved the result. While I was not happy with some areas and learned a lot about negative and positive space – I really loved the way how detailed the pattern can get on linoleum and how the prints come out.

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I was so inspired by the class, that I couldn’t stop thinking about designs, drawing up designs and carving like a maniac. As you can see I sticked to rubber though as this can be incorporated easier with the acrylics I use and also with the kind of art work I do usually.

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I went also through an even more insane phase of testing the carved stamps with different acrylic mediums – like printing with acrylic paints, and inks but also intermixing them – and had a blast :)

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In the 3rd sesssion we did something which is called “Reduction” Print, where you basically print in different colors layered on top of each other, altering your carving in between each printing process.

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The funny thing was that I was first a bit hesitant about this technique. WHAT – you make me do all the work in carving and then I have to change my carving and the piece is gone? Yeah- to all my students reading this – stop giggling- I know I know- I make you change your beloved layers all the time! But that is exactly why every teacher should take classes too – just to remember what it is like to be back in school ;)

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Anyway- I happened to LOVE this technique so much- cannot even tell you!

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I couldn’t stop

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And even at home I kept on going with the bird …getting smaller and smaller, experimenting with Monoprints/-types. Fun!

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The last session was all about printing and manifesting the things we learned. I wasn’t super productive and my wayyyyy to complicated design of another former painting of mine turned into a bit of an Jean-Michel Basquiat butchering attempt- LOL. Doesn’t matter- still had fun ;)

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Bruno was a great teacher and his prints and carvings on his website are extremely cool – so are his ink and pen paintings. If you are in the area I can really recommend taking a class from him!

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What I learned in this class:

  • Sometimes you really have to think through from beginning to end.
  • Taking a class can spark so much and give you new drive for your own artwork
  • It is ok to create a tool which is going to look different in about 5 minutes …change is good ;)
  • Although I really loved the prints with linoleum I found it extremely hard on my hands and I also had a hard time incorporating them in my own style of artwork at home
  • Rubber is less forgiving than Linoleum
  • A rubber brayer needs care when used in printing
  • It’s just rubber … ;)
  • Which brayer rollers for which methods and paint mediums work best

What I take away for the future:

  • I love incorporating my own paintings in a different way into other pieces of my artwork- I want to do this more often.
  • I love the look of hand carved lines and patterns in prints that I tear up and then use as collage pieces.
  • Do not get too complicated too early- practicing is key – do as you tell your own students- LOL

 

Hope you enjoyed this little Back To School post – there will be a new one coming soon :) Guess what …I am taking another class starting this week. More later ;)

Have a great start into your week!

 

 

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