Creative Squad

Currently Digging – Creative Squad Edition with Tania Ahmed

It’s time for a special edition of Currently Digging – with my Creative Squad! Once in a while I like to share with you some nifty finds – like an Artist whose work caught my eye…, some Inspiration that got my creative juices flowing, and Tools & Techniques I am currently digging. Today I asked Tania Ahmed from my Creative Squad what SHE is Currently Digging :) Hope you enjoy this.


Vincent Van Gogh – I am practising drawing and sketching more these days, I have had a mental block for a very long time where a voice in my head said “I can’t draw” … now I am telling that voice, “But I can try!” :) So I have been making sketches, taking classes and filling many many notebooks with paintings and scribbles. At the moment I am practising abstract flowers and I particularly fascinated especially by Van Gogh’s sunflowers. I love sunflowers as they are unabashedly flamboyant and I can’t help but be cheered up by them. I now grow them every year in my garden because they are so easy to take care of!  

Netflix Documentary: The 100 Years Show
“You cannot talk about art. You have to art about art.”
On the other side of the spectrum I have been fascinated by the works of Carmen Herrera who is described to be a “minimalist visual artist.” A trained architect, her work is a vision of bright colours and bold geometric shapes who was finally recognised by the art world at the age of 89. As much as I love the chaos of sketching and drawing, there is a part of me that is drawn to stark geometry and order in art. The documentary is very short, only 30 minutes and well worth a watch. 

Artist Carmen Herrera in front of some of her paintings. Credit: Matthew Carasella

(image credit: https://www.ft.com/content/60dbd808-8499-11e6-8897-2359a58ac7a5)

Stabilo Woody Pencils – In my quest to sketch and draw more, I am exploring new mediums too! I have been eyeing the Woody Pencils over the years and always wondered if I really needed them considering I have a myriad of other amazing supplies at my disposal. Recently to treat myself, I got them and have not stopped using them! I now keep a few supplies as we travel a lot during weekends in my “entertainment bag” as my husband calls it, haha! These will definitely go traveling with me as they are watersoluble and the surprisingly quite pigmented. Perfect for quick sketches and art journal pages. 


Thank you Tania! Stay tuned for the next Currently Digging Creative Squad edition for more from our other members :)

Leave a comment

Currently Digging – Creative Squad Edition with Coordinator Kim Bricker

It’s time for a special edition of Currently Digging – with my Creative Squad! Once in a while I like to share with you some nifty finds – like an Artist whose work caught my eye…, some Inspiration that got my creative juices flowing, and Tools & Techniques I am currently digging. Today I asked Kim Bricker, the Coordinator of my Creative Squad what SHE is Currently Digging :) Hope you enjoy this.


Noriko Saito – I’ve been digging this artist for about a year now after seeing her work at an art fair. Her etchings just make me happy – the quirky animals, the bold pops of color, the variety of lines. It feels fun and childlike in a really authentic way.

Springtime in the Garden – I live in an apartment so my garden is a plot in the local community garden. I’ve had it for over 10 years now and although it is very tiny, it becomes a big part of my life every Spring. The miracle of seeds sprouting and turning into big bushy plants never gets old.

The Gym! – OK now that you’ve stopped rolling your eyes, hear me out: I recently started going to the gym again with Nat and I really haven’t felt this positive and energetic in a loooong time. It has helped me relax at the end of the day, sleep better, and actually focus when I need to be productive. I’m beginning to think what they say about exercise might be true: It’s good for you. And not just the obvious body part, but mentally and even creatively it can be a pretty great tool.


Thank you Kim! Stay tuned for the next Currently Digging Creative Squad edition for more from our other members :)

Leave a comment

Currently Digging – Creative Squad Edition with Josefine Fouarge

It’s time for a special edition of Currently Digging – with my Creative Squad! Once in a while I like to share with you some nifty finds – like an Artist whose work caught my eye…, some Inspiration that got my creative juices flowing, and Tools & Techniques I am currently digging. Today we asked Josefine Fouarge from my Creative Squad what SHE is Currently Digging :) Hope you enjoy this.


Yayoi Kusama’s polka dot pumpkins are breathtaking and it gets even better when you look at them as part of her mirror room exhibition. Hundreds and hundreds of them, just mesmerizing. Some of her other pieces include huge murals that are full of texture and spikes in all sorts of shapes and sizes.

Religions based on nature: Paganism, Druidism, Voodoo, Wicca are some examples of nature-worshipping religion. I enjoy all the iconology of these religions, scanning through books that describe them, the style they are published in, etc. The images are usually eerie and full of meaning. You can look at them for a long time and always find something new. The way things are arranged on i.e. tarot cards inspire me to let my creativity flow and do what it wants to.

Torch Enamel: I just recently heard about torch enameling and was immediately hooked. I love trying new things – from blacksmithing to glass blowing – and always try to think about how to combine it with my art. Torch enameling seems to be a little bit of both worlds and it’s easy to play with the glass powder on smaller surfaces, even using existing supplies like stencils.


Thank you Josefine! I hope you all enjoyed hearing a bit more about what inspires Josefine as an artist. Stay tuned for the next Currently Digging Creative Squad edition for more from our other members :)

Leave a comment

Currently Digging – Creative Squad Edition with Maura Hibbitts

It’s time for a special edition of Currently Digging – with my Creative Squad! Once in a while I like to share with you some nifty finds – like an Artist who’s work caught my eye…, some Inspiration that got my creative juices flowing, and Tools & Techniques I am currently digging. Today we asked Maura Hibbitts from my Creative Squad what SHE is Currently Digging :) Hope you enjoy this.


Sveta Dorosheva – I’ve been fascinated with Sveta’s illustrations since receiving her book “The Land of Stone Flowers” for Christmas. I love her imaginative approach to art and storytelling, and the wonderfully intricate designs she creates. I am drawn back to the images repeatedly and each time I discover something new, which fires my imagination.

Natural Patterns and Colors – I am always looking at the world around me for inspiration, and lately I’ve been drawn to patterns in nature. Frost and ice designs, shadows on the snow, clouds passing overhead have their own intricate designs to share. Recently though, I headed to sunny Florida, and started observing patterns in sand, rocks and shells on the beach (and in shops). I am amazed at the beautiful patterns created by nature.

Gel Plate – I find myself frequently reaching for the gel plate when I am working on projects. Not only do I like to use it to create my own prints and papers, but it also makes a great surface to stamp into as well as pick up paint on a stamp. Nathalie’s Art Foamies work really well with this technique.


Thank you Maura! I hope you all enjoyed hearing a bit more about what inspires Maura as an artist. Stay tuned for the next Currently Digging Creative Squad edition for more from our other members :)

Leave a comment

Currently Digging – Creative Squad Edition with Jennifer Gallagher

It’s time for a special edition of Currently Digging – with my Creative Squad! Once in a while I like to share with you some nifty finds – like an Artist who’s work caught my eye…, some Inspiration that got my creative juices flowing, and Tools & Techniques I am currently digging. Today we asked Jennifer Gallagher from my Creative Squad what SHE is Currently Digging :) Hope you enjoy this.


Nat often shares with us current inspirations, artists of interest, and new things she has discovered. In that spirit, I am excited to share with you a few things I am currently “digging”.

First, I’d like to introduce an artist, local to my community, that I am very inspired by. His name is Aaron Dennison. I recently had the pleasure of meeting Aaron and viewing his work at a local art show. His pieces speak to his passion of creative reuse, many of which include bold and expressive illustrations on wood mountings or upcycled assemblages. Each and every piece tells a compelling story. Visit www.aarondennison.com to see more of his work.

Photo Credit: www.aarondennison.com

 

I am a huge fan of indigenous art from cultures around the world. lately, I’ve been very inspired by aboriginal art. It differs in style, depending upon which region of Australia the artist is from, and it is centered around storytelling. Their stories are portrayed by symbols throughout their artwork. There is something about this type of art that speaks to me as an artist. Each painting is telling a story that has been passed down through generations. Visit www.aboriginalart.com.au to learn more.

Photo Credit “Papunya Tjupi Arts” at www.tjupiarts.com.au

 

Having been so inspired by the art of the aboriginal people, I recently purchased a set of dotting tools. These acrylic rods, available in a variety of sizes, are perfect for dipping in acrylic paint. Their smooth surface is easy to clean and paints perfect round dots.


Thank you Jennifer! I hope you all enjoyed hearing a bit more about what inspires Jennifer as an artist. Stay tuned for the next Currently Digging Creative Squad edition for more from our other members :)

Leave a comment

Currently Digging – Holiday Edition Wish List December 2018 AIT

Once in a while I thought I would share with you some nifty finds that have caught my eye or got my creative juices flowing, and products I am currently digging. And since it is the Holiday Season this is the perfect time to have for you an ultimate list of cool stuff for the holidays. Maybe you add this stuff to your list for Santa or you block out some time to check out an inspiring movie or book. I love everything on this list and I hope you do too!

 

I just watched this documentary about Beltracchi, a German master forger on Netflix. Beltracchi, together with his wife Helene, sold forgeries of original works by famous artists, including Max Ernst, Heinrich Campendonk, Fernand Léger and Kees van Dongen. What I find interesting is the way how he was able to fool the art work. Rather than copying existing works, he made new paintings in the style of particular artists, creating the illusion of important and logical historical finds. I found this documentary interesting and even if I do not approve of forgery – I found it fascinating how he was able to create paintings so close to those painters’ style but creating something new.

A Model for Matisse is a documentary I watched a while ago and I still think about once in a while. “In 1941, Sister Jacques-Marie – then Monique Bourgeois – was a 21-year-old nursing student and amateur artist living in Nice. She answered an ad placed by Matisse seeking “a young and pretty night nurse,” and from this humble beginning a beautiful friendship developed. This lovely film documents the story’s personal and historic aspects, presenting Matisse’s never-before filmed hand-painted gouaches and fabrics as well as a rich collection of photographs and archival footage of the aged Matisse working on the Chapel’s ceramics.”

 

Finding Vivian Maier – another documentary on Netflix. Ever since I read a news article about her a couple years ago, I wanted to watch this movie and I loved it. “Now considered one of the 20th century’s greatest street photographers, Vivian Maier spent her life as a nanny, secretly taking over 100,000 photographs. Hidden during her lifetime, Maier’s work was discovered by pure chance when amateur historian John Maloof ended up with a stash of her photos at an auction. Fascinated, he searched for more—and for the story behind the woman. Now, this unsung art- ist’s strange and riveting life and work are revealed through never-before-seen photographs, films and interviews with dozens who thought they knew her.”

 

 

Belonging- A German Reckons with History and Home by Nora Krug – totally hit home with me. The author, who is about the same age as I am moved to the U.S. after growing up in Germany and asking the questions of Germany’s past and how our own family was involved in this dark and horrible time of history. “In her late thirties, after twelve years in the US, Krug realizes that living abroad has only intensified her need to ask the questions she didn’t dare to as a child and young adult. Returning to Germany, she visits archives, conducts research, and interviews family members, uncovering in the process the stories of her maternal grandfather, a driving teacher in Karlsruhe during the war, and her father’s brother Franz-Karl, who died as a teenage SS soldier in Italy. Her extraordinary quest, spanning continents and generations, pieces together her family’s troubling story and reflects on what it means to be a German of her generation.” Just like Krug I did some research in my 30s and collected a lot of document and asked my relatives questions.

“Belonging wrestles with the idea of Heimat, the German word for the place that first forms us, where the sensibilities and identity of one generation pass on to the next. In this highly inventive visual memoir—equal parts graphic novel, family scrapbook, and investigative narrative—Nora Krug draws on letters, archival material, flea market finds, and photographs to attempt to understand what it means to belong to one’s country and one’s family. A wholly original record of a German woman’s struggle with the weight of catastrophic history, Belonging is also a reflection on the responsibility that we all have as inheritors of our countries’ pasts.” And so I might add our responsibility to make sure that something like this never happens again!

 A Place For Us  by Fatima Farheen Mirza is hands down my favorite book of 2018 – the one I cried while reading and held my breath! It is the story of a family, about immigration, misunderstandings, unsaid things that should have been said and said things that should have been unsaid in a family.

 

My friends at Liquitex sent me the Primary set of their new Acrylic Gouache to try out and I loved playing with it. You know I am a sucker for new art materials especially when they are new paint mediums. These paints are neither really acrylic paints nor real gouache and there is a bit of a curve to get used to them. You have to really treat them as a brand new paint medium in your stash. They dry super fast, why makes them great to use on paper but a bit tough to use on foam stamps for example. They are super matte which makes them great to use in an art journal with an unbelievable vibrancy through their rich pigments which matte acrylic paints often lack.  I also love the new packaging with a nozzle which Liquitex now introduced also to their Soft Body Paints (you can keep those apart as the SB Paint has a white cap).

 

I couldn’t resist to buy the Florescent Acrylic Gouache Set which I love even more – the colors are screamingly awesome. I still have to play more with those paints to give a total review about them but I can say that they def. are not going to replace my acrylic paint- they are a fun addition in my paint stash and if you are like me in love with color and trying out new things- I recommend putting it on your wish list :)

 

RubberMoon came out a while ago with new ink pads called Moonlight Duo which have a divided ink pad – the color aka Hue and then a white pad which gives you the opportunity to create tints. The White pad itself is amazing to use on it’s own by the way and once the ink is dried it is permanent. I absolutely love the new fall colors as you can see them on top – a wonderful way to create pattern and backgrounds with stamps and stencils using those inkpads. The Fall colors are Aurora Teal, Space Moos and Nebula Rust.

 

I bought a ton of the Itoya Doubelheader Calligraphy Pen in Japan and I am so happy they are available here as well. Most of my writing in my art journals is done nowadays with this pen. If you like thicker tipped pens with different options, that are a bit sturdy but still write smooth – I recommend putting this on your wish list …it is a good stocking stuffer :)

 

I hope you enjoyed the special Edition of Currently Digging. What should I put on my wishlist for the Holidays? Let me know your nifty finds this year in the comments- I would love to check them out …and maybe wish for ;)

Leave a comment

Currently Digging – November 2018 AIT

Once in a while I thought I would share with you some nifty finds – like an Artist who’s work caught my eye…, some Inspiration or the what, when and where that caught my eye and got my creative juices flowing, and Tools & Techniques I am currently digging like a new way to use a material or an application that I’m taking away. Hope you enjoy this.

Ok by now everyone has seen it- but hey- I need to say it again – BANKSY – come on – this is brilliant!

After the painting was auctioned at Christie’s it went to shred itself under the eyes of auctioneers and bidders – art history – boom

What do you think about it?

I loved reading this book by Brian Rutenberg: Clear Seeing Place.

Little nuggets of wisdom of his live as an artist. One of my favorite paragraph from the book:

“There is nothing more ancient and intimate than making a mark with your hand to show another human being. It says “Hey, I love you , and I made this for you to see.” Brian Rutenberg in Clear Seeing Place

I have mentioned those really cool Moonlight Duo Inkpads by Rubber Moon before- but …seriously – every time I use them I fall in love again

Those Inkpads come in gorgeous color with a split ink pad -one is the color you see and the other is white which lets you a) stamp in white and b) mix the white with the original color to create a tint. But wait …that is not all …it is also archival and waterproof once dried. Excuse me WHAT? Yes- you heard right.The ink is hybrid ink which is quick drying like a dye but with the permanence of a pigment. I love love love those- I am using them more and more and having a white ink pad that dries waterproof -best thing on top of it all. I just ordered their brand new colors and cannot wait to play with them.


What do you think of this month’s Currently Digging stuff?

Leave a comment

Currently Digging – October 2018 AIT

Once in a while I thought I would share with you some nifty finds – like an Artist who’s work caught my eye…, some Inspiration or the what, when and where that caught my eye and got my creative juices flowing, and Tools & Techniques I am currently digging like a new way to use a material or an application that I’m taking away. Hope you enjoy this.

Recently I saw the work of Swedish artist Hilma af Klint at the Whitney Museum and took notice of her unique style. She was painting abstractly before almost anyone else was and I was actually shocked by the dates on her paintings.

“Group IV, No 7. The Ten Largest, Adulthood”, 1907

“Primordial Chaos, No. 16, Group I”, 1906-7

I am looking forward to her upcoming show soon at MoMA to learn more. She was a pioneer in the art world and someone that I am excited to know more about.

This month my inspiration is… Building Cornices! Yup, the kind on houses and buildings :) I am always checking out the old buildings in my hood and noticing the architecture. I love the details and once you start looking up, you will see all the ways they topped them off way back when.

In my neighborhood green seems to be a popular paint color.

I am joining everyone who is already a fan of Stabilo Woody Pencils :) Recently I made a card using my new Central Ave stencil.

I used a wet brush to blend the colors.

I like the built up texture that they left behind and how easy it was to get different hues with just a few colors.

Also I’m discovering that they’re fun to use with foam and rubber stamps too, or just to scribble! Sometimes a chunky tool is just the thing you need to loosen up.

What do you think of this month’s Currently Digging stuff?

 

 

 

Comments (2)

  • Denise Spillane

    |

    Hi, you always inspire me and introduce me to new artists. I love your style and art

    Reply

    • Nathalie Kalbach

      |

      Awe- thank you Denise! thank you for being such a support – I always love “seeing” you :)

      Reply

Leave a comment

Currently Digging – September 2018 AIT

Once in a while I thought I would share with you some nifty finds – like an Artist who’s work caught my eye…, some Inspiration or the what, when and where that caught my eye and got my creative juices flowing, and Tools & Techniques I am currently digging like a new way to use a material or an application that I’m taking away. Hope you enjoy this.

In the book, I talk below as Inspiration, I was pointed to Ben Shahn.

“Liberation”

“Unemployment”

Illustrations above and below

I was especially curious to learn that Ben Shahn was a huge inspiration for Andy Warhol – and if you look at Warhols dotted line drawings you can actually see that. I always find it interesting to learn or see which other artist have been an inspiration for some well known artist.

I did enjoy reading “Old in Art School” by artist Nell Irvin Painter.

Painter, who is a Princeton historian, writes about her view and experience of going to art school at the age of 64 to become an artist. I enjoyed reading about her experiences in school, her challenges of seeing art with 20th century eyes and of letting go of the idea that if she follows her dream to be an artist, something she truly loves and wants to do, it doesn’t mean she has to be as good and successful in this new adventure as she was in her profession as an historian. “Old In Art School” challenges you to think about the role of race in the art world as well as the role of women but …on top of it all…the role of age as well. There were some areas in the book which I didn’t like that much as I felt she was getting a bit too much on about how accomplished and successful she is as an historian but I tried to get over that and also thought -well – why should she not brag about it, it is pretty cool. The book is a thought provoking read with passages that truly resonated as well with some references to artists which I enjoyed learning about.

A couple weeks ago I bought some new acrylic paint colors by Golden and I cannot get enough of them!

It is a pretty unusual color combo for me and yet I cannot stop using them:

You might recognize me using them in this art journal spread

and in this painting “Behind the Museum

and more…I love mixing them with other colors or making tints, tones and shades with them. Especially the Titan paints are a bit challenging but I enjoy just getting it to a point where I like the mixture. I think I would like to do this more often -going into the store to buy certain colors that look great as a palette and then just roll with it for a while and make a lot of stuff in the same scheme.

What do you think about these Currently Digging finds?

Leave a comment