Stroll Through The Hood

Stroll Through the Hood – September 2018

Time for a Stroll Through the Hood . Strolls through my hood get me out of my studio, they help me unstuck and often I get inspired by what I see and to get new ideas to create something. It is part of my philosophy about Artful Adventures in Mixed Media – which is the subject of my book. Here are some photos that I gathered in the last couple weeks.

Enjoying the gorgeous light and skylights in the evening while sitting on the deck – we love eating outside and do so almost everyday for dinner when weather allows.

Some fun little dog hedges I saw when walking through the hood.

I love brick – there is something so cool and rough about it -but I also love how this old green sprinkler alarm looks on the brick wall. And the font mix is pretty pretty cool too.

The amazing boarded houses you discover while taking a bike tour through the city- such a pretty house – I wonder if it will ever restored or just torn down.

Also loved finding this old fashioned sign – so fun!

On the way home after a nice night out with my girlfriends.

The pedestrian area in Jersey City all painted for the Pride Week- so much fun!

Some people know Jersey City only from its most ugly side- the street to the Holland Tunnel to go into NYC …but at least there is a gigantic mural there now …a glimpse of color.

And sorry …LOL- cannot help myself – I have a hard time leaving the house lately because Bobby Pretzel (check him out on instagram) is just so adorable.


He loves to discover new places and play fetch – and makes me laugh a LOT :) Very inspiring. But I will be in trouble as soon as he can hop onto my workbench in the studio :)
That was it from the Hood – I hope you enjoyed it – see you next month

Comments (1)

  • Sue Clarke

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    Nat, you will need a plan for incorporating Bobby Pretzels’s paw prints onto your art. LOL

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This Too Shall Pass – Painting

Just finished this painting last week. This scene is inspired by the scene upon exiting the Grove Street PATH train station in my Jersey City hood.

Tidy rows of shops and apartment buildings set the stage for a massive Shepard Fairey mural titled “The Jersey City Wave”, striking a pose above the bustle of the town.

The meaning of the subject and title is up to the viewer to decide.

I used acrylic paint, ink, marker and graphite on this 10″x8″ canvas. “This too shall pass” is available  here and would love to find a loving home.

 

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Back to School: Watercolor Class at JCAS

Last Sunday was the last lesson of six in a Watercolor class with John Duval at the Jersey City Art School. As some of you might know I have taken two printmaking classes already there and I really love being able to do something different over several weeks, and just being able to walk there.

This was the first time I took a Sunday morning class and I have to say, despite my first hesitance of getting up early on a Sunday it was really awesome – having my friend Mary join helped ;)

What drew me in taking the class were several factors – I really suck in painting with watercolors and I love John’s loose expressionistic style depicting urban landscapes. Here are three gorgeous samples of John’s work- check out his website for more or follow him on instagram!

John started with explaining and showing the different applications of watercolor he uses for his watercolor paintings- from very wet application (wash), to medium wet and sticky watercolor application, to dry brush application.

He talked about the importance of planning a painting and how to not shift your plan. You can imagine that was a tough one for me ;)

Above one of my first attempts …gosh …sigh …but hey- it was fun and I learned a lot

One of my favorite aspects of the class was his usage of a limited color palette (yeah I know guys- awkward right?) and how to play with alternating warm and then cool colors and vice versa in the layers.

Me trying out the one tone approach – there are areas that I like and some I am like “WTH”?

I loved seeing his demos of painting from start to finish and talking through his process as well as how he chooses a subject to paint. At first I was really itchy to get back to the easel and paint myself, but I realized very soon that a lot of what he talked about and went through sticked in my head and was helpful for my own process. Very dear to my heart was his approach of not being afraid of changing up the scene so that it looks interesting or reflects how you feel rather than the actual depiction of the place.

John about to start after sketching a rough scene from a photo.

John’s finished piece piece from one of the demos- you can actually see a bit of the original photo on the left.

As we progressed in the class we picked our own images and I loved seeing what everyone was doing and talk through it.

I focused on the house and the water …as you can tell trees and foliage …not so much ;)

Love the beach scene of one of the fellow students- especially her shadows.

Such a great water texture here and I love the color scheme.

And I really loved the mood in this one- so gorgeous!

John is a great teacher, he is very good in explaining what he does and why he does it and he is good showing students why and where things work and where not. I loved taking a class from him and I will def. do so again …yes in watercolor —gasp ;)

If you are in the Jersey City – NYC area- take a class with John Duval – I am sure he sends out class informations through his newsletter !

What I learned in this class:

  • Watercolor is fun and sometimes you just need it to let it do it’s own thing
  • “Never say die until it’s dry” – John Duval – meaning once it is dry you cannot fix things so be quick
  • think about warm and cool colors more and how this can create visual interest and contrast
  • The watercolor consistency is defined by the water in the brush not on the palette – so don’t dip your paint brush all the time into the water (I only learned this so far in theory- still working on it)
  • Don’t give too much visual information – our little brains do a lot to fill in the gaps

What I take away for the future:

  • Why not add some “people” into a painting to make the scene more lively
  • Change scenes up – you can take a photo if you are going for reality
  • Have the wash or underpainting in my acrylic paintings look through a bit more often
  • Work with a limited color palette or even just one color and play with the tones, tints and shades for a study
  • Why not paint a bit more in watercolor – it is quick and it is just paper and I can actually only improve ;)

Comments (2)

  • Sue Clarke

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    What a fun post! I love the limited colors that you used in that first piece that you did (I do bet that it killed you to use limited colors).
    The beach piece is delightful.
    He really is talented and I just don’t know how artists can do so much with watercolors.

    Reply

    • Nathalie Kalbach

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      ha. you know me well -yes it was really challenging to only use a limited palate but it was really good to do so . :)

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Stroll Through the Hood – August 2018

Time for a Stroll Through the Hood . Strolls through my hood get me out of my studio, they help me unstuck and often I get inspired by what I see and to get new ideas to create something. It is part of my philosophy about Artful Adventures in Mixed Media – which is the subject of my book. Here are some photos that I gathered in the last couple weeks.

Well- first of all meet Bobby Pretzel- our new cat. Bobby is adorable and just 13 weeks old now -he also has his own instagram account @bobbypretzel . He is an awesome studio kitten, super cuddly, and very adventurous – makes me laugh – so that is good :)

What Niles thinks about this? “What the Fluff” sums it up – LOL. He is very curious, sniffs and plays with the kitten, they have also slept two time for five minutes cuddled together but most of the time Niles looks at me like he looks at this weird Marshmallow stuff in a jar.

I was out and about in the city last week – for a wedding of a very good friend of mine from Germany – and saw the fun mural above at the WTC station. Good, the area needed some color and I love the contrast.

Here is the gorgeous couple- so happy for them – they are adorable and it was a wonderful day! I still cannot believe how they managed in the clothing in this insane heat that day -I looked like a wet towel- they looked gorgeous!

Spent some nice time at DUMBO and took the ferry from DUMBO to 33rd street which was really nice – for 2.75 Dollars you have a cool ferry ride – on my list for future visitors.

I never saw the sign above – also kind of funky- LOL- two days later I saw an article with that sign in the New York Times and learned that “Brad’s Drink” as it was called first 120 years ago was advertised as a medicinal drink …go figure! LOL

Speaking of friends

I also got to spent some time with my wonderful friend Birgit Koopsen – who I was lucky to see twice during her family vacation in the States. I always love seeing her ! We took one photo together …guess we had too much fun to think about photos :)

Looking around at open houses is also super interesting and inspiring -love the old fire place and the grate – the pattern intrigues me but then of course also how original this is.

and be still my heart- look at the stenciling on the stairs – I am wondering where those designs came from and how common that was in the 1880s and a bit later -anyone has an idea?

Part of a back yard of a house- love the man made old wall – so cool!

Also getting around a lot to see more murals –

Always love Rubin415 geometric shapes but I also dig the colors he used here

and of course pixelpancho – fun!

Meanwhile Lady Liberty in our parking lot in front of the apartment building is still suffering -I hear you Lady- I am with you!

And someone tied up their lego dog in front of Hamilton Park.

I hope you enjoyed my monthly Stroll Through the Hood – I hope to see you next month again!

Comments (1)

  • Sue Clarke

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    Congrats and welcome to Bobby. Niles…be the big brother and try to be kind.
    The Lady Liberty is stunning yet so sad (reflecting towards concerns for many of us).

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Stroll Through The Hood – July 2018

Time for a Stroll Through the Hood . Strolls through my hood get me out of my studio, they help me unstuck and often I get inspired by what I see and to get new ideas to create something. It is part of my philosophy about Artful Adventures in Mixed Media – which is the subject of my book. Here are some photos that I gathered in the last couple weeks.

This above actually taken in NYC – love it! Love how the heart is part of the figure.

YESSS – thats what I say- LOL: Love the lettering and the colors inside the individual letters.

Van Hook Cheese – is one of my favorite stores in the hood …not only do they have delicious cheese – they also have always the best window display. Look at those painted houses made from cardboard – LOOOOOVEEEE

4th July Jersey City firework over the Hudson – pretty :)

Near the Holland Tunnel there are tons of murals -I don’t go there often with my bike but I had to run some errands at Home Depot and I took the time to check those out. I like the perspective here.

Dramatic. Still thinking what the reference might be. Any ideas?

Looking at Open Houses is interesting. This bathroom wallpaper was in a beautiful Brownstone which had a lot of time capsule features. I love the bright paisley (well…I wouldn’t in my bathroom hahahah) and the lamp is so cool- look at the pattern in it)

In my newly embroidered dress -in front of the pencil factory where I live. I love this little street, every time I go out of our building or come back I think about how cool it is that this is preserved.

This mural shows all kinds of known landmarks for Jersey City, the Colgate Clock, the Liberty State train station, the Mana Watertower, the Loew Theatre and more. Fun! Makes me want to grab my Stroll stamps.

And …I showed this before on my Instagram and FB – OMG – this painted wooden floor …my heart was going like a million beats a second LOOOOVEEE. Unfortunately the flooring didn’t justify the rest of the house…but hahahahaha almost ;)

Hope you enjoyed the Stroll Through the Hood-  join me next month again!

Comments (2)

  • Sue Clarke

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    Sounds like you’re house hunting Nat…have fun and don’t rush (find the most perfect place for you).
    Love the strolls photos as always. Not sure about that one with the two women, but my first impression was how the establishment has been holding Latinas down (not as many opportunities in employment and maybe even the immigration issues that are in the forefront these days)???

    Reply

    • Nathalie Kalbach

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      No rush at all Sue- I agree about the most perfect place :) But it is fun nonetheless to see all the different options.
      Interesting thought about the graffiti ! I should find out who made it and see if there is a connection.

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Stroll Through The Hood – June 2018

Time for a Stroll Through the Hood . Strolls through my hood get me out of my studio, they help me unstuck and often I get inspired by what I see and to get new ideas to create something. It is part of my philosophy about Artful Adventures in Mixed Media – which is the subject of my book. Here are some photos that I gathered in the last couple weeks.

Niles demanded that I post him as part of the Stroll through the hood…when he doesn’t just relax he is patrolling his hood a lot  LOL

Those amazing flowers “torch lilies”  were just in bloom in our Van Vorst Park. Kim and I got some lunch and sat in the park on this very beautiful day and it reminded me that I should take my sketchbook into the park and go there more often.

Bicycle Ride to Liberty State Park – Look at the best office view ever!

Oh brother…what can I say- LOL – someone is blocking my view of Manhattan but ok…laughing also triggers your creative muse ;)

Work on a new mural – I have to go back now that it is finished. I love watching murals in progress and man – just the scale is so insane!

We are scouting out some other neighborhoods in the city and there are so many more murals of course.

A new distillery opened – Corgi Distillery – hence the outside stenciling of their facilities -fun! I like the color scheme too.

Technically my hood- since it is only 15 mins away ;) Always amazing when you walk around in Manhattan and then you look up and you are like “oooooohhhhh” . Also …maybe that could be a scene for a painting. I am intrigued by it.

Hope you enjoyed strolling with me through my hood always fun to discover new things and this monthly blogpost actually also pushes me to look for new things and fun things :)

Comments (2)

  • Shasta

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    I haven’t heard of torch lilies but those are amazing! Thanks for the tour of your neighborhood!

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Stroll Through the Hood May 2018

Time for a Stroll Through the Hood . Strolls through my hood get me out of my studio, they help me unstuck and often I get inspired by what I see and to get new ideas to create something. It is part of my philosophy about Artful Adventures in Mixed Media – which is the subject of my book. Here are some photos that I gathered in the last couple weeks.

This view gets never old for me.

The inside of the Liberty State Train Station – I love the ironwork and woodwork

A different view of Lady Liberty

shown before but still always making me happy. It depicts many buildings I love and sketched – the Lady Liberty train station , the powerhouse…

Come on- that is the cutest free library EVER – in our Hamilton Park

So Van Vorst Park competes with some beautiful peonies :)

A little bit of progress in my studio reorganization – I moved the letterpress to the other side of the wall and arranged my stackable industrial drawer next to it , instead of on top of the letterpress.

new spray painted drain …interesting.

New hairdo …hey …you don’t see me much so I thought I sneak this one in ;)

And this is how I felt when I came from the vet – happy the cat was doing well ….kind of going nuts that the bill was crazy :) LOL.

Hope you enjoyed this little stroll through my hood – thank you for strolling along

Comments (2)

  • Sue Clarke

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    Love the ironwork also.
    Nice do and lighter color for a change. I want to do eggplant to dye my grays and maybe it will show up better than on my dark brown hair?
    Sewer drain painting…who does that? Gorgeous.
    Have a nice creative weekend Nat.

    Reply

    • Nathalie Kalbach

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      That sounds like a cool color choice- go and try it! Have a wonderful creative rest of the week , Sue!

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Stroll Through The Hood – April 2018

Time for a Stroll Through the Hood . Strolls through my hood get me out of my studio, they help me unstuck and often I get inspired by what I see and to get new ideas to create something. It is part of my philosophy about Artful Adventures in Mixed Media – which is the subject of my book. Here are some photos that I gathered in the last couple weeks.

What a weird snowy April this has been – but oh well …I still managed to get outside ;) Love the new paste up by Dylon Egon

And those spray painted flowers by Emilio Florentine

Always love the geometric shapes of Rubin415

And this skull was new to me as well by K-Nor.

And aren’t those little flowers pretty!!!? It is funny- I saw the for the first time in Japan and I thought it was a plant only there- but then …boom – right around the corner of our house – they were “looking” at me

Drunk a lot of Genmaicha,  which is a Japanese tea consisting of green tea combined with roasted popped brown rice ..and snacked on those pretty delicious lemon cookies Kim brought me. Live is good and inspiring :)

Hope you enjoyed the stroll – see you for the next one soon.

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Back to School: Drypoint Etching at JCAS

This winter I took a drypoint etching class with Bruno Nadalin, a fellow Jersey City artist at the Jersey City Art School. I have taken a Linocut Class with him before and he is an amazing teacher, so I knew it would be good. And I wasn’t disappointed. The class with 6 x 3hour lessons  was AWESOME.

In this class we did drypoint on acetate/plexi plates. Using a sharp needle and/or other tools you scratch an image into the plate. The plate above is the one I did in the first lesson after we practiced with some different applications and tools

The plate then is getting inked up and then the ink is wiped off again – the ink remains in the creases of your etching and that is where the magic happens.

Here is Bruno putting a sample onto the printing press at the JCAS.

and here is his amazing sample coming out of the press!

Above is the very first print I did with that plate.

For the second one I applied a bit of color to the jumper.

In the second lesson, Bruno showed us how to make multicolor prints with the technique called a la poupee.

And below is his sample

I started with a new plate which I had prepared at home- see I just couldn’t stop scratching at home- LOL

And here is the second one with the powerhouse – some of you might recognize this building :)

The third print came out the way I envisioned – I really love it. As Bruno says it is all in the wiping. Making the plates is actually not the work load, it is inking those plates up and then wiping them down again that makes up most of the technique and time.

The print above was an experiment. I did some mono prints at home with Akua Inks which I always wanted to try out on a gel plate and I used this interesting paper which I had gotten at a convention many years ago. It is made out of plastic but feels like cloth. I printed on top of the mono print and I really like the outcome.

Here is a another plate I made in different stages – a part of the factory building I live in.

Isn’t it cool how different the images look and the mood they convey based on the inking? So cool to experiment with that.

Here are a couple prints from the students in the class.

I don’t want to bore you , but here are a couple more- the Flatiron Building – as you know it is a reoccurring image in my work, so of course I had to make a plate with it as well.

And then some prints from the last lesson where we did some two plate printing. Basically you create a mono type and then print on top of it – there are different ways to approach this of course.

First one above as you can see I didn’t wipe that well – but I still love how the colors came out

Here I had way too much ink on the first plate so I didn’t print the second plate on top, but I actually love it as it is. I kept it and might do something else to it later – I will see.

Here is the second try – less ink now- basically the ghost print of plate one and now with the second plate printed on top.

Another one – I like that one a lot.

And last but not least one where I used once again one of those mono prints I did at home – the cloth-like paper had the ink of the skyline bleed a bit – I love this.

What I learned in this class:

  • It was first a bit hard for me to think I would not be able to do this all the time at home without a printing press but then that made me more focused and prepared for the lessons
  • The application of the ink and the wiping was a technique and whole process on it’s own and what a fascinating one it is
  • I loved the different ways one plate could be treated for different prints
  • I love the little time span where you just don’t know what is coming out of your press – when you lift up your print and see what happened. It reminded me of going to the photolab to finally get the vacation photos and seeing them for the first time.
  • There are art forms you just cannot get away with not being clean and organized …clean your space, clean your hands, clean the plates, clean the press …so much cleaning. LOL
  • I loved combining mono types with this class
  • There is only a certain amount of prints you can use the plates, and then that is it forever

What I take away for the future:

  • JCAS has print parties where you can use the printing press for a small fee- I def. will make up some new plates and join in the future to make some more prints
  • A way to take some of the mono prints on the gelli plate further – I want to explore this more
  • I enjoyed taking a class even though it was sometimes tough to go for 3 hours after a whole day of work- I need to do this more often again
  • I loved the pace of the class, I think I sometimes pack too much in my own classes and forget that it is also great for the students to just explore what they learned for a bit. Of course that is easier to do when you have a class that spans over several weeks but I def. look for a way to think about this in my multi-day-classes.

 

If you are in the area, I highly recommend taking a class with Bruno Nadalin or a class at the Jersey City Art School– it is a great place and they offer a lot of fun and different workshops and art events.

 

Comments (5)

  • Jill McDowell

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    Nat, love seeing your class and your prints. They look awesome. I know what you mean about wiping the plates. It takes a long time to get to know them. And keeping clean is definitely an issue. But it’s so worth it when you pick up the felts, see that lovely embossing on the back, and then reveal the print. Glad you had a good time. I’ve signed up for the spring Printmaking class at Creative Arts Workshop in New Haven. It’s addictive. 😎

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  • Bruno

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    I’m so happy you enjoyed the class, Nathalie! It was great having you as a student again :)
    I really like reading your thoughts on your work. I find I often move so fast through things I don’t take the time to reflect on what I’ve done, so it’s good to be reminded about how important that is. I also like your 4th observation about the time span when you’re waiting for the print to be revealed. That little surprise is what makes it fun!

    Reply

    • Nathalie Kalbach

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      It was fantastic- you are really an amazing artist and teacher! It is always a huge booster in inspiration for me to take a class with you and I learn so much – plus you are the most patient person even when we are super messy and can’t stop giggling about a la poupee ;) Cannot wait for a new class with you in the future.

      Reply

  • Clavell

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    These are incredible!…fascinating! I hope some of these find themselves FRAMED and HUNG on your walls! They are wonderful pieces of art! ♥

    Reply

    • Nathalie Kalbach

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      Awe thank you Clavell! Yeah- I started matting some of them and some of my friends are already in line for some- so I am super stoked that they are finding some nice homes :)

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