Blog: Mixed Media Painting

Thinking about… Original Artwork

Guess what? I love artwork! Hahaha you knew that though, right? I like making it, looking at it, talking about it, reading about it, and yes I like collecting it too. I don’t really think of myself as an art collector, but if you walk around my home, I have a lot of stuff hanging on the walls and most of it is art that I really, really love. So I guess I’m an art collector :)

Some of the works I have are favorites that I’ve made and hesitate to part with just yet. Sometimes you make a piece that really has meaning or turned out so nicely that you might want to live with it for a while. I’ve got some of those. I also have a wall of work in my office that is a collection of pieces by friends. I’m so lucky to have met so many talented folks through the years and I love to have some of their work too. Also in there I have a wall of vintage photos from my relatives and I love looking at them and thinking about their lives long ago. And then I have paintings and works on paper that I’ve gotten from art shows and art fairs, where I met the artists right then and there and just fell in love with what they were doing.

Having original art pieces around the home inspires me and keeps me connected too – something made by the hands of another artist is just a really cool, and powerful human connection. And it might not be something that you’ve ever considered. Lots of folks think original artwork is not within their reach – it’s something you see at museums or in the homes of high society. I am here to tell you that’s not the case at all! As an artist I really want to have my work speak to people, people everywhere who would like to listen.

I haven’t been able to devote much time to creating artwork lately (visitors, online workshop duties, life etc), but I still do have pieces in my online shop that are waiting for just the right person to welcome them home. And that includes some Original Artwork at lots of different price points. Please read on:

Regeneration” is an original drypoint print of an historic building in Jersey City – the Powerhouse. It’s inked in a colorful mix of inks, matted and signed and just $50. I was thinking about this building again because it seems as though the mayor would like to give up on it and finally tear it down. What a loss that would be (it is a beautiful reminder of the industrial past downtown), but not super surprising considering the power that developers seem to have here.

Here is another version of that same drypoint print. Here “Regeneration” is hand printed in two tone, highlighting the masonry but also maybe hinting at the intensity of the discussion surrounding this building now.

Hope” is an original mixed media collage piece that is matted and framed and ready for your wall, and it’s just $55. You may recognize some of my rubber stamps in this one, along with my unique way of sketching the details in architecture. This is an original piece – no other will ever be like this one again and as a lover of art, that kind of thing makes me happy. You get some of me, a little bit of my own artistic madness, for your home (or office or studio etc).

Push & Pull” is an original painting on canvas that I have in my shop for $125. I love the layering in this piece and how the details of the Victorian home turned out. It is of course inspired by a home in my neighborhood, a place where the push and pull of gentrification is felt on every block. Here are a couple other views of this beauty:

I hope you take a look around in my online shop but also in the shops of other artists. Creating is a language and our way of communicating our thoughts, sharing, and discussing ideas. In the ideal world the resulting artwork realizes its full potential when it is viewed, considered and enjoyed by others – like YOU ;)

Here is a link to artwork in my shop.

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Gritty – New Painting

Gritty” is a new painting of mine that I’m happy to share with you today. The name refers to both a physical state AND a mental/emotional one, and is very appropriate for this piece that is a montage of buildings in my neighborhood in Jersey City.

As you know, the history of buildings and their occupants is a fascination of mine and drives a lot of my work on canvas. Sure I love the architecture of older buildings and all those cool design details, but learning the stories behind all that is what really inspires my artwork.

In this painting I used layering in the background with both patterns, letters and numbers to suggest the passage of time and the history that could be uncovered. It’s kind of misty and murky and you have to take some time looking to see everything that’s there.

Buildings come into focus like memories, some of the details are there but others fade out.

There’s a bit of heavy texture – grit – to the painting because hey, my neighborhood has grit, and the more I learn about it, the more I fall in love with the persistence of its residents, both past and present.

I hope you like taking a closer look and seeing how I look at my local environment :)

“Gritty” is available here in my shop. The painting measures 24″x36″ and is created using acrylic paint, acrylic ink, graphite, markers, gesso, and spray paint on canvas.

Comments (1)

  • Sue Clarke

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    Oh Nat, this is beautiful!
    The background pulled me in and I’m searching for the flowers, letters and details.
    It definitely makes me think of the layers of physical structures in your hood as well as the human stories that overlap.
    I enjoy making up life stories when I see places and people. I sometimes drive my hubby crazy when I share the story of the people eating at the table near us in a restaurant. Of course it’s my version of their life. I imagine it might be what writing a fictional book must be like.

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Carriage House Painting

Last fall, in the craziness of planning CJS22 and moving, I received a commission for a painting from a student who I have known for quite some time. Her niece was marrying and the painting was to be of couple’s lovely home, a wedding gift :) She provided images of the home and it happens to be right here in Jersey City, where I live. It’s a super charming carriage house, tucked behind other buildings, with all the historic details that as you know, are my jam.

I don’t usually do commissions but this was a special case that had enough connections and interest that I agreed. Commissions are tricky and I’ll admit that getting started was a bit harder than usual – I didn’t know the couple (or their style) and you can’t actually see the building from the street so I couldn’t spend time taking it in, in person. Also a wedding gift is important and all that wrapped my head up with some real trepidation.

But, as is my ethos, I knew I just had to jump in, and do my thing. After all, that is why I got the commission in the first place :) So I approached the project from the emotions and happiness that come from starting a new life together, in an adorable old house, an oasis in a busy city, and went with those feelings.

In the end I love the painting and the happy energy that it has, and it was also a good exercise for me to step a wee bit out of my comfort zone.

Comments (2)

  • Robin

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    Nat, such a joyful painting. They are lucky to have such a wonderful thoughtful gift!

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  • Sue Clarke

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    I love it (of course I love your style), and what a great wedding present for the happy couple!
    Good for you Nat…stepping out of your comfort zone.

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Another One For the Ledger

For over a year now I have been painting my Stroll Through the Hood buildings not only on canvas but also into an old ledger from 1840. It looks like the giant ledger book was used for tax collections of a ward and given that my paintings are about changes and gentrification – it makes sense to me. If I will ever be able to fill the book? I don*t know but here are some of the little paintings in the ledger so far which some of you might have seen already on instagram

In the beginning I would add a lot of background patterns to the pages. 

But then this became less and less until I wanted to have the ledger just show and speak for itself. 

Almost all of the paintings on canvas I did with those buildings are sold and I love that I have a little record of the paintings in my Stroll Through the Hood Ledger. 

They are also part of a story of what happened in the world – pandemic, social injustice, my thoughts- each building has it’s story in the past and the now but also the story of my story with them. Going through those paintings  tell the story of lots of emotions in the past year. 

What happens with this ledger if I ever fill it up? It is not even filled up all the way  in regards to the initial collection record – will I make it to the blank pages? I don*t know …it is not important …I really just enjoy my time in this magnificent book. 

And maybe in another 180 years someone else will find this book and use it for another purpose and story …that would be cool …there is comfort in the thought …it would mean this planet made it …and that’s the story of “Another one in the Ledger” …there you have it :) 

Comments (2)

  • Robin

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    This is such a fantastic blog. I loved reading about your ongoing journey with this ledger. It’s so cool you gave it another life and perhaps another will do the same. The paintings are so lovely too! Yay! ❤️

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  • Sue Clarke

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    I wonder how the paper will hold up for another 180 years?
    Such a wonderful collection in one book!
    And I love the idea of someone coming across it in the future and they will be thrilled and wonder about the story of a ledger that is so well painted and created.

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Corner Store – New Painting

Corner Store is a new small painting inspired by my Strolls Through the Hood.

Corner Stores and Bodegas are often a lifeline in our communities- there are many people that depend on them. Whether it be to get some small grocery items, the newspaper, a cup of coffee, have packages delivered there or a listening owner to the worries of someone who lives in the neighborhood they are essential to every city neighborhood.

This particular corner store used to be a bakery selling bread and rolls , what is it about corner businesses that offer the most essential items?

Corner Store measures 8×8 inches on canvas board and would love to find a new home !

Comments (2)

  • Sue Clarke

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    Love it!

    Reply

    • nathalie-kalbach

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      Thank you so much Sue – it feels good to finally be back a bit more to painting

      Reply

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The Lombard – New Painting

“The Lombard” is inspired by my Strolls through the Hood in Jersey City.

It shows a street view of the oldest pawn shop in NJ – H. Schoenberg, founded in 1895. I was thinking about how while this is type of business is a lifeline for folks, it also conjures sad feelings when I pass it and see the things in the window. So many complex stories and circumstances are in plain sight.

My overarching mood however is one of hope, and better times ahead, and hopefully the souls who visited the shop will be able to return once again and claim their instruments and heirloom jewelry as their own.

This original painting was made with spray paint, acrylic paint, gouache, ink, pencil, markers, pastel, and collage on canvas.

“The Lombard” is available in my Shop and would love to find a new home. 

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Up in the Hills – New Painting

“Up in the Hills” is a new painting inspired by my Strolls through the Hood in Jersey City.

Moore’s Place, a bar and jazz club run by Mrs. Ruth, has been here for over 60 years as part of the neighborhood, and now during the pandemic has become a special, magical space with live jazz music outside every weekend to soothe our souls.

The building itself used to have a different life long before the music arrived – there is still machinery in the basement.

I have yet to uncover the history of this building – one day I will ask Mrs Ruth, but right now I let her hustle and bustle around us lucky happy faces when we are here to listen to the music and see the people of the neighborhood, while eating Mrs Ruth delicious fish fry.

For this painting I used spray paint, acrylic paint, gouache, and markers on canvas. Give Moore’s Place a new home – and purchase it here in my storeedited: So stoked this painting found a new home at home here in Jersey City !!!

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Come, take a virtual stroll through the hood with me!

I thought you would like seeing the recording of my Jersey City Art and Studio Tour – A Stroll Through the Hood. Let me take you on a virtual stroll with some narrative and paintings in context.

Nathalie Kalbach – JCAST 2020 from Nathalie Kalbach on Vimeo.

It was a lot of fun putting it together- although making it work for 8 minutes was a tough one as you know – I am not good in keeping myself short LOL. Let me know what you think – I would love to hear from you!

Comments (2)

  • Susu Ko

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    Hi! Ich finde es super, wie du dich für die Geschichte deiner neuen Nachbarschaft interessierst! Und dein “kleines” Art Journal – ich wünschte, wir könnten hier auch an solche Schätze rankommen! Bis bald und alles Gute!

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Till the Curtain Comes Down – New Painting

“Till the Curtain Comes Down” is another painting on canvas inspired by my Strolls through the Hood in Jersey City . I love this beautiful brick building from 1887.

I used spray paint, acrylic paint, gouache, collage, wax bars, and markers. The house was built by a descendant of one of the oldest Dutch familes of Jersey City, Wilhelm Brinkerhoff. He was a state senator who died in 1931. After his death, the building was a christian mission with a radio station on the roof.

It has a bit of a Rapunzel Tower feel for me as the building is a little bit overgrown by plants and even though someone lives here it seems to be mysterious. I picked up some piano player roll paper and the first thing that happened was I saw the wording “till the curtain comes down” and that my friends is how the title was born ….I mean …it was just meant to be .

Till the Curtain comes down is looking for a new home. You can find it here. The canvas measures 10×10″.

Comments (1)

  • Christine Kiehl

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    WOW! This is truly amazing work!!! LOVE IT!

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