Sunday, November 12, 2017

this blog continues... at

I finally put a new version of my website together, it also includes a blog page.

If you browse to:

you arrive at a nicely sorted blog page with weekly entries.

See you over there :)

Tuesday, October 31, 2017

let's get overwhelmed: 2 radars, 2 art trips, un/noticed advice, light shadows, and: not really next station

"In the first weeks, you will be overwhelmed. And that's a good thing."

This is what one of our tutors stated at the introduction day of the art academy. That was 3 weeks ago. And since then, every week has a different, full and multifaceted vibe.

Right now, I work with several daily creative challenges / practises, to experiment and learn. There are the aquarelle sketches, the digital paintings, and there's photography. Plus: there's the 7 day black/white photo challenge.

In contrast to my own art/work, there are the art sessions, visiting exhibitions, and generally paying more attention to the perspectives new places hold. Like the unplanned, stunning moment above - looking up, and seeing a curl of multicolored October leaves right above me. All the things that are there, if only we noticed... :)

Here's a collage/screenshot from my Instagram account, and it's symbolic in various ways:

"Think of it as developing 2 radars", another tutor suggested. "One for all the art that you see, and one for your own inner space, your art/work." 

And so, each day currently has this touch of inner/outer journey. Even more so, when it's connected to a real trip. Like this week, when I took the s-train to Stuttgart, to join an exhbition to the “Wagenhallen”. It’s a container / art / atelier place. I have never been there. And learned about a new eco ticket while figuring out the route to take - one of the good side effects of going to new places.

In the train, this sign for the upcoming next station felt like the sign for these days: "Nächste Station:"

And so, here a few of the "next stations", the ones that stood out for me:

The Wagenhallen, it's a real building with artist studios, which is currently under reconstruction. So the artists suggested to move into temporary housing: containers, in a self-organized settlement on the area There are now about 50 different artists / djs / architects working there. 

Our tutor has his atelier/container there, too, and wanted us to see the place, and meet one of the resident artists: Gabriela Oberkofler is rather established already, and grew up on an Austrian alp farm, an “Alm”. Her work is about human life / nature life balance. It was so inspiring to meet her, and learn from her. Here’s herwebsite with photos from her temporary home - which is much more than a container. She created a work/meet/studio/place with alp farm touch, chicks included.

One of our group asked her how she finds the energy for all this, for her work and her projects and organizing art meet-ups and all. Our advice for us was:

"Find the theme that you really care about, and stand for, the theme you want to explore and express in your art. And then, for times, give it all you got. And at the same time, find the people who can support you, and learn to apply for funding, to get organized. Half your work as arist will be about organizing." 

A next station: the photo course

The photo class yesterday was more like a lecture this time, about a season of photography, focusing on American photographers who influenced the way of taking photos: Robert Frank, Diane Arbus, Ed Ruscha, Stephen Shore...

Their focus was on documenting everyday life, moments encountered on the street or on the road, without the motivation to change society, but simply to see and admire life in all its facets.

I hadn't known this, but there are youtube channels of people who just browse through books, they call it "Have a nice book", and it works really well with a beamer. Here's "Uncommmon Places".


Another next station: aquarelle practice

Some days ago, I bought a new aquarelle brush, and tried it with a rabbit aquarelle, to find: yes, it really makes a difference. Plus, it was a day of good flow. And so the rabbit currently is my insta post with the most likes. There were also some aquarelles that didn't work out, but that is part of learning. 


Photo Biennale 

The week also brought a special highlight: there's a photo biennale happening right now, and we went to visit it on Saturday. The biennale consists of 8 exhibitions in 3 cities (Mannheim + Heidelberg + Ludwigshafen), with different themes.

Some works are really playful, experimenting with the medium photography - one was an installation from Olafur Eliasson, a set of lights, and when the visitor walk through the room, it creates multi-shadows on the wall:

Others were political, about the current migration/refugee situation. And some were really old, from photo archives. Like, when they experimented with night sky star maps, in 1903.  Another one was a project with family photo albums from workers who migrated to Germany in the 60ies. And there were new experiments, like Barbara Probst's  work from her "Exposure" series: simultanous photos of a scene from different perspectives:

The work was combined with a serial work from Ed Ruscha, "Every building on sunet strip" from '66. A work we had just talked about in the photo class, not knowing it would be presented at the Biennale. 

I put a youtube clip together with impressions: 



Actually, not really next stations  

Of course, there are all the other ongoing things, too - my freelance web work, my friends, my qui gong class, going for walks, the usual household chores etc etc. It's a lot, and yes, it's to some degree overwhelming, but it also is a precious phase, a time of new perspectives and encounters, and of different priorities. And the overlap of themes creates a different, larger flow. Actually, it's not really "next station - next station..", but more a weaving of web of themes, a long, ongoing and interconnected process of art themes, own work, exchanges, not single art times. 


Links + More:

For more about me, visit my webpage

For more tiny colourful moments, visit my instapage: lifeasjourney.

Currently participating in the #sevendayschallenge and skywatchfriday

Sunday, October 22, 2017

being a beginner again, aquarelle flow, a really huge page, and a 7 daychallenge

The theme of last week - which was the second week as guest student at the art academy - was: getting my feet wet, and moving into a first flow.

The October sun was welcoming, and framed almost each day with its touch of lightness. So the photo above is kind of symbolic for the week: standing at the edge of light and water. And then taking the next step. Like in the painting course. The first week was about getting to the know our tutor, and getting an idea of the upcoming themes and lessons, and the material we need, like: aquarelle colors and paper etc.

And now, we painted. starting with the basics. Which were mostly new for most of us, even though, like me, too, many of us have painted before, in experimental acryl or even in oil landscapes.

So here's my first aquarelle sketch - probably partly inspired by the river and the light of these days:

From the first exercises, we moved to: vegetables. The traditional starting objects.

At some point, a group formed around a table with our tutor, as he looked at work, and made a sample painting. He also gave a good advise:

"Keep your aquarelle colors in the kitchen, and try a sketch every day, just 5 minutes."

So that's what I am doing now. And indeed start to feel a bit more confident with each painting. The aubergine is from day 2, and the mushroom is from day 4 - it's all learning how to trust the lightness of the color, the way it shapes out when trying. 

It was such good advice, to try a sketch each day, to get into the flow. Our bodies learn in their own subconscious ways. 


From painting to photography:

Different medium, but a similar constellation. With the rise of digital photography, there is an abundance of photo created each day. But the technical aspect, the way the camera - or we - can work with light when taking a photo - is more and more moved into the background.

The photo course I am taking is both about visiting the work of photographers, but also learning the technical basics of photography. This time, we took a quick trip into the past, with a large format camera, which shows how cameras work . It takes photos directly on a plate, and simply shows the "upside-down"-image when you look through it, and leads back to the first cameras, the camera obscura.

There is a good photography-series, recommended for the course: "BBC -Genius of photography". It's online here: "BBC -Genius of photography" are


From photography to drawing:

Inspired by the sketchbook / drawingbooks of some of the others, and by #inktober, I did a series of daily ink sketches, that was before moving to aquarelle. Here's one of them: 

I also visited a drawing class just to get an idea of it. I had expected that we make sketches, and brought my drawing block, which is DinA3, and feels "big" for me. But this season, the course is about large formats.

The tutor brought several art books, showed us works of artists, some small, some larger. And then we went to drawing. "I want you to dive into the large format, to really try to use this dimension", he explained.

I felt my inner hesitation, and then just thought: "okay, let's play". And picked up an approach of my recent ink sketches, to draw in curved shapes. After the drawing time, we all walked around looking at the works - it's really a good workshop atmosphere, open and inspiring, with a good vibe. 

A day later, I tried a new version of one of my digital color paintings, and then had to smile: the "overlap" patterns of the ink sketches, they probably started there.


Black/White Sevendayschallenge 

To have a contrast to all the color, and a challenge for photography - and as I keep coming across it - I now joined the black/white #sevendayschallenge:

"Seven days, no people, no explanation"
Here's my first photo. I noticed it when looking through images - it actually is a color image, but is almost entirely black/white. I will post on my instagram page, which currently is a fun mix of photography, aquarelle, skies... a good mix.


Upcoming + Lessons in learning to look

Looking forward to the next days. I even looked forward to this Monday. It's a good feeling: to be excited about the things that are upcoming. Like a smaller group trip in the middle of the week, and a daytrip to a photo exhbition on Saturday (we go here: Photo Biennale für Aktuelle Fotografie)

Of course, the week had highlights beyond the art academy classes, too - but right now, the impulses from there feel formative for the season - not so much the single moments and themes, but the way they connect and open up new perspectives.

I am still taking my morning sky photos, though :)

Altogether, I would say that the time there, it's about learning to look in a different way - to take a closer look, to try different perspectives. And there is a multi-layered feeling, I tried to catch it in 6 words:

"The joy of newness, of beginning."


I already look forward to the upcoming days.


Links + More:

For more about me, visit my webpage

For more tiny colourful moments, visit my instapage: lifeasjourney.

Currently participating in the #sevendayschallenge and skywatchfriday

Sunday, October 15, 2017

yellow days, newness, bookfair, dio-what?-ras, con/text, virtual reality, and the art of juggling life

It's this time of year again: summer fading and autumn entering in yellow days. Which can turn a simple drive to the supermarket into a visual spectacle. The photo? It's right from the supermarket parking spot. A boring place when it's overcast and busy. But yesterday was sunny - so I delayed the drive, and arrived there in this unplanned perfect tree-light-shadow moment.

More sun-inspired images: the sky cleared during Friday, and in the evening, we went for a walk at sunset time. I didn't have my camera, which probably was a good thing, as this gave me an instant opportunity to follow the advice of my new art teacher:

"If you see something interesting, spent time with it, and notice what draws your attention most - and then paint from there. If you still want to take a photo as reference, try to paint without the photo first. The camera looks in a technical way, not like an artist." 

And yes! I have a new art teacher. Or rather: several new art teachers. Since Monday, I am guest student at the Nürtingen art academy. I woke up early on Monday morning, with the Elton John song playing in my mind: “It’s a little bit funny, this feeling inside….”

And parallel with that, the 4 words of advice opened up: “enjoy more, worry less”. I guess it’s not just accidentally that I put the visual together last week: it’s my subconscious leading.

At the art academy, the rough plan is that I can take two courses as guest student and go to some of the art talks. In the course of this week, I became a first idea of everything: the place, the tutors, the other students, the atmosphere...  In the next 2-3 weeks I can try different courses, and then make a definite decision which ones I will join.

"What will you learn?" - a friend asked. Smile. I don’t really know yet. I initially went there thinking that I will take a painting course, then met the photography tutor - and realized that would be a pretty interesting class for me, too. The good thing is: I don't have to choose upfront, but can get a first idea of the different classes in the first 2 week. Right now, it looks like I will pick the painting course, and the photography course. They both combine of technical / theoeretical / and practical elements.

There also is more space than I expected for students to bring in themes, and to look at art together, to talk and reflect on viewpoints on art. There are also joined museum visits planned. So I hope, it’s kind of a multi-layered learning and getting-to-know and hopefully good encounters with others.

In the last weeks, I playfully browsed my bookshelves to see which books on art I own, and came across this one again:

I bought it last year, in Cologne, at the Gamescom-weekend. I was there for some meet-ups on Friday and to go to the fair, and had some time to also visit the Cologne museum. Which has a bookstore. I remember how I saw the book, and picked it up, put it down again. Read the text on the back: 36 'tutors' share their experience, wisdom, techniques + philosophies on art + life.

It's a heavy book, and I knew I would have to carry it - but I also knew that it's a book for me. So I bought it. Now it feels like a hint to myself. Nice parallel: the tutors in the book are artists. Much like at the art academy. Same with some of the notions expressed in the book. Here's a quote from the book, from Olafur Eliasson, that gives an idea (the full text is up at Artspace, and a PDF of his full contribution to the book is up at Raumexperimente).

"We try to learn how to learn, so we learn where we have to go by going. We evaluate and critique ourselves along the way, and together, and always, and all ways. We invite other artists and practitioners to think and do with us. We believe in risking vulnerability and practicing in the robust discomfort of uncertainty. A shared vulnerability is important. We believe in getting out of our comfort zone..... School is not a place for a safe enclosure of lessons. School is an amplifier for the world. Lessons are not fixed ahead of time or they become rules. Dogmatic. Concrete. Belaboured. The syllabus is written after the course ends. The course is endless. ... Everyone participating shapes the lesson, makes the lesson more, makes the lesson on."


From art.. to Frankfurt bookfair, and to the ARTs 

After the introduction at the art academy, I went and packed my bag, as the Frankfurt Bookfair was waiting. I probably would have skipped it, but my aunt lives near Frankfurt, and so it's a good occasion to meet up. Plus, since last year, the bookfair has a focus area on art, too. Plus, as it turned out, there is an art exhibition on in Frankfurt, recommended by the photo tutor. "So I try to fit that in, too," I thought. And learned: once you start looking for options, you might just find new ways to approach things.

To avoid morning traffic, and to have more time, I drove to Frankfurt in the afternoon and arrived in time for dinner at my aunt's place. The next morning, I was at the bookfair before 10 - a good time to start. There was a talk about the trends and future of self publishing and how there are more and more "hybrid" authors and also publishers, which are active both in a traditional way, but also as self publishers. That was pretty interesting as starting point.

A theme I looked for were: comics, as I blogged from there for myComics, with suggestions where to go for comic readers and artists. The blog post with a lot of book fair pics is up here, in German.

And I went to the ARTs section - it wasn't crowded yet, and one of the unexpected highlights for me was the Google Education booth, they showed their Virtual Reality / 360°view headset learning program, it was so interesting to try that and get an idea. And there was a virtual ride in the next booth, a visit to Venice. I didn't even have to wait for that.

Plus, there were interesting talks, and author interviews.. it is really more about the interaction than the books itself. My mobile phone put a video together with the photos of that day, it gives a good idea of the sights and themes:


From the fair, I took the s-train to Frankfurt city, and enjoyed the contrast: from book fair to the real city, and then to the Schirn museum. The exhibitionI visited was: "Diorama - the Cultural History of Vision".

(Frankfurt centre "Römer" with guerilla knitting, the Schirn museum is in the background.)

Here's the definition of Diorama: "it can either refer to a 19th-century mobile theatre device, or, in modern usage, a three-dimensional full-size or miniature model, sometimes enclosed in a glass showcase for a museum. Dioramas are often built by hobbyists as part of related hobbies" (Wiki-article)

The base idea of it, especially when showing artefacts in museums, is to give visual context. And our main focus of perception is: visual. We tend to think that what we see is more or less the reality.

(photo of the building of a diorama)

But if you move the focus on the process of how to create dioramas - or portraits, or advertising photos etc. etc. - you start to see that of course, they often aren't "simple" reality, but tend to be a staged version of objects.

Even when we "just take a photo", we pick the frame of it with our camera. In some ways, each photo is a "diorama", a box of visual content that is part of a larger setting.

It was a rather different, and rather thought-provoking exhibition.

The Schirn museum is right in the city centre of Frankfurt. I went to a café there afterwards, and saw the sign of another exhibition that picks up the visual theme, too: "Perception is Reality - On the construction of Reality and Virtual Worlds": "The invited artists will examine the new conditions of human perception in relation to technically constructed realities. As one of the first exhibition houses in Germany, the Frankfurter Kunstverein will integrate a new forward-looking medium, virtual reality, into a contemporary art exhibition."


The art of juggling art + other times 
Altogether, the week was an intense one, but full of impressions and newness. And the weekend was summer-like, with space to reflect and to revisit, and to just be. Looking at the past week, and the upcoming one, a thought surfaced again:

That for me, the way to juggle the different themes probably is: by combining them. like: combining the trip to the bookfair with a visit to my aunt, and a visit to the museum.

The theme that was missing this week, though, was: writing, especially preparing for Nanowrimo. But hopefully, there will be more space for words next week. Well, and I wrote 2 longer mails, with reflections, and this weekly blog post - I just counted, it's 1500 words (hello nano-wordcounts..)

I already look forward to the upcoming days.


Links + More:

For more about me, visit my webpage

For more tiny colourful moments, visit my instapage: lifeasjourney.

This blog post is part of skywatchfriday, because I really like skies.

Sunday, October 8, 2017

October: horizons, nano writing plans, storm roses, enjoy more & Frankfurt bookfair + documenta clips

Back home. I am typing this while October rain is falling. But it is good to be home. We were so lucky with the weather in Spain, with sunny days, the colourful and beautiful places of Mallorca. Only our last island day was cloudy, like a bridge to the autumn that waited back in Germany.

Such a difference, the island time and the water horizon. It brought space to pause, to reflect, and to spin ideas.

One idea that took shape there: maybe taking part in the National Novel Writing Month in November. And writing the book I have in mind since I went through the cancer diagnosis and treatments and recovery.

I feel, now would be a good time with some distance to it, looking more at the larger themes, the time of going through treatments but also the time afterwards. The focus would be on reflections and advice, things that can help, practical advice and emotional, too.

The idea shaped through the previous challenges, the 100 days and the 30 paintings – the way such a challenge brings energy and connects with others who are going through the ups and downs of creative challenges, too. Plus, in summer, a friend told me about a book she has written and is editing. Of course I was curious – and she sent me the edited version to read in Mallorca. She had written the first draft during Nanowrimo last year. And talking with her about it brought the theme up of joining again. And made me look at the nano page – they actually have a preparing month now, “Nanoprep”, for figuring out what to write, and for outlining and plotting. There are a lot of blog posts and youtube clips going online now with advice. It feels inspiring.

So step by step things start to take shape. I now have a nano-pinboard :)
And I started to follow some of the hashtags: #preptober #nanowrimo...

The plan to write also takes the edge of the upcoming colder and darker season: windy and rainy is good writing and reading weather. The garden here is still colorful, though, and my "storm roses" - the ones I once got as gift from a flowershop, as they had been damaged by a storm and couldn't be sold anymore - they are happily in bloom, I took the photo after October storm Xavier moved through.

What also is happily in bloom: my daily digital paintings. I paused during the island time, and thought they found an ending point, but now I am back to them. It turned into a good, colorful ritual: playing with shapes and shades at the end of the day.

This is the latest one, from this evening. Inspired by a tiny big facebook challenge: "Share your best advice in 4 words or less. - I am curious for responses. What four words of advice would you give me?"

My 4 words are the reminder i wrote once on my little travel diary, and since then, note down before each journey, as I tend to do the opposite sometimes: worrying about all that might go wrong, especially on a trip, instead of enjoying the present moment. :)


Next week, a short trip waits for me: I will visit the Frankfurt Bookfair again. Looking forward. Last year, the visit brought a good suprise: while I was there, an art project of the upcoming Dokumenta was presented - which gave the impulse for me to finally go and visit the Documenta in Kassel. 

Here's the memory from last year:

Frankfurt Bookfair 2016: Snapshots, The Arts, documenta, forbidden books, a poetic shore + a personal reflection
..... "The Parthenon of Books" is an art project that will be shown in 2017 in Kassel at the documenta, and which now officially gets started: The argentinian artist Marta Minujín is collecting books from forbidden and persecuted authors for it."

And here's the youtube-clip that I put together after visiting the Documenta this summer, with the Parthenon of books as intro image. (or rather, that my smartphone put together, i just edited it a bit. interesting how it picked the images and combination):

Actually, there are 2 more videos... ah, all those moments:

Day 2: Green people are a recent invention


Links + More:

For more about me, visit my webpage

For more tiny colourful moments, visit my instapage: lifeasjourney.

This blog post is part of skywatchfriday, because I really like skies.

Sunday, October 1, 2017

island skies, October, sun/lightness, natural art, Miro, Matisse + journeys that don't end

It's the first of October today. Hadn't thought of it when booking the trip, but it somehow fits that the time here leads from September to October, from summer to autumn. We were so lucky with the weather, which turned the time here into days filled with light and ease. Returnint to this place and bay here in the North of Mallorca, it is a bit like having a holiday apartment somewhere, where you know the place and easily step into “relax and enjoy” mode.

What also is lovely: since a year, they have a new wellness area, with warm water pool and water massage, sauna and steambath.. and we go there every evening at 7. It is so relaxing. The whole holiday feels a bit like a Mediterranean wellness time with pool time, beach walks, terrace breakfast, wellness time, reading time, good sleep..


...and with art moments. Like finding this piece of natural art at the bay. Creating a cairn - a stone tower - at sunset. Reading the Matisse biography in this southern light he enjoyed, too.

And: Miro. On Saturday, I went to the Miro foundation in Palma, which combines a museum and his atelier. Such a special place.

From there, it's just a 10 minute drive to the museum of modern art, Es Baluard. It's a stunning place, with an art rooftop with view:

Next to the museum is a park, a good place to rest and enjoy.

Being here, it feels timeless. Some more single moments: Reading in José Saramago's journey book. It's not the right book for me right now, but it lead me to reading journey quotes:

"A journey never ends." ― Jose Saramago

“Books are the plane, and the train, and the road. They are the destination, and the journey. They are home.” ― Anna Quindlen

“It is good to have an end to journey toward; but it is the journey that matters, in the end.” ― Ursula K. Le Guin “

"We travel, some of us forever, to seek other states, other lives, other souls.” ― Anaïs Nin


This joy of walking barefoot in sand and waves, together.


Some final pool time: reading the last chapter of the Matisse biography, and revisiting Winnie the Pooh.


Links + More:

For more about me, visit my webpage

For more tiny colourful moments, visit my instapage: lifeasjourney.

This blog post is part of skywatchfriday, because I really like skies.

Monday, September 25, 2017

From autumn to island time: in transit, a puzzle of memories, and on photography

The last week was long, intense, and colorful: the week before leaving on a journey. Last Sunday, I drove to the Alb for an autumn walk, and for a larger horizon before diving in the long list of things that waited to be done yet. "Lucky weather" I thought while looking at the forecast: there were rainy days upcoming, which brought the right mood to stay at the desk and just keep working and getting things done and organized. Even things I had postponed since weeks.

"Keep on keeping on" was my mantra for those days. And even though it was tiring, after that week, on Friday, it felt good to arrive at this milestone. I packed my bags while feeling an ease of things done, and not waiting after the island time.

Our flight was Friday afternoon, and at noon I felt: the journey is beginning now: the doorbell rang, and a friend dropped by to say hi. We could sit outside, and the red cat joined us. It was a feeling of: yes, now the tide moves to: Journey. Enjoy. Encounter. Relax.

And then the journey started for real, in a new way: taking the new express airport bus. Walking to the bus stop brought this curved sky moment:

The feeling of being in transit, it also inspired the digital painting / visual that I put together before leaving. As always, when going on a journey (even when it's just a shorter one), there is this part of me that can't wait to go. And this other part of me that wants to stay. Same goes for the other end of the journey: a part of me wants to keep travelling, another longs for the comforts of home.

The lines in the visual - like almost all the other lines of the previous ones - are a revisit. This time a special one: i looked for "transit" notes in my blog, and arrived at a poem that my friend and poet Rose Hunter once wrote, based on lines of my story collection "in transit". Here's the whole poem - such a good puzzle of memories:


The Perfect Plan
Rose Hunter

re/ visit /cycle /turn
all the spaces those
cubes have created
like flocks of ravens
a concentric wave would
run to the sides without anyone

interrupting it
the changing of
places, the changing of skies
all that is missing now
you have to pretend you don't feel how
we can learn lessons then
forget them again
they are 10 cent a piece
against expectations, this idea

of days of space this promise
to see and think and think and
see, until it makes sense -
his breath
at the edge of the ocean
this almost tenderness -

the train doesn't mind, it moves on
returning me to where I came
from, closing the circle

and I want to go
and I want to stay 


From transit day to first island day: we arrived in the late evening, which felt a bit odd as arrival time. But they still has dinner for us, and it was just lovely to wake up on Saturday, and realize: we are here. At the ocean. With a full week of island time waiting.

Here's a photo from one of the first ocean walks:

I probably took similar photos during one of the previous stays, but each day here is different. And it's and  to catch the moments, and post them on instagram - see the flow of images there, my own and the ones of others with similar hashtags.

Here's the link to my  instagram page.

Photography... is also the theme of the book I am reading: "On Photography" by Susan Sontag. A thought-provoking book. It's from 1977, but almost reads like written for our time with all the mobile phone photos. 

Here's a quote:

“All photographs are memento mori. To take a photograph is to participate in another person’s (or thing’s) mortality, vulnerability, mutability. Precisely by slicing out this moment and freezing it, all photographs testify to time’s relentless melt.”

In contrast to all the thoughts, there was this simple sign that felt like a guide to island time, and to life in general:

Live well
Laugh often
Love much

Now, for a late-afternoon barefoot walk along the bay....


Links + More:

For more about me, visit my webpage

For more tiny colourful moments, visit my instapage: lifeasjourney.

This blog post is part of skywatchfriday, because I really like skies, home skies and foreign skies :)