Sunday, October 20, 2019

Speaking of Beer

2016 ART ON 45: "1 Beer 4 Six Dollars"
Saturday's ARToberfest was fun, of course. Lots of people were there that I hadn't seen in quite a while, and it was nice to catch up.

I had a delicious Chindian meal, some very delicious stouts, and my wonderful husband Markus with me.

I also won things: two movie tickets, and a voucher for one hour of math tutoring, grades 7 through college calculus, well, look at that.

2017 ART ON 45: "Don't Worry Baby"
And: "My Cup of Tea" got the most votes in the beer-related art show, which earned me free admission for Markus and me to the next ARToberfest. That's quite lovely.

I'm currently working on my ART ON 45 project, and I'm doing it as much as I can because I leave this Tuesday for Germany for two weeks to see my parents.

The ART ON 45 event itself is in mid-March next year, so there's a lot of time between now and then. However, with an art project like this, there is always things to plan and prepare, especially this time around, because it's going to be its fifth anniversary. For me, it's always a year-round project for sure. But I wouldn't do it, if I weren't enjoying it. Right?

2018 ART ON 45: "He Said, He Was Sorry"
I have received the first two submissions already, and they are very fabulous. I'm sure, the juror will think so, too.

My first ART ON 45 piece was about beer, by the way: "1 Beer 4 Six Dollars." 

2019 ART ON 45: "Believe in Me"
It was inspired by my life in Germany, thirty years ago or so. I was thinking about Hamburg in particular, when I made  it. One of the cities that never sleep. I was young and groovy, and loved to dance. I remembered the many nights when I went out with friends to disco and came home when the sun was coming up already. None of us had much money, at five or six in the morning we would be emptying our pockets only to realize that our small cash wouldn't buy us another beer. Time to go home.

Tired and wide-awake. - Not so much different from my present life, when I think about it. I should dance more often though.

Thursday, October 17, 2019

My Cup of Tea, indeed

So tomorrow is the night of the annual ARToberfest here in town, and I am quite excited about it. As the name suggests, it is a beer event, and my husband and I love beer, yes, - well, if it's good beer, that is, and as Germans we are certainly spoiled in this department. Anyways, the ARToberfest is one of the big fundraisers of our local Arts Council, and the funds are used to make lots of fun and interesting art opportunities and events happen in our community, so, of course we love to support it.

It's a significant anniversary of the ARToberfest, therefore this year's motto is "10 Years of Beer." Usually it's just a fun night spent with tasty beers made by passionate home brewers and micro breweries, fabulous live music, and lots of beer people to hang out with. This year there will also be a show of beer-related art. There was a call for artists in this matter, and during my recent 30-works-in-30-days challenge I made "My Cup of Tea" to enter. Guests can vote on their favorite pieces, and I assume there is a little something to win here. Maybe I will even sell the rabbit, we'll see.

I am about to finish the framing. I have used white stain for a change, usually I use black only. I like the white frame for this particular piece though, I think, it works well. What do you think?

Friday, October 11, 2019

Animals in Suits

The local community theater is currently playing "The Pink Panther Strikes Again." My husband Markus has a role in it, so to speak, because he built the huge Doom's Day Machine, an outrageous looking device with tons of flashing electronics made to deliver the message that the world's existence is on a razor's edge. It's a very fantastic looking machine for sure, and people have been lining up wanting to take it home after the last show. 

It's going to be a cartoon-style version of this play, with a group of panthers occasionally crossing the stage and carrying and holding the many set pieces that change with each scene. My 10-year old daughter Mona has a minor role as the smallest but wittiest panther. She loves being on stage and the whole magic about it, and even more, she enjoys being part of a crew and all the responsibilities that come with it. 

I have loved watching Mona on stage during the several junior plays she was in, and I am always surprised how comfortable she is on stage. I love to see her acting because once she has decided to take a part she will play it full-heartedly. She does that off-stage, too, by the way, because that's just her nature (even though I would like to believe that it actually is the result of our good parenting). Anyways, the Pink Panther role is her first experience in an adult play, and I am excited to see her alongside the grown-up actors in the final performance this Sunday afternoon. 

"Abbey Road - Pink Panther Style" (Photo: Markus Wobisch)
Yesterday, while Mona was changing into her pink panther suit for her first performance, my almost-teenage son Jacob and I went to a gallery opening to see "The Woods," an exhibition of the new works of Jason Byron Nelson, in which he presents creatures of the forest in a way, how I love to see them and how they always should be portrayed, in my opinion: in suits. There was nothing comical or absurd about it, it felt natural and relieving to see these bucks and bears and hares and owls dressed in dignity by this sensitive artist. I was so happy to have a chance to talk with the artist and hear his thoughts.

Jacob enjoyed the reception very much too. He is a very good observer and likes to take in the whole atmosphere of gallery events. He used to find galleries to be incredibly boring places but, of course, he has gotten older and much more open towards other people's thought material. He enjoyed the telling titles that Nelson has given his works, such as "Owl's Decision That She Was Not Supposed to Make" (if I remember it correctly), "Gentleman Bear," and "Owl On Magenta After Leaving the Salon." It was obvious that this visual artist was a writer. And it was obvious that this artist shares my view that animals are people just like us. And that we all are wearing suits all the time, only that some people refuse to see them.

Nelson's work will  be up at the Levee Gallery in Monroe until November 9th. And while you are visiting, you may like to browse through the reproductions of my works which I currently have for sale there, too.

Thursday, October 10, 2019

Dealing with the Past

... and with the future. Always.

Nevertheless, I am foremost a now-oriented person. I like to live in and for the presence, even if it is not a good one. I want to go through it with open eyes.

That's probably the reason why I don't take a lot of photos of my family and on my travels because I feel that dealing with a camera in certain precious moments would alter and narrow the experience of those very moments for me. At the same time, I wished I had more photos of certain moments because, even though photos can never reflect all aspects of the captured moments, they help remembering them.

I have a few thoughts in this context regarding my collage work. A wonderful painter just recently said to me that she felt inspired by my art to work more in collage herself (thank you, I love to hear that!), and that collages are like little time capsules in a way. That's very obviously true, yes. But for some reason I never thought about collages in this way. The aspect of preserving the past is not important to me, not even elements of it. Everything flows, everything changes, even the things that don't seem to be changing do change because those things are handed over from generations to generations and each generation has its own take on it and its own additional baggage.

I see my collages as being present, as they reflect my current thoughts and emotions through the clippings of people and objects that I put together. Those people and objects may be cut out from very old sources; however, via the cutting process they are released from their old presence and placed into a new presence that I am creating on my canvas. We all have a past but that doesn't make us history. I look at my "cut-outs" in the same way, and I placed the word "cut-outs" in quotation marks because I consider them actual people and objects. I know, that sounds odd. But when you look at a photograph of a person, you see a person, and if you see a table in a photo, you see a table and know it's a table and understand what a table is. They deliver a concept of the world that we live in now, and the past is as well a part of the presence as the future is.

A few days ago, I had the opportunity to talk a few minutes about my work to a group of art students at our local university. It wasn't planned at all; I came to the school to briefly meet an art professor (who also is curator of a nearby gallery) to drop-off prints of my works. She was just about to start her class when I arrived, and she asked me to show and comment on some of my pieces. That's what I did, and I am thankful for this opportunity. Later I thought that it may be a good idea to give a more detailed art talk some time.

Because collage is something that has so much depth and potential but is not considered "real art" by many. I often hear the question, if I also would do "my own art." Well. Collage has been known for a long time but I find, that it doesn't receive the same respect and appreciation as painting, drawing, or sculpting. With paintings, drawings, and sculptures the technical skills are much more obvious, while collage artists seem to take advantage of the works of "better," meaning: more skilled, artists. I can live with this misconception, even though it bothers me sometimes. Because visual art is never only just visual. Visual art reaches (or doesn't reach) the viewer in other sensual ways too, directly or indirectly. A piece of art, no matter what medium or genre, is worth nothing to the viewer if it doesn't trigger any sensual perception in her or him. Though I feel, that people don't allow themselves to be open towards the invisible as much as they could.

Anyways, this is a very visual time that we are living in. It's all about seeing and looks. What's not visible is not there. -- I made this piece earlier this year thinking about the hateful right wing politics and movements here and in my native country, Germany. It's about the past which is driving us down while having blinders on. I placed the scene in an empty mansion coming from upstairs to the downstairs to reflect the different levels of conscience.

"Dealing With the Past"
Mixed media: acrylics, book clippings, ink, on canvas panel, 12" x 12" 

Sunday, October 6, 2019


I finally got to cleaning up my studio this weekend. There are several piles of books to put away still, but other than that, I guess I am done. While I was sweeping, I discovered this: Two small pieces of paper that I had considered using for something were lying there, flipside up, among other paper snippets and scraps, revealing the statement "I am sure fluttered."

Wow. That doesn't make so much sense really unless I am a butterfly and someone or something flapped my wings. Let me think about this a little bit more.

Well, besides making my studio neat and tidy again, I spent most of today gathering photos of my work and writing statements, descriptions, and captions for my soon-to-be launched website. I am quite excited about that. I know it's going to look terrific because the person who is making it got fabulous skills and very good taste.

The website has been at the very top of my priority list, followed by purchasing a nowadays-phone (I currently own a flip phone) which will allow me to do instagram and to take square payments wherever I go.

Thinking about all these beautiful advancements makes me quite happy. I'm feeling light and lifted. I am fluttered, so to speak. I'm sure about that.

Friday, October 4, 2019

Nothing's Impossible

... said the door to Alice. That's right!

Here are some more pictures from my "Illusions" art camp this summer: soaring Rubik's cubes, and falling impossible objects. 

These campers were wonderful students. They stayed focused throughout the entire projects, even though it was a very technical class with lots of measuring and calculating, as well as plenty of boring shading practice. 

We worked with colored pencils, ink pens, and graphite.

My sample

Student's work (14)

Student's work (10)

My sample

Thursday, October 3, 2019

How 'bout Them Apples

My sample
After this very intense 30-in-30 September, I'm slowly getting back to normal. This morning I had a friend over for coffee and we talked for a couple hours about this and that. It felt strange to do "nothing" but it sure was a good strange feeling.

I haven't cleaned up my studio yet. There is still lots of paper scraps on the floor and tables and everywhere in between. I kind of enjoy the aftermath, it's the only kind of mess I can live with, at least for a while. But still, I have to make things nice again in my studio because I am going to start a weekly after-school art group in two weeks. I am excited about this particular group of students, because they know and like each other and I like them, and we all love art and being together. That's a fine starting point.

Speaking of art classes, I taught a number of art camps for older kids (10 to 13) this summer, and I haven't shared any pictures yet. These apple cores, for example, are one of the projects from my "Illusions" art camp. These are true conversation pieces. See it?