Friday, November 30, 2012

Fighting the Bull

Today is the last day in the AEDM and I'm contributing with a bullfight of sorts. In this case I mean it more metaphorically than one might think - as most artists often do. 

'Fighting the Bull' (20 x 20cm acrylic/aerosol, canvas)
Today it's been proven to me that if you're in a crisis inflicted by some outer force and manage to stay strong, eventually you will come out stronger and thus have won the struggle for something better. No matter how big that bull first appeared in its fight against you.

I have to add that I am in no way a supporter of the bull-fights - there's actually nothing I hate more! But I will say that my best friend is perhaps the best matador on the planet! She's had to pay dearly for it, but has come out the winner. Well done, Trine!

Thursday, November 29, 2012

Fleeing the Scorpio

'Fleeing the Scorpio' (20 x 20cm, acrylic/aerosol on canvas)
Today's contribution to the AEDM by Leah Kolides is the second piece of an acrylic puddle with spray paint to create a strange, but marvellous effect. This one still has me intrigued a couple of years later, I still find new items in there. I keep thinking of the African continent with both its people and wildlife reappearing in the piece.

You might want to use matches to draw out specific or random patterns, while you have to calculate at least 3 days for the 'puddle' layer underneath to dry completely. 

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Wrestling the Elephant

About 18 months ago I was still using my flat, the kitchen counter and living room, as my studio, which was hectic, but cozy enough. And more warm compared to the cold attic room, that often cools down. This is one of three creations, which were an experiment for me. 

'Wrestling the Elephant' (20 x 20 cm, canvas)
I had seen a friend and fellow local artist do amazing things with applying spray paint on top of a very liquid solution of acrylic paint - almost a puddle floating on top of the canvas. After spraying the acrylic solution, I'd wiggle it a bit, use a match to draw out different patterns etc. 

This particular one was partly Ditte's doing, so credit to her. The three pieces are now living in my mothers home, as they were a Mother's Day gift to her. Although... I haven't seen them mounted on any wall, yet (it's only been two and half years). But we had fun and it was a useful process to me, although I'd be very careful about adding spray paint on top of any acrylic based painting. They tend to peel and crack over time. 

PS: Ditte used to have a website, but I am afraid I can't locate it anymore. The link above refers to her rather limited site on Facebook.

Thursday, November 22, 2012


It has been a complex week. So many things are changing, and I’m letting them, as I think I need the new perspective and look on life. I had to take a few unexpected turns, only to realize that I still have to stick to the path, I was already on. Not that there’s no room for looking in other directions while on the way. Keeping focus is simply just very good right now.

Give credit, where credit is due
Since joining Leah Kolides’ AEDM (Art Every Day Month) and CEDC (Creative Every Day Challenge), I’ve been introduced to a wonderful person and artist - Kirstin McCulloch, who owns and runs the blog ’Listening to the Squeak Inside’ and LilliBean Art. I had not imagined a total stranger to step up and help me with boring technical questions, but she’s walked me through some to me complicated stuff. Now I am wiser and we're not strangers to each other anymore! Thank you, Kristin.

(100 x 140cm, acrylic & charcoal on canvas, DKK 3000,.)
No More
The staring competition has come to an end. Last night I put the finishing touches on it and it’s not going to change anymore. Nor stare at me. Meanwhile another has been brought back - the ’Power’ piece looks very different now, as I decided to redo it, although I’ve kept the Native American hounds and the headline in it. More on this next time, I hope.

My boyfriend is visiting from the UK at the moment, and this frees up a lot of time for me. He is a wonder - he cooks, does laundry, cleans and fixes stuff, so that I only have to focus on being with my kids or work in the studio, when I’m home. He’s very good at helping me with keeping the focus and inspiring me to try new things out.

Prints are on the agenda next - and how to get hold of some with my artwork...

Wednesday, November 21, 2012


After having had a rather strange day - again - I am posting this as today's contribution to the AEDM by Leah Kolides, so go on and sign up, if you're an artist or merely creative! 

'Movember' - 2010
It was made two years ago for a group of very good friends, all male, who shared a flat in the high street next to the one I live in. They were all contracting here as engineers being bought in for their skills, which can't be found anywhere around here. 

They brought my attention to something, which hasn't really caught on in Denmark yet, except for the larger city areas, which is the MovemberAn awareness month for a male charity, e.g. prostate and testicular cancer and to raise money for research as well. They joined as a group and called themselves Team Okely Dokely (hint Flanders from The Simpsons), and all grew their own mo' the entire month. Some more successful than others. 

Most of them had fun with it, while others suffered to endure the torment of not being able to shave their upper lip and therefor struggled with their honor and not losing face. Following the strict rules and acting like a gentleman for the entire month, as a man with a mo' should, came along with the feeling of looking ridiculous for a few of them. On the 30th of November, they had a fancy dress party for all their friends, and I had to come up with the perfect gift... 

The result was this collage including some of the most famous, infamous and prominent 'taches on the planet. It was fun to work with, although I only had about 24 hours to do it in. I was working day and night, but also knew it would be worth it. I dedicated it to the three boys living in the flat, which is why they appear a few places in the piece along with their personal Movember business cards.

It's basically a collage on canvas. The last time I saw it was last summer, mounted on a black brick wall - and I felt proud. They have all left now, but one - some have gone back to the UK, some to Australia and some have taken to the road to see the world. I respect them so much for having made an effort. I will never forget them. The last one, one of my closest friends, leaves on the 30th Movember.

Some of the 'taches are Tom Berenger, John Cleese, General Custer, Edgar Allen Poe and Frida Khalo. Which ones can you find?

Tuesday, November 20, 2012


Today's contribution to the challenge is this, my 1st collage, which is now three years old. It was my first attempt after having had the door to the art world closed for nearly 10 years.

These days it's mounted above or kitchen table, where everyone eats every day. It's a conversation piece as much as 'I want to break free', because every time we're having company over, they keep looking at it and constantly discover new faces. Some of them are tagged below. 

See if you can find more!

Wednesday, November 14, 2012


Creative Every Day Challenge - for a month
A no-pressure challenge where you can post, whenever you have something to post, run by Leah Kolides seems to be just what I need here in November, where everything is a bit grey and dull. I became aware of her and her work through one of Chris Guillebeau's publishings. I adore her colorful style as well as her talks on her experiences with becoming a full-time artist. 

The old blood-dripping piece ’More’ still sits in my studio, staring at me - I try to ignore it, but tend to find myself staring back at it. Like in a competition, where one of us will eventually have to give up. I can only get to the studio after the sun's gone down these days, as I have late meetings at the school. Fortunately, I have a great artificial light above the canvas, so it is possible to work at night, but this staring at each other must come to an end first.

I’ve ventured into a new area of art; last weekend I bought a starter kit for sketching, which I’ve never really done any of. I only got it in order to work a bit more on the different ideas I get during the days, but as soon as I unwrapped it, I found myself doodling away on my logo. 

A dear friend, who’s now moved to Australia, gave me this idea for making my own stamp. I still want to go a bit more hardcore, as these look printed from a computer typing program. It is a long process and the results so far are simply try outs, but I like the sketching in it self. 
My boyfriend, who is turning out to be an encyclopedia and lovely assistant at the same time, showed me how to do my own chart of the different types of pencils. I’m still learning, but what a great idea. 

These are my contribution to being creative every day, today.

Have a great day!

Saturday, November 10, 2012


My new hangout
Recently I joined flickr and quickly came across the photographer, Alexis Mire. Her work is captivating and enchanting in a fairy tale-style, I haven't seen very often since my youth. I particularly enjoy going through her 365 collection and find a lot of inspiration for my changing view on our daily life and my own creativity.

I never used flickr before, but must emphasize what a great exchange and meeting place it is. Compared to other social media, this is actually the perfect place to meet & greet artists of all nationalities, all sorts of art genres and exchange not only appraisals, but also experiences and again - to get your name out there!

Favorite colors of the moment
Decorating the store windows in my mum's exclusive yarn shop is a treat, because she chooses to use my paintings as backdrops for the items put on display. The colors of the lovely yarns we choose are a fine supplement to emphasize the shades in my work. I don't think my mum actually understands what I'm doing, but she enjoys working with me and I with her on this level. 

It's become clear to me that I really have dived into neon-greens and orange, along with a deep purplish pink. I do think though that I have fallen in love with silver, which accentuates a lot of the dominating colors.

'More' (100 x 140 cm acrylics on canvas)
Another old canvas landed in the studio after the redecorating session. Strong colors such as blue, white, red and a hint of James Bond makes it a challenge to finish - again like with the last one, I have that feeling that something is missing from it. Everybody simply calls it the blood-dripping painting... 

Today I’ve begun using the OmmWriter Dāna I for Mac. It’s a brilliant app with built-in music composed to spur calm and creative thinking, and it turns your entire screen into a background for writing, so all other distractions such as your email alerts, the ever-tempting browser-surf and the clock disappear, when you open the app. It limits my flutter and helps me focus, when I need it. And it’s free, although I have decided buying the whole package, because this helps me and for that, the creators will get their money.

Sunday, November 4, 2012

Kill your darlings

The rhythm of nature
About a week ago I attended a comprehensive seminar on wellbeing, communication and various psychological reactions and patterns in my daily work, at the school that is. The seminar was led by a head teacher and a psychologist, who's specialized in this area. I was very taken by her arguments and theories on basic communication, but during one of the breaks I had the chance to talk to her. We were talking about the location of the school, on the pasture with a lake that makes the southbound flocks of geese and swans stop by every now and then, a few horses graze there as well. The changing of the seasons always surprises me, even though I watch it happen every day.
MorphoRhetenorHelena (illustration by Creativetone)
During a regular day of work for me, I have a lot of 'to do's' in between lessons in the small office facing the pasture - and often I let myself be distracted by the view. The psychologist called it giving in to the rhythm of nature. She told me about some of the research in stress-related illnesses, where it's been proven, how patients suffering from severe loss of memory are helped to regain their memory by following this rhythm in the treatment. I can only speak for myself, but even though I'm not that forgetful (yet), I find it soothing and calming to just glance out the window where the rhythm will 'suck' you in and make you chill out for a few minutes before entering a classroom with 20 teenagers. I flutter a lot forth and back, up and down, balancing the many different goals, I've set for myself. Not only professionally, but also as a mother, friend, daughter, sister and citizen. Our lives and days are filled to the brim with all the routines, the have-to's and must-do-that's! It's sort of an artificial rhythm, we force on ourselves. To me it often seems clear, how our minds are trying to cope with it, when there are all too many signs and alerts, that our bodies and spirits cannot keep up. Perhaps we should force the rhythm of nature on ourselves in stead. Only for a moment, while remembering how we were once part of nature too...

Sparking motivation
This week I made the final touches on an old painting, which I considered done months ago, but had that distinct feeling about. The feeling that something was missing. While I was staring at it, getting more and more frustrated about it, not wanting to give up the original idea for it entirely, my boyfriend and true supporter forwarded me the weekly blog from Zen Habits' Leo Babauta in which he focused on the importance of not just doing what you love, because you have to, now that you've decided to put an effort into it - but remembering to do it for the fun of it! I only had to read that one once - I started fooling around with colors and shapes, applying radical changes and enjoying it at the same time. It took me a while to let go of my own expectations, but my best friend and artist, Trine, noticed, how I'd seemed to have gone back to my roots. 

Development is good, in my opinion, it's part of an evolutionary process in your work, whatever that is. But in this case I was overwhelmed with the joy of doing it. In retrospective I have spent a lot of time analyzing and refining my work progress and processes for efficiency, to get the most out of the limited amount of time I have to work on it. While doing that, I put my original motivation in the background. Even though that too is part of the evolutionary process, I think that originality must not be forgotten. It is essential and defines us all. Building the bridge between the two may be very hard, but not impossible.

I am thankful for my boyfriend, who can jumpstart me (probably without knowing it) after I've hit the painter's block. There's no pressure, hun :)

Kill your darling
I am still honored that people from all over the world 'like' my work on Facebook, not only on the group page itself, but the particular picture on OK Go's wall has likes in Moscow and Sao Paolo. In my opinion that is social media in the global village in its essence. It serves as a vessel for creating awareness, contacts and new approaches. There is a certain way of using it, which I am still studying to become better at, but it has me intrigued.

My first sale: 'Faces Traces'
In regards to remembering the fun part of painting, I also recalled the event of selling my first painting. It had taken me a long time to finish it, which was back in the days before I actually had a studio, so the living room was where I'd work. A lot of experimenting had over time been taking place on the canvas, and I'd learnt how to 'kill my darlings'. Not only is it a heartbreaking process, the killing, but it can steer the purpose and goal with the piece in a completely different direction. 

I was so incredibly nervous when the sale was going down. The buyers were asking me questions about my inspiration, the colors and the theme(s). At that point I didn't actually think I'd ever make a sale, so leaving my baby in the care of others and being paid for it as well was an experience beyond all others. 

I was proud, but at the same time very anxious about facing the possible demand for my style and work. Could I actually create another one that would sell just as well? The answer to that became apparent to me only a few weeks later.