STUDIO WALL: HOW TO INSPIRE YOURSELF AS AN ARTIST

This week I’ve been busy with redecorating my studio wall. I discovered that I needed another studio scenery. New work asks for new inspiration. And what better inspiration than your own art?

studio wall how to inspire yourself as an artist
All new works in progress
all these new works and works in progress have been pinned on my studio wall
Laying on the floor
new ink drawings by the fran visual artist 2020
Had me jumping around my studio

FORMER STUDIO WALL

My studio wall used to be quite clean. I wanted to showcase some larger works on it and so I did. Last month I started with some new works on paper (and with some I mean like 30 at once) so my studio floor was packed with art. I always love laying out my works in progress on the floor. But it becomes something else when you have to jump around your studio trying not to step on anything…

So I needed something to put all my works in progress on display. To watch them, get inspired, get new ideas for the foregrounds, maybe experiment a little bit with them in my head. And that’s when I thought of using that empty wall as a pin board!

STUDIO WALL AS PIN BOARD

This is my studio wall at the moment: an XXL pin board! I love it! It is super useful and it helps me organise my ideas and inspirations. The wall is so large it could easily feature all my current works in progress AND more. So I’ve also pinned my most recent oil pastel drawings and colour studies onto it.

new studio wall with my most recent work the fran visual artist 2020
new studio wall with my most recent work the fran visual artist 2020
new studio wall with my most recent work the fran visual artist 2020

STUDIO SERENDIPITY

With redecorating often comes something else which I like to call studio serendipity. It’s something that happens between you and your art that you couldn’t have thought of otherwise. Or that probably wouldn’t have happened hadn’t you changed the status quo.

In this case it’s this collection of seven colourful base layers. I pinned them on my studio wall and I suddenly realised I could combine them into one super large panorama painting. How exciting! Who would’ve thought! Not sure what to do with them yet. So stay tuned!

new art everywhere studio view by the fran visual artist 2020
base layers of new paintings on the studio floor of the fran visual artist 2020
studio serendipity a panorama painting is emerging the fran visual artist 2020

CORONA PROOF STUDIO VISITS

If you’d like to visit my studio to see all my available art you are more than welcome for a corona proof studio visit. Also, if you have you eyes set on a particular piece but you want to experience it in real life first, you’re more than welcome.

Please contact me to schedule an appointment. I’d be happy to meet you.

NEW ART IDEAS TO EXPERIMENT WITH

Autumn has really kicked in here in The Netherlands and that’s always the moment I get all these new art ideas to experiment with! In the short video below I tell you about them and I show you all my new sketches:

New art ideas to experiment with!

CURRENTLY WORKING ON: COLOUR STUDIES

I am currently working on my extra small colour studies in oil pastel. I started them because I really liked experimenting with this new medium. And because I wanted to try out different colour schemes in a low profile way. By cutting up old oil paintings on paper I created A5 sized ‘primed’ oil pastel paper to work on. My approach is to make four different colour studies of one composition. The compositions I’ve made are inspired by my trip to Morocco in 2016 and the film The Best Exotic Marigold hotel.

Another idea behind these extra small colour studies was that I could find out what colours I use all the time and what colours I use rarely. The reason I wanted to find out was because I knew I want to switch to more expensive oil pastels in the future. And by finding out what colours suit me I can buy them more mindfully.

But while I was working on these small studies new art ideas crept into my mind. I wanted to work on larger works again! Let me tell you: that’s the best feeling ever!

new art ideas extra small colour studies by the fran visual artist
Small colour studies
new art ideas extra small colour studies by the fran visual artist
Oil pastels on primed paper, A5
new art ideas extra small colour studies by the fran visual artist
One composition in different colour schemes

NEW ART IDEAS: SHETLAND PAINTINGS

The first new art idea came to me while watching Shetland, the BBC television series about D.I. Jimmy Perez on Shetland. I was totally enthralled by it (‘by him’ should be a statement a little closer to the truth, but hey, I am running an art business here, not an online dating website…). The seascapes, rock formations, island views from the sea. All those views were just breathtakingly beautiful.

And even though I am not a very big fan of great landscape or seascape paintings (…. work being the exception) I wanted nothing more than to paint them. So I started sketching while watching and I came up with a couple of ideas.

You can see the sketches in the video!

NEW ART IDEAS: ‘COSY CORNERS’

This idea actually isn’t as new as the other ones. I have been dreaming of painting ‘cosy corners’ since the worldwide pandemic. Maybe because we were forced to stay home, maybe because I wanted to show my love for those places in my own home. Sitting next to a window, underneath a large plant, watching the weather and the trees outside is my kind of happiness.

But back in March I didn’t think it original enough. I am always influenced by Henri Matisse, but this idea felt like straight from his mind or something. But it’s September now and the idea is still creeping back into my head every week. So I decided to surrender. Cosy corners, here I come!

Some base layers in oil
A3 sized backgrounds
Oil paint thinned with white spirit

NEW ART IDEAS: KITCHEN CORNERS WITH FOOD

Another idea, closely linked to those cosy corners is my wish to paint a series of kitchen corners with food. I have always had a fetish for food (I once had a food blog for about 3 years). I really love good food photography. So when I started scrolling through the old pictures I took for my food blog I was like: this is a goldmine!

So this is also definitely happening: a series of kitchen corners with cabinets, kitchen tables, jars with marmalade, home made lemonade and piles of pancakes! Can’t wait to paint these!

The first fifteen backgrounds on my studio floor. I’ve made 12 more since then but I don’t have any pictures yet.

AND NOW WHAT?

It’s been a while since I had this many ideas for new paintings! So I got a little bit confused about how to act… Bob said: just go with the flow. Work on all those ideas at once and let the work guide you. There is no deadline, there are no expectations. Just immerse yourself and enjoy it. Good advice. To be continued!

FOLLOW MY PROGRESS

In the meantime you can follow my progress on Instagram @art.bythefran or on my YouTube Channel The Fran Zone.

ART TALK: HOW I MAKE ART BEHIND THE SCENES

Last week I recorded an art talk about my XXL Fruits. You can watch it below or check out my YouTube Channel. Part 1 is about the Fruits in space. Part 2 is about the Fruits on earth. I hope you enjoy watching them!

Art Talk XXL Fruits – Part 1
Art Talk XXL Fruits – Part 2

ART TALK?

As you know I post my art on Instagram (@art.bythefran) but sometimes I feel like the context is missing. Like: what was my inspiration for the whole series and how did the artworks changed while I was painting them. Very often I start out with an idea and as I go along it changes into something different. You don’t see that when you just see end results. So that’s why I have started recording these short videos. To guide you through my artistic process and show you my art in real life, with me for scale haha!

THE INTENTIONS OF MY ART TALK

My intention is to keep recording these Art Talk-videos with every new series op paintings I finish. There’s so much going on behind the scenes in my art studio and I think it’s a shame not to tell you about it and show it to you. It really is about the process of making art. With all its unpredictability and serendipity.

first draft of plum in space summer 2019 in catalonia
First draft of Plum in space – summer 2019
second draft: plum on earth, autumn 2019 back home
Changed it into Plum on Earth – autumn 2019
art talk about how my art comes together: plum in space, oil on canvas by the fran, visual artist 2020
Added shadow and more texture in the plum
art talk about how my art comes together: plum in space, oil on canvas by the fran, visual artist 2020
Added colour and to the leaves
art talk about how my art comes together: plum in space, oil on canvas by the fran, visual artist 2020
Final alterations before discarding it – I really hated the painting at that moment – winter 2019
art talk about how my art comes together: plum in space, oil on canvas by the fran, visual artist 2020
Trying something new: making it a yellow plum – spring 2020
art talk about how my art comes together: plum in space, oil on canvas by the fran, visual artist 2020
Final painting: Yellow plum, back in space, summer 2020.

WHAT IT IS NOT

It’s not my intention to ‘explain’ my art or to put some sort of deep meaning into it during my art talk. I leave that up to the viewer, up to you. I strongly believe explaining art is killing it. Information is key but forced meaning means the death of it. I create art because it gives me freedom. I don’t want to force the viewers look in some direction. On the contrary! I would love you to come up with your own way of looking at it. Your way of viewing it within your personal or cultural art history.

ART CAN CHANGE YOUR LIFE – LET IT!

What would you say if I told you art can change your life for the better?

If you had told me this let’s say 10 years ago I would have frowned and probably made fun of you. Because I grew up in a family where art and creativity were merely small accessories to life. Not something to bother yourself with on a daily basis.

On top of that I had a really weird aunt who took me to the most boring museums you can ever think of as a child. So in stead of taking us to the pool during a heat wave, she dragged us through an open air museum. Leaving me and my sister wondering about whatever we did wrong to deserve that…

Long story short: me and art, it wasn’t a love at first sight.

But art didn’t give up on me. And one sunny day in spring 2010 it changed my life. Just like that.

THE DAY ART CHANGED MY LIFE

I visited the ‘From Matisse to Malevich’ exhibition at the Amsterdam Hermitage. It showed the developments in modern art from 1900-1930.

I saw Red Room by Matisse, I saw Woman in a Black Hat by Van Dongen, I saw Spring by Rouault.

And then there was Picasso.

Nothing more, nothing less.

Just Picasso, his women, and me. Experiencing the true soul elevating power of art.

There was no future, no past, only the artwork in the present. It connected me to the soul of art and the power of perspective. It was an invitation to look beyond, to be beyond.

That was it. That day art changed my life. My heart knew that day what my mind needed another 10 years to figure out: art is my purpose.

ART CAN CHANGE YOUR LIFE AS WELL

Art can also change your life. If you let it, it can capture you in the present moment. Letting all the worries about the past and the stress about the future disappear in an instant.

Art can connect you to the power of beauty and to your immense creative potential. And by doing so art will make you capable of not only making a difference in your own life but also on the grand scale of things.

Art is going to change the world.
Through you, through me, through us.

My heart knew that already on that sunny day in spring back in 2010. And now my mind and body are on board, ready to do the work.

What about your heart?

art can change your life - let it! how art became my purpose. by the fran, visual artist

CERAMIC ART: MY FIRST RESULTS

I have always been in awe of ceramic artists and their ceramic art. I’m in love with clay and it’s characteristics. The tension between earth and air. That it’s so powerful but once baked it can break. Anyway, enough of all those philosophical considerations: I just love ceramics! So naturally I wanted to try it out.

CERAMIC ART JOURNEY

I started my ceramic art journey at Gert de Mulder. I learned the different ways of working with clay: rolling, pressing, boxing, sculpting. And I learned different ways of decorating my work: engobe, transfers, glazing.

ceramic shells in the making the fran visual artist 2018
Shells
ceramic shells in the making the fran visual artist 2018
Pearls and seaweed

CERAMIC ART TO GO WITH MY PAINTINGS

During my first ceramic classes I wanted to make ceramic art that could complement my paintings. So I decided to make some large shells with pearls and seaweed inside them. To go with my coral oil paintings.

ceramic shells in the making the fran visual artist 2018
I pushed the clay through a sieve to achieve this kind of detail
ceramic shells in the making the fran visual artist 2018
ceramic shells in the making the fran visual artist 2018
Before the kiln
ceramic shells in the making the fran visual artist 2018

I also chose to make a large plate and decorate it with Majorelle shapes. To go with my Majorelle canvasses.

ceramic plate in the making the fran visual artist 2018
ceramic art by the fran visual artist 2018
Large plate decorated with Majorelle shapes.

CERAMIC SHELLS

I wanted the shells to represent the opening and closure of a mussel. So I made three. One is completely closed. One is opening up. And one is completely open. The glaze on the outside is glossy. On the inside it has a matte finish. To show the influence on the sea on the shells.

The pearls and seaweed pieces are optional. I haven’t been able to decorate them yet.

I’m going to add these three ceramic shell sculptures to my art shop very soon. For now you can check out my ceramic art here.

ceramic art by the fran visual artist 2018
End result
ceramic art by the fran visual artist 2018
ceramic art by the fran visual artist 2018
Closed shell
ceramic art by the fran visual artist 2018
ceramic art by the fran visual artist 2018
Open shell
ceramic art by the fran visual artist 2018

THROWING CLAY

This year I have been experimenting with throwing clay. I’ve been attending classes at De Pottenbakster in Tilburg (highly recommended!) and at Babel in Den Bosch. I am hoping to extend my skills with throwing clay next year. Because of COVID-19 many classes were canceled this year.

Next time I will show you my first results of throwing clay. For now I’m very curious about what you think of the shells. Would love to hear your thoughts in the comments.

OIL PASTELS EXPERIMENTS

The past few days I have been experimenting with oil pastels. I saw some super inspirational oil pastel artworks by other artists and wanted to give it a try. Conclusion: I love it! It’s textured, it’s a lot of pigment and you can work very quickly!

After finishing my Tucson series in oil I still had a full palette with mixed paint. So I decided to make some quick base layers inspired on my Gerona and Spanish botanical drawings.

Then I visited Van Beek Art Supplies and took an hour to pick all the different colours of oil pastels that I needed (wanted 🙂 ).

shopping oil pastels at van beek art supplies in eindhoven summer 2020 the fran visual artist
van gogh oil pastels at van beek art supplies in eindhoven the fran visual artist 2020

WHAT ARE OIL PASTELS?

Oil pastels are very similar to wax crayon (they are also called wax oil crayons). So, they are crayons that contain pigment, a binder (gum or wax) and oil. The oil makes the crayons less powdery. You can add multiple layers of oil pastel, creating an impasto effect. They are considered a quick medium because you don’t need to prepare your paper.

I chose Van Gogh oil pastels for now. Van Gogh is a good brand to start with any art supply, because it is part of the awesomeness but still affordable. When you go any cheaper than Van Gogh chances are high you’re buying crap that doesn’t represent the medium at all. Which means your whole experiment has been for nothing. So, if you’d like to experiment with a new art medium: start with Van Gogh and work your way up if you like working with it.

For now I’ve set my eyes on the Sennelier oil sticks. For comparison: the Van Gogh oil pastels are 0,81 euros a piece. While the Sennelier oil sticks are around 7,00 euros a piece.

my first work with my new oil pastels - art studio the fran visual artist 2020
my new oil pastels - the fran visual artist 2020

MY FIRST WORK WITH OIL PASTELS

So, enough bantering about oil pastels, let me show you my first works!

new oil pastel work by the fran visual artist summer 2020
details of new work by the fran visual artist 2020
details of new work by the fran visual artist 2020
details of new work by the fran visual artist 2020

I’m experimenting with using different colour combinations. On top of that I’m trying to work as quickly as possible. Because that way I am sure I am working as intuitively as possible and that I am not overthinking it.

new oil pastel work by the fran visual artist summer 2020
details of new work by the fran visual artist 2020
details of new work by the fran visual artist 2020
details of new work by the fran visual artist 2020

Right now I am making one drawing a day. So in week I will be able to show you some more work.

WHAT ABOUT YOU?

Do you like the effects of working with oil pastel? Is it likely you are going to try it out yourself any time soon? Or have you been working with them for ages and do you maybe have some insightful advice? Would love to hear from you!

new work in progress the fran visual artist 2020
2 of 9 done
favourite colour to work with atm the fran visual artist 2020
current favourite colour

TUCSON SERIES WIP: CITY SCENES ON CANVAS BOARD

After my Tucson ink drawings I have now made a new Tucson series: city scenes on canvas board. They are colourful, exotic, relaxing, cozy city scenes featuring lots of cacti, barred window panes, inviting doorways and some botanical panoramas.

I showed you the base layers already in my last post about the Tucson ink drawings. And now it’s time to show you the next step: the first layer of the foreground.

MY NEW TUCSON SERIES ON CANVAS BOARD

The base layers
tucson series: city scenes in oil on canvas boards
The series of 16 – base layers
Foregrounds
Close-up

Within this series I am trying to capture an urban desert feel. A place where human beings meet wild nature. Where they shelter themselves from the hot sun, the sand storms and the pressing heat. But also where at the same time desert plants flourish. The cacti climb through the barred windows. Agaves are larger than life. Potted succulents flower and on the outskirts of town large cacti stand in group formation surrounded by small, bright desert flowers.

TUCSON SERIES IN THE MAKING: TIME LAPSE

Video 1 and 2: Time lapses of the base layers

Video 3: Watch me paint two of them in real time.

INSPIRATION FOR MY NEW TUCSON SERIES

new ink drawings based on photographs by robert de garde
Pictures by Robert de Garde
ink drawings tucson inspired by photographs by Robert de Garde the fran new art 2020
My subsequent ink drawings

My friend Robert de Garde travels the whole wide world and makes the most wonderful pictures. His exotic city scenes of Tucson immediately caught my eye. I asked if I could paint his compositions. He agreed and here we are!

I made ink drawings to make the compostions ‘mine’. That means some depth is off, some plants and pots become enormously large compared to their window pane, but hey, this is The Fran Zone haha! After that I got to work with oil paint to really give them that colourful exotic look I was after.

The set up in my studio
Using a table easel with these small boards

SPECS OF MY NEW TUCSON SERIES

This Tucson series consists of 16 canvas boards that measure 24 x 30 cm. They come unframed ensuring you will have maximum opportunity to place them wherever you like.

A canvas board?

A canvas board is a piece of firm cardboard lined (or stretched) with cotton canvas. Canvas boards are very thin compared to stretch canvasses on wooden frames and wooden panels. Compared to paper, canvas boards have a heavier quality, so they can stand upward by themselves. This makes the artworks flexible: you don’t have to frame or hang them if you don’t want to. You can just place them on your cupboard or windowsill. And move them very easily.

I found these playful city scenes just perfect on small canvas boards.

Large cacti in group formation
Doorway flanked by large cacti

THE NEXT STEP FOR MY TUCSON SERIES

The next step for my Tucson series is going to be more colour! I can’t wait to put all those lovely complex colours I mixed onto the canvas. I am working on them as we speak, so I will get back to you very shortly with the end results.

MORE CITY SCENES

If you like these Tucson city scenes in oil paint I’d strongly recommend the original Tucson ink drawings. You might also like the Gerona ink drawings and the ink Fruits in colour.

SUMMER ART GIVEAWAY

Join my summer art giveaway to win my original ‘Apricot’ drawing worth €97,-

It’s been a weird spring this year so I figured we could all use some colourful inspiration. So let us together celebrate summer with some bold exotic art!

WHAT YOU CAN WIN:

My Apricot drawing worth €97,-

The artwork is 29.7 x 42 cm and it comes to you signed and framed + I will add a personal message.

HOW IT WORKS:

  1. Click one of the green buttons to enter the giveaway
  2. After entering you will receive a confirmation e-mail
  3. On the 9th of August – in the midst of summer – I will draw the winner

THE ARTWORK: APRICOT

For those of you who’d like to know more:

I made the Apricot drawing last summer during my art retreat in Catalonia. Inspired by all the exotic fruits from the Mediterranean and my study of physics I decided to make a series of fruit artworks on earth and in space. The Apricot was the first drawing I made. The whole series of exotic fruits I made that summer was actually inspired by an apricot I found in the wild.

I have always been fascinated by the bright orange colour and texture of apricots. As a child I remember I found apricots way too colourful to eat them. How could something so vibrant be meant for food? And their soft outside texture made me feel sorry for them when I put my teeth in them…

Fascination makes good inspiration for art though. For me this Apricot is summer art at its best. It’s juicy, bright and colourful. I placed this Apricot in space to invite you to look up to the stars and wonder at their magnificence. But not to forget about the apricot while looking at the stars. Fruit has its own marvel. With these Exotic Fruits series I wish to connect the luminaries in space with those on earth. And create awareness of the magnificence so much closer to home.

A magnificence you can now win!

XXL MIXED MEDIA COLLAGES: SPROUTING PARADISE

The mixed media collage series in my art studio are taking over! My newest series, Sprouting Paradise is a collection of nine xxl mixed media collages. My followers on Instagram came up with several ideas for naming this series. I combined ‘Colourful Paradise’ and ‘Colour sprouts’ and named them Sprouting Paradise.

sprouting paradise new xxl mixed media collage series of artworks by the fran 2020 art in the making
sprouting paradise new xxl mixed media collage series of artworks by the fran 2020
sprouting paradise new xxl mixed media collage series of artworks by the fran 2020

These collages are made with old and new artworks. Back in 2017 I made a couple of autumn inspired xxl acrylic paintings on paper. And they were just lying there ever since. In 2018 I made preliminary studies in ink before starting on the Majorelle paintings. These ink drawings were also just lying there.

So I decided to cut up the whole bunch and made them into xxl mixed media collages. I added a few new botanical shapes as well, inspired by the Tucson series. And then I just got started.

SPROUTING PARADISE IN THE MAKING

During the making of these xxl mixed media collages I made a couple of ‘art in the making’ videos for you. This way you can see my art process in more detail.

First video: making compositions

Second video: my gluing tactics the compositions

Usually you only see the result, but I just wanted you to show how many other artworks there always are before the end result. First edition artworks get discarded, changed, discarded again, etc. The cactus collage is a very good example of this process. Below I’ve posted all its stages for you so you can watch it evolve into its current form.

Initial shapes and colours

sprouting paradise xxl mixed media collage by the fran 2020
Third composition: less chaos but still not satisfied.

Sixth and final composition.
sprouting paradise xxl mixed media collage by the fran 2020
First composition. Wasn’t bad but the surroundings better suited another botanical shape.
Fourth composition: liked the third one better, but lets try…

sprouting paradise xxl mixed media collage by the fran 2020
Mission accomplished!
Second composition: total chaos.
Fifth composition: still nothing. That’s when I threw everything out except for the two cactus shapes.

SPECS OF XXL MIXED MEDIA COLLAGES

These Sprouting Paradise collages are all 42 x 59.4 cm (A2). They come signed and unframed. Since I’ve just finished them these aren’t listed in my shop yet, but I’m working on that, so stay tuned.

YOUR TURN:

What do you think of these new mixed media collages? What do they remind you of / would be your name suggestion? Would love to hear from you in the comments!

If you like these you might also like my Happy Habits series and/or my New & Familiar artwork.