COLLAGES GALORE: ALL MY NEW WORK IN ONE BLOG POST

The fact that I haven’t posted a blog in ages doesn’t mean I have been slacking in the studio as well. So here’s a long overdue overview of all the new collages I made over the last couple of months. Collages galore!

HOMEGROWN COLLAGES

The end of the year 2020. I was exhausted because of everything that had changed or was about to change in my life. Another art studio, discarding our emigration plans at least for a couple of years, finding and buying a new home… I was so tired and couldn’t think about making art. Yet I kept on going to the studio every day. Just to be surrounded by my work and maybe find some energy. That’s when I started cutting old work up. And two weeks later I suddenly had all these new collages (19 pieces) staring at me from my studio wall.

They’re called homegrown for a good reason: this is what comes naturally. So this is what I am sticking with. CLICK HERE TO SEE + LEARN MORE.

RETRO MAGAZINE SERIES

After finishing the Homegrown collages series I decided to prepare for our upcoming house move. So I decided to start packing all my stuff and started organising my archive. That’s when I found all these old retro magazines I bought at the thrift store ages ago. Before I knew it I was cutting them op, pasting them onto each other. And without any intention I was making art again. And let me tell you a secret: that’s the best kind of ‘making art’ there is.

CLICK HERE TO SEE + LEARN MORE (12 pieces in total)

NEW BEGINNINGS COLLAGES

A new year a new beginning. After a very weird 2020 I figured we could all do with some refreshing new beginnings in 2021. So I cut up all my drawings from 2020 together with some even older art and started making new things. These nine collages emerged. I deliberately used a lot of lucky red, because a little luck is never wasted. Especially during these times!

CLICK HERE TO SEE + LEARN MORE (9 pieces in total)

WINTER SEASON SERIES

After finishing my New Beginnings I had all these colourful ink parts left. I wanted to make good use of them because I loved all those intense and saturated colours. I started this series without a plan. Just cutting up everything I thought would work well with those ink layers. When the grid was complete and I started naming them I couldn’t help but to put seasons in their names. During those days I was just so very happy with the winter cold we were experiencing back then. It had been ages (two years actually!) and I am a sucker for frost, ice and icy winds.

With all their whites and blues some of them really felt like winter. There are some that represent spring and one that’s got more of an autumn vibe. But, like one of their titles: Winter always finds a way! CLICK HERE TO SEE + LEARN MORE (9 pieces in total).

GLIMPSES OF INK COLLAGES

This series is first and foremost the result of me wanting to experiment with different layers of ink drawings. After finishing the Winter Season series I wanted to try something different. So I started cutting up all old ink drawings from back in 2018. And I chose a series of ink drawings as backgrounds. Because I also wanted to add some colour and wanted to challenge myself I decided to only pick one series of oil paintings to cut up. After four days of cutting they came together quite quickly. CLICK HERE TO SEE + LEARN MORE (9 pieces in total)

MORE COLLAGES COMING SOON?

So that’s that: collages galore! Currently I am getting used to working in the studio full time again after two months of renovating, cleaning, tidying and home making after our house move. Already drowning in collage supplies I decided to revisit some old work first.

HOW TO RECREATE YOUR OWN ART (OR NOT)

How to recreate your own art? As I stepped into my art studio last week I realised what an unusually long period of time it had been since I had picked up a brush, mixed some paint or used my scissors. It had been almost two whole months. So I must admit I felt very out of practice and a little nervous as well. That’s why I decided to give myself something of a break and start of easy. Elaborating on some of my earlier works instead of wanting myself to create something new and unique immediately. This blog is about how I wanted to recreate my own art. How I failed miserably the first time and how I managed to succeed in the end.

WHY WOULD YOU WANT TO RECREATE YOUR OWN ART IN THE FIRST PLACE?

There are a couple of reasons why as an artist you would like to recreate your own art:

  • You want to get back in shape after a long studio break and decide you want to elaborate on some of your earlier works.
  • You’re quite fascinated by some of your earlier works and want to explore where you can take it in terms of theme, colour schemes, subject or size.
  • You feel like you’re onto something with these artworks and want to know what it is exactly.
  • The artworks themselves ‘ask’ for more. Like they are part of something bigger, or something different.

WHY I WANTED IT

In my case it was a combination of all the reasons above.

First, like I said, I wanted to give myself a break and ease into making art again after a long break.

how to recreate your own art: my botanical abstracts on which I wanted to elaborate
My botanical abstracts (summer 2020)

Second, I wanted to explore where I could take my botanical abstracts in terms of art practice. Because ever since I painted them last summer I was fascinated by them. Not only by their final results but also and especially by how they came together. They were the results of the most care free art practice I had experienced so far and I loved everything about them.

Third, I wanted to discover what it was that made them so unique. Because care free art is the best. But if you can’t remember what it was you did or aren’t able to do it again then it’s just luck. Or so did I feel at least.

Fourth and final, I also felt the artworks asked for more. Like they were supposed to become part of a larger family of artworks. I already fulfilled their wish last year by making botanical sculptures. But they were very convincing: they wanted children of their own. And if art is speaking to you like that, the only thing you can do as an artist is to oblige.

how to recreate your own art: botanical sculptures to go with the botanical abstract paintings

HOW TO FAIL AT RECREATING YOUR OWN ART

So I got to work feeling quite confident. And I failed miserably. After six paintings I already knew I was heading in a totally different direction. But I wanted to use up my paints and keep on trying so I kept on working until I had twelve paintings. Twelve paintings that had absolutely nothing to do with the works I wanted them to resemble. The colours where off, the compositions didn’t work and I ended up feeling very frustrated that evening.

how to not recreate your own art: this is what I cooked up when I wasn't paying attention

The next morning at breakfast we talked about it and how I didn’t feel very motivated to get back in the studio. Because, well, I couldn’t even make something I had already made before. What kind of complete loser artist was I?! But as we were talking about it, it became clear that I just hadn’t done my research properly. Using the colour theory by Johannes Itten we analysed the new paintings and compared them to the earlier works. We concluded:

  • The colour schemes of the earlier works was tertiary, while the colour schemes of the new paintings was secondary.
  • Furthermore, the tones in the earlier works were more grayed out, while the tones in the new paintings were more saturated.
  • Composition wise the earlier works were more like complex collages with multiple layers, while the new paintings were much simpler with only two layers.

These three factors resulted in something completely different! So I had to get back to the drawing board. The frustration had grown into eagerness to get it right this time!

HOW TO SUCCEED AT RECREATING YOUR OWN ART.

This time I really looked at my earlier works: what colour combinations did I use? What composition choices did I make? Not taking anything for granted but really trying to understand my own work, my choices and my techniques.

After that I started mixing new colours. I used a lot of complementary colours to create the grey tones and tertiary colours. After that I decided not to just start painting but to sketch the compositions first. After that I coloured them in with my new colours and finally I got my results!

THE ART OF ELABORATING

What I’ve learned in the process of elaboration on your own art is that you will really get to the core of your art practice. It just won’t do to try to recreate things without really understanding them. Knowing what is going on with them. Elaborating on your art will give you such valuable insights into your own work I would highly recommend it to any artist!

FIND THE SPECIAL TECHNIQUES THAT MAKE YOUR ART UNIQUE

Last month I wrote about how to find your signature style. And though I still feel that’s a blog post worth reading I would like to add something to it. Something about finding the special techniques that make your art unique. It may be easier to find those as it is to find your signature style. While your special techniques will definitely point you in the right direction!

WHAT MY SPECIAL TECHNIQUES ARE

Cutting

Cutting may not be a special technique but it is a talent. I like to think I am a cutting pro. With my ancient scissors I even get through extra thick oil paint paper so that’s saying something. Maybe the special technique lies more in the choices I make while I am cutting. Where I always choose to cut my own drawings following their lines meticulously I cut my magazines and books differently.

You can see the difference below: magazine photographs and botanical shapes from books I always cut out with a small white space around them. There is no deep meaning behind this (I am sorry). But I have done this for as long as I can remember. (I am going to suppress the urge to tell you everything about all the collages I made as a child. And how I was always meant to become a collage maker, because seriously, you’ve probably read it all hundreds of times before).

Cut outs of my ink drawings:
special techniques that make your art unique mine is cutting
cut outs of ink drawings by the fran collage artist 2021
Cut outs of magazines and books:
special techniques that make your art unique mine is cutting
cut outs of magazines and books soon to become collages by the fran collage artist 2021
Composition making

Besides cutting there’s composition making. I like to think I am a pro at that as well. The best part of that is that I am not even judging with my eyes. I always make compositions sitting or crouching down. When a composition is ready my body tells me by standing up. The only thing I really have to do is to listen. And to practice my squats, because after 8 hours in the studio my legs get tired and my body doesn’t really care about compositions anymore… So yes, I use my eyes, but they feel more like a tool than like a judge.

If I had put one and two together I could have figured out my signature style way earlier. But then again, you have to be ready to find your style. Otherwise it will feel way to easy and lazy. Why’s that?

Time lapse cutting up paper

SPECIAL TECHNIQUES OR TALENTS?

I feel an artist’s special techniques are closely linked to their specific talents. As with mine (cutting and composition). I think it kind of works like this: you have a certain talent but you’re not aware of it (it usually goes like this with talents). Because it is a talent you like to do it, especially when you’re young and you just like to do what you like. So you keep on enjoying your talent and keep perfecting it out of sheer joy but you do not see it as something others work very hard for.

Talents are for lazy people, right?

Then you get older and you want things to be harder or you want to learn new and difficult skills and techniques, you see other people doing. Especially when you train to be an artist these kind of things can happen because you get inspired by other artists and want to be like them or want to make art like their art. Maybe you even stop using your talent for a while. Because it just seems too easy and too lazy to be just cutting things up while others are making the most amazing oil pastel drawings…

And then you hit a wall. That usually happens when you’re very tired, very frustrated, very unhappy or all of them at once. For me it happened when I was really very tired. You hit a wall and you lose purpose. Or you lose the joy in creating. What’s vital when you hit a wall is that you let it hit you. Don’t crawl back and change directions. Just let yourself crash into that wall and feel all the bricks crippling your motivation. Because once you have really felt that deep frustration and emptiness you will allow your talent to come back to you. When there is no energy for anything else, your talent will come to save the day. Because your talent does not cost you any energy. So it’s the only thing you will have the strength for.

Hit that wall!

Let it happen. Let is find you. Your talent and your special techniques. Let your talent bring you back your energy and your joy. And let me assure you: once you’ve found the immense childlike joy of working with your talent your grown up side will NEVER accuse it of being easy and lazy again. It will cherish the hell out of it and never want to be doing anything else!

HOW YOU CAN’T COPY SPECIAL TECHNIQUES

Many artists don’t like sharing their special techniques or their process. They are afraid people will steal or copy them. I am not afraid of that. Simply because I believe you cannot steal or copy someone’s special talent. There may be artists or children out there that can cut as well as I. Or that has the same eye (or body) for composition. I just know that I am the only one combining the two as I am doing now. So please, don’t worry about sharing your talents and your techniques. It is so rewarding for people who love your art to see, hear and learn more about your practice! It really gives your art an extra dimension. Like how I want my scissors.

HOW I WANT MY SCISSORS

Some people are very strict about how they want their coffee. I am not one of those people. I drink my coffee black, but I won’t decline a good cappuccino or even a strong espresso with a slice of chocolate cake. The again, I am very strict about how I want my scissors. To be precise: I want them upside down, pointy and small.

I very much feel scissors are designed the wrong way around actually. Because when you use your scissors upside down their agility is way better. It also makes you able to cut very tight corners. Furthermore I can only work with scissors that have sharp points. I am not even sure what’s the purpose of scissors with rounded of points? They always leave a little tear in the paper and by doing so making it impossible to cut a tight corner. Lastly, my scissors need to be small. I have very small hands (or so I have been told…) so my scissors need to be tiny as well. I can’t work with large (e.g. ‘normal sized’) scissors because I can’t cut

So, long story short, my special cutting techniques are made possible by small, sharp, pointy scissors that can easily be used upside down.

SO WHAT ARE YOUR TALENTS?

What about you? Have you already found your special techniques? Or are you hiding your talent away under assumptions of laziness? What is it that comes naturally? What things do not cost you any energy? I would love to hear from you!

WHAT MAKES A GREAT ARTIST STUDIO?

My new artist studio is totally different from the last. It’s cosy, quite small, almost office-like. But it suits me so well. And it even aided in me finding my signatures style. So I am already so grateful for this small space.

This is where the magic happens! And therefore this place got me thinking: what makes a great art studio?

my former artist studio the fran collages artist 2021
My former studio
my current artist studio the fran collage artist 2021
My current studio

WHAT MAKES A GREAT ARTIST STUDIO ACCORDING TO SOCIAL MEDIA?

We all know the mouth-watering pictures of the ideal artist studio on social media. It’s huge with lots of large windows, a high ceiling, great lighting and filled with humongous works in progress. Ideally there’s also an artist at work. Or pictured with one of these looks: pondering about the great questions of life, a devil-may-care-attitude that suggests they are changing the world whether you like it or not or a happy smile that’s saying: I love my life. That last look is my favourite. Though I am not sure about that artist studio ideal in real life anymore. Because I had that and it did not work. Let me explain:

MY EXPERIENCES IN ‘THE ARTIST STUDIO OF YOUR DREAMS’

I was lucky enough to be able to work in ‘the artist studio of your dreams’. From May until November 2020 I had this huge space to make art with exactly the things every artist seems to be yearning for:

  • lots of large windows
  • a high ceiling
  • lots of light (not very great because it was oriented south but hey, a grumpy ear that pays attention to that!
  • located in a building with other creatives (woodworkers, fabric artists, painters)
  • all the space I could ever need and more to create humongous art
Lot’s of windows and light
High ceiling
All the space you could ever need

The first couple of months were absolutely amazing. My art practice sky rocketed and I produced more art in my first months than I had made during the nine months before that. So I thought I was definitely on the right track.

STUDIO EXPECTATIONS…

But after a couple of months it suddenly changed. Probably influenced by all these great artist studios on Instagram I began questioning my use of the space. Why wasn’t I making humongous art when I obviously had the space for it? Wasn’t it time for me to upscale my work and start working bigger? Not only because that’s what you are supposed to be wanting to do as an artist but because I was having all this space and not using it. Wasn’t that a big middle finger to all the artists who wanted to work big but couldn’t because of their small studio?

So I started working big. I made a huge Applecross Panorama. And let’s be honest: I loved working on it. It was a blast to be able to make painting feel like a serious work-out. But I coulnd’t get myself to finishing it (it still isn’t finished). And that’s just so NOT like me. I am all for finishing what you started and if I can’t finish something that’s usually a very clear sign that I shouldn’t have started it in the first place. So. That party really died. No humongous art for me. And shortly after that realisation I started resenting my space. Feeling like it was just too big for me to fill with my own energy. Like I was too small and the studio too overwhelming to be conducive to my art.

Large art in the artist studio of the fran collage artist 2021
My Applecross Panorama in the making

WHAT REALLY MAKES A GREAT ARTIST STUDIO ACCORDING OT ME

But before I could lose myself in existential drama there was my husband who suggested that it was maybe time to try something different. Something smaller? Something outside the city center without all the noises? And before I knew it I found myself on the outskirts of town. In a small, office-like studio space with a wooden wall on one side. Looking out over industrial rooftops and lots of trees, straight to the epic brutalist architecture of Het Provinciehuis van Brabant. And I found myself again as an artist. This space with its ancient office carpet and rattling heating does something to me. It makes me feel like I come home every time I go to work.

my great artist studio at the moment
Small but cosy
great views from my artist studio
Great views
perfect artist chair
Perfect chair to cook up new ideas

WHAT WOULD MAKE YOUR IDEAL ART STUDIO?

So there you have it. My great artist studio does not fit the usual requirements. But from day one it encouraged my artistic practice and did not have great expectations that smothered my creativity.

What would make a great art studio according to you? And do you already have your ideal artist studio or are you still looking for it? I would love to hear about it in the comments.

Thank you for reading and until next week!

KICK OFF YOUR 2021 WITH THE BEST ONLINE ARTIST COLLAB

Want to kick off your 2021 with some colourful art and inspiration? Then you’ve come to the right place! January 20 we will open our first online art exhibition: Moving Forward. Moving Forward is an online artist collab between four international artists. Myself included, of course.

Next to some brand new botanical themed collages and a couple of new year-themed works in lucky red by me, this is what you can expect:

artist collab: moving forward online art exhibit opens January 20 2021 featuring work of berenice albrecht charlotte johnston toni harrower and the fran

KICK 2021 OFF WITH AUSTRALIAN WATERCOLOURS BY BERENICE ALBRECHT

Berenice Albrecht is an Australian artist, mother and grandmother. Berenice is a watercolorist with a passion for ink line defnitions. She is retired and she is enjoying the freedom to make art. She finds inspiration in the colours and shapes of nature.

Berenice’s work is playful yet distinguished. It combines lush colours with distinctive black lines. I find her botanical drawings especially striking. And the good news is that our exhibition features seven of these beauties!

I am not going to spoil our artist collab by showing you her work here. Head over to our online art exhibition to find out what Berenice has painted from her garden during lockdown!

ALSO JOINING OUR ARTIST COLLAB: ENGLISH ARTIST CHARLOTTE JOHNSTON

Charlotte Johnston is a Scottish artist, living and working in England. She mostly works outside because she wants to be able to respond quickly to movement and light levels.

Her painting style is vivid and energetic and her colour combinations are ace! But painting isn’t her only talent, she can draw as well. With seeming ease she captures both indoor botanical glasshouse compositions and outdoor market scenes.

Our artist collab features several of Charlotte’s drawings, both in ink and in soft and oil pastel. Head over to our online exhibit now to join Charlotte on her artistic journey to a small island in the Indian Ocean.

Charlotte Johnston is a Scottish artist working and living in England. Her epic ink and pastel drawings are part of our artist collab Moving Forward.
Charlotte Johnston

SCULPTURAL PAINTING AT ITS BEST: MEET SCOTTISH ARTIST TONI HARROWER

Toni Harrower, Scottish artist, makes sculptural 3D paintings in the most amazing colours. She is part of our artist collab Moving Forward.

Toni Harrower, a Scottish artist, makes sculptural paintings following a mathematical system and set procedures. She explores the physicality of paint in line with her interest in dementia. It makes her 3D paintings not only a sight for sore eyes but a sight for sore senses as well.

Toni alternates bright and primary colours with white, gold and black. Because of the many layers in her work it invites the viewer to associate freely and to make up his or her own story. For instance: Toni’s work has already reminded me of old maps of the world, the opening credits to Game of Thrones and royal icing on cakes.

So wait no longer, visit our online exhibit today and see for yourself what Toni’s art will make you experience!

ARTIST SIGNATURE STYLE FOUND AND HOW I DID IT

On the brink of 2021 I found my artist signature style: colourful collages with lots of layers and playful compositions. After two years of fiercely experimenting with everything I could lay my hands on it suddenly stroke. I am supposed to make what comes naturally!

my artist signature style that I found on the brink of 2021: colourful collages
my artist signature style that I found on the brink of 2021: colourful collages
my artist signature style that I found on the brink of 2021: colourful collages

YOUR ARTIST SIGNATURE USUALLY COMES NATURALLY

Colourful collages are always sneaking up on me. When I’m taking a day off, when I am abroad during a summer holiday, when I am on a train… If I have some scissors with me and some paper they will emerge from my hands even if I’m absent minded.

me with my favourite tool: my ancient scissors - the fran 2021
colour coded botanical shapes by the fran 2021
old art cut up to make new collages by the fran 2021

HOW I FOUND MY ARTIST SIGNATURE

During the last weeks of 2020 I was practically exhausted. A week earlier I moved into my new art studio and my husband had just told me that he also wanted to move to a new home. And I was like: are you kidding me? Can a person just enjoy one week in her life without any drastic changes? Apparently not. Even so I kept on going to my studio every morning. Not expecting anything extraordinary to happen. But just to be surrounded by my art. Bracing myself for everything that was about to change in 2021.

After two weeks I found myself making collages. And it escalated quickly. Within a week I made 45 of them and at first I really didn’t know what hit me! Wasn’t I tired of 2020? Wasn’t I trying to save my energy for all those things my husband cooked up? Apparently I was! And apparently I needed to make collages to feel energized and ready again.

That’s how it goes apparently: you can’t force your artist signature style to happen. Neither can you actively search for it. The only thing you can do is to make art like a maniac and it will find you eventually. Maybe I do need to add the tip ‘notice what you want to to/make when you’re exhausted and need a break’ to my earlier blog post about How to find your signature style as an artist.

2021: BRING IT ON!

So here we are: from now on I will make colourful collages with hand cut botanical shapes. And no virus or lockdown or social distancing or husband with life changing plans can stop me.

artist signature: colourful collages by the fran visual artist 2021
artist signature: handcut botanical shapes  by the fran visual artist 2021
artist signature style: colourful collages in the studio by the fran visual artist 2021

ABOUT BEARING FRUIT + HOW TO ENJOY ART DURING LOCKDOWN

If you want to enjoy art from home during lockdown you can now re-visit my online exhibit ‘Bearing fruit in Catalonia’. It was live on my homepage from 1/10 until 31/12. But to keep it available I have decided to make it into a blog post. So you can enjoy it during the current lockdown.

Bearing fruit in Catalonia

Artist: The Fran

This exhibition was live from 1/10/2020 until 31/12/2020

Drawings and paintings featured in this online exhibition are all available for purchase. Please contact me if you wish to know more.

Welcome to Bearing fruit in Catalonia:

Bearing fruit in Catalonia

bearing fruit in catalonia - art drying in the studio during my art residency in el turros
bearing fruit in catalonia - the fran in her art studio
ARTIST RESIDENCY

In July 2019 I enjoyed a artist residency near Gerona, Catalonia. I stayed at an old hacienda on the slope of a green hill and worked in a old but spacious outside shed. I brought all of my art supplies: ink, markers, oil, paper and large canvasses. But I didn’t brought a plan. I wanted my work to emerge out of me being there, connecting with the land and the environment.

bearing fruit in catalonia - fig drawing by the fran visual artist 2019

During one of the very scary walks downhill (I can’t see depth because of a ‘lazy’ eye) towards the village I found an apricot on the path. And I was like: what is this perfectly fine apricot doing on the ground? There was only one explanation possible: there had to be a tree. And there was. I was in awe! Apricots are one of my very favourite summer fruits but the ones in the supermarkets back home in The Netherlands are often very mushy or grainy. This one was fresh and sweet and smooth. And still it had been laying on the ground!

That’s when I started drawing:

bearing fruit in catalonia - cherry drawing by the fran visual artist 2019
DRAWN TO FRUIT

The first results were large fruit drawings exploring the different Mediterranean fruits. I wanted them to be the center of attention. I was so drawn to them it was like they had their own gravitational pull. In the end some of them indeed ended up in space:

After those drawings I immediately started painting them on large canvasses. I worked simultaneously on all nine and mixed very large amounts of every colour I intended to use.

The results from three weeks of painting:

bearing fruit in catalonia - art studio during art residency
LAST WEEK IN INK

The last week of my artist residency I couldn’t proceed on working on my large fruits. I had already stretched my possibilities by mixing my oils with white spirit to enhance the drying time to keep working on them for as long as I could. But the last week I had to let them be so they could dry. That’s when I started drawing again. This time with black ink. Processing all the street scenes and plants and trees in the wild I soaked in during those three weeks:

bearing fruit in catalonia - the fran in barcelona 2019
BARCELONA X THE FRAN

The last weekend of my stay I decided to visit Barcelona and the Picasso Museum. During that visit I became enthralled with Picasso’s apparent drive to not rest before he had explored every angle of his subject. That’s when I revisited my fruit drawings and started redoing them in ink:

bearing fruit in catalonia - lemon ink drawing by the fran visual artist 2019

Back home I reckoned it wasn’t only art I brought back with me. I felt a difference in my artistic approach as well. I explore different perspectives, aim to understand my subjects on a more abstract level and from time to time I intentionally let them go to be able to come back to them again. Like I did last summer by revisiting the street scene and plant ink drawings from 2019 and turning them into colourful oil pastel drawings:

REVISITING THE LARGE FRUITS IN THE SUMMER OF 2020:

In these two art talks I tell you about how I had to let these paintings go in the autumn of 2019 (because I hated them that much!). And about revisiting them in the summer of 2020 and making them mine again.

So it just goes to show: to be able to bear fruit you may just have to let go of your creations once in a while. Let them live a life of their own, let them grow on you (or not) and to develop the courage to kill (or alter) your darlings.

Thank you for visiting my online exhibition Bearing fruit in Catalonia.

If you would like to share your thoughts on these works, I would love to hear from you.

For more information about the this series you can read and watch more:

LOCKDOWN ART: HOW TO MAKE THE BEST OF IT AS AN ARTIST

Lockdown. Not the happiest of times for many of us artists. Cancelled art shows, closed down galleries, feeling blue or stressed out because of everything that is going on. No, lockdown doesn’t seem like the most inspirational of times when it comes to art. But! For me it has proved to be a very productive time. With little to no distractions I have been able to make several new art series during the first and second lockdown.

lockdown art in my studio the fran visual artist 2020

WHY LOCKDOWN WAS A FLY BY FOR ME

I must admit: I am an introvert at heart. So being alone and being at home really wasn’t a struggle for me at all. So I had that going for me. Also: I was able to access my studio during both lockdowns. I am a total loser when it comes to making art at home. Something with having too many distractions like the laundry waiting to be done or the kitchen waiting to be cleaned…) So having access to my studio turned out to be a life savor. Or art savor.

THE ART I MADE DURING LOCKDOWN

As I said: I made several new series of art during the two lockdowns. I’ve listed them below with the correct links for you to check them out. Some of them aren’t online yet, because when I am in an art making spree I tend to neglect my website…

lockdown art in my studio the fran visual artist 2020

LOCKDOWN ART: COSY CORNERS

Let me just highlight one of the art series I made during lockdown: my Cosy Corners.

I started working on these Cosy corners during the second COVID lockdown. It had just turned autumn in The Netherlands and I wanted to express my love for the new season. Also, I wanted to share my introvert view on lockdown. When being alone isn’t a struggle but a bliss and you are able to spend time surrounded by your plants or enjoy making some homegrown jam, lockdown isn’t very hard. It rather is a time for reflection. For enjoying everything that is still possible to do. And to give a little extra attention to the things at home you like to do best. Reading, planning the allotment for next year, making new art, watching a movie, taking a walk, preserving veggies.

So in essence these drawings are my introverted view on lockdown. They are not meant to sugar coat anything. Because I know very well how devastating the pandemic has been and still is for many of us. I merely thought there also ought to be an introverted take on things. Especially because I have experienced it way more popular to complain about not being able to do things and meet up with people. But when I replied to messages of support or questions about how am I coping, with: ‘I am doing great tbh, because I love the peace and quiet and I allow myself to be the recluse I actually always long to be’. Every single person replied with: ‘you know, so do I actually.’

So these Cosy Corners are also a celebration of introverts wherever they are. And whether they are ready to come out as such or not. I am an introvert and I am proud to be one!

WHAT TO EXPECT?

The current times are unpredictable so I am not sure what to expect art-wise. But I can say that I have definitively found my mojo when it comes to collages and mixed media artworks. So I think I can promise much more of that kind of works to come very soon. From January the 1rst I will be sharing new botanical collages on my Instagram account @art.bythefran . So if you would like to see daily updates be sure to follow me there.

For now I wish you all a very happy and healthy 2021. With art, friends, group immunity and vaccines! Stay safe and happy New Year’s Eve!

EXPANDING PORTFOLIO: MY NEW ART ONLINE

New art online alert! Because of my new art studio my portfolio is expanding rapidly. The last couple of months I wasn’t always able to keep up with my output. But last week I locked myself in a room with my laptop and vowed not to come out until my portfolio was up to date. And behold! I did it!

Check it out here.

AN EVER EXPANDING PORTFOLIO

Because of my new art studio and all the new possibilities to experiment with my portfolio grew substantially over the last couple of months. A series of new ink drawings. A series of small oil paintings on canvas boards. Two series of mixed media collages. A whole new project around wooden sculptures, lino prints and abstract paintings. A huge panorama painting with matching smaller studies on paper. And as we speak I am working on two emerging series of oil pastel drawings on paper. One with a seasonal theme and one with a ‘cosy corners’ theme.

So it was a lot. And since it’s still only me behind the scenes I couldn’t keep up with myself online – except for my Instagram account of course.

expanding portfolio: new art by the fran online
New online
expanding portfolio: new art by the fran online
Also new online

NEW SERIES OF ART ONLINE

So, what new art can you now enjoy online:

UNLOCKING MY EXPANDING PORTFOLIO

While working on expanding my online portfolio I also decided to give it an update. I have chosen to show highlights of every series in my portfolio. That way I hope it stays interesting to look at all those pieces of art. At the same time it gives you the opportunity to see my work evolve.

I have structured my portfolio chronologically. There are links to more information and more pictures after every highlighted series. And of course there is a contact button for if you’d like to know more or if you are interested in buying one or more works.

expanding portfolio: new art by the fran online
Season studies: new online
coming soon: cosy corners drawings by the fran visual artist 2020
Cosy corners drawings, coming soon

WHAT ARE YOUR THOUGHTS?

I would love to hear your thoughts on my expanding portfolio and on my work. I read in Navigating the Art World that as an early day artist you should avoid praise. Because it tells you exactly nothing. While I completely agree with that, that is the only thing you will ever get on social media. Nobody will ever tell you they hate your work for whatever reason. Or that it just isn’t good enough. Doesn’t move them. Or doesn’t do anything for them.

So I want to challenge you: please name ONE THING that you hate about my art in the comments. Or a thing that you feel really is missing. Or that you dislike. It would be so interesting for me and it would be the greatest feedback. It would be so much better than all those mindless likes. And mind you: I am not accusing my followers of being mindless. I am accusing social media itself as being completely mindless. That’s how it’s designed. So the people using it will have to work VERY hard not to become mindless themselves. ‘Nuff said! Would love to hear what you think!

ORGANISING ART: A NEW WAY OF BROWSING

Welcome on my ‘new’ website! I have edited the organising of my art. In stead of grouping them by medium I have now chosen the much more user friendly way of organising them by size. I asked a couple of friends how they would approach a search for art in their homes. They all stated they would start with the size. For that’s something that cannot be meddled with. A blank space on a wall doesn’t magically change from 60 x 80 cm to 100 x 120 overnight. So, organising art by size. What does this mean for you?

organising art in a new way: new menu structure as of autumn 2020

ORGANISING ART BY SIZE

It means I have divided all my art into five categories: huge art, large art, medium art, small art and tiny art. They represent the following sizes:

So if you’re looking for an artwork to brighten up a certain spot in your home, you now will have a clear category to browse through.

organising art by size: huge artworks by the fran visual artist 2020

FAREWELL TO LARGE MENU TREES

With organising my art in this new way I have also said goodbye to the large tree structured menu. What does this mean for you? When you check out my menu you will now only find the five different size categories. Once you click on one of those categories you will be led to that category’s landing page. From there you can continue your quest to find your favourite artwork.

organising art by size: large artworks by the fran visual artist 2020

LANDING PAGES FOR ORGANISING ART

What will you be able to find on these landing page? Let me break it down:

  • the perks of art in that particular size
  • the different available works of art in that particular size, organised per series
  • a gallery of how that particular size art would look like on your walls
  • the specs of that particular size of artworks
  • what kind of artworks I offer within that range
  • the options of commissioning an artwork in that size
organising art by size: medium artworks by the fran visual artist 2020

UNLOCKING MY ART: MAKING IT ACCESSIBLE

My goal with this new way of organising my art is to make it as easy as possible for you to find your favourite piece of art. Because I want to unlock my whole portfolio to you in a way that is fun and sparks your curiosity. So away with tedious long lists or never ending collections of paintings. And in with a comprehensible and uncluttered overview of all my art, organised by size.

small artworks by the fran visual artist 2020

WHAT DO YOU THINK?

Given that I issued these changes with you in mind I would love to hear your thoughts. Do you find it easy to browse through my art? Do you feel something is still missing? Please let me know. You can reply on this blog post, DM me on Insta or contact me through my contact form. Thank you so much for your feedback. And for now: happy art browsing!

tiny artworks by the fran visual artist 2020