Because of COVID we have all experienced the difficulties that now come with cultural activities that used to be carefree. Like visiting an art gallery or your favourite museum of modern art.
For me art is about enjoying beauty. To find yourself surprised at its wit, energy or originality. To ensure you can keep enjoying this as carefree as possible I came up with my Art Memberships.
YOU DON’T HAVE TO WORRY ABOUT ANYTHING!
As an Art Member you don’t have to worry about anything, you will just find a new original artwork in your mailbox every new season. Starting from only €97 a year!
Start your own art collection and make yourself feel good.
ART MEMBERSHIP RECAP:
As an Art Member you will:
Enjoy a full year of soul soothing art
Don’t have to worry about COVID regulations
Start your own art collection within the safety of your own home
Collect only the art that you really love
Surprise yourself with new art every season
Feel inspired by my art the whole year round
Find comfort in my art, whenever you need it.
So, do yourself a favour and become an Art Member today. I am super excited about this offer and I hope to hear from you soon. I can’t wait to hear about your art preferences in terms of size, themes and colour schemes. Just click the button below and sign up. I promise it will make you feel GOOD!
And if I didn’t convince you still, browse through my portfolio to check out the awesomeness you could be collecting during your membership!
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:
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: 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!
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!
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!
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!
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.
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.
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.
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 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.
I also chose to make a large plate and decorate it with Majorelle shapes. To go with my Majorelle canvasses.
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.
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.
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!
Then I visited Van Beek Art Supplies and took an hour to pick all the different colours of oil pastels that I needed (wanted 🙂 ).
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.
So, enough bantering about oil pastels, let me show you my first works!
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.
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!
I am so happy to share my new logo with you! It’s in black and white and it has my own art incorporated in it. I am quite proud of it because I designed it myself. The ‘only’ thing Bob did was making it suitable for all kinds of online usage. Not unimportant, but still 😉 .
We also made a banner:
The idea behind my new logo
The reason this logo and banner suits me and my art is the circle of art I have tried to embody with it. In the logo my name and artistry are the breeding ground of the art, blooming into a logo. The largest spike sort of sprouts from the F in The Fran.
In the banner it’s the other way around. There it’s nature, art and life that inspires me as an artist and as a human being. The ‘T’ from The Fran sprouts from the grass.
Black and white
I’ve made my new logo in black and white. Firstly, because I work a lot with ink and make a lot of black and white art. Secondly, because my ink drawings are very much part of that circle of art: they are the inspiration for many of my oil paintings. And lastly, because I wanted my logo to not only be my art (what it would have been – or so I believed it would have been in colour) but also an invitation to you to make your own associations.
For instance, one of the first viewers replied with: ‘Oh, I really like it a lot! I see a father with a football and his sun next to him. It reminds me of me taking my kid out on the soccer field every weekend.’ And somebody else said: ‘I see two people making out inside that flower, I love that.’
And I really love that a logo can do that. So. My new logo folks! Hope you like it!
FYI: The Fran Zone still exists
And for if you were wondering: The Fran Zone of course still exists! It is still the name of my art shop and it is still the name of my online community of art lovers. Which you can still join if you love free art downloads every month, behind the scenes sneak peeks into my art studio and other wicked deals and collector’s perks:
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
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
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.
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.
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.
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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.
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.
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.
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.
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!