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

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!

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.

LUXEMBOURG ART PRIZE 2020

It’s official: I am a contestant of the Luxembourg Art Prize of 2020!

luxembourg art prize 2020 logo

WHAT’S THE LUXEMBOURG ART PRIZE?

The Luxembourg Art Prize is a prize for emerging and more established international artists. It’s organised by La Pinacotheque a museum in Luxembourg every year and it features great international attention.

HAPPY HABITS FOR THE LUXEMBOURG ART PRIZE 2020

I have submitted my relatively new mixed media works of the Happy Habits series. Because these works transcend my earlier works in style, material and artistic approach. And, more importantly, because these works are my most personal so far. They deal with the perfectionism I’ve suffered from for years. These artworks transform my perfectionist habits into new, healthier ones and in a way they serve as transformational art.

Happy Habits mixed media collages series – my Luxembourg Art Prize 2020 submission.

Beside the 16 artworks I’ve also submitted the short accompanying poems I wrote for every artwork. Scroll down to see and read them all in detail.

MY ARTISTIC APPROACH

It took some time to complete my application, because of all the kind of difficult questions they asked me to answer. Like: what’s your artistic practice? And what are recurrent themes in your work? Though these were tough questions they already proved very valuable. Getting the right specific questions about your work and your artistic vision really makes a difference. It has inspired me to think and feel about this and to put this into words the best way I could. (You can also find this on my About page.)

My artistic approach can be summarized by three themes: energy, the boldness of nature and this human life.

Energy

As a child with a restrictive religious upbringing I wasn’t allowed to go to art school nor to pursue any kind of creative career. Obviously not a very rebellious child I obeyed but I got very unhappy with life, myself and the choices I made. After graduating it took me 6 years to discover I had to shake off all these restrictive convictions about what life’s supposed to be. So I didn’t paint until I was 30 and since then I feel this sort of incredible urgency in creating, in catching up with myself. That urgency gives my work energy and electricity. It makes my work pure, spontaneous, direct and bold.

The boldness of nature

Nature inspires me with her unapologetic colours, shapes, diversity and versatility. The same kind of inspiration I find in the work of Swedish artist Malin Gabriella Nordin and Canadian artist Sarah Hughes. Nature is the only place where I can feel truly relaxed and energetic at the same time. It inspires my work as well as my artistic approach. It teaches me to not try to fit into styles or boxes but to grow like a massive rhododendron tree and reach up to the sky.

Nature also inspires me to create my own universe, just like Yayoi Kusama. That’s why I translate my paintings into fabric patterns and print them on carpets, fabrics, scarves and cushion covers. That way people can really immerse themselves in the exotic bold energy of nature. I try to capture that energy in all colours I am able to create with my three primary colours + black and white. Mixing colours is one of the core practices of my work. It takes me away to coral reefs, botanic gardens and tropical forests. So while creating my own colourful universe I travel the whole wide world in my mind.

This human life

In my artistic energy I feel like the love baby of Henri Matisse and Pablo Picasso. With my work I want to dance between the total bliss of carefree joie de vivre and the inevitable pain and sorrow that come with living this human life. I wish to lift people up and comfort them. We are together in this and all emotions are valid to feel and express.

MY SUBMISSION FOR THE LUXEMBOURG ART PRIZE 2020

I really feel this new work sums up my artistic approach quite nicely: because of the fast nature of making collages I can follow my energetic inspiration completely (like: scrambling a composition together, immediately seeing whether it works or not and accordingly starting from scratch or keeping it). Furthermore it is inspired by organic, botanical shapes because I want these new habits to flow through me as opposed to the more harsh perfectionist ones that block my flow. And since they are so personal they dance between the pain (perfectionism) and my innate zest for life.

Joy

mixed media collages by the fran original artwork 2020 happy habits

It’s so easy to regret
All the joy that I forget
But how about the joy
Of rediscovering it once more
Mixed media collage, 21 x 29.7 cm.

Playfulness

mixed media collages by the fran original artwork 2020 happy habits

Give it to me good and bad
Light and dark happy and sad
Don’t you play it down one bit
Oh come on just let me play with it
Mixed media collage, 21 x 29.7 cm.

High-spirited

mixed media collages by the fran original artwork 2020 happy habits
Bold adventures exotic places
I want to meet beautiful faces
Foods I never taste before
All of this and much much more
Mixed media collage, 21 x 29.7 cm.

Pleasure

mixed media collages by the fran original artwork 2020 happy habits
A swan pond covered in spring green
Let us wander there unseen
Share the bliss the energy
And feel limitlessly free
Mixed media collage, 21 x 29.7 cm.

Rebellion

mixed media collages by the fran original artwork 2020 happy habits
I won’t show my aberration
In civilized conversation
But when you’ll get to know my core
You are gonna hear me roar
Mixed media collage, 21 x 29.7 cm.

Movement

mixed media collages by the fran original artwork 2020 happy habits

Just like a creeper on the wall
I want to explore it all
Keep growing developing some style
And maybe bloom once in a while
Mixed media collage, 21 x 29.7 cm.

Flexibility

mixed media collages by the fran original artwork 2020 happy habits
If the current carries me
I’ll move along wholeheartedly
Mixed media collage, 21 x 29.7 cm.

Unity

mixed media collages by the fran original artwork 2020 happy habits
Let’s befriend all sides of me
The one who’s sad and its bully
Even the scared shitless angry child
From no on we are reconciled
Mixed media collage, 21 x 29.7 cm.

Spontaneity

mixed media collages by the fran original artwork 2020 new habits to heal my perfectionism uxembourg art prize 2020 submission
Flavours I’ve never taste before
Passion fruit ice cream in that store
Let’s try some cake as well you know
Where would you like to go tomorrow
Mixed media collage, 21 x 29.7 cm.

Bliss

mixed media collages by the fran original artwork 2020 new habits to heal my perfectionism uxembourg art prize 2020 submission
Can you see my inner child
Deep in the jungle hidden in the wild
I’ll keep her there for good measure
There she will play and dance forever
Mixed media collage, 21 x 29.7 cm.

Freshness

mixed media collages by the fran original artwork 2020 new traits to heal my perfectionism uxembourg art prize 2020 submission
Out with the old in with the new
Fetch me a cup pour me a brew
Whisky or vodka anything’ll do
As long as it tastes fresh and new
Mixed media collage, 21 x 29.7 cm.

Receptivity

mixed media collages by the fran original artwork 2020 new traits to heal my perfectionism uxembourg art prize 2020 submission
Because the things I can come up with
Are nothing
Compared to the universal width
That’s why I say yes please
Surprise me
There’s so much that I could not see
Mixed media collage, 21 x 29.7 cm.

Freedom

mixed media collages by the fran original artwork 2020 new traits to heal my perfectionism uxembourg art prize 2020 submission
This life is mine and mine alone
I won’t wait and won’t postpone
All the things are meant for me
How about being that free
Mixed media collage, 21 x 29.7 cm.

Softness

mixed media collages by the fran original artwork 2020 new traits to heal my perfectionism uxembourg art prize 2020 submission
I feel I understand just now
So let me say no matter how
The truth hurts me I will vow
To stay soft with you somehow
Mixed media collage, 21 x 29.7 cm.

Carefreeness

mixed media collages by the fran original artwork 2020 new traits to heal my perfectionism uxembourg art prize 2020 submission
I trust life and I trust you
There’s nothing to it this will do
Mixed media collage, 21 x 29.7 cm.

Light-heartedness

mixed media collages by the fran original artwork 2020 new traits to heal my perfectionism luxembourg art prize 2020 submission
Happy in the here and now
I don’t want to start a row
So fly with me between the flowers
And forget about the hours
Mixed media collage, 21 x 29.7 cm.

AND NOW WE WAIT

Because of COVID-19 the application period has been extended until the 31th of August 2020. The nominated artists will be notified before September 30th. If I am nominated I will be part of an art exhibition in La Pinacotheqe from November 2020 until April 2021. Of course you would be cordially invited if that would be the case. Fingers crossed and I keep you posted!