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

HOW TO FIND YOUR SIGNATURE STYLE AS AN ARTIST

Lately I have been feeling the pressure of finding or creating my signature style as an artist. In this blog I want to elaborate on this: is it really vital to find or pursue your signature style? What are the pros and cons of a signature style? And, in case you come to the conclusion that it is vital: how do you find it?

A SIGNATURE STYLE AS AN ARTIST: IS IT VITAL?

If you’re an artist or pursue any form of creative profession these days, online marketing is vital. Or so does everyone keep telling me. It’s the one thing Martha May Ronson, Navigating the art world by Delphian Gallery and Donald Miller (StoryBrand) have in common. Something about being a brand. Or creating a brand around yourself and your work. And how vital it is to have a brand if you want to become something like remotely successful in your line of work.

Something in me feels tiresome about having to build a brand around me and my work. Or frustrated. While at the same time I’m also very much intrigued about that whole branding idea. I mean, I didn’t call myself The Fran for nothing, right?! But I still can’t get my head around it: do I want it or do I not want it? And if I don’t want to, what’s the reason? Because it better be a very good one if you believe Ronson, Delphian and Miller…

THE PROS OF HAVING A SIGNATURE STYLE

So let’s start with appointing the pros of having a signature style:

  • You and your work are being recognised by viewers and that’s how your own work becomes your best affiliate
  • People know and become convinced about why they should be buying your work
  • You automatically attract the right people (that is: if your brand suits you!)
  • You will become trustworthy as an artist and as a business: you prove you deliver quality works within a recognisable range over a longer period of time, people dig that!
  • Artistically you have a sort of base ball park from where you start. I guess that could make things easier when it comes to finding new ideas or exploring new subjects? (I cannot know this for sure, for I feel that I haven’t found my signature style yet.)
  • As an artist it makes it easier to connect with suitable galleries, shows, events, etcetera. Because you will know immediately whether or not it’s a match.

THE CONS OF HAVING A SIGNATURE STYLE

Then there’s the cons of having a signature style. I don’t know about you, but I feel very strongly about these. Most of them are questions, because I’d really like your input on these!

  • How is it possible to keep experimenting and exploring new ideas if you have to stick to your signature style?
  • I myself find the work of artists who have found their signature style often very repetitive and boring. But I don’t know whether that’s a good thing? It could also mean that I am just not the intended viewer/buyer and that everything is sorting itself out?
  • For me it feels very intangible: when do you have a signature style? What is required to call it that? Is just working with oil enough to appoint ‘oil’ as your signature? Or does it require something about the subjects or your approach as well?
  • You can’t switch once you’ve found it? Again: question mark.

Let’s leave the list for what it is. Because I’d like to elaborate my doubts with an example. In her free masterclass on how to sell your art online Ronson talks about Banksy. About how he has build a very recognisable brand around him and his work. You immediately recognise his work as his. You know his values (political satire, transience) and his style (street art, black and white drawings). And when I heard Ronson talking about Banksy it really hit me: it works! I appreciate this Banksy brand as a viewer and as an art lover. But if I were in his shoes as an artist I would probably feel very restricted and confined. Or would I?

IT ALL COMES DOWN TO ONE QUESTION

Writing and thinking about this I now feel there’s just one very clear question I have to ask myself. What is my goal? If my goal is to make money with my art I think it is very clear that I should be working on becoming a brand. If my goal is to experiment until I die than maybe becoming a brand is less important.

The thing I am super curious about is how to combine the two! Would it be possible to ‘start’ a brand around me and my work in which I feel comfortable. And to keep experimenting on the side? How would that work? And does that mean that I can’t share those experiments within my own brand? I think that if I come up with a solution for this ‘problem’ I’d have the best of both worlds. To have a profitable art business together with a challenging and inviting artistic journey for me as an artist. To combine a recognisable brand AND the opportunity to keep experimenting.

HOW TO FIND YOUR SIGNATURE STYLE

Let’s just say we’ve solved the brand versus experimenting problem and that we want nothing more than to find our signature style. How would we go about it? And although I may not be so sure about whether or not I want a signature style, I really do think I cracked the code on this one:

  1. EXPERIMENT! It’s really that simple. Just lock yourself in your studio and try everything. Follow your gut. Make the things you want to make. Explore themes, subjects, mediums, surfaces, approaches and skills.
  2. Focus on what you like to do and the results that you love. So once you’ve found something you REALLY like doing, keep doing that, because that is a clear sign. The same goes for end results. Don’t be bothered with what others think about your end results. Be your own critic: if you like what you make, than you should pursue that. This doesn’t mean you shouldn’t make progress or try out new ways of looking at things, but that goes without saying.
  3. Create A LOT of work. Focus on productivity. Make as many artworks as you can for about one or two years. Try not to overthink it during those years. Then after that period of time look back on it. Can you see reoccurring themes, colours, approaches or maybe find a common denominator? Ask the opinion of your peers, your fellow artists, your friends, people from outside of the art world. What do they see?
  4. If you have gathered feedback then you can try to capture all of that into three or four words. Those words can be abstract or more concrete, it’s your choice. Put them together in a way that works for you and create your own art brand around it.

MY SIGNATURE STYLE?

Let’s say I would do this. And after asking feedback I would find out people love my ink drawings more than any of my other work. My ink drawings have been called striking, vibrant and bold. Then I could choose striking, bold and ink drawings as my signature style.

Same goes for if people would love my mixed media collages above anything else. They have been called colourful, sophisticated and striking. So now I know I could choose to pursue a signature style in collages as well. But would that mean that I should focus on making collages only?

Maybe I could also choose to forgo the specific medium and focus on ‘striking’. A word I’ve heard twice now. So it must mean something right! Right?

Enough food for thought. To be continued…

HOW DO YOU FEEL ABOUT IT?

I am very curious about how you feel about developing a signature style. Do you think it’s positive to pursue it? Or do you think it will just show itself after you put enough time and effort into your art? I’d love to hear from you in the comments.

With love,

The Fran

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

ART STUDIO DEN BOSCH

Guys! Shit just got real! Last week I got the keys to my very first and very own art studio in Den Bosch. The place is totally brill. It’s spacious, light and it has got a very good energy. So if you were wondering why I didn’t blog for a whole month: I was busy preparing, furnishing, enjoying!

art studio the fran zone den Bosch
the fran in her art studio

I’ve created an ‘easle wall’ so I will be able to work on multiple large paintings at once. Just as in Spain. You know that’s the way I like it haha.

I’ve also created a cozy ‘mini living room’ for anyone who likes to come and visit. Like I did at the Eindhoven Maker Faire in September 2019. You can lounge in my comfy armchair. Watch me paint or enjoy the vibes in general.

easle wall in my art studio
mini living room for you to enjoy

Right now I’m busy turning the stage (omg yes my art studio has a stage – bless me!) into a wee shop / showroom. It will showcase all my art scarfs, art cushions, art table linens and so forth. An offline stone and mortar shop to complement my online shop. You are more than welcome to come take a look. Like I said, my art studio is super spacious so we can maintain a lot of distance 🙂

FREE AT LAST: MY ART STUDIO

It may sound somewhat exaggerated: ‘free at last’ when it comes to my new art studio. But it does feel this liberating! For the first time in my life I feel I’ve really made a decision for me. And put it into action. For the first time in my life I’m going on an adventure I chose for me. This feeling results in a peaceful state of mind I can’t recall in a long time. Suddenly just being myself, being an artist is enough. I am enjoying it immensely.

happy the pappy in my new art studio
lemon on earth catalan collection 2019 large canvas

Free at last. To live my life. Not a life carefully planned by others. No life dictated by a toxic family system held together by religious fear and emotional neglect. Not a life in which I am only busy proving everybody wrong or proving I am worthy. Just my life. My own. To live and to discover. To shape and to alter. And to enjoy and to cherish.

After 2,5 years and a lot of struggles, sleepless nights, pain, fear and sorrow of letting my old life behind and actually burning my bridges, I feel like I am exactly where I am supposed to be. And in the words of Snoop Dogg: I want to thank me!

FRANCES MACDONALD MACNAIR & MARGARET MACDONALD MACKINTOSH

Welcome to the first episode of The Fran Zone’s series about Unforgettable female artists. This first episode is a special one right away. Because it features not one but two magnificent female artist from history. I am talking about the Macdonald sisters. Frances Macdonald MacNair and Margaret Macdonald Mackintosh .

Watch the episode here or read it below.

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THE MACDONALD SISTERS

The Macdonald sisters were born in the second half of the 19th century. They were the creative and artistic founders of the Glasgow School. The Glasgow School was an artistic movement at the fin de siecle in Glasgow, Scotland. As an artistic movement it was a fusion of Japanse art, art nouveau, Celtic revival art and arts & crafts.

You may also like: De arts & crafts beweging

margaret macdonald o ye, all ye that walk in willowwood 1902
Image 1: O ye, all ye that walk in Willowwood, gesso panel by Margaret Macdonald, 1902.

GLASGOW STYLE

If you look at this painting (image 1) you can see several of the typical Glasgow Style characteristics: This is an artwork made by Margaret MacDonald in 1902. It is called O YE, ALL YE THAT WALK IN WILLOWWOOD. You can see the distorted, elongated human forms, the intricate lines all over the painting. Furthermore the painting seems like it is in 2D, much like the Japanese art of that time. And it has a Celtic fairy tale feel because of the depicted flowers and veils. All symbolical depictions of femininity. The arts & crafts influences can be noticed in the materials used. This artwork is a gesso panel and Margaret Macdonald used her skills with metal, paint and embroidery.

THE FOUR

The Macdonald sisters opened up their own art studio in the Glasgow city center. At their school they met Charles Rennie Mackintosh and Herbert MacNair. They started working together and called themselves The Four. Soon their nickname would become ‘The Spook School’ because of the distorted, witch-like human forms that occupied their art. The public found their work upsetting, creepy and sometimes even dangerous.

Check out my Glasgow School board on Pinterest for more images and inspiration about the Glasgow Style.

Economics and art where booming in Glasgow at the end of the 19th century. At the same time women’s rights and privileges were high on the agenda in Glasgow. Women were allowed to study, to pursue careers and the Glasgow School of Art played a large role in that by providing education and employment. Many female students were active in the women’s suffragette movement. In this progressive climate the Macdonald sisters flourished.

MARGARET MACDONALD (1864-1933)

Margaret MacDonald Mackintosh (1876-1933) Glasgow School
Margaret Macdonald Mackintosh (1864-1933)

Their creative and artistic accomplishments were noticed outside Scotland and the UK. And especially Margaret knew how to take advantage of that. Together with her husband Charles Rennie Mackintosh, whom she married in 1900, she delivered artworks to more than 40 exhibitions in Europe and America from 1890 until 1924. After her marriage Margaret started to work with Mackintosh more often. He was an architect who designed buildings and furniture. Margaret designed the interiors of rooms in large country houses. She designed panels to go with Mackintosh’s furniture. And they designed their own house and interior together. Which you can still visit when you’re ever in Glasgow.

FRANCES MACDONALD (1873-1921)

Frances Macdonald MacNair (1873-1921) Glasgow School Liverpool Scotland
Frances MacDonald MacNair (1873-1921)

The story of Frances and Herbert is a little different. Frances married Herbert MacNair and they relocated in Liverpool. MacNair had been appointed at the Liverpool school of art. The artistic and social climate in Liverpool however was completely different from that in Glasgow. Frances missed the freedom she had had in Glasgow. She got pregnant and became a mother. All the while questioning her life choices and decisions. And making art about it.

THE CHOICE

The Choice (1909) Frances MacNair
Image 2: The Choice (1909) by Frances MacDonald MacNair

Let’s look at this painting (image 2) by Frances Macdonald made in 1909. It is called THE CHOICE. And it features two couples. As you can see the two women are connected (the legs of the woman on the right are connected to the ‘dress’ of the woman on the left). But the two couples are clearly going their own separate ways. The golden circles laid out in front of the couple on the right are going in the opposite direction from the roses all around the couple on the left.

It seems like the couple on the right could be Charles Mackintosh and Margaret Macdonald heading off to a golden future in the midst of the Glasgow art scene. While the couple on the left could be Frances Macdonald and Herbert MacNair whom she followed to Liverpool out of love. But with great pain of leaving Glasgow and the other two, especially her sister, behind.

FORGOTTEN FEMALE ARTISTS

The artistic genius an creative inventiveness of these women are extraordinary. And especially the name and fame of Margaret Macdonald was known all over Europe at the peak of her career. Yet they play no significant part in any form of art history outside of Scotland. How could this have happened?

There are two main reasons for this. And this is the first. How progressive and inclusive the Glasgow art scene may have been during their lifetime. Many of Margaret Macdonald’s accomplishments, artworks and designs have been attributed to her husband after their death. In spite of all the evidence of Margaret being the artist behind the work in stead of Charles (such as signatures on the work). Just as history has long been a tale of mankind rather than human kind has the art canon long been dominated by men.

And as for the second reason: Frances was less successful with her art during her life. Her artworks were written off like fairy tale, feminine oddities. Neglecting the great symbolic power and mysticism in them. But the most important reason Frances Macdonald and her art were forgotten for a very long time is the fact that her husband destroyed more than half of her works after she committed suicide in 1921.

MARGARET MACDONALD MACKINTOSH & FRANCES MACDONALD MACNAIR

So there you have it: Margaret and Frances Macdonald. Two artistic and creative geniuses. Responsible for the birth of one of worlds most influential art movements at the and of the 19th century. But absent from all the great art history books.

I hope you found this first episode interesting and helpful. That’s it for now. Until next week!

My Dutch blog about the Macdonald sisters
My Pinterest board about the Glasgow Style

ART IN ISOLATION : FOUR WAYS TO ENJOY ART WHILE IN CORONA ISOLATION

The corona isolation measures are still in effect. So I thought I’d give you four ways of enjoying art from your living room. Because sometimes the best inspiration can be found close to home. Or at home in this instance. So here they are: four ways to enjoy art in isolation:

1: ENJOY ONLINE ART IN ISOLATION

The ways of enjoying art online are numerous! Let me give you a few:

Several museums have put their current exhibitions online for the public to enjoy. Rijksmuseum of course has a very large online collection. But also for instance Rijksmuseum Twenthe has made a digital exhibit of their current Picasso and Matisse. Beauty is a line. Just browse your favourite museum’s website and check out what kind of digital art they are offering. And enjoy it from your living room.

Follow some artsy social media accounts. Instagram and Pinterest are the best platforms in this case, because these are primarily visual platforms. Instagram is full of amazingly talented artist. You can find artists by theme. For instance: abstract, colourful, modern, portraits, landscapes, botanical, etc. Or find them by material. For instance: watercolour, oil paint, ceramics, wool, fabrics, fluid acrylic, flowers. Or start by following one of your favourite artists. The Instagram algorithm will then lead you to other similar accounts. The same goes for Pinterest.

Some of my favourite Instagram accounts are:

@redrubyrose
@molesworthandbird
@karenbuntingdesign
@r.o.b.e.r.t.d.e.g.a.r.d.e
@kaprosh.art
@westcoastweaversskye
@studioglashelder
@meikejanssens.be
@afterhourspottery
@the_art_kroep
@coraverhagen
@josworms
@gertdemulder
@shilasdair_yarns
@jhon.yalanda

enjoy art in isolation: online art instagram accounts red ruby rose
Red Ruby Rose

2. ENJOY ART BOOKS

Maybe you have your own art books to browse. Maybe you can join your local library. Or maybe you can organise a small local library in your neighbourhood. I live in a very large apartment building and last week there where suddenly laying books all over the bench on the ground floor. What happened? One of my neighbours just started a ‘building’ library. I then joined her and before I knew I had the best books in town!

And just in case your local library is closed: many libraries offer their e-books for free right now! So be sure to check it out on their website. Also a very nice way of keeping your children occupied.

enjoy art in isolation online: molesworth and bird in the uk
Molesworth & Bird

3. ENJOY ART MOVIES

I think you already know where I am going with this: Netflix (and chill > if you’re done with art then that’s the first thing I’d recommend during isolation, but never mind). Some of the best art movies now on Netflix are:

The Danish Girl
Walt before Mickey
Velvet Buzzsaw
House of Z
Marie Antoinette
Bowie: the man who changed the world
Shirkers
Ai Weiwei: never sorry
Beltrachhi: the art of forgery
Abstract: the art of design
The 100 years show

enjoy art in isolation: westcoast weavers on the isle of skye
Westcoast Weavers

4. ENJOY ART FACTS

Like I always say: Wikipedia is your friend! Especially if you can read a little English. Because the English version is wayyyy more extensive than the Dutch version. Or the French, or the Spanish, for that matter. So, go to Wikipedia. Just start at the page of your favourite artist and let yourself be dragged into the heavenly deep crypts of Wikipedia knowledge. This way of enjoying art in isolation is definitely on top of my list. Before I know it my whole evening is goooone.

ENJOY ART IN ISOLATION

I hope you find these tips useful. Very soon I will also share some tips of being and getting creative in isolation. But for now I am off to Wikipedia. And I never know how long that is going to take…

AND NOW IT’S YOUR TURN:

Which tip do you find the most helpful and are you going to use in the next couple of weeks? Let me know in the comments! Also, if you have yet another way of enjoying art in isolation, please let me know. It takes my ass off

HENRI MATISSE AND HIS ART OF JOIE DE VIVRE

Henri Matisse (1869-1954) is a French painter and one of the most important modernists. He was an early Fauvist, French for ‘wild beast’, because of his wild brush strokes, intense color combinations and his abstract representation of reality. He is also known for his paper collages and his flowing organic forms.

It goes to show, Matisse is my kind of guy. That is why I am starting this new series of blogs about artists who inspire me with Henri Matisse. The man who portrayed unbridled joy of life. (Scroll down for Dutch and more images).

Henri Matisse, De Dans (1910)
Henri Matisse, The Dance (1910)

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UNLEASH THE BEAST WITHIN

The fauvists were the wild beasts of modern art. Because of their painting techniques and use of color. Matisse (autocorrect sticks with ‘mayonnaise’ 🙂 can’t be bothered with details. He works bold, fast, sketchy and accurate. He uses large brushes on long sticks. Almost to make sure that it is impossible for him to paint details.

PAINTING IN PYJAMAS

Matisse works like a maniac. He maintains a strict work schedule and, as a result, has a huge output and a large oeuvre. He simply loves painting the most. When his health deteriorates, he paints in bed in pajamas.

Henri Matisse making cut-outs in bed
Henri Matisse making cut-outs in bed

BOLD SKETCHES AND LARGE BRUSHES

In other words: details are for wimps, haha! Matisse, while standing, painted on paper lying on the floor. For this he used a brush that was attached to a long stick. In that way it was impossible for him to go into detail. And it made his brush strokes large and energetic.

Henri Matisse using a large brush on a stick to paint with
Henri Matisse using a large brush on a stick to paint with

HENRI MATISSE

If I had to choose one artist as inspiration, I would choose Henri Matisse. I am a big fan of his work, of his vision and of the energy that speaks from all his colors and shapes. The first time I saw his ‘The Dance’, the pure joy of life on the canvas went straight through my heart. The only one ever succeeded in doing that again was Picasso with Les demoiselles d’Avignon. A special detail is that Picasso painted Les demoiselles d’Avignon in response to Matisses ‘Bonheur de vivre’ (‘Joy of Life’). But I will tell you more about that in a next blog!

HENRI MATISSE IN MUSEUMS

If you’re interested in Matisses art, you can visit the Matisse museum in Nice. The Museum l’Orangerie in Paris also holds a large part of his work.

In the Netherlands, the Hermitage in Amsterdam has its own Matisse room. Furthermore, in 2022 it will show the exhibition ‘Matisse and Picasso’, about these two masters, friends and rivals. When I read this I did a little dance of joy myself!!

But luckily in the Netherlands we don’t have to wait until 2022! This summer the Dordrechts Museum shows the exhibition ‘Pioneers of modernism’. This exhibition runs from May 16 to September 27. Be there or be square!

Collage of Matisses work by Stedelijk Museum
Collage of Matisses work by Stedelijk Museum.

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HENRI MATISSE : LEVENSVREUGDE IN DE KUNST

Henri Matisse (1869-1954) is een Franse schilder en een van de belangrijkste modernisten. Hij was een vroege Fauvist, Frans voor ‘wild beest’ vanwege zijn wilde penseelstreken, heftige kleurcombinaties en zijn abstrakte weergave van de werkelijkheid. Hij is ook bekend van zijn papiercollages en zijn vloeiende organische vormen.

Je hoort het al, Matisse is een man naar mijn hart. Daarom start ik deze nieuwe serie blogs over kunstenaars die mij inspireren met Henri Matisse. De man die ongebreidelde levensvreugde verbeeldde.

UNLEASH THE BEAST WITHIN

De fauvisten waren de wilde beesten van de moderne kunst. Vanwege hun schildertechnieken en kleurgebruik. Matisse (autocorrect maakt er steeds mayonaise van 🙂 ) is sowieso niet van de ieniemiene details. Hij werkt groot snel, schetsmatig en trefzeker. Hij gebruikt grote penselen aan lange stokken. Bijna om te zorgen dat hij hoe dan ook géén details kan gaan schilderen.

Henri Matisse, Blue Nude (1952)
Henri Matisse, Blue Nude (1952)

SCHILDEREN IN PYJAMA

Matisse werkt als een malle. Hij houdt er een strikt werkschema op na en heeft mede daardoor een mega output en een gigantisch oeuvre. Hij houdt gewoon het meest van schilderen. Als zijn gezondheid veslechtert, schildert hij in bed in pyjama.

GROTE SCHETSEN EN LANGE PENSELEN

Oftewel: details zijn voor watjes, haha! Matisse schilderde staand op papier dat op de grond lag. Hiervoor gebruikte hij een kwast die was vastgemaakt aan een lange stok. Op die manier was het voor hem onmogelijk om in detail te treden. En waren zijn penseelstreken groot en energiek.

Henri Matisse, Violet leaf on orange background
Henri Matisse, Violet leaf on orange background

HENRI MATISSE

Als ik één kunstenaar zou moeten kiezen als inspiratie, dan kies ik Henri Matisse. Ik ben groot fan van zijn werk, van zijn visie en van de energie die uit al zijn kleuren en vormen spreekt. De eerste keer dat ik zijn ‘De dans’ zag, ging de pure levensvreugde op het doek dwars door mijn hart. De enige die dat daarna ooit nog gelukt is, is Picasso met Les demoiselles d’Avignon. Bijzonder detail is dat Picasso Les demoiselles d’Avignon schilderde als antwoord op Matisses ‘Bonheur de vivre’ (‘Levensvreugde’). Maar daar zal ik je meer over vertellen in een volgend blog!

background date palm painting The Fran 2019 Hortus by Night collection
Background of my Date Palm painting, part of the Hortus by Night collection, 2018.

MUSEA MET HENRI MATISSE

In Nederland komt de Hermitage in Amsterdam in 2022 met de tentoonstelling ‘Matisse en Picasso, over deze twee meesters, vrienden én rivalen.’ Toen ik dit las deed ik een vreugdedansje door de woonkamer!! De Hermitage heeft sowieso standaard een hele kamer vol kunst van Matisse.

Maar gelukkig kun je ook al eerder genieten van Henri Matisse en het modernisme. Deze zomer in het Dordrechts Museum kun je de tentoonstelling ‘Pioniers van het modernisme’ bekijken. De expositie loopt van 16 mei tot 27 september. Be there or be square!

SWITCH TO ENGLISH: THE REAL REASON

Last month I decided to switched from Dutch to English in The Fran-communication. I didn’t know exactly why I wanted to switch to English. But by now I’ve learned to just go with my gut. And find out the real reason later. Well, I’ve just found out the real reason!

SCOTLAND BASED ARTIST

In Bettyhill on my birthday 23 October 2017
In Bettyhill on my birthday 23 October 2017. We travelled the North Coast 500 route.

My ultimate dream is to be a Scotland based artist. To live somewhere in the northwestern Highlands or on the Isle of Skye. Although I may not be very vocal about this, it is a very real dream and seriously close to my heart. And this week it finally hit me: that’s the real reason I wanted to switch to English!

I am not living in Scotland yet. I am not painting and creating in Scotland yet. But I might as well talk and write as if I am in Scotland. Because right now it’s actually the only way I am able to show that dream to the outside world: by talking about it. Writing about it. Sharing my dream. The more people are aware of our dream (because it’s not just me, Bob also longs to live in Scotland) the more possibilities there will be eventually.

the real reason for my switch to English: my favourite place on earth: the walled garden of applecross
My favourite place on earth also just happens to be in Scotland: the walled garden of Applecross

HOW DID THAT HAPPEN?

Three years ago in 2016 when Bob and I just met we started dating to get to know each other better. On our first date we went for drinks. And it was during that first cup of coffee together that he very casually said: ‘I’d love to live in Scotland one day.’ And I was like ‘What? You don’t say!’

Back in 2014 I went to Scotland for the very first time. I was asked by my brother to accompany him on an autumn trip to Aberdeen. He was just dumped by his Scottish girlfriend who studied in Aberdeen but he had already bought a ticket to visit her. And I was like: awesome! But I don’t want to spend a whole week in Aberdeen, let’s rent a car and go on a Scotland road trip!

And during that road trip my life sort of changed. Yeah I know it sounds awfully cliche and cheesy, but it just did. I saw mountains for the very first time. And raw untouched wild nature. And I don’t know but something just shifted. As we were cruising through the Glen Coe I felt more at home then I had ever felt. I was like: this is it. This is my homeland.

At Loch Ness during our road trip through Scotland in 2014. switch to english
Me at Loch Ness during the Scotland road trip with my brother back in 2014.

SWITCH TO ENGLISH: A SHARED DREAM

So there I was, sipping my coffee on that first date with Bob. And suddenly the man says he wants to live in Scotland one day. I think it was that moment that I decided it would be a very good idea to fall madly in love with him. As did he. And the rest is history 🙂 We fell in love, we got together, we got married. And with every step we took, we had this one shared dream that we took with us: one day we will live in Scotland.

Cup of coffee in Torridon switch to english
Cup of coffee in Torridon 2017

So there you have it. The real reason I switched to English. And the real reason I started my own creative business as well. Because to be able to build a life in Scotland I needed a way of making a living for myself. Regardless my location.

the first cup of coffee during our honeymoon on the Isle of Skye 2018
the real reason from my switch to English
The first cup of coffee during our honeymoon on the Isle of Skye 2018

‘I DON’T LIKE THE SWITCH TO ENGLISH’

Of course it’s a shame if you felt left behind because of my switch to English. Then again I really do feel we don’t need to speak the same language for you to enjoy my work. The majority of my art and work is mostly visual. It is made for you to see, to feel and to experience. So it has nothing to do with a particular language. My art speaks it’s own language. I really believe you can enjoy and appreciate my art even if you don’t understand a word of what I’m saying. If I wanted to speak to you through words I’d have become a writer. But I became an artist. My artworks are my words.

Love you, talk to you later! About why Scotland is my homeland for instance 🙂

Mallaig seen from the Isle of Skye
Mallaig seen from the Isle of Skye, 2018.