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!

NEW ART IDEAS TO EXPERIMENT WITH

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

New art ideas to experiment with!

CURRENTLY WORKING ON: COLOUR STUDIES

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

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

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

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

NEW ART IDEAS: SHETLAND PAINTINGS

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

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

You can see the sketches in the video!

NEW ART IDEAS: ‘COSY CORNERS’

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

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

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

NEW ART IDEAS: KITCHEN CORNERS WITH FOOD

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

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

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

AND NOW WHAT?

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

FOLLOW MY PROGRESS

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

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.