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:

TUCSON SERIES WIP: CITY SCENES ON CANVAS BOARD

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

The base layers
tucson series: city scenes in oil on canvas boards
The series of 16 – base layers
Foregrounds
Close-up

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

new ink drawings based on photographs by robert de garde
Pictures by Robert de Garde
ink drawings tucson inspired by photographs by Robert de Garde the fran new art 2020
My subsequent ink drawings

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.

The set up in my studio
Using a table easel with these small boards

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.

Large cacti in group formation
Doorway flanked by large cacti

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.

MORE CITY SCENES

If you like these Tucson city scenes in oil paint I’d strongly recommend the original Tucson ink drawings. You might also like the Gerona ink drawings and the ink Fruits in colour.