HOW TO RECREATE YOUR OWN ART (OR NOT)

How to recreate your own art? As I stepped into my art studio last week I realised what an unusually long period of time it had been since I had picked up a brush, mixed some paint or used my scissors. It had been almost two whole months. So I must admit I felt very out of practice and a little nervous as well. That’s why I decided to give myself something of a break and start of easy. Elaborating on some of my earlier works instead of wanting myself to create something new and unique immediately. This blog is about how I wanted to recreate my own art. How I failed miserably the first time and how I managed to succeed in the end.

WHY WOULD YOU WANT TO RECREATE YOUR OWN ART IN THE FIRST PLACE?

There are a couple of reasons why as an artist you would like to recreate your own art:

  • You want to get back in shape after a long studio break and decide you want to elaborate on some of your earlier works.
  • You’re quite fascinated by some of your earlier works and want to explore where you can take it in terms of theme, colour schemes, subject or size.
  • You feel like you’re onto something with these artworks and want to know what it is exactly.
  • The artworks themselves ‘ask’ for more. Like they are part of something bigger, or something different.

WHY I WANTED IT

In my case it was a combination of all the reasons above.

First, like I said, I wanted to give myself a break and ease into making art again after a long break.

how to recreate your own art: my botanical abstracts on which I wanted to elaborate
My botanical abstracts (summer 2020)

Second, I wanted to explore where I could take my botanical abstracts in terms of art practice. Because ever since I painted them last summer I was fascinated by them. Not only by their final results but also and especially by how they came together. They were the results of the most care free art practice I had experienced so far and I loved everything about them.

Third, I wanted to discover what it was that made them so unique. Because care free art is the best. But if you can’t remember what it was you did or aren’t able to do it again then it’s just luck. Or so did I feel at least.

Fourth and final, I also felt the artworks asked for more. Like they were supposed to become part of a larger family of artworks. I already fulfilled their wish last year by making botanical sculptures. But they were very convincing: they wanted children of their own. And if art is speaking to you like that, the only thing you can do as an artist is to oblige.

how to recreate your own art: botanical sculptures to go with the botanical abstract paintings

HOW TO FAIL AT RECREATING YOUR OWN ART

So I got to work feeling quite confident. And I failed miserably. After six paintings I already knew I was heading in a totally different direction. But I wanted to use up my paints and keep on trying so I kept on working until I had twelve paintings. Twelve paintings that had absolutely nothing to do with the works I wanted them to resemble. The colours where off, the compositions didn’t work and I ended up feeling very frustrated that evening.

how to not recreate your own art: this is what I cooked up when I wasn't paying attention

The next morning at breakfast we talked about it and how I didn’t feel very motivated to get back in the studio. Because, well, I couldn’t even make something I had already made before. What kind of complete loser artist was I?! But as we were talking about it, it became clear that I just hadn’t done my research properly. Using the colour theory by Johannes Itten we analysed the new paintings and compared them to the earlier works. We concluded:

  • The colour schemes of the earlier works was tertiary, while the colour schemes of the new paintings was secondary.
  • Furthermore, the tones in the earlier works were more grayed out, while the tones in the new paintings were more saturated.
  • Composition wise the earlier works were more like complex collages with multiple layers, while the new paintings were much simpler with only two layers.

These three factors resulted in something completely different! So I had to get back to the drawing board. The frustration had grown into eagerness to get it right this time!

HOW TO SUCCEED AT RECREATING YOUR OWN ART.

This time I really looked at my earlier works: what colour combinations did I use? What composition choices did I make? Not taking anything for granted but really trying to understand my own work, my choices and my techniques.

After that I started mixing new colours. I used a lot of complementary colours to create the grey tones and tertiary colours. After that I decided not to just start painting but to sketch the compositions first. After that I coloured them in with my new colours and finally I got my results!

THE ART OF ELABORATING

What I’ve learned in the process of elaboration on your own art is that you will really get to the core of your art practice. It just won’t do to try to recreate things without really understanding them. Knowing what is going on with them. Elaborating on your art will give you such valuable insights into your own work I would highly recommend it to any artist!

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:

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!

BOTANICAL ABSTRACTS: CHECK OUT MY NEW CAREFREE ART EXPERIMENTS

Last month I have been experimenting with new botanical abstracts. They really feel like some sort of art family all together. A diverse art family consisting of oil paintings, wooden sculptures and also some lino prints very soon. Most exciting aspect of them? I made them from a completely carefree state of mind.

blue botanical abstract original oil painting by the fran visual artist 2020
green botanical abstract original oil painting by the fran visual artist 2020
yellow botanical abstract original oil painting by the fran visual artist 2020
red botanical abstract original oil painting by the fran visual artist 2020

BOTANICAL ABSTRACTS: OIL PAINTINGS

My botanical abstracts are four oil on canvas paintings of 40 x 50 cm. Their background colour compositions are derivatives from blue, yellow, green and red. With notable grey tones in all the colours. On top of these grey-ish colours I painted four different botanical abstacts in dark brown and dark yellow. The brush strokes are quick. You can see the swift energy of the gestures in the end result.

CAREFREE ART

And it is exactly that swift energy that I was only being able to add because I was working from a completely carefree state of mind. How did I reach such a state of mind? It was a combination of different factors:

Factor 1: I over-painted old work for these. I don’t know why, but by over-painting old work I always feel very relaxed and confident. Maybe it’s because of the absence of a white canvas staring back at you? Demanding great art?

Carefree art factor 1: over-painting old work

Factor 2: I didn’t have a clear plan with these at all. I just started fantasising about the colour combinations and colour compositions. It wasn’t very worked out before I started. I just went with my gut and it all felt very low profile.

backgrounds botanical abstracts the fran visual artist 2020
Carefree art factor 2: no plan!
background green botanical abstract the fran visual artist 2020

Factor 3: The botanical abstracts themselves I painted with ‘left over’ paints from my large Applecross panorama. Painting with left overs always makes me feel very ‘la la la’ and ‘let’s just see what happens’.

palette left over paints by the fran visual artist 2020
Carefree art factor 3: using left over paints

Just before I painted the shapes of the botanical abstracts I had been painting all morning. Working on my large Applecross panorama. So I was in the zone, so to speak. I was really enjoying it and I felt confident about finishing those other paintings. And so I just did.

large applecross panorama painting by the fran visual artist 2020
Carefree art factor 4: enjoying yourself + feeling confident

So that’s carefree painting for you folks, haha! I feel it really shows and I also feel like I’m really on to something here. Also in the context of finding my signature style and in respect to letting them go. Because I feel very strongly there’s more where this came from!

MATCHING WOODEN SCULPTURES

Like I said: there’s more where this came from. Wooden sculptures for instance! After finishing my paintings I suddenly found myself fantasising about wooden sculptures. I had been wanting to try out fretwork for a while and I made sure I had everything I needed. Fretsaw, wood, different kinds of saws, polishing paper. The only thing I felt insecure about were my fret sawing skills. So I asked Bob to teach me and after one hour of sawing it seemed like fret sawing isn’t nearly as hard as I expected it to be! Bob even dared to say that I am something of a fretwork prodigy. Who would’ve thought!

I am working on four different wooden sculptures. One to go with each of the paintings. I recreated the botanical forms in 3D and painted them in non-grey blue, red, green and yellow. Along with a medium that provides a ceramic/pearl effect.

blue botanical abstract wooden sculpture by the fran visual artist 2020
wooden parts drying on the floor
red botanical abstract wooden sculpture by the fran visual artist 2020

BOTANICAL ABSTRACTS LINO PRINTS IN THE MAKING

While I was working on the first wooden sculpture I couldn’t help myself… I was already dreaming about also adding lino prints to this family! I’ve always wanted to master the art of lino printing and cutting. But, just as with fretwork, I wasn’t very good at it at school. But after my uplifting experience in that part I thought: well, maybe I shouldn’t doubt my lino cutting skills as much! Shortly after I ordered a starting kit and I am waiting for it to arrive as we speak. Once it’s here and I’ll have something to show for it you’ll be the first to know!