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!

OIL PASTELS EXPERIMENTS

The past few days I have been experimenting with oil pastels. I saw some super inspirational oil pastel artworks by other artists and wanted to give it a try. Conclusion: I love it! It’s textured, it’s a lot of pigment and you can work very quickly!

After finishing my Tucson series in oil I still had a full palette with mixed paint. So I decided to make some quick base layers inspired on my Gerona and Spanish botanical drawings.

Then I visited Van Beek Art Supplies and took an hour to pick all the different colours of oil pastels that I needed (wanted 🙂 ).

shopping oil pastels at van beek art supplies in eindhoven summer 2020 the fran visual artist
van gogh oil pastels at van beek art supplies in eindhoven the fran visual artist 2020

WHAT ARE OIL PASTELS?

Oil pastels are very similar to wax crayon (they are also called wax oil crayons). So, they are crayons that contain pigment, a binder (gum or wax) and oil. The oil makes the crayons less powdery. You can add multiple layers of oil pastel, creating an impasto effect. They are considered a quick medium because you don’t need to prepare your paper.

I chose Van Gogh oil pastels for now. Van Gogh is a good brand to start with any art supply, because it is part of the awesomeness but still affordable. When you go any cheaper than Van Gogh chances are high you’re buying crap that doesn’t represent the medium at all. Which means your whole experiment has been for nothing. So, if you’d like to experiment with a new art medium: start with Van Gogh and work your way up if you like working with it.

For now I’ve set my eyes on the Sennelier oil sticks. For comparison: the Van Gogh oil pastels are 0,81 euros a piece. While the Sennelier oil sticks are around 7,00 euros a piece.

my first work with my new oil pastels - art studio the fran visual artist 2020
my new oil pastels - the fran visual artist 2020

MY FIRST WORK WITH OIL PASTELS

So, enough bantering about oil pastels, let me show you my first works!

new oil pastel work by the fran visual artist summer 2020
details of new work by the fran visual artist 2020
details of new work by the fran visual artist 2020
details of new work by the fran visual artist 2020

I’m experimenting with using different colour combinations. On top of that I’m trying to work as quickly as possible. Because that way I am sure I am working as intuitively as possible and that I am not overthinking it.

new oil pastel work by the fran visual artist summer 2020
details of new work by the fran visual artist 2020
details of new work by the fran visual artist 2020
details of new work by the fran visual artist 2020

Right now I am making one drawing a day. So in week I will be able to show you some more work.

WHAT ABOUT YOU?

Do you like the effects of working with oil pastel? Is it likely you are going to try it out yourself any time soon? Or have you been working with them for ages and do you maybe have some insightful advice? Would love to hear from you!

new work in progress the fran visual artist 2020
2 of 9 done
favourite colour to work with atm the fran visual artist 2020
current favourite colour