Recently I've made a bunch (and by bunch I mean 39) of "ink flowers", colorful roundish designs that resemble abstract flowers and I composed them into a short animation exercise. I also used an eye from an old painting (scroll down to see the original art). Music for the video is, as usual, done by Alkaline Samurai (Arlen Dean) who is still kind enough to let me use his beats for my experiments in motion.
In April I've started working on a big ink painting and after I've completed a first layer I set it aside to be finished when I feel inspired to work on it again... which actually never happened. Every time I've attempted to finish this big painting something put me off, almost as if the painting had a mind of its own and didn't want to be messed with anymore :) So, finally after almost three months of trying to work on it I gave up and decided to just let it go. Since I've recorded the process of starting to work on it I edited it into a video you can see above and posted it on my youtube, because why not? The unfinished painting turned out to be just another painting exercise and you can see it leaning against the wall on pictures below in all it's unfinished glory.
Recently I've also made a new painting for The house of indefinable pleasures series (and that's the name of this particular artwork as well). Unlike the bigger painting above this one didn't resist me and I managed to complete it in just few days while filming the pracess as well.
Few days ago I finished working on my little blue/purple paintings, scanned them and composed them into this simple experimental video inspired by color theory, a meditation on color of sorts. I loved working on this and it was a good warm up for working on more experimental animated videos in future.
When I wrote my last post, almost a a month ago I was feeling a bit (or a lot) burnt out and needed a break from everything. Three weeks later, after taking some necessary rest I'm feeling much better. I'm still going through some sort of "information detox" trying to focus on creating rather than reading and researching and just plain absorbing as much information I can. I continued to paint and got back into my "comfort zone", using a lot of blue and purple:
Also I started to work on an experimental animation video. At first I thought I'd just compose a video using scans of paintings I already have (to get something similar to the little animation test below) but then I decided to start something new and see how things go.
So far I made hundred small blue/purple ink paintings, I'm about to scan them and try to set them in motion, I'm hoping it should be a good starting point and a warm up of sorts for doing something more complex. My goal is to make something watchable by the end of the Summer or at least by the end of the year, it should be a fun and messy, experimental journey :)
Are you able to spend a whole week without reading anything?
As I already mentioned in one of previous posts, in January I picked up Julia Cameron's The Artist's Way and started doing weekly exercises from the book that are designed to help recover from creative blocks. Since I didn't really have a creative block first few weeks I just had fun reading the book and casually going through exercises but when I got to week four (Week Four: Recovering a Sense of Integrity) I was faced with a real challenge. One of the exercises done during that week is called reading deprivation and requires you not to read anything for an entire week. Let me quote the book:
If you feel stuck in your life or in your art, few jump starts are more effective than a week of reading deprivation.
No reading? That's right: no reading. For most artists, words are like tiny tranquilizers. we have a daily quota of media chat that we swallow up. Like greasy food, it clogs our system. Too much of it and we feel, yes, fried.
As I was reading those words I had a bit of an epiphany: Yes! That is so true! How did I never make that connection before? It makes perfect sense, if we fill our mind space with a lot of information and other people's idea how can we expect our own ideas to emerge? So I set out on a challenge of not reading anything for a week which turned out to be a lot harder than I could imagine since at the time I was reading a book a day, reading various essays, news articles as well as watching vlogs and listening to audio books and podcasts (how could I possibly consume so much information?!). Anyway, a week went by and I didn't read anything (only my e-mails, but hey this is 2017. and Julia Cameron wrote her book in early 1990's, I believe, so not reading absolutely anything in this day and age would be impossible) and my mind felt refreshed and rejuvenated and I came up with bunch on new ideas and also started to write. Reading deprivation works! Since then I tried to limit the amount of reading I do, reading a book every two weeks instead of obsessively reading every single day to basically drown my mind in information and sedate myself, I aimed to find some healthy balance.
In January 2014 I started an art project (Ink Flower Garden) with a goal of making 1000 abstract paintings and in May this year, almost 3.5 years later with almost 700 paintings finished an exciting idea emerged in my mind: Hey, I have all these paintings done in the same style, I could totally use them as materials to make an experimental animation! The more I thought about the idea the more it made sense to me, I have a very clear vision of how my future experimental video should look like, I have technical skills required to make it and it would be amazing way to slowly end this mega art project of mine. I got really excited thinking: Yes, I can do it, I can make it happen RIGHT NOW, nothing is stopping me from creating this video, it's going to be awesome!
But, obviously there was something stopping me from working on it since it's been a month and I still haven't done anything about it. Well, I did do stuff: I started over-consuming information again, I begun to feel anxious and occasionally slightly depressed. Instead of doing something creative with my free time I did things like: attempted to go on a relaxing walk in nature but ended up sitting in a park behind a factory for a hour, starring at the distance while listening to buzzing of factory drives; tried to watch a documentary about Van Gogh but ended up not only crying but sobbing for an hour straight (his life story was pretty sad though); intended to just find this little information but wasted whole afternoon online reading vintage textbook about domestic production of ink in 16th century England (no, I don't really need to know that). In other words, I procrastinated a lot and felt horrible about it.
So, in order to stop procrastinating and go through whatever is bothering me right now I decided to go on an information deprivation challenge (like Julia Cameron's reading deprivation exercise but I'll do my best not to watch or listen to too much stuff either). I decided not to buy any new books, I unsubscribed from bunch of youtube channels I've been following etc. I want to make space for my own creative ideas and energy to emerge rather than constantly fill my space with ideas of other people.
I'll still read my e-mails and stay active on social media, of course, and I'll still be open for communication. I'll still listen to music and watch a movie here and there but I guess I need an information detox so I can give my mind a little break and focus my energy on creative projects. I'll try doing this information deprivation challenge as long as I can and see what happens, hopefully something amazing and who knows maybe I even end up making beautiful experimental video soon :)
Recently I've updated my portfolio with new series of paintings called The House of Indefinable Pleasures. I've started working on this series back in January and the title is a reference to Goethe's Theory of Colors:
People experience a delight in color, generally. The eye requires it as much as it requires light. We have only to remember the refreshing sensation we experience, if on a cloudy day the sun illumines a single portion of a scene before us and displays its colors. That healing powers were ascribed to colored gems, may have arisen from the experience of this indefinable pleasure.
Johann Wolfgang von Goethe, Theory of Colors
However, this series was originally inspired by Prince (wait what?! what do Goethe and Prince have in common?!). At the beginning of 2017. as I was listening to Prince I I couldn't help but think how his music was so incredibly positive, uplifting, sensual and sexy. Even if we put aside erotic lyrics his music by itself still sounds sooooo sexy and it made me wonder if it would be possible for me to make "sexy" abstract art, or is an idea of erotic abstract art an oxymoron? I mean, is it possible to express something very sensual and sexy by just using color and abstract patterns? At the same time I was reading some of Wilhelm Reich's work and also started to wonder if I could "paint an orgasm" or somehow express an energy of orgasm through abstract painting. Parallel to all that I got back into reading a lot about color theory, cultural significance of color and I even developed an interest in material history of color (seriously, even if you're not a color nerd like me, material history of blue is super interesting, I mean, how can blue be one of our primary colors when it's so rare to find blue pigments in nature etc etc) and in the process of that I re-read Goethe's Theory of Colors. It made me think of pure (and yes, somehow indefinable) pleasure we get from observing colors and the whole story of expressing pleasure through colorful abstract art came together. Slowly the foundations of The House of Indefinable Pleasures were built and I plan to continue to work on the series.
I've been also working on art inspired by songs recommended by others on tumblr. Recently I've uploaded all the music inspired paintings into a special album on flickr under Creative Commons license so they can be freely downloaded (and you can print or use them in your art projects etc).
Some of the paintings inspired by songs made during last month or so (you can see more on my tumblr):
I've always loved journaling but until beginning of this year haven't been very consistent at it. However in early January I decided to start writing every single day hoping to get over a writer's creative block that has been with me basically since high school. To help myself get through the block I'd get up an hour earlier than usual every morning and write my "morning pages", Julia Cameron Artist's Way style. Every morning I would write down three longhand pages of random ideas and thoughts, stream of consciousness style. I fell in love with the process not only because I already enjoyed journaling but also because it helped me de-cluttter overly active mind and start the day fresh and less stressed. The process also brought me a lot of insights and helped me get more connected with my creative process as an artist. At just a few week into my journaling adventure, in early February I made my first awkward attempts at "actual writing".
My writing was messy, fragmented, lacking in structure and it made me think that intuitive painting I've been practicing for years had somehow rewired my brain and that I was writing in the very same way I paint: freely, spontaneously, letting things to happen, stream of consciousness style and always in the flow. But I enjoyed writing anyways and kept on doing it every day regardless of objectively sucking at it, I simply fell in love with the process itself not expecting any meaningful or interesting results. I just kept on writing not even reading what I have put down to paper afterwards.
However, this weekend I thought it would be nice to finally read journals written over the last four months. As I begun to go through one of the notebooks from early January I noticed I still had two pieces of big paper up on the wall that I forgot to take down. I put them up to protect the wall from getting stained with ink while painting.
So, completely spontaneously I started to write down random notes from my journal, taken out of context, it just felt like a fun thing to down. I also set up my camera and begun to take pictures of the process (later I made a short stop-motion clip of it), it was amusing to layer random sentences, phrases and words on top of each other creating an abstract texture (hey, I really do write the way I paint!). It was also interesting to take notice of which thoughts I was choosing to put down on paper, I kept repeating a lot of same ideas and notions. The whole thing turned out to be an insightful experiment and exercise in creativity for sure. I ended the experiment by writing down: But if I let my heart win it will lead me to you.
Variations of those words kept popping up in my journals over and over again (I even illustrated something similar few weeks ago) so it felt fitting to write them in capital letters over the rest of the text.
All in all it was a fun exercise and even though I will probably never be a writer I'd love to continue experimenting with words and somehow incorporating them into my paintings.
Hello, hello, my dear old perpetually neglected blog-space, it's been almost a month since the last time I updated you and I thought it would be nice for us to spend some time together on this warm Sunday afternoon so I can let you know what I've been up to last few weeks.
In early March weather got nicer and as I could feel springtime in the air I thought it would be a good time to pick up photography again. I started going for long walks in a park and local woods accompanied with my camera and also took pics of grass and budding branches and cute little flowers. Somehow an idea of getting back into self-portraiture emerged, I don't know where it came from, maybe it was beautiful weather , maybe I was feeling nostalgic for like 2008 flickr experience when I had so much fun taking mediocre photos and sharing them online enthusiastically. Oh, well, for some reason I though it would be fun to go into the woods lugging my equipment and take some causal selfies but it turns out I'm probably too old for that kind of action: lugging around heavy camera and chunky tripod and then sitting on wet ground next to empty plastic beer bottles and half-buried animal skulls (did I venture into illegal pet cemetery?) didn't do much for me.
However I don't give up that easily and I gave self-portraiture another chance when I crawled into an emptied out book shelf under a random hand written sign trying to look all dramatic and emotional and what not (VERY 2008 flickr style) and then I definitely realized I am too fucking old for cramming myself into a semi-functional piece of furniture for the sake of a mediocre photo. But, hey at least I'm not too old to still do silly things and to laugh at myself for doing them.
Finally I gave up on photography which allowed for more time, space and energy to do what I really wanna do and that is to paint. But, hey before I move into sharing some paintings I've finished recently here is a photo of pretty flowers! Yay for flowers!
Last September I started working on some ink sketches that I finally got to finish as a warm up for something bigger, it was a fun and easy exercise. The day I was playing around with them light at my work space was sooooo beautiful and I had to document it.
This past month I also played around with tiny collage experiments and with adding some stiches to simple paintings again, just for fun.
...and here are some actual paintings I made for my ongoing Ink Flower Garden project:
Also, I'm still "painting songs" over on my tumblr (people send me their song recommendation and then I respond to them by creating a painting inspired by the suggested song done in my abstract style) and next two paintings are inspired by tumblr musical suggestions as well (first one by Foster the People - The Truth and second one by Tame Impala - Feels Like We Only Go Backwards). I got quite a few song recommendations in my tumblr ask and will slowly respond to them all (hope so).
Since I started this post with Flavor of your pleasure painting I will end it with a short video clip of me finishing it:
I had a day off so I used my free time to paint (what else?!), I utilized the last blank canvas I had to make a colorful painting called Let it be, because all you can do sometimes is just let yourself be and accept life as it is (and paint of course :)).
Over the last couple of weeks I've been keeping myself busy practicing embroidery on paper, adding stitches to inked paper and filling pages of my art journal with simple designs, playing around with both thread and paper cut outs to create minimalist collages. It's been a fun practice and also a nice break from doing bigger paintings that require more effort, energy and emotinaol input.
Oh, hey, here's my art journal and some designs that hide inside its pages:
This piece was started back in January but I couldn't bring myself to finish it until today when I decided to use it to practice my stitching and just add simple patterns to it. You can also see short video clip of how ink texture was made below (I didn't film me doing emroiderery since that is pretty awkward :))
...and some more art inspired by music...
It's a recurring thing now: as an old year changes into new one I make a resolution not to make any new year resolutions. Then after January 4th something changes and I first start reevaluating my whole life (for better or worse) which sets me into goal setting/planning frenzy and I set a bunch of yearly (or at least quarterly) goals. Same thing happened this year and I spent last 10 days basically just making plans and setting small goals I wish to complete by late March. When it comes to art I have only one big goal for this year that is making me feel very excited and challenged and it also makes me want to withdraw into my own private world, get off the grid for next few months and just work behind the scenes.
I don't know is it because I'm getting older but I seem to have less and less desire to share stuff online. Also my love/hate relationship with technology seems to be leaning toward hate or at least strong dislike now, I've recently opened IG account yet I'm still reluctant to buy a smartphone (I'm using instagram form my laptop), it's 2017. and I have yet to attempt using a graphic tablet for drawing and painting, instead of typing my notes on a computer I'm writing down everything by hand (filled 2 big notebooks with ideas just last week). I'm afraid I might be turning into grumpy old technophobe :) Well, not a grumpy one, a happy one to be honest :)
To motivate myself to keep on blogging and posting stuff online I recently started a fun, personal side project of "painting songs". Basically I ask someone to recommend me a song and then I make an abstract painting in my style inspired by it. You can check out my tumblr if you're interested in how that goes.
I've been also experimenting with mixed media (see below) and I'm curious how will that develop. So far it has been fun and it makes me wanna get crafty after years of being devoted to painting and drawing only. I guess it's time to experiemnt more :)
Here is a video compilation of (almost) all of the paintings I made in this year (as well as some photos). It's been a challenging year but I'm still feeling grateful to be able to work on my art :)
I wish you all happy holiday season and see you next year ♥♥♥
Last week I spent every minute of my free time working on a new big painting. What differs this painting form others is a fact that an idea and title for it (Cosmic love) came to me in a dream. Since I'm a kind of a person that follows her dreams I knew I had to paint it. You can see a process of making this painting in the video above!
This is also last painting in a mini series of bigger paintings I've been working on lately (first two paintings are Mr Fantasizer and Desire) so I was very happy to have finished it. It was definitely a breakthrough piece for me (as well as previous two big paintings) and I will probably write about it more soon. For now here is just a photo of work itself (it's 70x100cm in size and done with ink and gelly rolls on paper, as usual).
Let's all have a wonderful, creative week :)
Earlier this week I did a nice and simple painting exercise. I put up a roll of plain wall paper on my wall and allowed myself to have fun, be expressive and spontaneous. I used ink, acrylics and even markers in this exercise and you can watch it in a video posted above.
After 2 weeks of pure stress and a creative block I have finally found time and energy to paint again! I started this big purple painting named Desire on Tuesday and finished it this weekend. It was so much fun working on it and I enjoyed every second. Now I'm feeling re-energized and rejuvenated and with passion in my heart and willing hands I'm ready to keep making more art :)
The painting is as usually done with ink and gelly rolls on 70x100cm paper and you can see how it was made in this video below.
In memory of Vukovar.
Today marks 25 years since Battle of Vukovar, my hometown.
I wish I could find words to write something meaningful about it, about war and horrendous consequences of it, about futility of it, about the tragedy but even after 25 years I feel the right words escape me so I'll just leave this photo up here, as a symbolical gesture, a reminder perhaps because I feel that's the only thing I can do right now as an acknowledgement of the pain and suffering and despair that still haunts everyone who experienced the tragedy of Vukovar and keeps so many still frozen in time, still stuck in 1991. reliving the same experience over and over again. I hope that peace and healing find them all one day.
Yesterday afternoon I've attempted a fun and simple painting exercise. I've put up a long piece of paper onto (a protected) wall, dipped my biggest brush into ink and allowed myself to make long, wavy lines. I've been working so long on small sized paper I've gotten scared of getting locked into that particular way of painting. So, the purpose of this exercise was to liberate myself and to let my hand flow freely across the paper. I wasn't concerned with the outcome, I just wanted to enjoy the process you can see it all in the video below.