Isn’t sky the most beautiful abstract painting ever? Whenever I can I like to go for a walk after work to look at the sunset and admire the beauty of it. As an abstract art lover I find it incredibly inspiring and kinda wish I could soak in all the colors and take them home with me. But instead I do the next best thing, I take pictures of the sky (often intentionally out of focus: to abstract the scene even more, to try and capture dominant colors in the scene etc) and then use to images as an inspiration for my paintings.
On my work desk I keep a small jar of honey somebody gave me as a birthday present last year. I find it very aesthetically pleasing and inspiring to look at especially during the afternoon hours as the sunlight fills out the room. I look at my little jar of honey, a pot of liquid gold illuminated by sunshine, sparkling and think of all the ways I wish I could capture the essence of this gorgeous yellow in my paintings. I let my imagination take the lead and think of various, random things this pretty rich yellow color reminds of: thick, sticky amber syrup, warmth of a hot August evening, golden hour etc... The process usually puts me into a really good mood and also inspires me to create something.
I've been also very much inspired by beautiful flowers, their colors and shapes and fragrance in lately (hey, it's spring after all!). Last week I got a bouquet of pretty pink roses (my all time favorites) and I just couldn't stop looking at them, enjoying their perfect, delicate coral shade, their soft petals as if I wanted to soak in all of their beauty so I can somehow transfer it to my art. I must have starred at the flowers for a very long time since at one point I caught myself writing down these words into one of my notebooks: "Does a rose flower know it's being watched and does it care about being seen? How would it describe itself, if it could name itself what would that name be?"
I don't know answer to those questions but I do know inspiration can be found in simple, mundane objects and lovely flowers and in last few weeks I keep on noticing more and more everyday things and sights and sounds and scents that make me inspired and energized and eager to create.
I really wanted to make something for vernal equinox this year to greet the spring after seemingly never ending stream of grey, chilly days and I ended up making this bright yellow image. It was partly inspired by music I was listening at the time and partly by craving sunlight. As the time went by I realized this painting would be perfect final image in Enter the Underworld series. I really thought I was done with that series and didn't want to return to it since working on it (especially finishing it) was quite challenging. The series starts with an image of an eclipsed sun (done for spring equinox in 2015.) so maybe ending it with an image of bright sun (also done for spring equinox) is the right way to end it. After exactly 3 years in making filled with a lot of emotions, illness, stress but also joy and ectasy it deserves to be finally finished :)
After I made Spring equinox image I just wanted to keep on painting sun: small sun, happy sun, sweet sun, lemon-yellow round ball sun, vibrant orb sun, joyful sun radiating tiny colorful particles, whatever sun, sun-shine, sun-light...and I started with a simple and fun illustration of a sunrise.
After that I wanted to paint an even bigger sun and pulled out the biggest paper I had at my place at the time (50x70cm) and quickly made this simple image of sun. I didn't do much work on it, after the ink dried I filled the yellow center with hand-draw circles and that was it. I hung the paper on the wall planning to finish it when I feel like it but few weeks have passed since then and my sun image still hangs there intact and I quite like it that way.
When it comes to art I'm a bit of a maximalist, I'm inclined to keep on adding more and more, more layers of ink, more patterns and details to my images until I'm sure I have exhausted every idea and until all of my energy is exhausted by working on the picture. Sometimes my approach works great and sometimes I simply suffocate the paper with too much detail. Generally it's hard for me to stop working on my art :) But this sun, there is something different about it, I love looking at it, I enjoy the fact that it isn't finished, it just isn't done, it's still in the early stage of becoming, it's simple and fresh and feels light and open and full of possibility and just makes me happy hanging there on the wall looking at me :) I'm not sure if I'll ever finish it, it feels so amazing just to let it be as it is.
Speaking of unfinished art I managed to finish the painting above in one frenzied afternoon. I wanted to do something with bunch of old acrylics I had stacked in the back of my closet (since I almost exclusively use ink these days I have had a box of decade old acrylic paints that has been just taking up space). I even decided to record the process and it all started like great fun but in one moment and, I can't tell why, it turned into torture. I wasn't happy how the painting was turning out but couldn't just let it go and stop working on it, my camera would stop working recording only 30 seconds at the time and 2 light bulbs exploded. Oh, well. Eventually I did set the mess of a painting aside and forgotten I even recorded most of the "making of" process. Few weeks went by and I decided to take photos of the messy painting because, why not, not everything turns out great and making bad art is still ok. I even uploaded the video on my youtube, it's just practice anyway.
I found a new pleasure in simplicity, in letting things be simple and easy so I've been just doodling a lot, being playful with colorful shapes and lines not forcing myself to add too many details and not exhausting all of my energy drawing. It's been fun.
Actually, everything I've been doing in lately has been fun, so much fun. I don't know why but I've been feeling ridiculously happy for no special reason whatsoever and been enjoying all of my activities. last week I was at my mom's place alone and just felt do happy and awesome I wanted to capture the moment so I started taking selfies jsut for the fun of it.
I've also been enjoying taking long walks and looking at all of the beautiful blossoms and of course soaking in all the warm sunshine I can. It's been a wonderful moth so far and I have a feeling it will only get bettr and better!
Few weeks ago, on a lazy Sunday morning, still curled up in my bed I wrote in my journal: "As I wake up I peel away my night skin made of enigmatic dreams, unfulfilled desires and longings..."
Almost every morning I fill pages of my notebook with whatever comes to mind, stream of consciousnesses style so no surprise much of my writing sounds nonsensical and I don't ever analyze or rarely even go back to it but this sentence stuck with me and in days to come I couldn't stop thinking about my "night skin" and meaning of it.
As I was going through my archives I stumbled upon an old painting called Nocturnal bloom, a dark blue and purple texture I was always very fond of. Even though it's from 2015 I can still recall exactly how it was made: I woke up feeling super restless and still in my PJs I started working on it without having a clear idea of what I was doing, in an almost trance like state. I don't usually finish my paintings in one day but I just couldn't stop working on this one. At one point I spilled a bottle of purple ink all over myself but that didn't prevent me from continuing to work on the painting. I made it in about 6 hours time which is super fast for me but somehow it worked, it made sense to me in all of its abstract, dark glory.
Looking at this old painting now and with its "nocturnal" title in mind I thought to myself I must have made it while still having my "night skin" on since I could feel an echo of "enigmatic dreams and unfulfilled longings" coming through it.
It made me realize that I made most of my best or favorite work from the same point of view, or better said while being in the same mode of operating, from the same, particular space: dark (but not in a sense of negative or destructive), enigmatic, mysterious, untamed, filled with desire and nocturnal in nature. In other words I make my best work while having my "night skin" on.
While pondering that I took some long exposure self portraits and other photos as well.
One of the most recent paintings I did that remind me of Nocturnal bloom is Metaphors of love and it's the last painting I also recorded myself making. I really want to shoot more work-in-progress videos but can't bring myself to do it, it's very hard for me to both paint and record the process, multitasking just ruins my flow unless I somehow manage to convince myself that recording is just as part of creative process as painting itself. In that case I approach painting as an act of performance captured on camera but since I'm not fond of performing I don't succeed in puling it off very often.
Currently I've been slowly but surely working on expanding The house of indefinable pleasures series and this little piece called Beloved is the latest addition to it. After years of predominately creating images in portrait orientation I decided to rotate my images which might not seem like an important thing to do but even such small change made me more inspired. I've been also doodling a lot just for practice and fun, drawing eyes or little stars.
Speaking of stars, I was very happy when I finally painted "a star of my own". Few months ago while finishing my mega project I was also struggling with finishing the series Enter the underworld. The series begins with an image of an eclipse and I knew the final image should somehow relate to it but I just had no idea what would it be. Eclipse was made on 21.03 2015. (during an actual eclipse) and it took me almost 3 years working on the series to come up with A star of your own painting that made me finally feel like the whole series is done.
I also felt I needed to make another painting that somehow relates to another image from 2015, White flame so when I made A vein of gold I knew the series was complete and it brought me a sense of relif and joy :)
I've been still making paintings inspired by music on the blog I actually update regularly (unlike this one oooops) and you can go there if you like to see those images or just scroll down to see some of my personal favorites inspired by song recommendations.
This summer was really hard for me.
It was really hard and it was really, really hot. Like, insanely hot. As I’m writing this counting down the last days of August it’s still scorching hot outside. We’re having official heatwave No7 this season, here, in continental Croatia. While Heatwave No7 sounds pretty suiting for a name of a cheap perfume, enduring so much heat (and humidity!) this season without any breaks has been hellish (no wonder last heatwave was named Lucifer). Horrible blazing hot weather has started way back in late May and since then I’ve been basically just waiting for heat to subside, for summer to end so I can be myself again (if you can’t tell by now I don’t do so well on 40+ Celsius weather).
Continuing with my painting practice this summer was really hard. I didn’t have that extra energy I need for making art and I didn’t have much free time either, not as much as I hoped I would, at least. So I would get up very early (4 30 in the morning early), try to make myself at least semi-functional and paint. But most of the days I just didn’t feel like making art so earlyso I would rather go out for a walk. I’d usually go to the nearest bakery that opens at 5 and get something to eat, like a soft pretzel (yum, all the delicious glutens), then walk into the fields to watch sunrise and do yoga. But even those activities (all the stuff I adore doing the summertime) felt forced and uninspiring. And even at 5 in the morning, it was still hot and humid and it felt as if there was no fresh air, no oxygen to breathe. Nonetheless I kept up with my morning routine throughout the July, pushing through, forcing myself to create and work out and stay as active and as productive as I could until in early August, during yet another awful heatwave I finally gave up and decided to take a break from everything. I was totally exhausted and needed to rest. I didn't take any vacation this summer but I did take things easy for most of the August.
As time went by I started to sketch more and more and think about all the future artworks I wanted to create. It made me super excited and motivated so I decided to finish my personal project (Ink Flower Garden) by the end of this year. I begun working on it in January 2014 with the goal of making 1000 paintings and drawings to basically find my own, unique artistic style. It begun as an art project only but over the years it turned into something much more, a therapy, a process of deep introspection and self discovery and I feel I'm ready to finish it soon. I'd also like to share more about the process (either in written or video form) so I'm already compiling notes for that too. By now I have finished 877 (!!!) paintings+drawings and I'm pretty confident I could make 123 more during this fall (who doesn't love a good challenge :)). I have already stocked up on paper and ink in preparation for this grand finale of my beloved art project and only need to clean up my work space as well as survive this last heatwave of the season and then the adventure continues :)
I've been experimenting with painting on film again this time using colored drawing ink, glitter glue and lighter to burn some parts of film before scanning it. I am quite pleased with results and I am very much interested in continuing to play with film and more creative ways to ruin, ahem embellish it.
In my need for experimenting and doing something different than my usual routine I decided to play with film and ink. I pulled out some old (developed) films from my home "film depot" (= bunch of shoe boxes filled with films) and treated them with acetone, sandpaper and bleach. After that I dipped my brushes into ink and attempted to paint on film. I scanned the results and you can see some of them here.
Yesterday I felt like doing something fun and experimenting a bit with ink and paint so I made this messy stop-motion video. First I took a piece of glossy bristol paper, sprinkled some water on it and started adding ink. As it goes, ink was spilling all over the paper and the piece of cloth I use to protect my desk from ink stains so I just spontaneously begun to paint not only on the paper but also on the piece of cloth. I took pictures of the process and edited them into a messy and rather shaky stop-motion animation. The video turned out shaky because I didn't use remote to take photos, I just kept on pressing the shutter button. I was aware video would turn out like that but, honestly I didn't care, I was just experimenting and anything goes when you're making experimental stuff :)
After I was finished with shooting photos I noticed I really like how my piece of protective cloth looked like, like a painting :) So, I took bunch of pictures of it too because why not.
Since it turns out I'm a bit compulsive when it comes to drawing I also "embellished" a white t-shirt. It was all fun experimenting and playing around and now I can go to my usual schedule:)
Photos you see in this post are results of experimenting with lights and an old painting used as a prop to get fun effects. I've arranged them in diptychs to make them look even more fun :)