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Pilchards (155g)

March 25, 2018

It might be a very strange subject, yet it caught my eye – the bright red pilchards’ tin. It’s tiny, it could easily fit in your pocket, it’s thin and long, which makes it kind of cute, and very noticable, as the colours are so strong, promising to be hiding the tastiest contents ever.

Have you ever had pilchards? Do you even know what they are? Pilchards are ‘oil-rich’ fish, which apparently makes them an excellent source of omega-3 fatty acids.

The company that puts them into these cute tins says that “they are small, open-ocean fish, which filter-feed on plankton in the nutrient-rich zones of cold currents. They are a staple food for other fish-eating marine life, such as tuna, seabirds, game fish, sharks and dolphins and are only a suitable size for canning once they mature at the end of their second year. Once wild-caught, using the traditional purse-seine fishing method, they are processed and steam-cooked in the can before the final dressing (tomato sauce, brine, etc.) is added.”

They taste nice on toast, yet I like their tin more than I like pilchards. I like it so much that I wanted to have them in one of my paintings – I thought it would be nice to paint a detailed watercolour, but first I went for a quick impression. And no matter how mad this might sound if it has to be quick I choose oils and palette knives.

This time I’ve recorded the process, but just a few steps as it’s really hard to drop everything when you are in the middle of that creative flow.

And so on… and so on…

To cut this long story short – here’s the end result:

I must admit that using palette knives I sometimes feel like a builder putting plaster on walls, but I’m always happy when the end result resembles a painting. And I let you judge if this is the case this time.

Paintings I’m in Love With (At The Moment)

March 2, 2018

Today is the second day of spring, yet the thermometer outside says different… and it isn’t lying. The snow, that has covered our fields, won’t melt in the next few days as it’s freezing cold over here! We wanted real winter for Christmas (of course we didn’t get it), February should (or at least could) be milder – I think everyone is already longing for colours. The first green leaves of snow drops would be good, but some soft and warm hues would be perfect. Meanwhile everything’s still completely white.

Well, one can always dream about colours… or satisfy this hunger looking at art. Looking at beautiful paintings always boosts my mood and at the moment I’m very much into Pierre Bonnard’s artwork. Have you heard of this artist? Have you seen any of his paintings?

Pierre Bonnard (3 October 1867 — 23 January 1947) was a French painter and printmaker, as well as a founding member of the Post-Impressionist group of avant-garde painters Les Nabis.

Pierre Bonnard, Self-portrait, c. 1889 (image was found here)

I love the colours he used and his brush strokes, that make the view in the painting look as it’s somehow flowing or shimmering – the magic of art, right?

Apparently “Bonnard preferred to work from memory, using drawings as a reference” and “his paintings are often characterized by a dreamlike quality” – I couldn’t agree more! (Information found on Wikipedia) Just have a look at the painting below – it’s so gentle, lulling and even soothing in a way.

Two Dogs in a Deserted Street, 1894 (image was found here)


Boulevard des Batignoles, 1900 (image was found here)

But before you decide whether you like this artist’s work you should look at his other paintings – believe it or not, but Pierre Bonnard is best known for “the intimate domestic scenes, which often include his wife Marthe de Meligny.” (Information found on Wikipedia)

Woman With Black Stockings, 1900 (image was found here)


Woman Reclining on a Bed, or the Indolent Woman, 1899 (image was found here)

He might be best known for his nudes, but I’m absolutely in love with his “table scenes” and still-lives! There are so many brilliant ones that I didn’t know which ones to show you…

Lunch at Le Grand Lamps, 1899 (image was found here)


Mimosa, 1915 (image was found here)


The Red Checkered Tablecloth (image was found here)

This was just a short introduction, a quick feast for the eyes, but you can always read more about this artist and see more of his artwork on WikiArt.

The Twelve Chairs – A Long Story

February 19, 2018

The first month this year was filled with art (and other good stuff), yet I kept everything secret. I was painting and reading good books, making bracelets and driftwood sculptures and taking photographs, which means I wasn’t only busy, in fact I was getting somewhere (which is always very satisfying). So for anyone who is curious, lets have a look at what’s been happening in the messy studio.

— — —

Believe it or not I was thinking a lot about chairs. Yes, chairs. Don’t get me wrong, I don’t think much about furniture, yet sometimes an odd thought crosses my mind and the ball gets rolling… Here’s your BIG opportunity to see how my mind works. Read on.

At first I decided to make some monotypes or monoprints of beautiful and comfortable old chairs. You know the ones that are quite big, really snug and are covered in pretty fabric? I did some research, drew a few sketches and came up with these:

I kept them pretty simple (sometimes less is more, right?) – I didn’t concentrate on the fabric, but tried to add a few details.

And then… I remembered The Twelve Chairs. Have you heard of them? Or maybe you’ve even seen the film based on this story? The Twelve Chairs is a classic satirical novel by the Odessan Soviet authors Ilf and Petrov, released in 1928. It’s brilliant! If you don’t know it, here’s the plot in short:

In the Soviet Union in 1927, a former Marshal of Nobility, Ippolit Matveyevich “Kisa” Vorobyaninov, works as the registrar of marriages and deaths in a sleepy provincial town. His mother-in-law reveals on her deathbed that her family jewelry was hidden from the Bolsheviks in one of the twelve chairs from the family’s dining room set. Those chairs, along with all other personal property, were taken away by the Communists after the Russian Revolution. Vorobyaninov wants to find the treasure. The “smooth operator” and con-man Ostap Bender forces Kisa to become his partner, they set out to find the chairs. Bender’s street smarts and charm are invaluable to the reticent Kisa, and Bender comes to dominate the enterprise.

The “conсessioners” find the chairs, which are to be sold at auction in Moscow. They fail to buy them; they learn afterwards that the chairs have been split up for resale individually. Roaming over all of Russia in their quest to recover the chairs, they have a series of comic adventures, including living in a students’ dormitory with plywood walls, posing as bill painters on a riverboat to earn passage, bamboozling a village chess club with promises of an international tournament, and traveling on foot through the mountains of Georgia. (You can find more information on Wikipedia.)

Right… so after I remembered The Twelve Chairs I needed to make MY OWN twelve chairs, but mine all had to be different. I managed eight (that I am hapy with) and here’s half of them:

But my thoughts kept wandering… a “dining room set” led to a set of twelve garden chairs that are wooden, very simple and probably not very steady and the most important fact – there’s no way you could hide your family jewelry in them!

My twelve chairs aren’t ready yet, but I’ve already designed some prototypes. What do you think to this wonky furniture?

Now the most important job is to create the biggest monotype print I have ever made. I suppose it has to be standard A4 size (the one above is A5), so that the chairs would be visible. BUT… (there’s always a “but”) the bigger the sheet of paper, the bigger the possibily of putting unwanted smudges by pressing ones hand while drawing. I guess I’ll just have to have as many goes as need be and inform you about the results.

Meanwhile, make sure you watch one of the films based on The Twelve Chairs by Ilf and Petrov (apparently there are at least twenty adaptations!).