June Diary 24

These past few months have been busy in so many ways, so my studio practice has kind of taken the back seat. I hardly remember my last brush stroke as I’ve given myself time to do other things that I also love. – So what do you say… am I still an artist? I’d say yes! 

Summer in the city

Escaping the hamster wheel

Most of us live busy lives. There are full time jobs, bills to pay, cooking and cleaning, friends and family to take care of, smartphones, concerts, football games and television. At my age I also need a good night’s sleep.

This summer I haven’t planned for any art projects at all… Think that’s the first time since I really started painting in 2011. 

Afternoon Chill Out with Mr Art Cat

Chill Out Zone

On the contrary, I plan to enter my Chill Out Zone consisting of sunny summer days, lazy breakfasts with Mr Art Cat, wonderful lunch baskets and swimming in the nearby lake, hiking, bicycling, roaming the woods and spending warm evenings in my hammock reading interesting books after nice dinners with a glass of Greek Retsina.

After my summer vacation I plan to restart my daily art practice and continue working on my projects. Because when I paint I feel fine, happy and playful – like back in the days when the sky was always blue, we had strawberries for breakfast and spent the entire summer swimming, roaming the woods and playing with friends. So in some ways my studio is kind of an escape from everyday life, and I think we all need to find those places…

See yah later!

See yah later!

May Diary 24

I love this time of year. Spring is so beautiful with all its flowers and smells. People seem to get out of their winter shells and start smiling again. Is it just me, or do conversations flow more freely this time of year?

Spending time on the balcony is one of my favourite things to do and the bumblebees seem to love my balcony this year 🥰

bumblebee on my balcony

Art travel

At the beginning of May lucky me had the pleasure of traveling to beautiful Skåne in the south of Sweden to join in on the celebration of the Bachelor Exhibition at Malmø Art Academy. We enjoyed four days of art, interesting conversations, nice company, good food and partying with the young art students. – What a joy!

enjoying beautiful days in Malmø

Work Life – Balance

When you know where you are, you know where you’re going!

I decided to dedicate most of this month’s leisure time to reading and hanging out with nice people and getting some mostly needed rest from my normal studio practice. A friend recently donated a stack of art books from her parent’s library and I’m so grateful.

my new stack of art books

May 17th

Constitution Day is my absolute favourite day of the year. I normally roam the streets in my traditional bunad, but this year both me and my hubby had to work. But we did enjoy a nice meal together.

Time for Gardening

The month of May also requires some gardening time to take care of the allotment, the flower beds and the balcony. Lucky me has a very nice little furry helper.

my furry little helper

Abstracting my garden

At the moment abstracting my garden is one of my favourite motifs when in the studio – here is a tiny glimpse bound for an exhibition in Texas, USA later this year.

abstracting my garden

Inspiring Summer Days in Oslo 

The beautiful city of Oslo gives lots of opportunities. Check out urban sauna life in the harbour, world class architecture in Bjørvika, pittoresque buildings in Damstredet and Telthusbakken, concerts, festivals, theater, opera, dance, take a stroll along the beautiful Akerselva river or chill out with a few hours of island hopping before enjoying a meal at one of the capital’s three star Michelin restaurants. Check out Visit Oslo
detail from Damstredet

Art in Oslo

I really enjoy going to exhibitions and Oslo has two of the biggest art museums in Europe showing wonderful exhibitions.

I highly recommend Trembling Earth and Horizons at MUNCH museum – and Rothko, Kandinsky, Bergman and Marakatt-Labba at the National Museum.

from Trembling Earth at MUNCH
Trembling Earth at MUNCH is a must this summer

Upcoming Art Drop

At the moment I’m selecting work for my upcoming Art Drop, so stay tuned for more info!

April Diary 24

Spring is finally here. Life is good! Birds are singing, flowers are blooming, sun is shining and living is easy. I love walking through the woods, enjoying the smell of Mother Nature waking up after the long, dark winter. 

walking in Nordmarka is beautiful this time of year

Finding my way

The process of finding my way as an artist has been a long and winding road. Finding and creating my path, my visual language is sometimes quite bumpy. They say artists put a lot of themselves in everything they make, but I have also experienced that I sometimes lose track of myself when painting.

Over the years I have acquired many tools to refine my visual language and there’s still a lot to explore!

One project at the time 

This year I decided to focus on one project at a time. Lately I’ve been working on ideas that have been with me for some time. It all started during lockdown when I had to move my studio back home and students didn’t have access to the art school. So I started to look around the house for interesting items, hoping to make paintings where one could recognize a deeper meaning, not only the shape, colour and use of the actual item.

To be honest, working on this project is a bit of a challenge. I enter the studio with enthusiasm and as the painting session goes on I lose most of my energy. I do not yet know if it’s the colour scheme or the nakedness of the objects that disturbs my energy. 

The question is, should I stay or should I go?

Work in progress: flowers, urns and vases

Art Struggles

Art struggles are, of course, a minor problem in the world. But art can pinpoint more important matters and sometimes you have to stick with it for a while in order to figure it out. And sometimes new beginnings are disguised as painful endings. When one door closes, another opens. 

Courage and flow are key words in my working process. Playfulness and having fun while painting is crucial. Normally there is some kind of dialogue between me and the painting, but in this project I struggle to grasp the hidden message…

A famous artist once said that

“If I paint from my heart anything goes, but if I paint from my head nothing works.” 

Mr Cat wants to go outside

Reflection time 

And maybe it’s as simple as that, so I might just skip the whole project… even if there is something tickling me… 

Since I’ve decided my studio is my happy place where I nurture and celebrate some of the good things of this earth, I think I need to do some serious reflection work to figure out my next step.

I love to simplify and abstract, and prefer a quirky, loose and free type of expression. Honestly I think most of this is missing in this project, so no wonder I struggle and lose energy. Sometimes life in the studio sucks!

Finding the balance

Finding the balance between output and input is crucial for most of us. Besides painting and talking to my cat, I like spending time with family and friends, enjoying nice meals and checking out art exhibitions.

Checking out an abstract art exhibit

Hang in there! I’ve gotta prepare for a trip to Malmø, Sweden. Hopefully that will give me a much needed break and some new perspectives.

See yah!

Spring is in the air

March Diary 24

It has been a long, long winter and we’re still not done. My November cactus is blooming again, and again – obviously a bit confused… Mr Cat seems to have given up waiting for spring… He is sleeping most of the time, not at all interested in going outside in the snow, rain and cold wind. I’m not sure he believes me when I keep whispering that spring is around the corner… 

Mr Cat sleeps all day

But March sure went fast this year, right? Or is it just me…

Girls just wanna have fun 

We all need moments of uplift, probably now more than ever with all the horrible things going on in the world. 

When making my More : Less list for this year, I chose «more fun» as one important ingredient because I know that having fun refuels and energizes me. The reason for making this priority list was to set a reminder to myself; a simple tool to help me make the right choices in my busy life and manifest what I really want.

But be careful what you wish for… 

Because the past few months have been packed with all kinds of fun; lovely dinners, art walks and talks, exhibitions, lunches, more dinners, good conversations, friendly visits and deep thinking. Not to mention good friends… 

I’ve hardly had time for painting 🤣

OMG! It’s so nice to finally meet someone in real life after chatting online or making phone calls for such a long time. Lucky me!

Glimpse from my art studio

When spring approaches and you (hope to) see flowers everywhere I tend to feel more loose and free than during wintertime. This month I’ve pulled out some of my urns, vases and flower paintings from my stack of work in the messy middle. 

These paintings take inspiration from my sketchbooks and remind me of good times. Here is a sneak peek:

Work in progress: flowers and urns

Quirky, loose and free

In my art work I strive for progression, not perfection. I emphasize the process of abstracting and prefer a quirky, loose and free type of expression. My art teacher says I’ve always been an abstract painter.

I have always loved to simplify, stylize and abstract form elements and use the weirdest colours (like painting blue faces). I’m also fond of mixing different techniques and making lots of patterns. 

Sometimes my paintings are a little hard to grasp because they are so complicated – but so is life – and I believe art resembles life, and you don’t always understand what’s going on in your life. Right?

Q & A: Commissioned work

I’ve had a few queries about commissions. Unfortunately I will not be able to take on commission this Spring. 

Life – Work balance 

Truth be told, I sometimes miss the lockdown when I had to stay at home painting with my cat. I’m not a big fan of the hamster wheel. The modern rat race is not my best friend. Feeling overwhelmed and overworked from heavy work loads at my day job makes it hard to find energy and spend time on things that nourish my wellbeing.

Hopefully it will get better next month ‘cause Woop! Woop! The Year of the Dragon gave me new opportunities! 

But first: Easter Holidays 

Upcoming Spring Art Drop

At the moment I’m trying to put together a new body of work for my upcoming Spring Art Drop, so stay tuned for more info!

waiting for spring

February Diary 24

Truth be told, my initial plan of scheduling time for spontaneous creativity on a daily basis did not work out very well. But February was not all about heavy work loads at my day job. I also went to a few interesting exhibitions and chilled with some really nice people who made me feel happy and energized and inspired and ready to paint!

refueled, inspired and ready to paint!

The Year of the Dragon

The year of the dragon started on February 10. In Chinese culture, the Dragon holds a significant place as an auspicious and extraordinary creature. It symbolizes power, nobility, honor, luck, and success. 

2024 is forecasted to bring about opportunities, changes, and challenges. If you’re seeking a shift in your current lives, this year might offer a favorable chance.

opportunities, changes and challenges

Studio days

Last month I started experimenting with new color schemes, shapes and themes and to my surprise I really enjoyed it. Since my studio is my happy place where I nurture and celebrate some of the good things of this earth, I decided to bring these joyful experiments further by incorporating them into some already existing artworks.

My master plan for this year includes continuation of a few projects started during lockdown as well as playful testing of new artistic expressions.

This pic shows how I keep track of what’s going on in my studio:

what’s going on in my studio

Throwback to lockdown

A few days before Norway closed down on March 12, 2020 our class had started the initial discussions on how to pull off our graduate project. I remember discussing that a crucial part of artistic development is developing your personal style and that looking back on your history might give you some clues. 

During lockdown all students at my art school were left with one opportunity only; working from home. 

Long hours alone in my studio together with my cat was nice, but as days turned into weeks inspiration got scarce. I started to examine what I had collected over the years and pondered about what I liked and disliked about each object. I studied shapes, patterns, colours and textures on tablecloths, vases, urns, bottles, wine glasses, embroideries, flowers and plants.

Read more about my graduate project here

old sketchbooks, new challenge

Old stuff, new challenge

This month I pulled out my sketchbooks from Easter 2020 filled with sketches and notes about heirlooms such as furniture, textiles, handicrafts and photo albums. 

Once again I will simplify, stylize and abstract form elements and patterns, and bring my findings into new contexts.

In my art work I strive for progression, not perfection. I emphasize the process of abstracting. I prefer quirky and imperfect, incomplete aesthetics, perhaps a bit wabi sabi like. To me the most interesting part of creating lies somewhere between intuitive play and logical thinking. Here’s a sneak peek (work in progress):

sneak peek | work in progress

Transforming colours

Colour and energy is all around us. Colours have different energy, some you like and some you don’t. When you mix different colours with each other they transform. Two bright complementary colours next to each other will give the impression of an energy kick, but if you put a bright colour next to a neutral colour you get a different kind of energy, a different expression.

I love working with contrasts, and I love challenging myself. Colour mixing can be really fun, but also very time consuming and frustrating as daylight changes my studio light during the day. 

Studio time includes lots of fun and complex problem solving. If it’s not tricky, it’s no fun! So at the moment I try mixing colour values and presenting them in new ways to explore how this makes a difference to my expression. 

If things go as I hope, I might throw a spring art drop with some brand new works in a month or two. Fingers crossed and stay tuned for more news.

time will show

Celebration time

At the end of February the family gathered to celebrate my Hubby’s birthday at a really nice restaurant with a wonderful view over the Oslo fjord. The food was delicious and the wine bountiful. What a night!

What a night!

January Diary 24

In my part of the world winter is still on, but days gradually get longer, and nights shorter, until the summer solstice in June. January light always brings positive energy and I hope this year will bring more time for creativity and playful exploration in my studio. I also hope to keep the seasonal viruses out of my system!

A trip along beautiful Akerselva river, in January 2024

Creative spark

The month of January always gives me a creative spark. This year is now exception. After weeks of darkness and really cold weather, the sun is back and amounts of white snow makes nature look amazingly light and beautiful. Mother Nature gives fresh inspiration; her shapes, lines, structures and the graphic winter color scheme make me want to wander off into new paintings. But transforming mostly black and white impressions of nature into a personal artistic and colourful language is a complex procedure which requires lots of studio time, trial and error. 

More & Less

I think of the New Year as a fresh start, giving me the opportunity to leave old habits behind and redetermine how I want things to move forward. Therefore I made a More & Less – list for my creative journey. I decided to cut the crap, get down to basics – and here it is:

More painting, more fun!

Life is what we make of it

My creative force has been with me since early childhood. Carving stone, working with clay, making weird wood sculptures and drawing portraits are among my first memories. I’ve always been busy creating something. I believe that creativity is one of my core qualities.

In 2019 I made a commitment to show up in my studio every day for 100 days. The goal was to nurture my creative art practice and step up the game. Every single morning or evening (before/after work) I went to my studio to work on my #100dayproject. And what a joy!
Read more here

This year I will schedule time for spontaneous creativity on a daily basis.

Make room for daily art practice

Everything is possible

As we tiptoed into the new year I’ve focused on playful experiments just to let loose, feel free and have fun. In my studio everything is possible. Time seems to stop when in my creative zone, probably as I’m in flow and feel happy and energized. 

Winter has many shades of blue

Project: January diary

This January I’ve spent my studio days creating a new body of small works where I experiment with new color schemes, shapes and themes. My main focus is on spontaneous and joyful play. Anything goes, no judgment, no room for critics as I try to paint from my heart and soul, not from my logical mind. The trick is to have faith and trust the process.

Before I start I try to set myself in a meditative state, or some kind of spiritual mode far, far away from the hamster wheel of everyday life in this crazy world of horrific wars, climate change and economic rat race. My studio is my happy place where I nurture and celebrate some of the good things of this earth.

Set myself free

The idea behind this project is to set myself free from patterns in my life that I’m not consciously aware of and to express emotional energies from within.

My chosen method is: Spontaneous, intuitive, unfiltered, unplugged. No pressure, just try to have fun. Try to be bold, loose, rough, raw, quick. Use unexpected combos of colours, lines and shapes. Hoping for intriguing, surprising and colourful outcomes.

So I’ve created 32 small paintings on paper, and a few bigger ones are still in process. Quick painting sketches, kind of experimental stuff where one painting informs the next one. 

And of course, those who know me well have already guessed that I’m working on a few side projects as well, but I’ll save them for another blog.

I made 32 small works on paper for my January Diary

Life changing experience

13 years ago I attended the local art school for a week-long painting course. Walking through the woods in the morning sun I realized I was about to start a life changing experience… and slowly, slowly I truly found back to my creative self (and my inner voice that had been silenced for years) and discovered my strengths and limits, but also my dreams and hopes as an artist. 

Growth and expansion is a complex process that takes two steps forward and one step back. Creativity is like ebb and flow, so don’t panic if everything seems to go wrong, take a timeout, do something else and remember to set aside time to «compost» or to do nothing.

My studio is my Happy Place and creative time fills me with energy. With a full time job, planning is essential and I try to make time for my art practice every day.

My studio is my Happy Place

Hopes and plans for the year to come

My art plans for the coming year are a mix of short-term goals which I want to fulfill in the near future and long-term goals that will take months and years to finish. 

This year I will try focusing on one project at a time. My art plans contain both unexplored territory, projects in the messy middle and a few projects nearly finished. All in all, lots of fun and tricky problem solving. If it’s not tricky, it’s no fun!

But the main thing is, of course, the work – life balance… So now, if you’ll excuse me; I’ll get back to my stack of interesting books. It’s recreation time, or “time to compost” as my gardening husband puts it.

See yah later!

Let’s get some inspiration!