This month I’ve been busy painting (and selling) big cats, testing how to make digital art and giving my studio a much needed spring cleaning. I’ve also enjoyed the company of the younger generation in my studio, been to exhibitions and movies besides finding the slow vibes for a much needed summer vacation.
Studio time as self-care
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.
For me, making time to create is an important part of self-care. Studio time is sacred and my way of healing and dealing with the world. So I show up and create. That means getting into the studio no matter what is going on in life.
The most wonderful days in my studio give rise to joyous series of explorations that lead to personal understanding and more interesting artworks.
This month I’ve visited and revisited the Marianne Bratteli exhibition Beating Heart at the MUNCH museum in Oslo. To my surprise this is Marianne Bratteli’s first comprehensive museum exhibition. I find her works powerful and interesting. Despite the colorful and playful expression, her works also depict how war traumas, if not resolved, can go from one generation to the next.
Art as a means of living my life
People keep asking me how to buy my works… (go to website)
But to be honest; I’m not so interested in art as a means of making a living, I like my day job. What interests me more is art as a means of living my life.
So let’s chill out, let’s find the summer vibes and enjoy the summer!
Ps. Think I will log off and have a much needed digital detox this summer – what about you?
Somehow I have always found myself attracted to (semi) abstract and expressive art. I find vivid colours, bold lines, weird brushstrokes, twisted shapes and quirky faces a lot more interesting than hyper realistic paintings.
I don’t aim to show the obvious, but what might be there if you take a moment to look inside yourself, shake your emotions and listen to your heart. The best part of exhibition openings is listening to what stories people tell each other while looking at my artworks over a glass of wine. Sometimes their stories lead to new paintings.
For some time now (4-5 years) I have been working systematically on abstractifying my art through extensive explorations in mark-making, layering and textures. While composition and contrasts are really important, I sometimes find that both colour and shape can be quite overwhelming, so lately I have felt the urge to limit myself hoping to reach a new level of insight.
So what’s up
This month I had a great deal of fun by opening some of my large rolls of paintings. To my surprise I had forgotten many of these paintings and I’m already looking forward to continuing the process this summer in my outside studio.
Of course I continued working on my abstract series on canvas and made a few smaller studies on paper. It seems that my abstract series is evolving and that some of the paintings are bridges over to another semi abstract series. I think I might go for an exhibition after all.
This month I’ve spent some time at the National Museum in Oslo. I especially like the modern art section (room 75-88) on the second floor. And to my surprise I also found loads of inspiration from Fashion Design and Royal Costumes (room 30-31) on the first floor. Unfortunately I missed the temporary exhibit with Carrol Dunham on the top floor. I will definitely go back several times. Check it out next time in Oslo!
Some of you have asked me about my creative process and why I always seem to be working on many paintings at a time.
In a previous day job, I coached my clients to do less, so that what they chose to do could grow bigger and create a more lasting impact – because diluted focus tends to get diluted results. But this is no good when it comes to my art practice.
I like working on several parallel projects. In my studio I have a lot of canvases in several stages going on; because playful beginnings, the messy middle, clarifying stages and finishing touches all demand different kinds of focus. That way I can choose what to work on depending on how much time and energy I’ve got.
Another aspect is that what’s going on in one painting often seems to inform the next and what I discover in one place might lead me towards resolving a painting that got stuck somewhere along the process. It’s a win-win situation.
This is absolutely not multitasking, I’m a huge fan of monotasking. I focus on one thing at a time and try to show up in my studio before or after my shift. I like spending most of my spare time painting.
My overall goal is to have fun, trust the process and enjoy life!
Besides working my day job, and being knocked down by a virus this month, I’ve also created some new weird portraits. Since time (and body) was not on my side, I chose to do some small work – and to my surprise 3 of them went overseas to their new homes this month. What a joy!
This month I had the pleasure of visiting the new exhibition The Shape of Freedom opening at MUNCH museum in Oslo showcasing many of my favourite abstract expressionist artists like Kline, Pollock, Rothko, Frankenthaler, Krasner, Mitchell to mention a few. The experimental techniques these artists did at the time is well known to most art students today, but back then this was a revolution in painting.
Happy Lunar Year, everyone! January 22nd kicks off the Year of the Rabbit, or the Year of the Cat 2023.
In my part of the world winter is still on, but days gradually get longer, and nights shorter, until the summer solstice in June.
A Year of Hope and Good Luck
In Chinese culture the sign of the Rabbit is a symbol of longevity, peace, and prosperity, so 2023 is predicted to be a year of hope – and I do believe Hope is what the world needs right now!
The Vietnamese celebrate the Year of the Cat. According to Vietnamese tradition the Cat brings good luck and clears away bad spirits. The cat is considered to be a friend and symbolizes strength and power.
Those who know me, know how much I love cats – so I’m very excited for the year to come!
A Year of Exploring Creativity and Arts
I’ve also read somewhere that creativity and appreciation for the arts thrives in Rabbit years. So you might feel like exploring museums, music festivals and performances. I know I do.
In Vietnamese culture cats are a symbol of kindness, perseverance, patience, thinking ahead before starting to do something. Cats are considered to be open-minded free spirits ready to explore. Sounds familiar!
Hopes and Plans
New year always brings new energy and I hope and plan for this year to bring more time for creativity and playful exploration in my studio. My studio is my Happy Place which brings me joy and happiness and fills me with energy.
With my full time job, planning is essential and I try to make time for my creative art practice every day.
My plans for 2023 are a mix of short-term goals I want to complete in the near future and long-term goals that will take months and years to finish.
This year I will focus on 30 day projects, one project for each month. As a former project manager I have naturally made a list of challenges and possible outcomes.
My plans contain both unexplored territory, projects in the messy middle and a few projects nearly finished. All in all, lots of fun and problem solving.
Plans also include recreation time like reading, writing poems and spending time with family and friends.
Plan B or C
Like Rabbits and Cats I always have a plan B, because the most certain thing in life is that nothing ever goes as planned. Change is inevitable and it often brings exciting opportunities.
To me, planning for project progress is a critical means to meet deadlines, and time management gives me the opportunity to focus on what’s important now.
The best thing about deadlines is that they herald new beginnings. I love starting up and exploring new projects.
My mantra is: I wonder what happens if I do this, or maybe that?
But 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.
Thank you for showing interest in my art! Thanks for your kind support, for sharing likes and comments and for buing my artworks! It has been quite a year, and I think I have the best people cheering for me! Thank you – Happy Holidays!
Being an artist means a lot: As long as I have my studio I always have something to look forward to. And all your positive energy keeps my creativity grow! Lucky me!
Nice people from all around the world
I feel so lucky to be able to do this, so lucky to have family and friends cheering for me. And I feel so lucky to meet so many nice people from all over the world, some in real life, some over the internet.
I honestly don’t know who I’d be without my art practice!
What a year!
What a year this has been, with so many nice surprises! I don’t know how to recap this in a few sentences, but I’ll give it a try.
The first two months of the year I was really stepping it up and launched my newsletter and I had scheduled loads of interesting projects. But plans changed as a long desired opportunity knocked on my door – and I took on a new day job which I really love!
Working full time also means new priorities regarding my art practice. For instance turning down 4 invitations to exhibit my work this year.
Wow! I was totally blown away when I learned that my painting was the curator’s choice and made TOP 5 among almost 1000 artworks in this year’s international TAE exhibition in York, UK taking place in June.
I was so honoured that my abstracted portrait was highlighted in the catalogue. The model, who is an artist himself, was thrilled as he received the good news.
Makes me really happy to know that this special artwork now belongs to a dedicated collector in sunny California, USA.
They say: When life gives you lemons, make lemonade! Well, my planned summer holidays went down the drain this year due to Corona. I had no other choice but to surrender as I couldn’t beat that stubborn Covid-monster inside my body.
So no large painting outside in my planned forest studio this summer. But other nice things happened!
Making murals at MUNCH museum
I had never thought I would be able to show my work at the new MUNCH museum, but this summer opportunity knocked again – and I made 2 large mural portraits on the 11th floor. I loved coworking with kids visiting the museum! The exhibition is now closed and the murals on the walls are painted over.
New Batch of Artwork
In November I finally finished my new batch of abstract paintings and put them out for sale exclusively for those who follow my newsletter. To tell the truth, it is always a bit scary to show new artworks – what if no one likes them but me?
The first one sold almost immediately and I’ve received lots and lots of nice comments and interesting suggestions on how to go further! That’s so exciting!
I absolutely have the BEST PEOPLE cheering for me! What a year!
Thank you & Happy Holidays! Hope to see you again next year!
My life is pretty busy, but I still need to be creative. Every day I do something creative – ‘cause if I don’t, I feel miserable and lose my energy. To me practicing art is important to stay healthy and happy. Making art makes me feel alive!
I love my day job, but OMG! working almost full time leaves me with so little time to make art! I’m twisting my hands, shaking my brain cells hoping they will come up with a fab solution, but so far nothing revolutionary really happened. So I try to deal with the situation as best as I can.
Find your own way
Most artists I know feel short of time, even the ones with no day jobs. The more time you spend working on your art projects, the more you wanna create – ideas come easy when you’re having fun!
Every artist has their own way of coping with “too little time to make art” so try to find your own way!
Right now I’m downscaling wherever possible; social media, planned exhibits, projects, ideas, time consuming techniques and size of paintings. I limit everything down to: What’s most important now!
I’m challenging myself to say yes to the right things. Which means I turned down 4 invitations to exhibit my work this year!
And I haven’t regretted it for a second!
How to get shit done as often as you want? Remove distractions. Make time to do what is important now. Plan. Make commitments to yourself. Show up! Do the work!
One creative hour spent every day adds a lot to your portfolio in a year. You might want to set a creative morning/ afternoon/ evening time to work on a fun project for 30 days to get things started. Join an art group or an art challenge like #30dayartproject Just do it!
Depending on how much time I’ve got, I might pick something from the list below:
Create one page every day in my art journal
Paint with only one colour a day (on several paintings)
Make the same pattern in different sizes/colours on several paintings
Organize my flat files … (works on paper need safe storage)
Look through art books while having breakfast/ before going to bed
Mix the perfect colour to get on with a WIP (work in progress)
Make quick sketches
Play with ideas
Design my own patterns
Make my own collage material
Try something new
Paint edges of finished canvases
Look at my unfinished paintings from new angles, or in the mirror
Read about art
Listen to art podcasts
Watch and learn from MoMa or Louisiana (classes)
Scroll some of my art groups to see what my colleagues are doing
Daydream about my next art project
Clean or tidy up a part of my messy studio
Re-arrange part of my studio
Go for a walk and study the world around me
Meditate upon an unsolved painting
Make plans for my next exhibition (whenever that will be)
Collect ideas for blog texts
Write blog texts
Put my work out on social media
Join an art challenge
Journal about my own art
Photograph or scan some of my work
Brush up my website (research other artists websites/blogs)
Research galleries and/or art fairs to sell my work
Enjoy my studio, invite friends over for a workshop
Visit museums and galleries
Hang out with other creative people
Time is a friend
But most of the time I pet my cat and water my plants…
Time isn’t short, time is forever, it has always been there and it will continue. Time is not an enemy. Time is a friend. It is universal and eternal. If you spend your time well, you will feel good! So pet your cat or do whatever makes you happy!
Dreams are like stars. You may never touch them, but if you follow them they will lead you to your destiny. It might take a while, depending on how much time and effort you put into your journey. It’s all about dedication and how much you want it. So make sure you follow the right dream!
Some of you may already know that I decided to take a u-turn earlier this year. I went from being a full time artist, to taking on a new almost full-time day job. And I couldn’t be happier with my choice. Yey, I finally did the right thing after a long period of reflecting, making lists of pros and cons, dreaming, wondering what would happen if…
Dreaming big is sometimes easier said than done! Bucket lists, priority schemes, to-do-lists, mind maps, milestones, goal mapping, project management, WBS (work breakdown structure) and goal hierarchy are useful instruments to make sure you’re on the right track towards Your Dream.
Look for smart tools that help you in your process. There are loads of them out there. Or make your own. The trick is to have an overview, to watch your progress along the way.
The tricky part is to find your true dreams. And realize that they might change over time. Remember: Your dream is yours. No one else can take that away from you but yourself. So be aware of your inner critics, those insisting voices that want you to curl up in front of the telly or spend the evening scrolling on your smartphone.
Show up and focus
Whatever your dream is, make appointments with yourself, show up and do the work you have decided to do. Small steps every day is my way of working, it might not be yours. Try different things, do what you like.
– Make sure to have some fun along the way!
Remember to check in if you are focusing on what’s most important right now. If not, adjust your plan. But do not, I repeat; DO NOT spend all your time planning! Spend your energy on DOING whatever is necessary to get where you want.
Make sure to celebrate whenever there’s a reason to celebrate!
And now, if you’ll excuse me, I have a celebration to prepare: I’ve invited my husband to join me for a tiny drink in my messy studio! See ya later!
Normally I think of July as one of the best months in the year with its summer holidays and slow living with family and friends. I for sure had been looking so much forward to hot summer days, lazy breakfasts with my cat, wonderful lunchbaskets and swimming in the nearby lake, hiking, bicycling, roaming the woods with my husband and spending warm evenings in my hammock reading interesting books after nice dinners with a glass of greek Retsina.
This month I had made plans for bringing my large new paintings outside in the local woods in order to contemplate and try to bring in the energy from the old trees before the final stages in my pop-up forest studio. Also I was planning to bring my sketchbooks and some tools when revisiting some of my favourite secret places far far away. And I was supposed to prepare for an upcoming exhibition.
When life gives you lemons
Well, let’s say things turned out differently as Corona hit the house pretty bad. I hardly remember anything from the first 5 days of high fever and only bits and pieces from the next few weeks. All my energy was gone, my brain was more or less shut down and I slept 14-16 hours a day.
As you might have guessed, all my plans went down the drain. No painting, no recharging, no fun, no nothing. My husband and I could barely let the cat out.
They say: When life gives you a sour situation, make something good out of it, sweeten it up! This time I had no other choice but to surrender. I couldn’t beat that stubborn Covid-monster inside my body.
Making big life decisions doesn’t necessarily come easy. Every new year I make time to reflect about the previous year: Did things turn out as expected, or do I need to change my priorities?
In today’s blog I will reflect upon making a U-turn, in order to turn my life around to align with my changing hopes and desires, with what I want from life and how I want to live from day to day.
I’m the captain
As a former project manager I’m quite experienced in planning, evaluating and taking corrective actions in order to get where I want. The knowledge that you’re on the right path gives you energy to deal with rough days and short nights. I’m the captain, I know where to go, but sometimes you sail into troubled waters.
Most of us had our lives slightly changed during the pandemic. Also mine. Everything I had planned for was put on hold or canceled due to global and local restrictions.
Weeks and months passed by, my energy level dropped, my dreams changed and I realized I was on the wrong track.
Taking online art classes is fun and inspiring, you “meet” a lot of nice people, but at the end of the day, you are all alone in your studio. Your life and your wellbeing is your responsibility. No one will come knocking on your door to rescue you. It all comes down to: You have to deal with your own shit!
So what to do?
Setting a new course
Taking corrective action in life is a bold move that requires courage and conviction.
Artists are often sensitive to the world around us, often with great empathy for other people. But sometimes we lack empathy for ourselves, or we might be too busy looking outwards. During the pandemic most of us had time to reflect.
– What’s important now?
– How do I want my life to be when the pandemic is over?
Realizing you’ve come to a crossroads in your life might be hard to accept, but trust your intuition – pay attention to your dreams and your happy thoughts.
I’m not very skilled in sailing, but I do know how to plot a new course on a chart: So here I am happier than ever in my new almost full-time dayjob! Will have to adjust plans for my artist life though…
I read somewhere that being an artist is like having a permanent midlife crisis. Many artists experience that creativity is constantly fluctuating between ebb and flow. But don’t worry, the creative ocean is enormous!
Time to compost
Right now my creative energy is low due to other obligations (studies and preparing for upcoming exams).
Also I need time to reflect on what’s important now and what will be my next move. Or as my farmer husband puts it: Honey, you need time to compost. I think that’s a good way to see things: I need to compost. Time to be still, time to collect energy before I start growing. Hopefully this period of composting will help bring my work to the next level.
At school teachers kept talking about the spiral of creativity, meaning that students re-learn things on deeper levels.
Puzzles from the subconscious
Lately I’ve been working on a series of paintings that really puzzles me. When working intuitively I open up to receiving messages from the subconscious. It’s actually quite exciting not knowing what the painting is trying to express.
Working intuitively can of course be both frustrating and time consuming as the process stops when I’m unable to decipher the message, when I can’t find the story.
Some days I spend more time looking at a painting than actually painting.
Working alone in my studio I sometimes miss feedback.
Of course I don’t expect family and friends to understand and give constructive feedback. Just like I don’t know shit about their job, they don’t know shit about my art! They’re just trying to be nice by telling me what they like and dislike.
But what resonates with you or my uncle doesn’t necessarily give me the answers I’m searching for, because our preferences are like a compass and we all have different trails to walk.
My best feedback comes from within. And if I’m really stuck I ask an artist colleague.
Some of you might know that my life is about to change and that I will fulfill a longtime dream by starting a new day job soon. But first I have a few exams to pass.
But right now it’s time to compost and spend some long overdue time with my family. Hope to go hiking with my best friend before the birch pollen season kicks in.
Being an artist today is a busy life. There’s not much time for Livin La Vida Loca. There are bills to pay, applications to write and pictures to paint. Marketing is another field. Sometimes it’s hard to keep focus. Luckily I’m a quite experienced project manager and motivator.
What does an artist do all day?
You probably think that: Making art is the most important thing that artists do. But there is more to it than painting.
Daily tasks like mixing paints, preparing panels for painting, sealing them, cleaning brushes.
Weekly chores like paying bills, ordering new material, shipping out fresh work, organizing and cleaning the studio.
Administrative duties like scheduling appointments, answering email and press queries, communicating with gallerists, dealers, and collectors.
Marketing responsibilities like photographing new pieces, managing social media, writing newsletters and blogs. Uploading new work and maintaining the webshop.
When in the studio I try to structure my day to create periods of flow. Multitasking is not my cup of tea. Time management and focus is my secret weapon, because my energy goes to whatever I’m focused on.
You don’t always get what you wish for. You get what you work for.
I coach myself the same way I coach others and make sure to keep track of my projects in order to get where I want.
Real Artist or not?
I believe anyone can become an artist if you really want to. But the work of great artists resonates with the audience and makes you feel something. True artists love what they do and make art to communicate something.
My work is about how the mysteries in life unfold in different ways. I paint from my heart to explore and express what cannot be said in words.
They say it takes about 10 000 hours of practice to master a discipline. Some art teachers claim all artists will make about 1000 ugly paintings in their career. I think I’ve done my fair share by now.
Studio time is Happy Time
I love going into my studio. Studio time is a happy time, even if the creative process sometimes gives rise to frustration. There are lots of decisions to be made every single day. So when in doubt I take a break, I take a walk or I dance. My experience is that moving my body helps boost creativity.
A day in my studio involves playful experimenting. Risk taking is vital and daring to fail is part of the learning curve. “What happens if I try…” is one of my mantras in the studio. I follow my curiosity and am willing to be different.
Long hours in the Zone
When I’m focused I normally work long hours. When being in the zone, or in flow, in creative mode I have a tendency to forget eating and drinking, so my husband cooks and when he’s at work he kindly reminds me.
I’m not very fond of taking breaks. I prefer working till I’m finished and then call in the day to socialize with my family. Before going to bed I make sure to get some most needed unstructured time to reflect, or compost if you like. Without composting time my mind goes crazy, and I end up spending most of the night more or less awake figuring out new things to explore in my art practice.
As an artist I am well aware that I need to take care of my most important tool: My Body. Therefore I make sure to get my beauty sleep to increase health and well-being and to enhance cognitive ability and get those creative juices flowing.
My Studio Assistant
Every artist needs a muse. My studio assistant is the best! He has neither experience or a degree in fine arts. But he supports me in his very own special ways, and our life drawing sessions are wonderful. He loves modeling.
I would never ever swap him for another studio assistant.
Time to reflect is an important part of the creative process. Some days I spend more time looking at my paintings than painting. Why is that so? Artists have different creative processes: Some enter the studio with a clear idea in mind, start a new canvas and paint the picture. Just like that.
My creative process is more like this: I start with an idea, and then the painting becomes something else. I love the playful initial stages of the painting process where I explore happy accidents. For me the hardest part is taking a painting through the messy middle to the clarifying stage and finishing it.
No wonder I need time to reflect, or compost if you like. That’s why I have several paintings going on in my studio. So when one painting stops, I can continue working on another. I normally have loads of work in progress in my studio, but all of a sudden there are piles of finished paintings, too.
Writing about Art
Writing helps me reflect and clarify things. I’ve always enjoyed writing and I’ve been blogging about various topics for about 20 years.
7 years ago I started this art blog hoping to share some inside views from living the vida loca as an artist. Initially the art blog was meant for a smaller audience of family and friends, but I soon realized I have views and followers from all over the world. And that’s a boost!
Putting your work out there is part of the game. If no one sees what I create, and no one wants to buy my art, I really need to win the lottery.
There is a “Happy Place” for each of us. It’s a safe haven for happiness, a place that allows us to breathe deeply and find peace no matter what is happening in our lives. Some prefer their happy place to be a low-stimulation environment, where quiet stillness offers a feeling of being at peace that can last for a long time.
While knitting might be your happy place, My Happy Place is different.
My studio is my happy place!
Lots of people find their happy place in nature, or with animals. Studies show that spending just 20 minutes in nature boosts vitality levels significantly.
I’m the sort of person that needs to spend quiet time in solitude to refuel myself. Studio time gives me the chance to unwind and get away from the hamster wheel and the madness going on in the world.
My Happy Place brings me joy and happiness and fills me with energy. My studio is a wonderful space where I can “travel” to fabulous places, “meet” interesting people with fascinating stories and interact with my passion to let dreams and fantasies come true on the canvas.
My happy place has lots of positive impacts on me: In my studio I find courage to step outside my comfort zone, climb out on a limb, and reach for my next level of growth. My studio is the place where I can escape and feel happy, feel at peace with no interruptions of any sort – until night time when I wine and dine with my family.
Unique Life Experiences
Living a creative life is food for my soul. I believe painting heals, lifts me up, fills me with positive energy and hope! Studio time normally boosts my vitality levels and brings out the best in me. When I’m in creative mode no one can judge or harm me, except my inner critic. There are lots of decisions to make during the process.
Painting resembles life with its many layers of experiences. Some of them you want to paint over, while others really shine. There are happy days and not so exciting ones. The push and pull of living and painting, make the whole story of both you and me and every single painting, unique.
Therefore I believe that every artwork will reveal its own secrets to the right viewer. For me buying art is a soulful decision – and you instinctively know when to buy a painting!
I’m currently working on two parallel projects for my upcoming solo shows. These days I’m also considering whether to participate in a few group shows. So happy the pandemic is coming to an end!
Looking back, creating art has been a part of my life for as long as I can remember. To most of those who know me, it’s no surprise I ended up living the vida loca as an artist. After a long and winding road I finally found my true calling ten years ago.
Back in the Days
As I remember them, my early years of childhood seem to be quite lighthearted and enjoyable. Back in the days, young children growing up in the countryside were normally playing outside with friends, while their parents were tending livestock, working the fields or taking a nap after dinner.
I really enjoyed my own company and had lots of freedom and long hours of roaming the hoods, trying to figure out life’s mysteries and searching for fun.
The Tiny Artist
My dad had plenty of tools, so at the age of 4 the tiny artist was stone carving day after day, fully determined to become a sculptor and make gigantic statues. A few weeks later I gave up because I couldn’t find stones that would let me form them the way I wanted; the materials were either too hard or too soft. And my wrists were really hurting from all the hammering.
Then I tried working with clay from the nearby seashore without significant success.
Sadly my carpentry didn’t come out like I wanted, either – so I went back to drawing, encouraged by Grandma who was happy to model for me every day.
First Art Exhibit
At the age of 5 I had my first art exhibit in Grandma’s house. All the neighbors were invited and Grandma served coffee and homemade cookies.
To my big surprise I sold my first drawing. And Grandma told everyone that I was going to become an artist.
Years passed by
Through adolescence I was sketching, drawing and writing for hours every night. I hardly had time to sleep. At 16 life took a new turn. Years passed by; life was filled with schoolwork, sports, friends and parties.
Good years, by all means, but my creative spirit was not nurtured except for a few lucky hours every now and then. Some nights I skipped sleeping, or I couldn’t sleep at all, because my brain was in creative mode.
Dreamt I was painting
Night after night I dreamt I was painting large canvases with bold marks and vivid colors; weird and wonderful abstract motives. They say that what you dream of, over and over again, is telling you to pay attention to that theme in your waking life. That your subconscious is trying to connect you to something that’s important for you.
So I tried watercolor and ink, but didn’t quite get the expression I wanted. I tried oil painting and hated the smell, but OMG! was I the most popular girl roaming the bars for a few weeks with oil paint in my hair and stains on my hands…
Photography was a lot of fun, but I never got around to apply for studies in New York. And since Bergen was totally out of the question I started working again. And all of a sudden I was caught up in Family Life, university studies and coaching handball. Time flies when you’re having fun!
The Local Art School
At 50 I discovered the local art school. Half way through my second day in summer class at Nydalen Kunstskole, I had kind of a spiritual awakening – a feeling of being connected with something I’ve been looking for my whole life. I finally had found my true calling and that autumn I attended art school.
Sometimes, dreams come true or tell of a future event.
My journey as an artist began ten years ago as I entered the local art school for a week-long summer course called Finding Your Artistic Voice. I was a complete beginner. Except for a few attempts with watercolor, I had never painted before and barely knew upside down on the paint brush.
I found my true calling
On day two I realised I had finally found my calling. My results were nothing to brag about, but I loved the creative process. It was a very intense and hot summer week with deep diving into inner landscapes, lovely lunches outside and refreshing swimming in the river with new friends.
The teacher was a well known artist who sometimes gave me a creepy feeling as she laughed at my beginner attempts at colour mixing and criticised my way of using the paintbrush. Therefore I somehow didn’t think the teacher was walking the talk, but she kind of saw right through me and I was strongly encouraged to enter the two year art program. And for that I am forever grateful.
A gift from my family
The summer course was a birthday gift from my family. My husband and my son witnessed the immediate impact this creative week course had on my wellbeing, so the following month I enrolled as an art student, finally at the age of 50. Looking back I regret not doing this years ago, but life has been filled with other things.
The following two years my learning curve was steep as I had spent most of my life fulfilling others expectations, not listening to my inner self. They say there is a crack in everything, and that is where the light gets in. I don’t know who I’d be without my creative practice. Entering my studio is like coming home on a deeper level.
For years I worked full time jobs and made art during evenings, weekends and holidays. I hardly had any energy to meet friends, and my poor family only saw me during meals and when I fell asleep on the sofa totally worn out. I have no idea how many movies I slept through while my tea got cold.
Working two careers is demanding, and as my everyday life started to feel like a mountain to climb, and I began to feel dead inside, I realised I had to change my priorities and went for less stressful day jobs. Over the years I have spent long hours of hard work alone in the studio to push my art forward. Years of poor income have taught me not to spend money.
Never stop dreaming
To me being an artist means quite a few sacrifices. We only have 24 hours and 7 days a week. I plan my days well in order to accomplish what I want. Artist life is sometimes stressful, but I’ll never stop trying to fulfil my dream.
Trusting my inner voice has been a hard trial, guess I wasn’t brave enough to listen, maybe I was told I wasn’t good enough too often. When you feel your life is too small for you it’s time to make a leap! Time to unfold! Trust your inner voice, it demands to be heard!
10 years and 10 000 hours later
They say you need about 10 000 hours of practice to become really good at something. My art practice has covered several trials and errors, exploration, failure and happy coincidences. I have painted small and big, painted over again and sold a few. I have taken workshops, had exhibitions, even attended a third year at the local art school. I’ve learnt techniques and made loads of paintings in different styles, but I’m still searching.
10 years later I am eager to find my true artistic voice. But when the student is ready, the teacher will appear! So I carry on.
Hope for the best, prepare for the worst and expect nothing! A year ago I had no idea what impact Covid-19 would have around the globe and how it would affect my daily life. Today I know a lot more. I’m glad I didn’t know everything forehand. Sometimes it’s best to accept the situation and don’t push the river, so to speak.
Cancelled and closed
I admit it has been a bit tricky to stay optimistic the past year. I mean, most of my plans are on hold and the corona situation will probably make sure it stays like that for quite some time. Like many other artists, the only thing I can do is work, work, work alone in my studio and hope for better times to come. Sometimes it feels like my painting sessions continue long into my sleep, like a neverending story.
All shows are cancelled. All workshops are cancelled. Even art supply shops are closed. I have run out of several mediums and therefore have to improvise. Most likely I’ll have to order something from an online store just to get things going.
No man is an island – or?
They say “no man is an island” meaning that most people need to be part of a community in order to thrive. This capital city has been more or less closed down for five months and we are all pretty isolated. Maybe it’s time to rethink how we downsize our health care systems, organize our work and communities and how we live our lives?
As some of you have read and commented on earlier, an art school is not particularly suitable for online schooling while working on your graduate project. Last year Covid-19 forced all supervision to take place in a virtual classroom and in such moments it’s hard to keep the motivation going. In times like this you have to trust the process and seek inspiration elsewhere.
My global collage village
A year ago, as Oslo closed down, I quickly understood that I needed to get myself a hobby and a creative online community to hang out with. Luckily I came across a fantastic group of international collage artists. I have learned so much from making collage, taking online classes, discussing with morning birds and night owls and hanging out with these wonderful people. My art collection has grown along with my hope! So thank you Canaries, you really inspire me to grow my wings!
April 1. 2020 I made my very first 5 minute intuitive collage. One year later I have taken on a few challenges and made some progress. I do not compare myself to artists with 10 plus years of experience – they do amazing works! And I’m still a beginner. But as long as I’m happy, I carry on. Doing it my way. I find making collage to be both relaxing and challenging and very suitable in my ongoing process of abstractifying my work.
This April (2021) I focused on making a series of 36 collages and I’m actually quite happy with some of them. A few even found their way overseas. I will definitely dedicate more time to working with collage. But first I will try to add collage into my paintings.
Coming in from the cold with fresh eyes
We had a really cold winter this year. Since I have moved my studio home, opening windows was not a preferred thing to do, so I had to come up with less smelly ways of working. Making collage is one of them. Working small and journaling is another. Rethinking and retextualisation is part of the process. So I’m not looking for “new landscapes”, I use “fresh eyes” to see what is already there.
It’s not always what you look at that matters, it’s what you see. So, I’m kind of looking for traces, searching for myself…or rather; new ways of “inventing” my art.
When time is abundant and money is scarce, when your studio is smaller than your big dreams, when you run out of your favourite art supplies – what do you do? You either freak out or you try new things! I wonder what happens if I do this or that? Or try another way? My next project might be using my grandmother’s sewing machine on my canvases. The sewing machine that only runs backwards. Wohoo, that might be a lot of fun!
Never give up, keep trying and practise every day! Success comes in many different shapes and forms. Have faith and have fun!
Oh boy, what a freezing cold February we had this year. The cat cried and refused to leave the house. My brain was going in circles, so I forced myself to endure the short walk to the local library once a week to pick up a stack of interesting books before crawling back under the blanket together with my poor cat.
Lack of motivation
I had numerous cups of tea and felt like decomposing every time I looked out the window. No motivational quotes would ever get me through this horrible winter. I realised I had to DO SOMETHING to get myself back on track. I had to step up!
Still not feeling fit for fight after being sick on and off since last spring when the pandemic hit, I decided to go back to my old friend yoga. Sadly I found that even very small doses of yoga would knock me out for 2-3 days, so I had to plan well to avoid the fatigue reaction and think of new ways to nurture my creative self.
In case you wondered, severe headaches, neck pain and brain fog does not exactly boost your cognitive resources. I could barely focus nor think, and the same thoughts repeated themselves over and over again. Luckily they were happy thoughts!
Dreaming of summer
For days and weeks I could think of nothing but spring flowers and lazy summer days, so I obeyed and started painting what my mind was full of.
With so little energy to spend each day, I realised I had to sit down at my desk and work small. My initial plans of going big this spring was out of the question.
Looking for motifs
A year ago I was working on my third year graduate art project and looking through my sketchbooks I found my mother’s vases and my grandma’s urns. I had a new project!
Abstract painting is where I feel most at home. But working small is a challenge. I also wanted to add more layers and introduce some new techniques in my paintings. Maybe try out new colour combinations as well.
Think big, work small
There are many advantages when working small: You can sit down at your desk while working. You can finish a small painting in a relatively small amount of time. You can make several variations of the same motif and try out different things. You might take a picture of your painting and put it through one of those interior apps to see what it would look like on a big scale. Some of them turn out pretty cool – and one day I just might PAINT BIG again!
Thank you so much for buying my art! It gives me a lot of energy and creative joy! Love all your nice feedback and inquiries regarding my work. Unfortunately, I am a little behind with the orders, but trust me they will come!
Tusen takk for at dere kjøper bildene mine! Det gir meg masse energi og skaperglede! Veldig moro med alle hyggelige tilbakemeldinger og henvendelser. Jeg henger dessverre litt etter med bestillingene, men de kommer, de kommer!
It feels horrible to find out that my pictures are stolen and sold on dubious websites. I have previously been spared for digital theft, but this fall I had some devastating news. To avoid future digital thefts, I have therefore changed the quality and image size of what I post online. Sad, because this affects all of you good people with honest intentions.
Det er skikkelig kjipt når bildene mine stjeles og selges på tvilsomme nettsider. Jeg har tidligere vært forskånet for den slags, men i høst fikk jeg meg en durabelig nedtur. For å unngå fremtidige digitale tyverier, ser jeg meg derfor nødt til å endre kvalitet og bildestørrelse på det jeg legger ut på nett. Trist, fordi dette går utover alle dere som har ærlige hensikter.
A strange year
2020 has been a busy year, and a very different year, marked by Covid-19, which put an end to many plans. The spring term at art school was therefore strongly influenced by online studies, which is far from optimal during the 3rd school year’s most important period working on my graduate project in visual arts. Fortunately, opportunities arose to hold an exhibition in Gallery C-14 when the corona restrictions opened up for it. This autumn has also been characterized by restrictions, but you learn to improvise, so I have spent my autumn months well; they have been packed with new inspiration and long work hours in my studio.
Et underlig år
2020 har vært et travelt år, og et veldig annerledes år preget av Covid-19 som satte en stopper for mange planer. Vårsemesteret ved kunstskolen ble derfor sterkt preget av nettstudier, hvilket er langt fra optimalt under 3.årets viktigste periode og arbeidet med hovedoppgaven. Heldigvis kom muligheter for å arrangere utstilling i galleri C-14 når korona-restriksjonene åpnet for det. Høstsemesteret har også vært preget av restriksjoner, men man lærer å improvisere, så jeg har brukt høstmånedene godt, de har vært fullspekket av ny inspirasjon og intenst arbeid i atelieret.
This December, my studio has been closed after a busy autumn and I have spent time with my family. Truth be told, my health has faltered a little bit more than usual this strange year. I have therefore tried to spoil and nurture myself during this dark period of the year. Because health is important for my creativity.
I feel fine and I’m looking forward to getting back in my studio. I have so many ideas and soon it’s time to plan for the year to come. I hope for a prosperous year!
In the meantime, I wish you all a happy new year!
Denne desembermåneden har atelieret vært stengt etter en travel høst og jeg har brukt tid og energi på familien. Sant å si så har vel helsa skranglet litt mer enn vanlig dette underlige året, jeg har derfor forsøkt å pleie meg selv litt ekstra godt i denne mørke tiden. For helsa er viktig for kreativiteten, så det er godt å kjenne at det kribler litt og at jeg gleder meg til å komme igang igjen med å lage bilder.
Jeg har mange ideer og snart er det tid for å planlegge året som kommer. La oss inderlig håpe det blir et fruktbart år!
I mellomtiden ønsker jeg alle et riktig godt nytt år!
Sometimes working in the art studio really sucks. There are days where nothing goes as planned, paintings that never turn out the way you want them to no matter how hard you work. Sometimes art resembles the struggle of life itself; same old shit, back and forth, like a game of ping pong.
Copyright (c) Art by Rekkebo
Struggling with art is, of course, a minor problem in the world. But art can pinpoint more important things as well and sometimes we all need to get a grip, to take new responses because: More of the same old shit won’t get you where you want!
Earlier I have been suggesting that the artistic process often takes the shape of a loop. In the sense of evolving as an artist the process often goes in circles, or spirals, where you integrate today’s expression with earlier experiences, motives, themes and techniques. This magical process results in a personal artistic language and, as time pass by, you reach new levels and make more interesting art.
To be honest, I’ve been struggling for quite some time, feeling unable to take my artistic process to a higher level. So what to do? Give up, or continue painting the same shit over and over again? Luckily I have some really wise people in my life to discuss important matters with, when reflection on my own doesn’t bring me any further. Thank you, for being part of my life and for lending ears to my artistic frustrations. Brainstorming is da shit; listen closely to experience and open up for new ideas!
Sometimes New Beginnings are disguised as painful endings.
Copyright (c) Art by Rekkebo
It is normal to resist, and even resent changes. But change is somehow the key to the circle of life; seasons come and go, after rain comes sun. Yes, it’s true that a beginning can seem like an end, but when one door closes then another door opens! So what’s perceived as painful and undesirable, often paves the way for something better – and if not better, at least different.
My art project is based on a playful and exploratory process. In my quest for personal artistic expression I explore several possibilities to present expressive abstractions from everyday life. I try to deal with complex settings by taking a closer look, because often a glance under the surface reveals unknown beauty and new paths to follow.
I believe struggling is part of the game, and in order to succeed you need to work through both rainy days and rough seas. I try to embrace the unexpectedness of life and change by working hard and dig deep – but in loose, playful ways – by observation, looking for lucky coincidence on the way. Because I want to enjoy my time on earth, both inside and outside the studio.
Noen ganger suger det skikkelig å jobbe i atelieret. Det fins dager hvor ingenting går som planlagt, malerier som aldri blir slik du vil, uansett hvor mye du jobber. Av og til minner kunsten om livet selv; det samme gamle, frem og tilbake som å spille bordtennis.
Mine kunstneriske bekymringer er selvfølgelig små, globalt sett. Men kunst kan også si noe om større sammenhenger og innimellom trenger vi nye tilnærminger for å komme videre fordi: Mer av det samme, fører deg ikke dit du vil!
Jeg har tidligere skrevet om at den kunstneriske prosessen ofte går i en loop der du gjenoppfinner deg selv; en magisk prosess der du integrerer dagens uttrykk med dine tidligere erfaringer, motiver, temaer og teknikker. Dette resulterer i et personlig kunstnerisk språk, og etter hvert som du når nye nivåer kan du skape mer interessant kunst.
For å være ærlig, så har jeg slitt litt en stund. Jeg synes ikke at jeg har klart å nå et nytt kunstnerisk nivå og har derfor tidvis vært ganske frustrert. Den som gir seg er en dritt, men er det egentlig noen vits i å male det samme bildet om og om igjen? Heldigvis kjenner jeg noen veldig kloke mennesker som jeg kan diskutere viktige saker med, når refleksjon på egen hånd ikke bringer meg videre. Takk og lov for at dere er en del av livet mitt og for at dere orker å dvele ved mine kunstneriske frustrasjoner. Brainstorming er suverent, andres erfaringer kan fort åpne opp for nye ideer!
Noen ganger er begynnelser forkledd som en smertefull slutt.
Motstand er ofte begynnelsen til endring. Og forandring er nøkkelen til livets sirkel; årstider kommer og går, etter regn kommer sol. Joda, det er sant at begynnelser kan virke som slutten, men når en dør lukkes, åpnes en annen dør! Så det som kan oppfattes som smertefullt og uønsket, baner ofte vei for noe bedre – og om ikke bedre, i det minste annerledes.
Mitt kunstprosjekt baseres på en leken og utforskende prosess. I min søken etter et personlig kunstnerisk uttrykk, undersøker jeg flere muligheter til å presentere uttrykksfulle abstraksjoner fra levd liv. Jeg prøver å håndtere komplekse situasjoner ved å kikke litt nærmere på hva som egentlig skjer og et blikk under overflaten avslører ofte skjult skjønnhet og nye stier å følge.
Jeg tror at det å streve litt er en del av pakka – og for å lykkes, både som menneske og kunstner, må man tåle både motvind og motbakker. Jeg prøver å stå i det, jeg bruker gråværsdagene aktivt til å jobbe systematisk og å grave dypt – men på en løssluppen og leken måte- der jeg ser etter heldige sammentreff underveis. For jeg vil nyte min stund på jorden, både i og utenfor atelieret.
The month of January always gives me a creative kick. This year is now exception. After weeks of darkness and 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 impressions of nature into a personal artistic language is a complex procedure which requires reflection time, trial and errors. My mantra is therefore: Trust the process!
Copyright (c) Art by Rekkebo
When art teachers say “trust the process” what do they try to tell you? I remember discussing this topic vividly with class mates in art school on several occasions. We all had different views depending on the situation. Here are a few interpretations I have overheard: “It’s a nice way of telling you that you lack talent (ha, ha). It means you need some more experience, so work hard (I damn will). It means you have to carry on till you make it right, you’re the boss!”
When I use the expression towards my art students “trust the process” means believe that you’ve got what it takes! Or if you don’t; ask for help, discuss with colleagues, take a time out and do something else! Then start over again.
Amazingly often the artistic process takes form as a loop where you recycle yourself; a process where you take earlier themes, techniques and motives into a higher stage. Painting is a bit like life itself, you need to grow and sometimes you need to start all over again.
There is no quick fix; you have to work hard to evolve as an artist. Some of my paintings are stuck away for months, even years before I finish them. In the meantime I work on other paintings, or with other techniques, to build up the competence I need. Sometimes I get it right and sometimes I fail. I have fucked up several nearly finished paintings, I even cried a few times over lost beauty – only to realize that the new painting came out a lot better than the version I fucked up.
So trust the process, even if it takes a long time and requires loads of hard work! But most important: Never give up!
Januar pleier å gi meg et realt kreativt kick. I år er intet unntak. Etter uker med mørke og kulde er solen tilbake og den hvite snøen gjør naturen lys, myk og vakker. Moder Jord inspirerer med sine former, linjer, strukturer og vinterens spartanske farger gir meg lyst til å vandre inn i nye malerier. Det å omdanne naturens uttrykk til et personlig kunstnerisk språk er imidlertid en kompleks prosedyre som krever tid for refleksjon, prøving og feiling. Mitt mantra er derfor: Stol på prosessen!
Når kunstlærere sier “stol på prosessen”, hva prøver de egentlig å fortelle deg? Jeg husker vi diskuterte dette emnet heftig ved flere anledninger på kunstskolen. Og alle hadde litt ulike oppfatninger avhengig av sammenhengen. Her er noen tolkninger jeg har overhørt: “Det er en pen måte å fortelle deg at du mangler talent (ha, ha). Det betyr at du trenger litt mer erfaring, så jobb hardt. Det betyr at du må fortsette til du får det til, det er du som er sjefen!”
Når jeg bruker uttrykket“stol på prosessen” overfor mine kunststudenter, betyr det at du må stole på at du har det som skal til! Eller hvis du ikke har det; be om hjelp, diskutere med kolleger, ta deg litt fri og gjør noe annet! Så starter du på’n igjen.
Den kunstneriske prosessen beveger seg i en loop der du gjenoppfinner deg selv; gjennom en kreativ prosess der du tar med deg tidligere temaer, teknikker og motiver opp til et høyere nivå. Maleprosessen er som livet, du må vokse litt og noen ganger må du starte forfra.
Det finnes ingen snarveier; du må jobbe hardt og metodisk for å utvikle seg som kunstner. Enkelte av mine malerier står bortstuet i måneder, eller år før jeg fullfører dem. I mellomtiden jobber jeg med andre malerier, eller med andre teknikker, for å bygge opp kompetansen jeg trenger. Noen ganger får jeg det til og andre ganger ikke. Jeg har ødelagt flere ferdige malerier jeg anså for å være nesten ferdige, jeg har felt tårer over tapt skjønnhet – bare for å innse at det omarbeidede maleriet ble mye bedre enn den tidligere versjonen.
Så stol på prosessen, selv om det tar lang tid og krever hardt arbeid! Og viktigst av alt: Gi aldri opp!
Everyday life is quite busy. Quite time consuming, actually. There are bills to pay, meals, clothes, phone calls and floors to scrub. We face blue Mondays, early mornings, sickness, crowded buses, busy days, boring meetings, rainy afternoons and late evenings. Family and friends. Birthdays, weddings and funerals.
– So when do you paint?
Sometimes life blows harder than the wind, and navigating through rough seas feels a bit overwhelming. It’s hard to focus. What is most important; today and tomorrow, in short sight and in a longer perspective? What’s important to me, where is my goal and how do I prioritize to get there? Do I need to set a new course?
24 hours and 7 days a week is hardly enough time to pull everything off. The trick is how to live life in order to accomplish what I want most. Where do I want to spend my energy? The answer is quite easy:
I want to paint more! So how on earth do I organize my days so I can paint more? Which time consuming thieves do I have to let go of?
As many of you already knows, social media, exhibitions and social gatherings are therefore not among my priorities at the moment. Because I want to paint more!
Copyright (c) Art by Rekkebo
Hverdagene er fylt med ulike tidkrevende gjøremål. Vi har regninger å betale, daglige måltider, klær, telefonsamtaler og gulv å vaske. Vi møter blåmandager, grytidlige morgener, sykdom, overfylte busser, travle dager, kjedelige møter, regnfulle ettermiddager og sene kvelder. Familie og venner. Fødselsdager, bryllup og begravelser.
-Hvordan få tid til å male?
Innimellom blåser livet kraftigere enn vinden, å navigere på hverdagens bølger føles tidvis litt overveldende. Det er vanskelig å fokusere. Hva er viktigst; i dag, i morgen, på kort og på lang sikt? Hva er viktigst for meg, hvor er målet mitt og hvordan prioriterer jeg for å komme dit? Må jeg sette ny kurs?
24 timer og 7 dager i uken er sjelden nok til å rekke alt man ønsker. Trikset blir derfor å regissere livet mitt slik at jeg har reelle muligheter til å oppnå det jeg ønsker aller mest. Hvor og hvordan vil jeg bruke min energi? Svaret er enkelt:
Jeg vil male mer! Så hvordan organiserer jeg dagene mine slik at jeg kan male mer? Hvilke tidstyver kan jeg gi slipp på?
Som mange av dere allerede vet er sosiale medier, utstillinger og sosiale sammenkomster derfor ikke blant mine prioriteringer for øyeblikket. Fordi jeg vil male mer!