3 May 2015
by Randy

Wednesday drawings

This is what my table looked like last wednesday. I’ve been enjoying drawing with graphite a lot lately. Abstract, and floral-like drawings mostly, as you can see.Drawing table

For the past few wednesdays (and this one being the last), I had the day to myself while the girls were at daycare. I quit my job and even though my contract ended two days ago, I haven’t been working for over a month. I feel so liberated! The best decision I’ve ever made :)

So now I don’t have to work anymore (besides taking care of the girls ofcourse), I’m more energized and so I want to spend more time with my art and my blog. Expect to see a lot more of me here!

13 December 2014
by Randy

Charcoal abstracts

Another class I’m taking, is Karine Swenson’sIntro to abstract painting‘. It’s a great class! Karine is so calm, just working intuitively and encouraging her students to really explore and find their own way in art, very inspiring!
The first lesson is all about charcoal drawings. I had so much fun exploring different kinds of shapes, lines and marks, and smudging the charcoal, that I made a whole bunch of drawings. There are so many possibilities with this medium that I tried as much as I could think of to find what way of working and what style I like best. Here’s what I did.
Charcoal abstract drawing by Randy Roelen - Groenebanaan.nl
Charcoal abstract drawing by Randy Roelen - Groenebanaan.nl
Charcoal abstract drawing by Randy Roelen - Groenebanaan.nl
Charcoal abstract drawing by Randy Roelen - Groenebanaan.nl
Charcoal abstract drawing by Randy Roelen - Groenebanaan.nl
Charcoal abstract drawing by Randy Roelen - Groenebanaan.nl
Charcoal abstract drawing by Randy Roelen - Groenebanaan.nl
Charcoal abstract drawing by Randy Roelen - Groenebanaan.nl
Charcoal abstract drawing by Randy Roelen - Groenebanaan.nl
Charcoal abstract drawing by Randy Roelen - Groenebanaan.nl
Charcoal abstract drawing by Randy Roelen - Groenebanaan.nl
Charcoal abstract drawing by Randy Roelen - Groenebanaan.nl
Charcoal abstract drawing by Randy Roelen - Groenebanaan.nl

I really like some of these but not all of them. I’m amazed though with what I could come up with. I really tried to work intuitively and most of the time was succesfull in that :)

9 December 2014
by Randy
1 Comment

Lines and marks

I promised to write about my journey into abstract art, but haven’t gotten around to actually posting anything yet. Until now.

I’ve been obsessed with lines and marks (the starting point of my abstract journey). I created a Pinterest board on the subject which I’ve been filling on and off for months. There’s just so much you can do with something so seamingly simple. I really can’t get enough of it.

With a little help from Alisa Burke and her online class ‘the art of abstraction‘ to get me going, I  started making my own abstract line ‘art’. Below is some of the stuff I created for the class, layering lines, continuous lines, line with paint and brush, paintmarker and printmaking. No great art, but just learning about line.

Lines by Randy Roelen at Groenebanaan.nl

I also spent some time exploring markmaking and I’ve been trying to find different items to use to create lines/marks.
It’s really a lot of fun to look around the house and find things that create different effects. Here are a few. (I used acrylic ink to create these.)

Markmaking by Randy Roelen at Groenebanaan.nl
This is a wrapper from a ball of yarn. I dipped it into the ink and pressed it onto the paper. It’s fun to fold the wrapper in different ways to create different shapes. Here’s a detailed shot.
Markmaking by Randy Roelen at Groenebanaan.nl

Markmaking by Randy Roelen at Groenebanaan.nl
For this I tore up a small piece of watercolor paper and used the torn edge to stamp with and in other places I just dragged it across the surface. Below is a detailed shot.
Markmaking by Randy Roelen at Groenebanaan.nl Markmaking by Randy Roelen at Groenebanaan.nlI dragged a piece of string across my next surface. I tied the string to make a loop first. I really like the marks this makes! Below is a detailed shot.Markmaking by Randy Roelen at Groenebanaan.nl Markmaking by Randy Roelen at Groenebanaan.nlA palletknife can make all sorts of interesting marks. Plus, you can use it to scatch into the paint to make more marks! A detailed shot of that can be viewed below.Markmaking by Randy Roelen at Groenebanaan.nl Markmaking by Randy Roelen at Groenebanaan.nlI used a plastic lid to make marks next. The edge of the lid makes for a nice texture, and a lot or just a little paint makes different marks, for variation. The detailed shot is below.
Markmaking by Randy Roelen at Groenebanaan.nl

Markmaking by Randy Roelen at Groenebanaan.nlI crumpled up a few pieces of paper for markmaking. I dipped them into the ink and let them roll across the surface by tilting the paper back and forth. The crumpled papers can also be used as stamps. Fun!Markmaking by Randy Roelen at Groenebanaan.nl Markmaking by Randy Roelen at Groenebanaan.nlI got this idea for using corrugated cardboard through a blogpost by Jane Davies. It makes for fun lines! You can use it rolled up into different shapes or simply as a straight line. Below is the detailed shot.Markmaking by Randy Roelen at Groenebanaan.nl

I haven’t used these pieces or the techniques to make a finished piece yet, but there are definitely a few that I want to take further.

21 October 2014
by Randy
1 Comment

What I’ve been up to lately

It’s been a while (a long while) since I last wrote something on my blog. In the mean time I gave birth to a beautiful little girl (Lenora, born on August 5th) and I’ve been busy getting adjusted to our new family situation.

Artwise I’ve been increasingly interested in abstract art, and, besides spending a lot of time on Pinterest finding inspiration, I’ve been trying my hand at making abstract art myself. I feel the need to learn to work intuitively, to stop trying to plan a piece of art before even starting it. Having less time (and energy) to create is an important reason for this but readers of my blog know that I’ve been on this path for a while now.
In the time to come, I will show you my progress!

1 June 2014
by Randy

Why do you want to be an artist?

This is the sixth post in the series ‘Thoughts on be(com)ing an artist

Why do you want to be an artist? Well, obviously you like to make art ;)

But things aren’t always as simple as that. If you’re feeling blocked, or even if you don’t (yet), it’s a good idea to investigate your reasons for be(com)ing an artist.

Let me explain this:
When I look at why I want to be an artist, what I’m hoping to get out of it, there are a few things that come to mind.
The most obvious is the joy it brings to create and to watch art develop in front of your eyes and under your hands. The feeling of flow, inspiration and intuitive play that it brings when things are going well. The aliveness I feel when my mind is open and creativity can run free.
It is through art that I am learning to follow my heart, my instincts and I learn to stop overthinking everything I do.

Ofcourse all of that wasn’t on my mind when I started this creative journey. It all started by following my excitement for certain forms of art I had seen, and the wish to try it for myself.

But while I’m progressing on my journey I run into obstacles. Other feelings start to surface: Thoughts of not being good enough, and feelings of frustration about it.
When I look closely at where those feelings are coming from, I notice that it originates from a deeper issue, something that keeps coming back to me in different forms: A need to accomplish something worthy of showing others, in order to gain their attention and respect. And besides that, the deep wish to create my own dream job (preferably immediately), so I can stop working at the crappy one I’m in right now.

This deeper problem is making it really difficult for me to get into that state of free, intuitive creating that I’m searching for.
But by becoming aware of it I can transform these thoughts and emotions and balance myself again.

When I really think about it, the only reason I want to have for making art is because I love doing it.
I don’t have to prove myself to anybody, my art is worthy of showing, imperfections and all. Maybe even more so because of these imperfections.
And my dream job will come, when it’s time, if I just keep doing what I love, without forcing anything.

I keep slipping back into the old, bad way of thinking and I know I need to keep repeating to myself what I really want, what is actually important. I hope my mind and being will eventually catch on and I can let go of the old habit, because it’s not helping me at all.

Get to know your reasons and make it clear for yourself what you really want.
Is it that you just want to create art because you love doing it or could it be something else? A need for attention, or rebelling against someone telling you you can’t or shouldn’t do it?
Do you feel you have to be an accomplished artist? And if so, why? Do you feel you have something to prove or is it solely the joy of creating for a living?

Whatever your reasons may be, make sure they’re positive ones. Make sure they’re ideas that lovingly motivate you to continue and enjoy yourself!

24 May 2014
by Randy

What’s keeping you from creating?

This is the fifth post in the series ‘Thoughts on be(com)ing an artist

After talking about the creative process, I’d like to talk about creative blocks that might be holding you back from creating (or creating more).

There can be many things holding you back from being creative: a lack of time, energy, money, confidence. The inner critic might also like to jump at any chance to tell you that you’re not good enough, not creative enough, that you can’t draw realistically (obviously it thinks that’s important) or that you’ll never be as good as all the ‘real’ artists out there.

That last thing has been on my mind lately as I was starting the layers of color workshop by Stephanie Corfee. The ease with which she creates her artwork, plus the amount of pretty art made by the other participants that’s being uploaded to the flickr group is kind of intimidating. They’re so good, there’s no way I can match that. Ever.
And because of these blocking thoughts I had difficulty getting started. I wasn’t making anything, bad or good.

I’m pretty sure that most creative blocks are mental ones (yes, even the time, energy and money things can be mostly mental blocks. Time: Create in small steps each day. A lot can get done that way too! Money: What can you do with supplies you already own? Can you create with found objects?) and they’re caused by negative thinking (or are at least worsened by it).
To be able to get rid of the blocks it’s important to find a different perspective. One that is helpful to you instead of harmful.

Think about, or try to write down, what is stopping you in your creativity. What is your inner critic telling you?
Then try to think about whetter or not it is helping you to listen to it. Does it help you in doing what you want to do and move forward? Is the answer no? Then it’s time for a new and improved way of thinking.

In the above example it wasn’t helping me to compare myself to others or to presume to that I didn’t have it in me to be that good. I don’t know what I have inside of me until I give it a chance to come out. I signed up for the class to learn and sucking and then getting better is kind of the point.
Now I can move forward again.

Another example of changing perspective:
At the moment I’m nearing 30 weeks of pregnancy. My physical condition is making it harder and harder for me to do everything that I want to do (frustrating!). My time and energy to be busy are limited, so I have to use them wisely ;). Ofcourse my inner critic can’t help itself from getting involved and so I kept thinking about all the things I want to do but can’t and that when I do get to doing something, it has to be good.
Block, block and block.
When I became aware of these thoughts, I was able to stop them.
Ok. So I can’t do everything that I want to do. But what can I do? What do I have the time and energy for?
Browsing online, gathering ideas, sketching and making sure I have something to jump right into when I have the chance.

Changing my way of thinking like that has helped me to become unblocked. I’m still getting hardly anything done at this time, but at least my mind is open to creativity again and that improves my mood quite a bit :)

The inner critic’s message

When you struggle with your inner critic, don’t immidiately decide to ignore it when it’s being mean to you. There might actually be a useful message it’s trying to tell you, when you dig a little deeper.
I often think my artwork sucks. It’s too simple, flat, uninteresting. I can ignore that thought and keep making art (and that I should!), but when I take a good look at the negative thoughts and examine what is bothering me in my art and what I can do to change it, I keep coming back to my wish to create more layers in my work to give it more richness and create interest.
In that, I need to consider if it really is my thought that my art is ‘too simple’ and needs more, or that it is an idea I got somewhere else, that art needs to be layered and complex to be interesting and beautiful. To me, it’s probably a little bit of both, so I need to find a balance that suits me and work on my layering skills.

Art is a process
See artmaking as a process. Not as a process to make something that has to be great, but as a way of finding out what you like, what suits you as an artist.

Being an artist doesn’t mean you have to be a master at one form of art or another. It means you make art and you grow as you go along your journey. An artist, or a person in general, is never done learning and growing. If you think you have to reach some sort of state or level before you can call yourself an artist, you might never reach that point.And who decides where that point or level will be anyway? Who decides what’s enough?

I recently found a good way for me to get the focus off of the need to create something amazing. Listening to music! When I focus my mind on that and use artmaking as a means to keep my hands busy in the mean time, it makes it easier to just play :)

5 May 2014
by Randy

Experimental postcards

This is the second time I’m participating in the iHanna Postcard Swap. (My cards from the last swap can be found here. The cards I received are here.)
Last week I received the ten addresses the cards will be travelling to, and today I finished my ten postcards, which I’ll be sending out tomorrow.

Unlike with the last swap, this time, I had many ideas for postcards. I experimented a lot, trying out different things that have been on my mind to try. I challenged myself quite a bit, which makes it difficult for myself as well. I’ve been doubting whether or not I would finish them all and whether I’d be happy with the results. But I’m pleased with how the turned out.
I was playing around with watercolor when I found the shape of this bird and the spotted tail in the blobs I had made. I decided to use it for one of the postcards. The above was actually a practice card, but I later thought of adding the text ‘Be a proud bird’ (I like the way the bird is looking up :) ) to finish the card and I quite like it.
In the previous swap I created ‘Fun’ cards with doodled circles. I’ve been filling a sheet of drawing paper with the same pattern, for later use, and then found it reminded me of clouds. I decided to use that idea for my cards and place the sheet under a card with a cut out form of a cloud. Combined with the bird, the bird is now cloudsurfing, avoiding the rain underneath :)
These cards are the result of more watercolor play. Making puddles of watercolor, tilting the paper and adding water to the puddles to make the paint drip down. Fun to do! The drips reminded me of flowers, which I wanted to finish with some drawing. This was the hardest part of all cards for me, and therefore I only finished today. The doodling was inspired by an online workshop I’m taking at the moment, by Stephanie Corfee. I didn’t want to copy her shapes, so it took some time for me to find shapes that were ‘mine’.
The same thing I did in combination with the rainclouds.
The background for this card was done entirely by adding drops of watercolor onto paper and using a straw to blow the paint around. I really love this card, the colors, the playfulness. I wanted to draw/doodle something on top, but not too much, the background needed to remain as visible as possible.
These cards are inspired by the black butterfly plant paper cut I did before, and ofcourse my new header. I’ve been wondering for a while about what white on white paper cutting would look like, and this was a great opportunity to try it out. I will be trying more of it in the future!

These cards will be sent to Sweden, the UK and the USA. I hope the recipients will like them!

23 April 2014
by Randy

Moving forward

The other day I had yet another session with the Gelli Plate, I just couldn’t resist ;)
This time though, I actually had plans for them: Using the prints for collage and in paper cutting projects.
One of those projects being a header for this blog and my new Facebook page. The old header had been bothering me for quite a while, but I never seemed to be able to come up with a better idea.
Now I had in mind a variation on the black butterfly plant I recently created. This time white, no butterflies, but instead flowers made of stacked circles.
Stacked paper has been on my mind for some time now, ever since I saw paper cuttings made by Gail McCormick (she’s sooo good).
I know my work doesn’t have much to do with hers, but she has definitely inspired me in this.
header detail
For the header I had to select a smaller part of the actual finished piece, to be able to make it into a header with a decent size. This is what the piece looks like in its entirety.
finished header pictureI really like this. Sure, it’s not perfect; I feel the loopy strands are a bit thin, but I’m still quite proud of the result. And I’m not just happy about this piece, I’m happy in general with what I’m doing creatively. With every post I write, with every piece I create, I feel I’m getting closer to the kind of artist that I want to be. Never quit close enough (when is anything ever good enough ;)), but I’m moving forward and that is all that matters, I guess. It feels like I’m getting closer and closer to finding my voice.

22 April 2014
by Randy
1 Comment

Your creative process

This is the fourth post in the series ‘Thoughts on be(com)ing an artist

I can get really jealous of people who are working on 365 projects or artists who are in some other way creating every day. They get so much work done and learn so much about the medium they’re working in.
I know for myself that I can’t create every day. Not even close.When I look at my life on a day to day basis, I probably only create (part of) something once or twice a week. Tops. On other days I take small steps or don’t go beyond reading a few blogs or flipping through art books for inspiration.

There have been times that I felt frustrated about how slow things go and how long it can take for an idea to develop into something I can actually work on outside of my head.
I have thought about becoming more productive if I would just give myself a kick in the pants and start, or set myself a goal of creating for, let’s say, 30 minutes each day. But in that way I don’t enjoy creating, it just feels unnatural and forced. My natural pace of working is slooooow. I need a lot of time to let ideas grow inside my head. Plus, I need a lot of variation; I can’t work on something a few days in a row, I get bored that way, I stop feeling excited about what I’m doing.
It took me a while to figure out these things about myself and my process but it has brought me much peace to know, and especially, to accept it.

I urge you to get to know your own process. This means letting go of the idea of how you want your process to be and really look at yourself from a distance and feel what works for you and what doesn’t.

Whatever works for you is what works. Don’t ever let that voice in your head tell you that that’s not ok, that your process isn’t what an artists process should be like!

Getting to know your process

Getting to know your process will take time. It is a process in itself!

Some things to think about or to experiment with to find out what it does for you:

  • Do you work better in long stretches or small spurts?
  • Do you like to work in one medium for a whole week, month or year before switching to something else (if at all) or would you rather work on something else every day/time. Or maybe even do multiple things on one day?
  • Do you create every day, two days a week or only on weekends? During the day, early in the morning or late at night?
  • Do you need to know beforehand what you’ll make, is a general idea enough, or can you sit down, play and find the ideas as you go along?
  • Maybe you need to clear your head (by meditating/exercising/reading a book/..) before you start creating?

Don’t pressure yourself in finding your way and try not to get frustrated when something doesn’t work for you. Finding what doesn’t work brings you one step closer to finding out what does work.

Not creating can be part of it too!

Take into consideration that you’re not only creating when the pencil hits the paper or the brush the canvas (or whatever other creative thing you might be doing). Flipping through art books, reading blogs, watching YouTube video’s, all that is just as much part of the creative process. Remember that an idea needs time to develop in your head, and that it gets fueled by other artists and by life around you.
Even doing nothing creative at all can be (and should be!) part of the creative process. You’re giving yourself the space to let things develop subconsiously. You’ll come back fresh and will still have moved forward.
It’s all part of it, and I hope you can (learn to) embrace every aspect of the process! Life is more fun that way :)