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Review of 2014

This will be the last post of 2014, and because of that I went through my 2014 blogposts in order to remind myself what I have been doing all the year over. (Yes, I know that some of the images are gone from my posts due to some changes on facebook. I will try to fix that as soon as possible)

In 2014 I went back to paint/ draw with coloured pencils and markers, discovered the world of watercolour pencils (taking an online course helped me a lot coping with the medium), and had fun painting with a brush and paints coming out of the tube. No, I don’t mean acrylics – I very soon noticed that at least for the time being this is not a favorite medium of mine – I mean gouache. Gouache is opaque watercolour which means that paints can be rewetted and brushes can be cleaned easily. The more water you take the more less opaque it gets, and when you take it straight out of the tube with only tiny drops of water you can paint over a dark layer (dried) with a light colour. I also found out that markers and gouache go together very well. When you use gouache as the first layer, you can go on top of that without the marker bleeding through the paper .

In addition to all that I learnt something more: That doing art has become a substantial part of my daily life, that I need it in the same way as a plant needs water. That’s one thing. The other thing is: Yes I can do art even when after long days at work. It can be squeezed in most of the time. So one of my goals for the year 2015 is a very simple one: Keep up doing art regularly and enjoying myself while being creative!

On vacation

Dear reader,

I will be offline for the next two and half weeks. I will spend my vacation this year by showing Berlin to my dear American friend Karen who will be coming to Berlin tomorrow. It might be that we not only wander through the streets of Berlin but also do a bit of art together. but there is nothing planned yet.

You are invited to browse through the archives of this blog, maybe you will discover something interesting and new.

Have a wonderful summer time!



At the moment I am juggling and trying to keep the balls froum falling down to the floor. I am still dealing with the consequences of plaster falling down from the ceiling when I had my hall painted. I am also very busy at work, and just now it is soccer world championship, and I simply enjoy watching teams from all over the world playing against each other. All this leads to the fact that I haven’t been done much on my last marker piece that is worth showing.

At first I felt rather ashamed, bur then I decided to give myself the permission to have days without doing art or artsy things. Not that I am not looking at the work in progress, the Green Elf, thinking about possible colour combinations. But I won’t be able to put a new stroke on the paper till the weekend. That’s it. I definitely will show you something new on next Monday!

Knowing where to go

Fortunately there are open source alternatives to the rather expensive Adobe programs: There is Inkscape which is a good alternative to Adobe Illustrator, Gimp which is the open source alternative to Photoshop, and Scribus which does a lot of things which have done be done in InDesign.

I haven’t done anything in Gimp yet, but I have been using Inkscape, and just now I am putting together my first illustrated story with Scribus. When I drew the first cat cartoons I only had a vague story in mind. However with each cat cartoon I drew and coloured the story became clearer and clearer. Unfortunatly the first illustration I had was one which had to be inserted at the end of the story. It seemed that I worked from end to front.

It seemed that it was time to put them together in the right order, and the tool for that is Scribus. You can easily insert pages, you can insert images, move them around, change their size, write paragraphs around them.

I must admit, that all that hasn’t been a planned process. I’ve watched a lot of videos about graphic novels in the meantime, and all of them tell you to write down the story first, then do the thumbnails and then do the drawing and colouring. I very much did the opposite: I began with a detailed drawing and illustration of something which now is the final scene. I had only a vague idea of the story. I had no thumbnails. I’ve got a mixture of hand-lettering and lettering done in photoshop. I’ve got a mixture of colouring with pencils and markers and digital colouring. I got a written story, and inserted in it, illustrations with captions. Seen from a professional view I severely failed.

BUT: I had and I am still having a lot of fun. A long time ago I had fun telling little stories. Then a time came when I had fun drawing, painting and colouring. Now, it seems that I’ve found a way to combine the two things I like to do – storytelling and painting/drawing/colouring. There’s always time to learn and get better – once you know where you want to go. Now I know.

The Speaking Bath-Tub

Art has become my passion. I grab my watercolour pencils when I come home from work, I love to watch youtube videos about drawing and painting  (my “watch later” list is getting longer and longer), I am uploading scans of my paintings to Rossmann, a very known drugstore here in Germany, in order to get some nice cards to be sold here and there, only to describe some of my art connected activities which all have to take place after work or on the weekend. My free time is precious to me, because that’s all I have for my passion, art.

However, I live in a three room flat, and the self-cleaning flat hasn’t been invented yet. I must admit that I don’t like to do housechold chores, especially because two days after you vacuumed the floor it gets dusty again. It reminds me so much of old Sisiphus working hard to move the big stone up the hill and then – ftt – it rolls down again.

Nevertheless some things have to be done. Maybe there is a way to make it easier? Suddenly I imagined (my imagination can be rather wild and strange) I would be surrounded by living objects. One of them is the Speaking Bath-Tub which is crying out loud because I neglect it that much. I sat down and made a quick sketch. Doesn’t the tub look a bit angry? Shoosh, dear bath tub, this evening you will get a decent rub down, poor little thingie!

Here I am again!

Well, sometimes things happen. I had my Christmas vacations very carefully planned: I wanted to so some readings, do some art, relax and prepare myself for 2013.

However I had to go to the hospital on January 2 and stayed there till last Monday because of a rather nasty abscess in my appendix. On Monday I could leave the hospital but I am still on antibiotics. I am still trying to get my strenght back.

I learned two important things:

  1. Never take your health for granted. Health is a present we have to be thankful for every day. 
  2. Accept your weaknesses and focus on healing. That is something I am not very good in. I tend to become impatient, even angry with my body. Why is it me? Why in my vacations? Why? Why am I still weak and getting out of breath after having walked for such a short time? These questions are utterly out of place. I should rather ask myself what are the steps which are good for my body? And I should focus on the things that work.


Modem broken down

When I tried to go online today I got the message that there was no connection to the remote server. Of course I called the support from my provider, but the result was rather sad – my modem is broke and will have to be replaced.

I am writing these lines in an internet cafe round the corner where you have to throw in coins for every 20 minutes you are online. Well it sure makes you to focus on what you really have to do online. No following interesting links, no browsing. I just try to do online what I really have to do.

I hope that I will get the new modem in a few days, and that I will be able to write regular blogposts soon.

Merry Christmas!

Less than two days, and it will be Christmas Eve. Here in Germany, gifts are given on Christmas Eve (The German word for it is “Heiligabend” – the Holy Evening/Night.). The shops close at 2pm, and usually you can see many people rushing through the stores in order to get last minute presents. The 25th and the 26th are holidays, and the shops have closed.

Whereas last year we had loads of snow in Berlin, this year the weather is rather mild. On the one side there’s something beautiful in the earth being covered by snow on a Christmas night, but on the other hand here in Berlin the snow very quickly becomes muddy and sloshy, and when it is below freezing point you’ll get the streets and boardwalks covered with ice. Last December we had many people who slipped and broke arms and legs, and that’s something I am not very keen on. So on the whole I prefer the current mild weather.

I wish you, my dear readers, a Merry Christmas wherever you may be. Have a great time with your families, relax, enjoy the company of your dear ones!

The Kindle

Two days ago I gave myself a very early Christmas present and bought the new Kindle. I have been following discussions and reports about e-readers for quite a while. I am a “heavy” reader, and I devour my books very fast. That doesn’t matter as long as I drag my books into my flat like a wolf drags its prey into its lair and read them at home. From time to time I have to go through my shelves and weed them out in order to get room for new books.

But: My reading speed is a problem when I go on holidays. I take one book with me on the way to my destination and come back with at least two or three because otherwise I would have been terrribly bored in the time between.

I also like to spend some time in nice cafés, drinking a cup of capucchino or latte macchiato and having a read. In this case I have to take one of my bigger handbags, simply to be able to carry the book I am reading.

So I could not resist when I passed a shop on Friday which sells the Kindle for 99 Euro. I took it home with me and on Saturday I charged the battery – which took a shorter time than I expected. Now I had to register with Amazon. I have internet access at home, but no Wi-Fi. So on Sunday I had to look for a place with Wi-Fi. I found one. As the 99 Euro Kindle has got no touchscreen the registration was a bit time consuming but in the end I successfully registered and downloaded a sample of an e-book.

I read the first chapter of the sample, and I can say that I was drawn into the story in the same way as with a “normal” book. I am glad that I bought the Kindle, and I am looking forward to further e-reading.

My experiences with Time Scheduling

For the last two weeks I scheduled my activities on the weekend, beginning with Friday after work and ending with Sunday. That is, I divided my free time up into blocks – for my creative activities, for blogging, for doing my shopping, for doing my household chores and for leisure activities.

Here are my experiences

  1. Time is limited. That sounds banal, but before that I always thought “Wow, now comes the weekend and I’ll have loads of time.” At the end of the weekend I was disappointed how fast the time went and how many things I could not do. Now, with going through the day, hour for hour, I realized that time was limited.
  2. Focus, focus, focus! I now focus on household chores on my Saturday mornings, and I really have the feeling that I can get a lot of things done between 11 and 1.30 pm. No internet after breakfast, like I had been doing many weekends and then suddenly noticed that the time had come to get something to eat, and then: who wants to swipe floors after lunch?
  3. Leisure time is necessary! Well, there is a difference between photoshopping and blogging and reading a history novel. I noticed that I had spent many weeks without looking into a fiction book or a journal, and I missed that. Now I schedule my reading time and enjoy it very much.
  4. There is always an exception to the rule. I must admit that I don’t always follow the schedules. But I do this consciously, and I know the consequences, and I am not disappointed afterwards.

Mind you, I am not saying that everybody has to schedule his or her free time. I am only describing why it has become necessary for me!