Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Time for new art supplies, old dresses and autumn resolutions

Today was the first time I bought something other than food or newspapers in weeks. After a long lazy summer my financial situation was rather dire, and I am fond of the idea of living simply (I'm trying to implement it). I also tend to get panicky in shops. But I do treat myself regularly. To books, CDs, clothes, ...and of course art supplies. The back-to-school vibes at this time of the year are contagious, so I decided it was time to stock up on a few things...I started small, though. With
Coloured pencils
While I will never tire of using pencil and charcoal and the like, I also love drawing with coloured pencils. I have a soft spot for the Faber Castell Polychromos range - they're oil-based with high-density pigments, so smooth, and they come in great colours. Today I got these four:

The colours are much nicer in real life! Left to right: Helio Turquoise, Burnt Carmine, Cinnamon (perfect name!), Pompeian Red. I could eat them! Hopefully they will be put to use soon.

I also thrifted this dress, which I thought was a skirt and cost 5 euros.

The bit sticking out on the right is the strap of the vest I couldn't be bothered to take off and not some weird anatomy!
I try to buy at least 90% of my clothes second-hand, as there is way too much stuff being produced, and the throw-away mentality is so scarily prevalent. We should try to recycle and reuse as much as possible. I don't meant to come across all preachy; I am not a green goddess - I mean, I drive a car, for one thing. But I try to be mindful of how my life affects the planet and make positive changes where I can.

I made a new resolution recently (I make resolutions throughout the year, mainly because I never keep them): To stop buying bread and instead make my own (or buy it in the market). I had attempted that numerous times before, but fate must have been against my humble wish, as in the past year my oven broke three times. I now have a new oven, and we seem to get on so far... I find baking very relaxing, and it doesn't take up much time at all. Unless something goes wrong. Which it does quite often, but that doesn't deter me :-).

Para los espanoles entre vosotros (= la mayoría): gracias por visitar! Habrá algo espanol aquí pronto, pero temo que mi espanol sea demasiado malo.. A lo mejor voy a hacer este blog bilingüe. Qué pensáis? O poner algo en espanol regularmente. A ver.
Marina x

Monday, September 28, 2009

Work in progress

This is the first sketch for a little series I am planning. I only have a few vague ideas at the moment and am just going to see what happens. Often this approach works out much better than too much thinking and theorizing.
The picture above was inspired by a recent trip to the market -my little friend ended up crawling into a box, and I took a few photos, which now form the basis for these drawings.

I hope you all had a lovely weekend. I spent mine relaxing at home, as I was extremely tired - only left the house to get the papers and to go for walks...
Marina x

P.S.: I joined flickr and have put up some of my work there -check the sidebar!


This is one of my favourite poems by Pablo Neruda.

Note: I wasn't able to get the Spanish "n" with the tilde. I tried copying and pasting from WORD, but that didn't work. So instead I used "nh"

Te recuerdo como eras en el último otonho.
Eras la boina gris y el corazón en calma.
En tus ojos peleaban las llamas del crepúsculo.
Y las hojas caían en el agua de tu alma.

Apegada a mis brazos como una enredadera,
las hojas recogían tu voz lenta y en calma.
Hoguera de estupor en que mi sed ardía.
Dulce jacinto azul torcido sobre mi alma.

Siento viajar tus ojos y es distante el otonho:
boina gris, voz de pájaro y corazón de casa
hacia donde emigraban mis profundos anhelos
y caían mis besos alegres como brasas.

Cielo desde un navío. Campo desde los cerros.
Tu recuerdo es de luz, de humo, de estanque en calma!
Más allá de tus ojos ardían los crepúsculos.
Hojas secas de otonho giraban en tu alma.

Pablo Neruda, "Poema VI", Veinte poemas de amor y una canción desesperada

I remember you as you were that last autumn.
You were a grey beret and a calm heart.
In your eyes the flames of twilight were fighting.
And the leaves were falling in the waters of your soul.

You were clinging to my arms like a climbing plant.
The leaves gathered your voice, slow and calm.
Bonfire of awe, in which my thirst was burning.
Sweet blue hyacinth twisted over my soul.

I feel your eyes travelling, and autumn is far away:
Grey beret, voice of a bird, and a heart like a house
Toward which my deepest yearning migrated
And my kisses were falling like hot embers.

The sky from a ship. The field from the hills.
Your memory is of light, of smoke, of a still pool.
Beyond your eyes the twilight was burning.
Dry autumn leaves were whirling in your soul.

(my own translation)

Friday, September 25, 2009

The need to document

This week has been very busy. I am back teaching, and the first week is always quite hectic (mainly because I worry a lot; the actual teaching is very enjoyable).
So I haven't had the time or energy to be very active in blogland, but I am hoping to get into the swing of things soon.
I realised today that one of the reasons I love blogging is that it gives me the opportunity to document things that would otherwise be ephemeral. I have been keeping various journals for a long time, and I have boxes and folders full of stuff, but a lot of things just slip through my fingers. And I know that's ok. I once lost everything that was on my laptop -writings, music, photos-, and while I was upset at first, it wasn't the end of the world. I am not too attached to material things. But of course a lot of things have sentimental value -photographs, books, artwork, heirlooms, etc.....

I was never one for taking lots of photographs, as I store and treasure memories in my head, but lately I have felt the need to do some more documenting.
There are periods of my life that I have absolutely no physical records of. They are like blank, empty spaces. And I somehow wish there was something tangible left of those times.

I went through one of my boxes of cuttings recently and came across images and articles that I cut out years ago, and I loved finding them again and being reminded of why they had been so important to me. Having said that, I also realised that I keep stuff I probably shouldn't. I love decluttering, yet I am also a collector...

Today I took a picture of this (please ignore the bad quality of the photo):

These three sketches somehow ended up together on my little table easel, and they have been sitting there for weeks now, as I like looking at them when at my desk. They probably wouldn't mean anything to anyone else, and they don't really go together, but there is something about this little group that I really like, and I couldn't bring myself to separate them... But now that I have posted them here, I can make space for new things.
Apologies for this rambling, incoherent post...

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Ten years ago...

...I drew this. I just found it in a folder on my computer that was hidden in another folder.
I was 16 years old. I was drawing (and painting) a lot at the time. Much more than now...
This was our tomcat Franz. He's long dead. He was a real character - among his many talents was playing the piano. Preferably at night.
I was still at school, and my dad was still alive. I had met the guy who would be my boyfriend for the following five years, but we hadn't started going out yet.
All that is gone...
I can't believe an entire decade has gone by. It freaks me out. Life is so short.

I didn't want this post to be all depressing. But this just came up when I looked at the date on the drawing. I was also startled by my rather awkward signature -it looks so familiar, yet strange at the same time, as if it weren't really mine. I am trying to remember the teenager I was (awkward also...).

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

the little things

Here's what happens to my tiny spare room on a sunny afternoon or evening:

It makes me ridiculously happy.

Monday, September 21, 2009

My neighbourhood!

I love the ever-changing colours in this part of the world. My house overlooks the bay, and I have seen the latter in so many different lights -all the nuances of blue, purple, violet, grey, pink...It is truly spectacular, and I never tire of looking at it. Unfortunately, in my moments of staring in amazement I rarely think of taking photographs... But here's a glimpse of what I am surrounded by:

early morning sky

stone walls


strolling down to the sea

These pictures were taken in February of this year. Right now, there is a storm raging, and I can see my flower pots flying past the window. A world in grey. But I love that, too.

Marina x

Friday, September 18, 2009

Crochet dress

This is what I did all summer... No, it didn't take that long to make. And you can crochet while having a chat, listening to music, watching a movie (anything you don't need your hands for, really). I found the pattern in a magazine, but ended up altering it slightly, deciding not to add frilly details on the hem and the straps. I think this way it is less fussy. It looks very unshapely in the photo, although it does have a waist, but the way it falls is rather 1920s, I suppose.
The yarn is an organic cotton/soy mix and feels very nice.
I have a penchant for crochet. And I am so used to people asking me whether I am wearing a curtain (at school I was bullied for how I dressed) that I have become immune to it...
Have a lovely weekend,
Marina x

Thursday, September 17, 2009

Exhibition opening

It was our exhibition opening last night (it's a two-person show; I feel honoured to be exhibiting alongside a seriously gifted and lovely woman, whose work and general wonderfulness I would like to direct you to, but I want to obtain her permission first, and I can only do that once I tell the people in my life about this blog...which I still feel a bit uneasy about).
I feel immensely grateful that I was given the opportunity to have this exhibition and that so many people came to the opening, and for the beautiful speech and people's lovely comments.
There have been countless times in the past few years when I wanted to give up and felt I couldn't do it (because I wasn't doing it, basically). I have also struggled with low self-esteem and anxiety, and a lot of the time I just wanted to hide somewhere. So last night was a big thing for me. I didn't drink -in the past I would often need alcohol to get through a social event, which means that I only have a vague and blurry recollection of two of my exhibitions and always cringe when I think back (as I do now).
Anyway. I was quite nervous, and when I get nervous I start babbling and get giddy, so I probably appeared drunk...
I cannot get over the fact that people actually wanted to buy my work (I really cannot believe it; to one of them I said, "Are you sure??!" -not very professional, I know..). This means so much to me.
It is my intention to focus on the good things in my life instead of worrying, stressing and complaining, and I realise there are so many things to be grateful for right now :).

P.S.: I'm the girl with the green coat and purple tights in the photo.

Tuesday, September 15, 2009


I always have several books on the go. This does not mean that one book at a time won't capture me sufficiently-I think the reason is that I get very excited when I've got some new books and just want them all NOW. Plus it can be nice to switch between different genres, I suppose. When I'm in a bookshop I invariably ponder my mortality -so many books and not enough time....
Here's what I'm reading and loving at the moment:

Colour -Travels Through the Paintbox by Victoria Finlay
This book isn't about colour theory -instead it investigates the origins of colours and paints, and it does so in a most entertaining way. Finlay travelled the world to research the rich history of the colours of the rainbow and unearthed some well-kept secrets and fascinating stories along the way. A pleasure to read and very informative, and of course full of colourful individuals!

Tinísima by Elena Poniatowska
I first heard about the photographer and revolutionaryTina Modotti in relation to the artist Frida Kahlo, whose work I admire. I have long been a fan of Elena Poniatowska, so when I spotted this book in a second-hand bookshop, I had to get it. It is a fictionalised biography of Modotti. I have only just started reading it, but love it already. The edition I have also includes photographs by and of Modotti which open each chapter.

A Grief Observed by C. S. Lewis
Lewis wrote this after his wife died of cancer. It is an honest and personal reflection on death and the nature of grief and beautifully written. I lost my father to cancer, and there are so many passages that just made me gasp in recognition. For instance, he writes of how his wife's face now eludes him, while he can vividly recall that of a stranger, but "[w]e have seen the faces of those we know best so variously, from so many angles, in so many lights, with so many expressions -waking, sleeping, laughing, crying, eating, talking, thinking -that all the impressions crowd into our memory together and cancel out in a mere blur." (Lewis, C.S., A Grief Observed, faber and faber London1961, p.15)

Monday, September 14, 2009

Summer's here at last!

Afternoon sunlight on my bed

This blog is coming dangerously close to simply documenting my procrastination (if such a thing is possible) rather than battling it... I had all sorts of plans for the weekend, mainly to do with getting organized (you have to start somewhere), but the gorgeous weather we have had for the past few days meant that I spent it soaking up the sun. And in the company of lovely people. So nothing to regret, really.
I also did a little bit of organizing. But frankly, some of it feels like wasting my time. I have this habit I cannot seem to break: Throughout the week I frantically scribble notes in my year planner, on bits of paper, receipts, tea bag wrappers, etc....Notes as in anything-I-feel-I-must-remember-and-worry-that-I-don't-if-I-don't-write-it-down-right-now.
It's exhausting. I admire people who go through life without the need for a planner, and who not only do not have to write anything down, but also calmly trust that they will remember xyz (on the rare occasion that I am not armed with a notepad and need to store something in my head, I cannot relax until I have finally written it down and keep going over it).
Then, on the weekend, say, I feel the need to declutter and, faced with all those notes, cannot bear the chaos they represent. So I start transferring them into various notebooks, sorted by category. The question is, if I absolutely have to write everything down, why don't I write it down in said notebooks in the first place? Well, for one thing, 'cause I don't carry ten notebooks around with me all the time..But, you know, I should at least get some sort of system going.

I wish I could say this was simply me being creative. That may be true to a small extent, but really it just mirrors my confused and anxious mind.
On the other hand, I am extremely (in an OCD kind of way) tidy and clean. I need order around me, precisely because there is so much chaos in my mind.
Oh, and I actually have a very good memory. I almost always remember people's names and their stories. In fact, people are often surprised that I remember each and every detail. And I am surprised in turn that people often don't remember me!

Saturday, September 12, 2009


As I have said here before, one motivation behind this blog is for me to become more disciplined: to sit down every day or so and post something (instead of dossing around and daydreaming and going to bed way too early, which are three ways I tend to spend my evenings), but also, and more specifically, with regard to my art practice. So the idea was to draw/paint/create every day (or so...) and document it here. I expect it might help me do more if I give myself some sort of deadline, as in "I need to have something to show here"...

Well, it hasn't happened yet. But it's early days. So instead I shall post some older stuff, which I am hoping to put into a blog gallery soon, once I know how to do it. The above (like the painting I put up here a few days ago) is currently being exhibited in real life -my first exhibition in a long time. I know the photo is terrible, as I stupidly forgot to take pictures of the work BEFORE getting it framed...

Friday, September 11, 2009

About Me & Myself

I realise I didn't introduce myself properly. Hmm...this is a difficult one... I'm not sure how much I want to reveal about myself here...But to start, here are a few things:
1. I live in Ireland, but am originally from Germany. I moved here in 2002 and feel very much at home where I am, but I do miss my family and always find saying goodbye incredibly difficult.
2. I LOVE LOVE LOVE the sea and consider myself very lucky indeed to be living so close to it.
3. Speaking of which, I live on my own in a tiny (chalet-type) house. I moved in about a year ago, after sharing with people during my student years, and I thoroughly enjoy the peace and quiet and am never really lonely (well, only on really bad days. Like after saying goodbye to my family...).
4. I don't have a TV and don't miss it.

Ok, enough. I know blogging is self-indulgent by nature, but I am beginning to feel uncomfortable with the amount of "I"s I am typing...
So bye for now.

The picture is the view from my house. Yay!

Thursday, September 10, 2009

Letting Go

So much for me posting daily... (which was the plan). Life got in the way, in the form of an upsetting development in matters of the heart. The last few months have been all about change and letting go. Of obsessions, damaging relationships, fixed ideas, arrangements that seemed to be for good, but were probably never meant to be in the first place... I do think that everything happens for a reason, and I hope that I am learning from every experience.
On a more postive note, it's a beautiful day today. Almost too beautiful to be feeling low. Or maybe it just makes that feeling more intense.

P.S.: The painting is called "Among the Tunes". I am quite happy with the colours- I have never used that much yellow in a painting before; I used to stick to the same palette. Only recently have I begun to experiment more.

Tuesday, September 8, 2009


For the past few months I have been thinking about starting a blog. So here it is. I have no idea how it will develop, but I suppose that's part of the whole endeavour.
I procrastinate an awful lot. I have tons of ideas, but they mainly remain in my head. I project into the future and forget to live in the now. So I am hoping that maintaining a blog will help me to get some structure and discipline into my life.
I very hesitantly call myself an artist -I have been painting and drawing since I was little, but I go through long periods of creative crises or blocks, and end up doing nothing and feeling frustrated. For a while I told myself I needed to be in the "right frame of mind" to create, but I have realised that that is just an excuse. It is a matter of sitting down and doing it, regardless of the mood you're in. I would like to share my work with whoever is interested. By putting myself out there, I hope to get back into the creative flow (I have a vague recollection of that blissful feeling from a brief period when I was a teenager, before self-doubt, fear and lethargy conspired to drag me out of it). I have been looking at blogs since last Christmas, and I now wish to actively participate in this community.
Of course I don't know if anyone is ever going to read my humble offerings, but even if I just end up talking to myself, this could be fun!
It might be very higgledy-piggledy to start with, as I will just play around with it for a while and see what happens.
On the technical side, I am neither computer savvy, nor do I own the perfect camera, so be warned...

Anyway. I am looking forward to what lies ahead.