Ode to All Oak Trees

Ode to all Oak Trees

After my ‘Praising Plants’, a large graphite drawing that was sold rather quickly, I decided to continue with botanical theme-drawing and thus I designed ‘Ode to All Oak Trees’.

This drawing has a large oak tree as it centre piece, decorated with William Morris botanical motifs and leaves freehand drawn as its border. In spring a single oak tree produces both male and female flowers (catkins). The acorns are its fruits. We use both the acorns and cupule for crafts while jays eat them and squirrels store them for the winter. Oak wood was often used for building churches because of the density, great strength, and hardness. It is very resistant to insects and fungi. Oak wood was also used for building Viking ships and in Medieval times it was used for interior panelling of prestigious buildings. Oak was used for making barres to store wine and whiskey; its okay, vanilla like flavour is favoured. Mistletoe growing on oak trees were most treasured by druids in Celtic communities; it was harvests with golden sickles.

Paula Kuitenbrouwer

@mindfuldrawing on Instagram.

On Etsy available. Only one; there are no copies available. It makes a lovely and original gift.

 

Cernunnos Inspired Stag in Ancient Worlds

Cernunnos small cards.jpg
The oldest (Celtic) god is Cernunnos, depicted with the antlers of a stag, seated cross-legged, associated with animals, and holding or wearing a torc (is a large rigid or stiff neck ring in metal, made either as a single piece or from strands twisted together).
Not much is known about Cernunnos but interpretations identify him as a beneficent god of nature, life, or fertility. I find it interesting that Cernunnos is half man, half stag. We clearly like to relate ourselves to such a magnificent animal. It looks well built yet elegant, noble and humble, strong but vulnerable.
I remember driving on Island of Mull and being redirected due to roadworks. As we continued our journey on small roads, all the sudden a huge stag stood in front of us. My husband stopped the car and for a moment we looked in awe to this mighty animal. It looked at us and we looked at him with instant respect, so close and intense was the encounter, that we can still recall the moment, decades later.  It will linger in our memory probably forever.
It is therefore that I have drawn stags and deer often. The challenge is always to capture the strength and elegance. Recently, I drew a full stag but I was disappointed because it didn’t stand out. It had not the mightiness that I was looking for. I then applied the ‘Celtic’ method of looking which lines and shadows were essential and which I should leave out. Say 90% of my initial lines were erased and as a result I not only ended up with a more powerful stag, the space that became available allowed me to work on applying beautiful lines and figures (see how the eyes of the stag are also birds). Thus, the stag is complied of many seemingly loose elements, connecting and giving it form.
Ancient Stones
Ancient Stone Graves Copyright Paula Kuitenbrouwer
I placed it in an ancient Upperworld, Middle world, and Underworld. The Upperworld shows the sun and the moon and the antlers of the stag shapeshift into birds that fly away, symbolizing a shamanistic journey to the Upperworld. The Middle world is shown as tree branches and tree trunks. The Underworld can be entered by visiting an ancient burial site, or being close to dolmens, as is the belief of ancient peoples. I knitted all worlds together by using patterned borders.

Paula Kuitenbrouwer

At Etsy

Artist Info:  I used Derwent Graphite H7 and H3 only, on Winsor & Newton cold press paper. Using only Derwent H pencils gives a drawing very soft tones. Personally, I favour this, but others might judge that it needs more enforcement of darker areas. A few small prints of my drawing show a more enhanced or ‘harder’ version. There are many ‘Celtic’ pattern vectors freely available but I decided to design my own irregular patterns.

Bookplate History Books Ex Libris

I drew an engaging Ex Libris is for those who study, love, writes or owns (history) books. Or books on Prehistoric Peoples, Celts, Anglo Saxons, Viking, Medieval or Renaissance books. It shows many areas of interest starting at the Prehistory (top), following anti-clockwise with Saxon-Viking, Medieval and Renaissance border.  The inside patterned border is in style with the outer border; upper part shows an Celtic interlace pattern, followed by a Saxon pattern in the Saxon-Viking area, a Medieval, and elegant Renaissance pattern.

The bookshelves show special areas of interest too: the top book shelf shows history books on prehistory. They are all in soft red ochre, the colour that shows up on many prehistoric cave paintings. The book cover embellishments are based on research done by Genevieve von Petzinger, a scientist who identified pictographs used by prehistoric peoples in cave art. You see aviform, circle, cardiform, cruciform, negative and positive hands, serpentiform and so on. The next bookshelf is reserved for Celtic books, showing book-cover embellishments that are typical Celtic. Following is a shelf reserved for Saxon books, (notice ‘Saxon’ written in Saxon letters), and Viking books, showing ‘Viking’ as a transliteration (not as a translation). One bookshelf lower, the books get more colour as they contain Medieval books; the embellishments show a castle, a medieval ‘M’, a crown, flowers, etc. The lowest bookshelf proudly shows Renaissance books that have more bright colours and more floral and decorative embellishments.

The name box is for your name. Might I suggest you do that with sepia-brown ink?

The book plates make a lovely, special and unexpected gift as they are engaging and full details. In fact, one can sit down and take in all details for a long time. ‘Find the Dolmens…’ (in the Celtic border), ‘Admire Oxford’s Bridge of Sighs’ (Medieval border), ‘Can you locate Florence?’ (Renaissance section), ‘How many Viking shields do you spot?’ (Viking section). One could imagine that the Celtic roundhouses are located in a Irish-British landscape. The Saxon houses could be imagined in Germany. The Viking houses are located near a fjord. The Medieval houses are showing a busy town with less green, buildings are cramped together for defence reasons. The Renaissance buildings are full pride and glory. It must have been dazzling living in a Renaissance city. This Ex Libris shows West European history. It could, however, show another cultural aspect, for instance, a different time-line, a different history related to another part of the world, another religion, history or cultural aspect, a mathematical border, geographical, philosophical, musical, botanical, zoological one. I can draw any Ex Libris that shows personal preferences. Contact me in case you like to commission me.

Paula Kuitenbrouwer

At Etsy

This Ex Libris at Etsy

CUSTOMIZED EX LIBRIS or COMMISSIONED BORDER FOR CERTIFICATE

Customized Border or Ex Libris Commission
Preview of a Customized Border or Ex Libris Commission

I have drawn with Derwent graphite and Graphitint a border for an Ex Libris, a book plate, that can be used for other means as well. I enjoyed making this border so much and it ignited my imagination. This happened because I started with the border, something I haven’t done before. Normally, I plan a border and I start in the left-upper corner of a drawing because I am right handed.  But I hadn’t had an idea for the middle part, so I continued with the border. I ended with a full boarder and consequently thought; ‘This border could be used for any document or certificate, be it a wedding certificate, a gradation document, a photo, a promotion, basically, any document that is highly personal and highly valued, worth customized framing’.

This border shows (I will show it later in full) 4 time lines of our West European history that are loved by a family: the Neolithic Times (shown here in the top -Celtic Roundhouses with dolmens-, Saxon-Viking times, the Late Medieval time, as well as the Renaissance. The Renaissance being visible on this photo too. I added an inside border (shown as a specific pattern related to the time period) and I will now add bookshelves full history books in the middle part.

This is a very full drawing and it keeps me busy. But I love seeing it grow into an engaging piece that expresses the love for history this family has. Yes, it could show another cultural aspect, for instance, a mathematical border, geographical, philosophical, musical, botanical, zoological one, I can draw any border that shows personal preferences.

Return here within a week and the full Ex Libris will be ready.

Till then, stay safe and happy,

Paula

At Etsy

At Instagram

My booklet is at Amazon.co.uk. It makes a very affordable and sweet gift for nature lovers.

 

 

Rollright Stones Story

 

Standing near two ancient stones that are part of the Rollright Stone circle, I noticed a story. A story… not a speculation because the stones are now in a different condition compared to when they were put up by Bronze Age stone circle builders. The story is about shapeshifting. We see a shaman woman with a respectable headdress to the right having her face almost blended with an animal that looks directly at her, symbolizing contact, perhaps a conversation. The animal looks like a rabbit, or a pig, and itself is shapeshifting because its back side has another shape of an animal head.

Both the shaman woman and the animal emerge from the Underworld, which is known for to be a place to journey to in order to meet or consult your spirit animal. As the shaman woman is either sinking into trance, and thus into the Underworld, the shapeshifting takes place and the animal and shaman are coming face to face. Or, they emerge from the Underworld and as the shaman woman is coming out of her trance, the pig/rabbit leaves her, only their noses are still connected, and slowly takes its own form again, a form still somewhat dreamy and not easily to identify (pig or rabbit?).

Maybe stone circles were storytelling ‘books’ or instruction manuals used by shamans to educate a new generation of practitioners. Maybe the stones were not only chosen because of their shapes but painted as well to enhance the manual’s illustrations. Maybe…maybe.

Paula Kuitenbrouwer

At Etsy

At Instagram

May I recommend my booklet that is currently 2 British ponds at Amazon.co.uk. This extremely low price is only granted to the first customer. As soon as one has bought it for 2 British ponds, the price goes up again. This price is lower that its production costs. I hope one of my regular website visitors is in need for a sweet gift.

 

 

 

Postage Stamp Design

 

 

Recently, I found out that one can buy online postage stamps. It is very handy but such ‘post stamp’ appears to be a sudoku-like 9 square code that you pen down in the upper right corner of an envelope. Handy but disappointing, especially when you enjoy receiving a neatly handwritten envelope with an exotic postage stamp.

 

As so much digitalization is met with a return to pre-computer behaviour, like note booking, calligraphy, and snail-mail, I decided to return to using post stamps too. I bought a bag of old, hobby postage stamps that are used by Hobonichi journalling or notebook designing, and added them next to the postage codes. Somehow that didn’t do the job. And so, I set out to design a post stamp that shows a lovely nature scene, elegance, and spaciousness.

 

Paula Kuitenbrouwer

Paula’s booklet at Amazon

The Post Stamp at Etsy

Paula’s Etsy shop

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Art Nouveau Ex Libris Commission

 

Copyright Paula Kuitenbrouwer

 

With much joy I designed this Ex Libris or book-plate in Art Nouveau or Jugendstil style.  I consulted art books that I had almost forgotten about and I enjoyed updating my knowledge of the Art Nouveau movement. I decided to draw a tree, a window for (your) name, hills, a stream, and of course some embellishments.

 

Paula Kuitenbrouwer

Owner of http://www.mindfuldrawing.com

At Etsy

I accept Ex Libris, heraldry, and post-stamp commissions.

Jugenstil Art Nouveau Ex Libris (Work in Progress)

Designing Celtic interlace is fun; making an Art Nouveau (Jugendstil) corner design is as exciting.

Art Nouveau added beauty to our world between 1890 and 1910. Both Jugendstil and Celtic patterns were inspired by natural forms and structures, particularly the curved and intertwined lines of plants and flowers. What Celtic design has more than Jugendstil are Celtic animals like boars, horses, and birds. Jugendstil used more shell shapes. What I love about both is that one has to make an effort to understand the designs. Although they look instantly beautiful and fascinating, one can spend extra time to ‘unlock’ what can be seen in these natural patterns. Did I just see an owl? Or was it a horse-head? Flowers seem to come and go, an organic flow of natural forms that tell us a story. Perhaps a story of a woodland walk, or of a floral bouquet one gives to a friend. Or perhaps we are looking at a story of a beach walk, collecting shells. Life is like that and our dream-world is like that: we are witnessing a flow of events.

Paula Kuitenbrouwer

At Etsy

at Bloglovin

Commission Heraldry

It is such fun to work on this commission that shows a unicorn. How do unicorns look like? I did some research. Apparently unicorns have sheep-like faces and the tails of a wild boar, a lion, or a donkey. Their bodies sometimes look like sheep, dogs, horses, or deer. Baby unicorns look lovely. Their horns are often tall, sometimes short but most of the time twisted. Unicorns get killed frequently, sometimes snuggle up to Medieval ladies, or get used as horses or donkeys. They fight too, especially with lions. They often have horse or deer hooves sometimes lion paws. They are elegant or not; victim or aggressor. Thus drawing a unicorn feels like drawing a composite mammal; I even had to look up the spiral tusk of a narwhal, our sea-unicorns. The preferences were; snow-leopard print on the back, a beard and curly hair near its hooves.

Paula Kuitenbrouwer

On Etsy.

Heraldry Commission