Ireland’s Treasures: Blue Ceramics, Succulents and Killiney Beach Stones

Ceramic Series 2

Still Life with Blue Ceramics, Succulent, and Killiney Beach Stones from Ireland, by Paula Kuitenbrouwer

Blue ceramics are a thing in Ireland. Ireland’s garden centres sell deep-blue glazed pottery, both large and small. Together with cacti, succulent plants and Killiney’s beach stones, they make lovely miniature rock or Zen gardens.

Killiney beach, located near Ireland’s capital, Dublin, has a cobble stone beach. This beach is a delight for stone collectors. Killiney beach has some of the oldest rocks in Ireland: large boulders of Leinster granite and limestone are strewn all over. Small pebbles of a distinctive micro-granite from Ailsa Craig in the Firth of Clyde can also be found. No wonder that I bring back home a good few of these stones and show these beautifully decorative pebbles in my still lifes.

There is something special about combining blue ceramics, that represent the bluish ethereal colours of Ireland’s coastal areas, with the dull but decorative grey stones, and the slow growing succulents and cacti. The stones are very old, the cacti and succulents grow slowly and the blue pottery looks ageless, no matter. These miniature little Zen or rock gardens look fresh and they hold your gaze for a while.

Paula Kuitenbrouwer

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Framed in white washed wood

It has been a pleasure making this series. It involved sauntering on Killiney Beach and bringing home awesome pebbles. Plus going to garden centers for buying blue pottery and succulent plants. I now have a few very pretty pots in my window sill and the succulents are doing very well. They are really my kind of plants because they allow me to forget them for a while without becoming cranky. And because I feel guilty for neglecting them, I buy deluxe cactus food which is probably nonsense because cacti and succulent flourish best in poor soil anyway. In fact, my cacti and succulents are doing so well, that they produce a lot of offspring. Which urges me to buy more deeply indigo glazed pots and collecting stones for building lovely miniature Zen or rock gardens.

Paula

The art prints are for sale in my Etsy shop, individually and as a series. At Etsy

Some of you like to see how I work. Work in progress photos are good fun.

 

My desk with a drawing in progress and the stilllife in front of me

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Peony Time

Pioenroos print met pioenroos

A real Peony, a printed Peony and notice the one on the Korean flower vase.

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Peony and Tulip art prints of pencil drawings by Paula Kuitenbrouwer

Beach treasures

Beach treasures. Before you think Paula has painting pebbles, I didn’t. That awesome white stone with that intricate wine red pattern, that is dried seaweed. Nature is a great artist.

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On a desk with 3 art prints by Paula Kuitenbrouwer.

Dog Sketch

And my darling daughter drew this cute dog. I framed it straight away. My daughter’s shop is at Etsy too, click here to say hello by giving her perhaps a whole lot of hearts?

Love,

Paula

My Etsy & my Art Shop.

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Art Prints of Butterflies and Garden Birds

Click on the images to enlarge

I have uploaded most of my written art musings to LinkedIn Pulse. Although this blog has over 300 readers, LinkedIn Pulse has more. Many more. It is rewarding to see that my articles are read by people who aren’t subscribed to my blog and probably aren’t looking for art musings, but come across it and enjoy reading about art. You will find articles on the thoughts behind my drawings, on Raphael, on aesthetic principles or on compositions at LinkedIn Pulse. There is also art history, art appreciation and art musings. Here they are:  Paula’s Art Musings.

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The red glossy fridge magnet, leaning against the Korean box, is part of ‘Patron Art project’ by Irish artist Frank Corry. The Patron Project evolved from a series of works which use fragments of wrecked cars. Info on Frank Corry’s Patron Art Project is here.

Amazon Studio Licht

Studio Picture Amazon

Studio Pencils in Mugs

That is it for now.

Stay healthy, happy and creative!

Love,

Paula

at Etsy

Ma, a Japanese aesthetic principle, in my three bird drawings

I’d like to show three paintings in which I have incorporated Ma, a Japanese aesthetic principle. Ma is described as ‘an interval in time and/or space’, thus referring to empty spaces, vagueness or abstraction. Empty spaces, in which nothing seems to happen, are full of possibilities. How do my three birds deal with Ma in their portraits?

Ekster by Paula Kuitenbrouwer

For my portrait of Magpie, Korea’s national bird, I added orange colour to compensate for a magpie’s black and white plumage. To stay close to her Korean habitat, I decided to position Magpie on a colourful and fruit-bearing persimmon branch, heavily laden with pumpkin-shaped kaki. Magpie is content with her portrait, and so am I.

Crow Kraai by Paula Kuitenbrouwer

Setting up a composition for a portrait of Carrion Crow was a little harder. Negotiations with this proud and cheeky bird were tough. I talked him into sitting on a mountain ash branch, but initially he didn’t agree with my decision of pushing him a little to the rear.

‘You are an indigo blue-ivory black bird’, I explained by pointing out that humans don’t like black things. I explained that I could trick humans in loving his plumage by adding the rich palette of colours of an autumn Mountain Ash.

‘This branch has fresh green, bright orange and deep red, and will charm viewers in loving your monotonous black feathers. And if I use a diagonal composition, I can guide the viewer along the branch, climbing up from deep red, through the bright orange to sap green. After such a colourful journey, people don’t mind a bit of solid black. But to do that, I told Carrion Crow, I have to push you a little to one side, but that is okay. Reluctantly, Carrion Crow agreed.

Sparrowhawk by Paula Kuitenbrouwer

My Sparrowhawk demanded to sit high and mighty on the top branch of a proud pine tree. The world of humans doesn’t interest him. He soars above it, looking down on our wars over oil, mass migration and our overheated, overpopulated world.

Sparrowhawk knows he has this intricately textured and awesome coat of feathers, which makes fashion designers drool. Not much is needed next to such an eye-catching bird; two almost evenly-coloured pine cones complete the portrait. Sparrowhawk sat down just long enough for me to make a portrait, and, without so much as a ‘thank-you’, flew off to his own world, soaring high above ours.

Back to Ma.. In all three bird portraits you’ll notice considerable emptiness. My birds seem to look into this emptiness. What do they see? A suitable partner? Prey? Are they guarding their hidden nests? Are they exploring new horizons?

Ma is for you to fill in with your imagination, with your story-telling, your ornithological knowledge or poetry. But Ma can also be left open. We don’t need to fill in empty spaces with projections, trauma, words or sounds. Ma offers a thinking pause or escape from our train of thoughts.

Magpie, Carrion Crow and Sparrowhawk understand Ma naturally. We are enchanted when we see a bird resting on a tree branch and we long to be like them: resting in Ma, accepting the here and now.

Paula

at  Etsy and at Paula Art Shop

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Lotus Plant Drawings: Botanical and Symbolic

Two Lotus Prints

Lotus Plant’ & ‘Lotus Pond with Tortoise’

by Paula Kuitenbrouwer

In preparation for the upcoming birthday of the Buddha, I have drawn two different views of a lotus plant. Much venerated in Buddhism, the lotus is one of the ‘Eight Auspicious Symbols’. It is also a delight to draw, as the textured leaves and petals of the plant encourage the kind of finely-detailed observation and drawing work that give richness and texture to an image.

For my first drawing, ‘Lotus Plant’, I researched and focused on all the interconnecting parts of the plant. Most drawings and paintings of the lotus concentrate on the flower itself; the next part, the stem, is submerged and thus often merely hinted at. And the roots, although many of us will be familiar with them as edible parts of the plant, are rarely depicted in art, since they grow deep in the muddy bed of the pond.

For a Buddhist, this concept of living in three mediums – mud, water, air – signifies a progression. The soul journeys from the muddiness of materialism, through the water-world in which we live and experience our daily, day-to-day lives, and thence beyond, to enlightenment in the ethereal world of light and air. That these parts are all connected, roots to stem, stem to flower, is reflected in my drawing.

My ‘Lotus Pond with Tortoise’ shows the flowering plant, partly in water, and blooming just at the surface. A tortoise, resting on a rock, looks up at the lotus. Such a bright and beautiful flower is an inspiration to all who see it, tortoise as much as human.

In Asian culture, tortoises are sacred. The longevity and tenacity that they symbolize seemed to me to be a wonderful way to celebrate what the birthday of the Buddha means. We need to live long and work hard to reach enlightenment. And if the ageing process is enlightenment in slow motion, as John C. Robinson describes in his book ‘The Three Secrets of Ageing’, then my combining of the symbols of enlightenment with those of longevity expresses this process.

Paula Kuitenbrouwer

Lotus (Botanical) at Etsy

Lotus with Tortoise at Etsy

 

 

Koi Carp, Koikarppi, Cyprinus carpio, Koi fiŝo, Niŝikigoi, 비단잉어, Carpa koi

Koi met Vis Vaas

 

Koi carp, or more specifically nishikigoi are a group of fish that are ornamental varieties of domesticated common carp that are kept for decorative purposes in outdoor koi ponds or water gardens.

Koi carps are mesmerizing. People are willing to pay big money for a pretty carp fish. An ‘Agasi’, the blue koi,  is particularly pretty. I think I know why.
Some time ago I sat next to a large pond that was filled with koi with beautiful colours and patterns. I looked at them and looked at them. I sat and sat and got mesmerized. I asked myself why I was I so intensely enjoying sitting next to this pond and looking at the slow and gently moving  fish? I just didn’t want to go home, I couldn’t get enough of it.
Suddenly I understood.
The pond with koi had become my thinking. Each koi represented one thought, a thought that lighted up against the dark, deep pond. Thought swam in and out of my mind and koi carp swam in and out of my vision. The more the fish got used to me and I to them, the slower they appeared and disappeared. Simultaneously, my thinking process became a flow; it slowed down and became less demanding. I became aware of my thoughts coming and going, like the koi. Sitting by the pond and looking at the colourful, smooth swimming fish became a spontaneous meditation.
Has this meditation helped me to understand the obsession with koi and the willingness to spend a monthly salary on a beautiful Agasi? Yes, I do understand now, but that doesn’t mean I became obsessed because that is a choice. However, I decided to draw a koi-series to capture the meditation experience in coloured pencil drawings. Every time I look at my drawing I want to feel that meditation again. And I hope others feel it too while looking at my drawing.
This happened years ago and I’m still drawing ponds with koi.
I still must be mesmerized.

Paula

My Koi series is at Etsy in print. If you like to buy a koi print without an buyers account on Etsy, contact me via mindfuldrawing (add) gmail (dot) com.

Originals not for sale.

Two Koi with Lotus.

Two Kingfishers with Koi.

Two Koi with a Dragonfly.

 

Mandarin duck (Aix galericulata)

Two couples of ducks on my painting easel. A Teal couple 0n the right side, and left, a Mandarin couple. Teals are the smallest ducks of Europe. For the male Mandarin I’ve used every colour section of my coloured pencil box, which doesn’t happen that often. It was therefore a joy to draw both drakes, constantly looking at many, many photos to see how colourful they are during the spring and summer. It is very easy to overdo the colours, but if I were to down-tune them, the drakes would be offended by me downplaying their remarkable plumage. Here are the prints: Eurasian Teals (right) & Mandarin (left)

Studio Picture with Ducks on my Easel (1)

In the back of the photo you see the hanger that served as inspiration for my ‘Harvest Hangings‘.

Herfsthanger

There are unfinished and finished canvasses behind the easels and a bucket with different kind of wooden sticks. I collect pieces of wood, shells, stones, feathers, forest-fruit, treasures of the natural world that one day might come in handy when I set up a new canvas. Somewhere in a drawer there is a dead stag-beetle, a dried shark egg, a dried nymph, a butterfly wing (almost dust now), and a herbarium with dried leaves and flowers.

Paula

at Etsy

A glimpse of a few exquisite prints

Pumpkins with Butterflies, professionally glued onto a passe partout, without frame. 45 Euro, excl. shipping.  Size: 40-50 cm. Light fast print on high quality art paper.

‘Tulip Heads Three Graces’ professionally glued onto a passe partout, without frame. 35 Euro, excl. shipping.  Size 30-40 cm. Light fast print on high quality art paper.

‘Autumn Butterflies’ professionally glued onto a passe partout, without frame. 45 Euro, excl. shipping. Size 40-50 cm. Light fast print on high quality art paper.

Click images to enlarge.

 Paula Kuitenbrouwer at Etsy