My Inspirational Cabinet

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I am setting up my studio. My inspirational cabinet shows some of the treasures that I found on the beach, woods, or meadows. On display are my precious deer skull, an ox horn (bought), a sheep horn from Manx (Isle of Man), an unknown horn, shells, Killiney beach stones, fossilized wood (gift), grey washed beach wood, and bits of old iron.

I found that rusty part of a vehicle on a farmer’s track in the Wicklow Mountains (🇮🇪) and decided to, very appropriately, use it as a frame for Raffaello Sanzio’s Putto holding Vulcan’s tools. Vulcan is also known as Hephaestus, the Greek god of blacksmiths.

Also on display is my ‘cave painting’ art print with the Venus of Willendorf and the Lionman. Did you know the Lionman (Löwenmensch) isn’t per-se male? The name Lionman is a word contraction of Lion & Human. I wrote an essay on prehistoric hand stencils, which you will be able to find here. ‘Dead’ treasures can still be beautiful and some clearly haven’t lost their quality to inspire. Without being Gothic, I think that much inspirational energy seems to be stored in nature treasures. Drawing inspiration from nature doesn’t always have to come from flowers or fluttery butterflies. Do you agree?

Paula Kuitenbrouwer

Artist, Author & Expat

‘Birds, Butterflies, Fish & Botany’ 

at Etsy

N.B. After having taken a long Sabbatical with my Etsy for studying at Oxford Department of Continuing Education, I yet have to update my shop. However, the good news is, my shop is online again. Should you like to purchase my booklet, art prints or original drawings, please contact me. By Christmas, I will have my shop neatly organized again.

I will keep you posted on a very pretty Mid-Winter, Yule, or Christmas drawing that I have in mind. I might turn it into a card too, like my Celtic Wild Boar card. You can watch the process of designing my Celtic Boar card here.

P.S. To my loyal online art friends, I am very sorry for having neglected your updates. I just moved the last box out of our apartment. My studio is coming along pretty well. You haven’t fallen from my radar. I am just still very busy with getting settled. I am longing very much for routine and returning to drawing and painting, and staying in touch with you all.

Studying Raphael (Raffaello Sanzio da Urbino) I

Drawing Raphael

Studying ‘Head of an Apostle’ by Raphael, Paula Kuitenbrouwer 2012

I greatly admire this drawing by Raphael. There are many things that have occurred to me when I was copying, free hand, Raphael’s apostle.

I will share two observations. First all the features of this head have dark and light parts. The hair has dark and light areas. The nose is half hidden in the dark, and the same contrast you find in the moustache, the chin (beard), the whole face, the neck, and the ear. This creates beautiful depth and tension: how will the apostle look when we see his face in full light? Had Raphael religious motifs to plan this contrast, as if to say, the apostle is halfway the light, being close to Jesus, but still half in the dark? Or did Raphael just like this baroque effect, which is almost always artistically enchanting?

The other observation is the position of the artist. Raphael seems to look down on the apostle, from a point of height about half a metre above him. This is most unusual. Was Raphael standing on a platform to look down on the model of the apostle? Or on a ladder? What did he mean with this? Again, like the dark-light, that the apostle was enlighten by Jesus but still bound to earth? This could well be because ‘The Head of an Apostle’ is a pre-study of one of the figures for Raphael’s Transfiguration. Notice the apostle right in the middle under Jesus, (left to the man in light green, pointing to the right).

Transfiguration Raphael

Transfiguration, Raphael

Freehand drawing is always an adventure. The artist (me, in this case) allows his or her subconsciousness, genes, or influence or inspiration (or whatever you may call it) to flow into the created copy. Because there is no digital way of blocking this out in the process of free hand drawing, it is always interesting to study the difference between the object of study (Raphael) and, in this case, my copy.

One could say that the Italian apostle of Raphael is looking short and strong, whereas my apostle is skinnier and taller. Dutch genes at work? I bet.

What both drawings, luckily, have in common is that both apostles seem to suffer. Most likely that is the essence Raphael was after. Had my apostle looked happy, I would have missed out the most important aspect of Raphael’s drawing.

Paula Kuitenbrouwer