Portfolio Paula Kuitenbrouwer

A website requires often changing its ‘theme’ (i.e. lay out) for security reasons. And thus, through the years I have given my website different themes. It is always nice to see a revamped website, but in case you do not opt for a more expensive theme, you lose information. I thought why not present my portfolio? Most of it must have fallen off my website due to implemented changes. I invite you to enjoy my artwork and please feel free to ask all sort of questions should you like to ask me something.
I have painted butterflies, birds, and tulips so often, I can paint them now without reference photos. Every time a butterfly, tulip, or birds comes alive on my drawing pad, I feel joy.
It is very rare for me sauntering through a park or through woodlands, enjoying a holiday outside my home town without feeling hugely inspired. Although I have done Celtic art projects, prehistoric studies, architectural drawings, and bookplate commissions, most of my drawings and paintings are observational records of memorable nature experiences.
Autumn is my most inspiring season. Those beautiful, deep, and spiritual ochre colours never fail to make me grab for my sketchbook.
Working on commissions and being in contact with customers is important to me. The interaction between a customer who has a wish lingering in his or her mind and me trying to grasp that wish and transform it in to a painting of drawing is a wonderful task.
Architectural drawings of monuments or prehistoric studies, every project results into more knowledge and more joy in drawing and painting.
Of all the different themes and projects I have done over the years, mandarin ducks and book plate commissions are the most regular. It is such a honour to be trusted to draw or paint a personalised book plate or living room painting with lovely mandarin ducks.
I have done a large floral triptych during the Sars-Cov-2 lockdown. It goes without saying that busying myself with large tulips, irises, and daffodils brought much joy in an otherwise scary and depressive time. See here: the power of art!
Book plates, mandarin ducks, sashiko decorations, a medieval Ex Libris, and an architectural freehand drawing. Express your wish and let me try to capture it on paper or canvas.
When I am not working on a commission, I busy myself with freehand drawing. I grab an old, art book and copy masterpieces of the past. Or I find Iron Age art objects in museums and try to crawl into the mind of its long dead maker. Or I design Christmas cards, greetings cards, textile prints, or study traditional or ancient geometric signs (Celtic, Iron Age, Japanese, Aboriginal, Saxon). I haven’t been a day without feeling inspired and I would need a few more lives with more time to be able to grow through art, to deepen my understanding of art, and to honour artists that have enriched our lives. Without Bach’s music, we wander in the dark. Without art we fail to communicate the meaning of life.

Paula Kuitenbrouwer

at Etsy

https://www.instagram.com/mindfuldrawing/?hl=en

Mandarin Ducks

Colourful mandarin duck watercolour paintings have been added to my Etsy shop.

The large composition consisting of an Asian landscape, a lotus pond, a turtle pond, and mandarin ducks was lovely to make. I felt inspired to make it after visiting the Volkenkundig Museum in Leiden, where I enjoyed the Asian department. As always, I was charmed by how Asian artist harmoniously combine natural and abstract representations of their surroundings.

Stay safe & take care.

Paula Kuitenbrouwer

At Etsy

Lovely Mandarin ducks resting in a lotus filled duck pond. In the front a traditional, Korean duck couple.

Two Mandarin Duck Couples

I like to show you two different mandarin duck drawings. In traditional Asian culture, mandarin ducks are believed to be lifelong couples, unlike other species of ducks. Hence they are regarded as a symbol of love, affection, and fidelity.

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Mandarin Ducks in Lotus Pond copyright Paula Kuitenbrouwer

The first drawing is titled Matchmaking in Heaven. It shows a mandarin duck couple in a lotus pond. It is a softly rendered watercolour drawing. The pond is calm, lotus flowers are growing and so is the bond between this duck and drake deepening. The duck and drake have just decided to take a swim. They will look for food, synchronized as they are. They are life long partners and, like swans, will stay together. Lotus flowers are symbols of purity, enlightenment, self-regeneration and rebirth. In Asia, mandarin ducks represent love and loyalty. Seeing bonding ducks, seeing how synchronised they are, makes people long for a deep belonging, a deep bond between lovers. Love renews itself every day; it grows, it deepens and sometimes we need to stand still and take time to say ‘I love you’ to our beloved ones. Because, although we know it, expressing this during a day that is full of obligations, commitments, and ambitions is a good thing. Combining the Lotus symbol with the Mandarin ducks, this couple stays together to grow old and wise together. They feel reborn in their deepening love every season.

The other mandarin duck couple drawing has a longer story. I was about to add a new couple to my portfolio when I noticed the Fibonacci Sequence in one of my old sketches. I immediately set out to make a circular composition, adding two ducks shaped as in the well-know Fibonacci fashion. And after having done that successfully, I couldn’t stop and added parts of The Great Wave off Kanagawa by the Japanese artist Hokusai next to the mandarin ducks.

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Now I had four Fibonacci elements in one drawing, as I recognized the Fibonacci sequence in Hokusai’s wave too. This mandarin duck couple, deeply in love with each other, is bathing in wild waters. In fact, they are so deeply bonded, they have no idea where they individually begin or end. They have become one in emotion and routine. They are also one with the waters they live in.

Fibonacci Sequence

The beautiful Hokusai wave, which could be interpreted as the pleasant and unpleasant high waves life throws at every couple, can’t separate them. They will stay together during their whole life; in high tide and low tide, in calm and difficult times, through day and night, till the end.

 

Drawing videos are on my Etsy homepage & Instagram.

Paula Kuitenbrouwer

This circular composition is available at Etsy. The original drawing of the ducks in the lotus pond is available here. Should you not like Etsy and you need cards or a commission or this original drawing, contact me freely and without obligation by using the contact form.