How to Draw

Isn’t the purpose of an eraser to take away supporting lines and unwanted spots? Yes, of course, an eraser comes in handy when you make a mistake. However, you can also draw with an eraser. Imagine you want to create a texture. You can do this by drawing lines of dots that show the fabric of a pattern, for instance the nerves of a tree leaf. But you can also first fill a leaf with a dark tone and use the eraser to draw nerves. And you know what is very beautiful? Doing both, drawing highlighting lines and adding lighter areas in otherwise shaded sections. This creates beautiful illusions. Have a few different shaped erasers to help you: one that has a round top, one that is thinner and can be used to draw lines. Next to pencils and a drawing pad, invest in a few erasers as well. It will help you to create beautiful details.

Drawing is not a mathematical exercise, unless of course you are working on an architectural or archaeological drawing which is  about facts, measurements and right angles. It is often charming when you are making the same mistakes again and again because this is your signature. Viewers start to recognize your style not only by your style but also by identifying (consciously or subconsciously) your mistakes. It is not that I say stop teaching and correcting yourself, stop improving your skills. It is just that tiny mistakes can be your truly charming style and why erase them? Your drawing or artwork is not made by a robot nor by Da Vinci.

How to Learn without having Botticelli around? How to improve your drawing skills? Listen to feedback by fellow artists and copy artists you admire. Make studies of artwork that you admire. By copying these, you are pushed out of your comfort zone and you will learn so much. Remember that apprentices in Renaissance workshops of respectable masters received training of several years. They started taking care of tools, moved on to doing handyman work. Later they were allowed to mix pigments, or trace artwork. Only a few and the very best worked closely to the master. How can we copy this classical training? By copying masterpieces and seeing what trouble we run into. You will notice improvements straight away.

Paula Kuitenbrouwer

At Etsy

At Instagram

At Linktree

Nearing a decade of Mindfuldrawing

In 2012, I set up a website named ‘Mindfuldrawing’ and over time I have added and deleted many posts. Several times I came close to deleting everything out of frustration with stolen artwork, difficult updating processes, and customizing challenges. Years later I can say ‘good’ that I took away posts that weren’t visited often enough to be of significance. What stayed were valuable articles that are frequently visited from all over the world. My website matured to something that goes beyond an artist portfolio; there are written pieces on art appreciation, essays, art musings, freehand and commissioned artwork.

Art Musings

Frequently visited are my articles on paintings, like ‘Guido Reni (Bologna 1575-1642) St Joseph with the Infant Jesus’, or ‘The Soul: Painting the Unpaintable’, or illustrated reflections on principles of Asian art; Ma, a Japanese aesthetic principle, in my three bird drawings. I have been asked how to look at art mindfully, on which I have replied to read children and middle-school student books on art. Young people are taught to look at art with an open mind; adults are told in which period art pieces fit.

Artwork by Paula Kuitenbrouwer

Prehistoric Art

I posted many musings on Prehistoric art: ‘Crossed Bison of Lascaux: Art Study Through Drawing’, ‘The Woman or Mother of Willendorf’, essay on ‘Prehistoric Hands Invite and Confirm Communication with the Dead’, on ‘Prehistoric Women Figurines‘, and on ‘Ochre’. I wrote a light-hearted, fictional story on a ‘Prehistoric Dinner Party’. Academic essays are ‘How Interpretations of the Ritual Nature of Stonehenge Have Changed over Time‘, my essay on ‘Lady Vix, A Bardic Storytelling of the ‘Celtic of the West’ Model’. My Celtic Art Project shows how the studying prehistoric art inspired me to design Celtic art myself. I also gave the Sorcerer of Trois Frères, Ariège, France a face, drew the shamanic healing of the Inuit sea goddess Nuliajuk and tried looking into the beautiful and fascinating Iron Age Celtic Desborough Mirror.

Artwork by Paula Kuitenbrouwer

Commissions & Freehand Artwork

Sometimes I was allowed to publish privately commissioned book-plates of which some are situated in past times, Medieval times, or the Jugendstil period. Other times it was requested to keep commissions private.

Utrecht’s Monumental buildings by Paula Kuitenbrouwer

William Morris

I felt very inspired by William Morris. He was such versatile artist and worked relentless on bringing nature inside people’s homes. This inspiration resulted in large, decorative paintings of ‘Trellis’, ‘Abundant Acanthus‘, ‘Ode to Oaks Trees’, and ‘In Praise of Plants’.

Lastly, there are many Mandarin duck drawings and aquarelles, because people, like me, love these sweet and colourful ducks. It is said that mandarin ducks attract love and loyalty. Since my return to the Netherlands in 2018, I discovered two couples in nearby parks and estates. Therefore, I can confirm that mandarin ducks do attract …well, lovely mandarin ducks. 

Invitation

I like to invite you to my website. It isn’t a sleek, frequently updated website. Instead it is a calm and thoughtful little place of the Internet like one of those tiny, intimate window seats inside an old library where you can snuggle up for a few hours of mindful reading and viewing art.

Paula Kuitenbrouwer

More portfolio overviews are at Etsy & at Instagram