February 24th, 2014

I like books. I like everything about them. I like to read them, flip through them, smell them
and own them. So when I need some information about something I'm still more
likely to look for the answer in a book rather than the internet.

When I re-started this blog I actually did both but I want to share the books I read.
First I started in 'Blog INC' by Joy Deangdeelert Cho (Chronicle Books). A very helpful book
about how to start a blog and make it successful. What I really liked was the fact she
nterviewed lots of good bloggers and you get a nice view on how they started and what it
took to be where they are now.

After that I read 'Blogging For Creatives' by Robin Houghton (HOW Books). The title
appealed to me but it also had lots of new things to offer alongside 'Blog INC'.

'Blogging For Creatives' gives a bit more technical information. It compares different
blogging platforms and it has nice colour pictures that give you inspiration and an idea
about possibilities for your own blog. Both books have good tips about questions one
might have like for instance: "how often should I post?"

So if you want to read more about how to blog I recommend both books.

Right now I'm reading 'How to be an Illustrator' by Darrel Rees (Laurence King). First edition
was 6 years ago and this second edition is nicely updated. Both on information and
beautiful colour illustrations. It's focused on the starting illustrator freshly out of (or still in)
college but that's no problem. Lot's of interviews with both illustrators and others that
are working in the industry. Helpful tips about making a portfolio, job-hunting, financial tips,
promoting yourself etc.
The book is from the UK but includes information about the US and so on.

All books were purchased at ABC - The American Bookcenter (Amsterdam).

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February 12th, 2014

On January 29th I posted a blog about sketchbooks. Book By Its Cover has this
wonderful page where you can have a look into artist’s sketchbooks. Very inspiring.
Nonetheless filling those sketchbooks myself keeps being a challenge.
The blank page remains an obstacle. The content of the page still should be “perfect”
or at least good enough for others to see. Why can’t I just let go of that?
A sketchbook should be a little private place where an artist should feel total freedom
to do whatever they feel like.

Why can’t I just splatter my ink all over the pages, scribble relentlessly on top of the mess?
Why can’t I just experiment BIG?! I can’t think of any other reason but fear. Fear of making
ugly things, fear of losing control, fear of being found out? How will I ever know what I’m
capable of when I keep being scared? I won’t, it’s as simple as that and I had enough.

First step to overcome fear is to show you a page from my current sketchbook that I would
never show without being embarrassed. It was done after a dream I had. I used ink, pencil
and felt-tips.
I was not happy with the result and I stopped working like this right when I started.

Melissa, start experimenting, start making a mess!!

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February 10th, 2014

Last Saturday I went to Teylers Museum in Haarlem to see the exhibition
The Romantic Soul, Paintings from Russia and the Netherlands.
Teylers Museum on their exhibition:

“Towards the end of the 18th century, Europe witnessed the advent of a new
cultural movement, in reaction to the prevailing coolness of classicism:
Romanticism. Gone was the supremacy of Reason.
Romantic art gave precedence to emotions, intuition, spontaneity and imagination.
With imminent shipwrecks, oaks split by the force of nature, awe-inspiring sunsets,
or at times tranquil interiors and sensitive portraits, artists in all parts of Europe
conveyed their emotional responses.”

It was very interesting to see the similarities and differences between Russian and Dutch art
of that time.
You can visit the exhibition until May 25th 2014.

I enjoyed myself at ‘The Romantic Soul’ but then I stumbled into the exhibition about
Willem Hofker, which impressed me maybe even more.

Willem Hofker (1902-1981) made really beautiful, delicate drawings. Sometimes you
can see the artists love for the subject and Hofker is a good example of that.
Next to drawings Teylers Museum shows a small collection of etchings and lithographs.
Most of Hofkers work show Balinese women/ dancers.
Willem Hofker and his wife moved to Bali (Indonesia) in 1936. During the Japanese
occupation in WW 2 they were both put in internment camps (separately).
Still Willem Hofker managed to keep drawing and this gives us a very interesting view into
camp life. You can visit the exhibition until March 9th 2014.

Willem Gerard Hofker
Ni Asoeg in Ardja, 1946
Aquatint Etching
27,5 x 25,5 cm


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January 29th, 2014

This week is all about administration (just finished 2012, now for 2013, ugh...). So sadly
enough almost) no drawing for me. Also blogging is not very high on my 'to do-' list, I
can't possibly interest you in my admin adventures.

Yesterday evening, after lots of work, I was relaxing for a bit and came across this amazing webpage.
It's by a blog I follow: Book By Its Cover. They publish about beautifully designed books.
Book-lovers out there go check them out!

Yesterday I found out about the category Sketchbooks. To me there is nothing more
interesting and inspiring to 'spy' on my fellow artists and have a look in their sketchbooks.
It's also a great push to start filling those sketchbooks myself.
Can't wait for this week to be over and start experimenting!


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January 24th, 2014

This year (2014) I have some big changes planned, new beginnings and also endings.
irst change started October 2013. I decided to quit at the artmarket Art Plein Spui Amsterdam.
Saying that sales were not that great is an understatement. Especially since the crisis set in.
Next to that I noticed that I was producing for the market instead of enjoying my art. In a way
having a spot at the artmarket is safe. You have your spot, are surrounded by nice people who
do the same thing as you do and nothing is making you go out there and find better things.
So that’s what I’m setting out to do this year, going out there and find better things! 

First plan was to start a blog and (this time) keep adding updates. My goal is 3 times a week.
So here it is, my blog. Not finished yet, still tweaking lots and lots but there’s content.
Now for some readers!

Next in line is my website. It’s terribly outdated so that’s my next project.

But what’s after that? I’m having trouble with setting priorities. Where to start and what do I
want exactly? I want to have exhibitions again. I want to look into my childhood dream and
illustrate. I want to enjoy making art like when I was a child.

How to achieve all this? That's partly what this blog is about, finding out and pushing myself to
make plans work!

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