My favorite artists (2): Orly Avineri

My favorite artists (2): Orly Avineri

Once in a while, I encounter an artist whose work really touches me. Orly Avineri is such an artist.

When I stumbled upon Orly, her work immediately struck me. It radiated all soulfulness, depth, and a raw, unpolished beauty. In this blog post, I’ll tell you a bit more about what I love so much about her work.

Orly Avineri was born in Israel and now lives in Oregon. A fun coincidence is that she studied graphic design in Utrecht, the beautiful medieval city in the Netherlands where I’ve lived myself for the last 33 years;-)!

For making her art, Orly uses mixed-media, visual-journaling, book making, storytelling, and ritual building.

To get an impression of her work, take a look below:

 

This is what she writes about herself – as a non-native speaker, I can’t describe it as beautiful as herself:

 

I am passionate about the process of marrying multiple media to inspire freedom of expression, honesty of emotion, and a deep belief in the possibility, the power, and the beauty of change. I truly believe that the need to be witnessed by the self and by others is a core human need to be fulfilled by the act of creating. Therefore, a compelling part of my own journey and my absolute passion is the fostering of that in others. Art making practices cultivate insight into the nature of growth and the creative process as they relate to deep stories of loss and mend.

Enriched by self trust and acceptance, images, photos, paper, paint, words, pen, line, thread, and many unconventional tools and materials entwine to make expressive, complex, and personal creations. It’s all about one’s willingness to reveal vulnerability and rawness for the sake of true creative freedom, newness, and a deep sense of interconnectedness to all. Experiencing honest, open ended, and spirit lifting journeys takes precedence over producing beautiful outcomes. Ultimately, this, for me, is about living and depicting the fluidity of our lives, about effortlessly carrying ourselves from one place to another, and about connecting to a larger world than our own. I wish to bring it forth to you.

What I love about Orly Avineri’s work

 

The roughness

What I absolutely LOVE about Orly’s work is the roughness, the unpolishedness, the wildness of it. The materials that she uses are often worn and torn. Beautiful!

 

The colors

Orly uses a lot of muted, natural colors, greys, beiges, and browns, mixed with brighter colors. I love this combination.

 

The sense of history

Orly Avineri uses a lot of ‘found materials’ – they don’t come out of the store, they aren’t first hand, they already had a life of their own before they ended up in one of her mixed media paintings or visual journals.. Sometimes the history is very literal – for instance if she uses an old passport or old photos.

 

The soulful depth

Orly’s work breathes a raw nature-inspired spirituality. Her paintings are the result of an intensely lived life, and the courage to be genuinely human – vulnerable and strong at the same time.

 

The materials

When you browse through Orly’s work, you encounter a lot of materials. Of course paper and paint, but also fabric, threads, ribbons, feathers, old photo’s and probably a lot more if you could take a closer look. All these materials have their own character and nature – and they make a wonderful combination.

 

The ritual meaning

An important part of Orly Avineri’s work is teaching and making art as a form of ritual. She teaches workshops to create your own visual journals or to create art of old passports, for instance. Art can be a tremendous source of personal growth and healing, and that’s one of the reasons that Orly is such a driven artist – at least, that’s what I read between the lines.

 

 

 

Here you can find Orly’s Avineri’s website.

And here you can find some of the mini-films she made.

 

 

I hope you enjoy Orly’s work as much as I did!

 

Bye,

PS:

Do you want to read the first ‘my favorite artist’s’ blog post? It’s about Line Juhl Hansen, and you can find it here.

Podcast Episode 3: Planning your painting ahead or not?

Podcast Episode 3: Planning your painting ahead or not?

Podcast Episode 3: Planning your paintings ahead, or not?

Note: I created a free workbook about exhibition planning. You can download it from the library!

 

Dear reader and listener,

 

The topic of today’s podcast is: ‘Is it wise to plan your paintings ahead?’.

I am tackling this question because I have been planning my painting a lot lately. And I’m wondering: is this wise? And I’m also curious: what do you think? What do you do? Do you plan your paintings ahead, or are you following your impulses, and see how far you come?

When I came back from my vacation in France, I decided that I wanted to have an exhibition before the end of the year. I just felt like I wanted to make this jump. I want to earn money with my paintings, and I don’t want to be dependent on gallery’s, so I’m planning to exhibit in December, live and online. I want it to be a ‘pop up-gallery’ for only one weekend. I want it to be live, here in Utrecht, which is the city where I live, and where I can invite friends, and friends of friends, and where people who are just passing by can hop in too. But I also want to make this pop-up gallery a two-day online-event. I don’t have any experience with this, but we’ll see.

I also decided about the number of paintings I wanted to make: I want to make at least six 80 by 80-centimeter paintings, which is 32 by 32 inch.

 

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A big statement for me

For me, this is quite a big statement, since I don’t have a space to exhibit yet and I don’t have any paintings ready! I have a date though (the weekend of 15 and 16 December). And that’s always a good thing to start with.

Now I’ve had a lot of thoughts about this. It is the first time I have ‘declared’ this kind of a plan. Usually, I think: Let’s first see if I can finish these paintings and if I can find a space to exhibit, and then I will see if I can make things happen. Now I decided to turn things around. I start with the end in mind and from now on the time is going to tick. My question for this podcast is: what are the pros and cons of such a project?

 

Let’s start with the pros.

I find it very stimulating to have a plan, a goal. It gives direction to my painting. When I paint, I know it’s part of a bigger project.

Second, and this is related to the first point: the chance that I get paintings finished is bigger. If I have a goal in mind, I might work harder to really get the painting finished. It challenges me to not give up too soon, or procrastinate painting.

Third, it gives people the possibility to follow the project, instead of only see the end result. This might be interesting. I know that I would find it interesting to follow projects like this since I’m always interested in the processes of other painters.

 

And now, the cons

Certainly, there are cons. I find it frightening and unsettling to make a statement like this. This project might fail, I might not finish the paintings, I might not find an exhibition space, nobody might buy my paintings. I might feel too exposed and think that I’m making a huge fool of myself. I might feel stressed. I might lose the fun of the process since I paint more product-oriented. And I’m always such a big fan of process-oriented painting! Don’t those two clash?

 

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I decided to make the jump

As you know, I finally decided to make the jump anyway. The fact that it’s frightening means also that I’m stretching myself. And I tend to stay on the safe side with these kinds of things, so it’s a possibility for growth.

Until now I don’t feel that I am spoiling the fun of the process. Once I get my brushes ready and put the first stroke onto the canvas, I get in the zone of painting and lose track of time. At least: that’s very often the case.

And if it does not work out, and the whole plan is completely unrealistic, well, I have an invitation for an exhibition for Spring 2019. Then I will postpone the whole thing for five months. Nothing is lost, and I have learned a lot along the way.

 

My question to you: what do you think?

Now my question to you is (and I’m really curious) – what are your experiences? Have you ever made a plan like this? What is your experience? And if you haven’t: would you like to do something like this? Or wouldn’t you? And why?

 

Lots of questions, and I’m looking forward to your answers in the comments!

Thanks so much for listening or reading!

Simone Nijboer, Dutch abstract artist, online art teacher, daily painter, creativity accelerator

PS:

 

You can download the workbook about Exhibition Planning from the free library!

And:

You can find the link to my online course about collage making here.

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Podcast Episode 1: How to get out of your comfort zone as a painter

Podcast Episode 1: How to get out of your comfort zone as a painter

 

Getting out of your comfort zone as an artist is not always easy. But it is essential for your growth as a creative. Maybe it’s even necessary to become one in the first place.

That’s what my very first podcast is all about. My entire painting adventure has been one endless sequence of getting-out-of-my-comfort-zone-moments. Recording this podcast was the next one in line. As a non-native English speaker, I always thought that things like podcasting were out of my reach – since I was afraid that I would sound like a fool on audio. Maybe I do, but here it is: my very first podcast!

 

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My story & Questions for you

In this podcast, I will share a bit of my painting history, with all the uneasy and frightening moments that accompanied it. At the end of this podcast, I will ask you a few questions, about your next steps out of your comfort zone.

 

Have fun listening!

Simone Nijboer, Dutch abstract artist, online art teacher, daily painter, creativity accelerator

Podcast Episode 1: How to get out of your comfort zone as a painter

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My favorite artists (1): Line Juhl Hansen

My favorite artists (1): Line Juhl Hansen

My favorite artists (1): Line Juhl Hansen

 

Long before I started painting, I fanatically skimmed the Internet for artists who inspired me. I stored pictures of their paintings as photos in my photo library—it was long before I discovered Pinterest and Instagram—and very often looked at them. Just watching the colors, the compositions, and the soul in these artists’ paintings filled me with joy. I believe this joy was what made me start to paint. I wanted to put my heart and soul into painting as they did, too!

One of the first painters that I discovered was the Danish painter Line Juhl Hansen. I fell in love with her work at first sight, and I have been devouring her paintings on the Internet for years and years. Her blog was updated until 2012, though, and I could not find anything about her since. Now even her website is taken down (www.linejuhlhansen.dk). I don’t know what happened to her—I hope nothing is wrong.

What I love about Line Juhl Hansen’s work:

 

The graphic character

Line’s work is very graphic, and her compositions are very bold. Also, she uses letters from the alphabet in her work—both from newspapers and from stamping—which adds to the graphic nature. I love that.

The rough and wild quality of her strokes

For a long time, there was a video with an interview of Line Juhl Hansen on Youtube (unfortunately it has been taken down). In that video, you see her while painting, using big brushes and making huge strokes. Those gestures inspired me not to be too careful with my own paintings and just paint my heart out.

 

Line Juhl Hansen

The combination of big movements and fine details

As I said, Line makes huge movements with her brushes, but at the same time, she creates very fine details. The big picture is beautiful, but if you look close up, the painting is just as exciting.

The humor in her work

In her work, you see all kinds of pictures. It gives her work a light touch.

Her free use of mixed media

In her paintings, you can see lots of papers and other materials shine through. It definitely inspired me to dive into the world of collage and mixed media. Line Juhl Hansen is one of those painters who use collage in a non-fussy way.

Her use of color

I love the colors of her work, and from the Youtube film, I learned that she only uses three primary colors (blue, red, and yellow, and of course black and white). I found this fascinating, and immediately understood why her colors look so beautiful—they are inherently harmonious. Because she creates all of her paintings with only these three colors, they all fit beautifully together. That’s why I believe that you could see her whole body of work as one big piece of art. I experimented too with using three primary colors as she did—without much result. But later on, I tried it again, with different colors, and with more white in the mix, and that worked out very well for me. The constraint of using only three colors has given my daily painting a big push forward. That’s why I used this concept of just using very few colors in my online course.

Line Juhl Hansen

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The texture

I have always loved rough textures, and Line’s work offers plenty of them. In the Youtube video I already mentioned, you saw her gluing huge pieces of brown paper on the canvas to create a basic roughness in her work. If you take a close look at her paintings, you can still see the rough wrinkles and folds of these underlying pieces of paper.

The layeredness

In the Youtube video, she tells that she’s using a lot of layers, starting with big strokes and ending with the fine details. I love a lot of layers—they give depth and mystery to a painting, and her paintings are a perfect example of that.

 

Get inspired!

Below you can find some more paintings of Line Juhl Hansen (and I’m sorry that I’m not able to ask her permission to showcase them here).

I hope you get just as inspired as I am.

 

Bye!

 

Simone Nijboer, Dutch abstract artist, online art teacher, daily painter, creativity accelerator
Line Juhl Hansen

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Throw away the art you don’t love!

Throw away the art you don’t love!

Throw away the art you don’t love!

 

I am writing this blog at the first workday after two weeks of Christmas holidays. In these weeks, I have been busy with cleaning up our house, decluttering cupboards and closets, and throwing things away that are old, broken, or that we don’t love anymore. For a few years, I have been inspired by the Japanese declutter-guru Marie Kondo to do this on a regular basis. Her motto is that if your house is cluttered with all kinds of things that you don’t really love, your life gets stuck. You literally don’t have space for new things to enter your life. She encourages you to take a look at every object in your house and ask yourself: ‘Does it spark joy?’ And if it doesn’t: remove it from your life!

In past years, I decluttered my house quite a bit, but I never asked myself the spark-joy question for the big pile of old paintings that I have in my workroom. They are mostly studies on paper, so they don’t take up too much space. Therefore, I could get away with them piling up for a few years. But since I paint every day, and make a lot of studies, my cupboards were getting completely stuck with big heaps of paper. So I decided to go through all my past paintings and ask myself for each and everyone: ‘Does it spark joy?’

To my surprise, I threw away almost all the studies that I had, and only kept a very few that I really loved. Doing so worked out very well. Decluttering my paintings this way gave me lots of new energy and a lot of eagerness to start painting again in the new year to come.

I have thought about why this throwing away was such a positive experience. There are at least five reasons for that.

 

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Gratefulness for the fun and the development

First, I loved going through all of my old paintings. It made me realize the development that I made, and the joy that I had making them. At the same time, I realized that I am not going to continue working on these particular paintings anymore and I am not going to show or sell any of them. They were in my cupboards to witness the past. By going through them and being grateful for the painting years behind me, they had fulfilled their function, and by letting go of them I could make space for new things to come.

 

Dedication to the process

Second, throwing them away made me dedicate myself even more to the process of painting ahead of the product. I am a big advocate of process-oriented painting, as I have written about a lot in my articles about developing an art practice. By throwing away old paintings, I emphasized the importance of working in this process-oriented way, day by day, being in the present moment, not caring about the future to come, and not clinging on to what I left behind.

 

Attention for the loved ones

Third, by keeping only the things that I love, I have given them more space to shine. Because they were covered by dozens and dozens of other paintings, they could not get the attention that they deserved. Now they are uncovered, I can really enjoy them.

 

Trust in the flow of creativity

Fourth, I realized that I kept my old paintings as a kind of proof that I really am a painter. Now that I have removed the traces of the past, and stand with bare hands before the new painting year, I have to trust the flow of creativity that is going through me, instead of leaning on old work to reassure me. And that feels good since I believe this natural flow of creativity is the real basis of making art.

 

The blog as archive

Fifth, the fact that I keep my daily painting blog makes it easy to throw things away. If I would ever like to go back and take a look at my old work, I have my daily painting blog as an online archive. I probably won’t do that often, because I hopefully will rather be painting new work than scrolling through old work. But the possibility is always there.

 

 

How do you deal with old work? Let me know in the comments below!

 

Simone Nijboer, Dutch abstract artist, online art teacher, daily painter, creativity accelerator

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The Power of an Art-Community

The Power of an Art-Community

The Power of Community

When I started painting, I was—more or less—on my own. It was the drive deep down inside me that got me painting, but there were not many people around to support me on my abstract art journey. Very few people even knew that I was painting. I did not shout it from the rooftops; I felt too shy. (Read about how I started painting here).

 

An art-friendship

I was very lucky that I met my art-friend Dotty Seiter at an online art-event, organized by Leslie Saeta (30-paintings-in-30-days).

If you scroll back through my Daily Painting blog, you can see that it is mostly her and me communicating about our daily art practices.

Right now, I know that if I had not her support, I would not be painting anymore. Or at least I would not have such a sustained daily art practice as I have right now. This website would not exist either.  It was the power of community that helped me push through, and I am very grateful for that.

 

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Most needed: Community

When I launched this website, I asked new subscribers, ‘What would you need most for your art practice to thrive?’ The main answer I got was, ‘Community.’ Apparently, artists need other artists to relate to, to keep them going, to show their work, to receive feedback, and to help them overcome obstacles. And they love to give the same support in return.

 

Making art is usually a solo activity

If you love playing football or choir singing, it is not that difficult to find a tribe to relate to. These are activities that have the community factor built in. Making art, by contrast, is something that you mostly do on your own, in your studio, or at your kitchen table. Of course, joining an art class is terrific, but art classes cost money, which you might not have. They also require time, which you might not have either.

If you want to make abstract art, it might be even more difficult to find art buddies. It is usually easier to find artists in your neighborhood that love to paint realistically, painting landscapes or figures for instance.

There’s nothing wrong with that, of course but if your soul yearns for making abstract art, you can find yourself on your own. Having abstract-art buddies can then make all the difference. They are on the same path, they know what it is to search your way, and they can support you on your journey.

 

Abstract art-making can be challenging

Of course, I don’t want to be negative about art-making. It is one of the most enjoyable and satisfactory activities I have in my life. But it can be very challenging, too. If you make personal abstract art, it comes from deep within you. You can’t hold on to any examples; you have to find your own way.

That is of course not wholly true. There are many inspiring artists out there, and I have learned incredibly much from them, even only by watching their work. But there comes a moment when you have to stop looking at other people’s art, and go deep inside to find your own artistic expression. At that moment it is wonderful to have people around you who go through the same experience.

 

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The risk of procrastination

Art-making can be difficult, as I stated above, so it can be tempting to keep postponing:

  • Today I don’t have time for painting—I’ll do it tomorrow.
  • I don’t have the right materials right now—I will need to buy quality paint before I start.
  • I first need to do a course to go to the next level.

Deep down we know this is not true, but it’s not always easy to find the power inside to carry through, pick up your brushes, and start making some marks.

 

Hooray for the art buddies!

There the art buddies come in. Because they paint, you get inspired to start painting, too. Because they want to see your work, you start showing it. Because they make their beautiful things, you get ideas to create yours. Because they sometimes make ‘ugly’ paintings, you are less afraid to create ‘imperfect’ art.

The opposite is also true. If you paint, and you realize that it helps other people to continue their art practice, you get even more motivated to keep painting.

 

One hand washes the other.

 

 

Bye!

 

Simone Nijboer, Dutch abstract artist, online art teacher, daily painter, creativity accelerator

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