Can’t help it

I just love drawing

Hello, I’m Els and I’m a user.

I use cables. I use money. I use language. I use the internet. I use a washing machine. I use a tooth brush. I use oatmeal. I use my eyes. I occasionally use a man. I use electricity. I use insurance.  I use the sun. I use Twitter. I use books. I use a brain. I use a fork. I use a Museumjaarkaart. I use the improbability drive. I use time. I use a human body. I use toilet paper. I use paint. I use Flickr. I use clothing. I use an iPhone. I use coffee. I use the Earth. I use charcoal. I use ATM’s. I use DM’s. I use paper. I use Google. I use Amsterdam. I use hands. I use oxygen. I use paper handkerchiefs. I use vitamins. I use memory. I use speech. I use washing-up liquid. I use glass cups. I use  imagination. I use plastic bags. I use binoculars. I use VLC. I use gravity. I use a bicycle. I use a nail file. I use Art:21.  I use a contraceptive. I use iCal. I use public transport. I use a bed. I use a bath. I use a beamer. I use an appartment. I use Dropbox. I use a toilet. I use knowledge. I use ignorance. I use images. I use The Wire. I use soap. I use taste buds. I use a scanner. I use salt. I use email. I use Dutch. I use handwriting. I use the IMDB. I use vocal chords. I use a bank card. I use maps. I use artificial lighting. I use nails. I use WordPress. I use sugar. I use snow. I use a camera. I use software. I use people. I use the beach. I use food. I use HandBrake. I use I use Greenwheels. I use documentaries. I use wi-fi. I use buttons. I use paracetamol. I use electrical outlets. I use cassette tapes. I use Transmission. I use a dictionary. I use The Hitchhiker’s Guide To The Galaxy. I use USB.  I use Camping Gaz. I use you.

Lino to ice

Anything can be art. In communication class we re-make – but not quite – another student’s art work. Using different media, re-interpreting, distorting and of course misunderstanding, result in surprising new works. This week I transformed Victor’s work by turning linoprint into video. I used my own imagination and associations, but tried to remain true to the simple composition and atmosphere of the original work.

More of nothing in Paris – no more

When Mona Lisa was stolen from it’s Louvre wall in 1911 people queued to stare at the empty space left behind. Supposedly more people came to visit then before, when she could still follow the onlookers with her gaze. The lady of course was found in 1913 and is now very well protected, so we won’t be seeing that particular empty space any time soon.

Earlier this year the Centre Pompidou had nine whole empty rooms on display in Voids, a retrospective. The rooms referred to famous empty spaces from modern art history. Besides small texts on the walls describing the original empty spaces there were also still little objects like power outlets, thermostats, exit signs. At the moment the empty walls are hung with surrealist photography and we will have to experience the void elsewhere. What’s it like to visit an empty space when you intend to? And what’s it like to be caught off guard, like I was when I visited the Pompidou and was confronted with Yves Klein? Back then I was prepared…. but not quite, caught off guard after all.

The image matters after all

verfHans den Hartog Jager is a lucky man. He got to talk to Reinier Lucassen, well known for his reclusive lifestyle, for his book ‘verf’ (‘paint’), a wonderful collection of interviews with modern day Dutch painters. Highly recommended.

Lucassen told Den Hartog Jager how much he dislikes realistic painting and the emphasis on making a proper representation of reality in the entire western art tradition from the 15th century until the 20th century. In his eyes only a few great artists like Vermeer, Van Eyck, Rembrandt and Van Goyen, managed to ascend this ‘representing reality’ level, and created something more personal – the work of a genius.

Lucassen - Hommage à Léger, 1968Though Lucassen dislikes representations, he does love images. When Lucassen sees an art work that strikes him, he is drawn to it,  immediately knows it’s good, even if he has no words to explain why. The image speaks for itself. In modern art every artist has to find his own way to express himself (which reminds me – is it actually true he thinks women should not be artists?), which of course is very hard to do. Each time an artist truly finds a new way, he is followed, built upon and before you know it a new modern academy-style is born. It comes as no surprise that Lucassen and artists around him were not too eager to ride the wave of abstract-expressionist art in the sixties. The taboo on figurative work must have been just as restrictive to them  as the directive to correctly represent reality was to him in his academy years. Lucassen became one of the front men of the Nieuwe Figuratie (New Figuration). In his paintings popular elements like Donald Duck or a hot dog would show up. He would play with traditional painterly illusions by leaving parts of the canvas uncovered, using text or having people pop up unexpectedly on the painting.

Shoes - drawing I did in art class some years agoI like what Lucassen says about realistic painting. When I started taking art classes I was very eager to learn how to draw, but after a while it became clear to me that making a realistic representation was something I could just learn, and if I had wanted to I could get better and better at it, eventually turning myself into a calendar artist, making pretty pictures. It stopped me in my tracks. Although I would still love to improve my drawing and painting skills I am so glad I came to Dogtime to work, play and learn.

Follow the white rabbit

Manel made us paint like we had the devil on our heels yesterday. Throwing assignments at us at a fast pace, made us all work like crazy. This one was: ‘paint Jezus with a white rabbit’. So I did.

JC and WR

Going where?

My online activities have changed my life in ways I could never have imagined. I’m sure they will play a major part in my Dogtime experience as well.  How can I use social media in my upcoming projects? Can I manipulate social interaction or perception? I’ve already embarked on an exciting trip, but where it’s going…?

Drawing matters

Jonas Ohlsson’s first drawing classes are just meant to loosen up… no pressure, just getting into the flow. I like it, especially since he’s also an imaginative DJ, playing all kinds of weird and inspiring music during the class. So this is me…. loosening up in the first two lessons.


Just doodling



Nothing matters II

For this week’s LAB class we had to do our own monochromes. It felt awkward. Did some in acrylics and made some prints. Let’s say… nothing.

Monochrome - acrylics

Monochrome - print

Monochrome - acrylics

Dutch Light

Every time I get off the train in Den Helder before a visit to my beloved Texel I notice the light. It’s different, brighter, colours look more saturated, fresher. In tuesday’s LAB class we watched ‘Dutch Light’, a documentary about the famous light in Dutch art – is it real or is it a myth? Of course watching this film my geographer’s brain started working and theorizing about what could be the case but I’ll have to tap into another vein… the one that makes me vibrate and want to go out when the light is so clear that colours seem almost unnaturally saturated, when buildings, landscape, clouds and the sky seem to be alive.