The Last Supper (Day)

Well, the day has finally arrived. My final 24 hours in Germany are almost up, and tomorrow I catch the train from Enschede at 10:18 am. By 5:00 pm I will be in London, and in slightly over a week I will be home (and 22 years old). The fact that I am here in Germany and on this fellowship program, that I have spent the past two months here, simply astounds me. I don’t know how I came to be in this position, but I am extremely grateful for having been blessed with this opportunity. My host and “boss” of sorts, Gudrun, is hard to leave. She engages daily with the Kunstverein with a steadfast devotion, and never shies away from dealing with the inevitable last-minute problems. I hope that in my future career I will be fortunate enough to work with others who are equally in love with their work, and who are kind and generous.

As a last hurrah and thank you to her, I finally made my brownie recipe! (Gudrun loves brownies – she bought four packages of the “American-style brownies” that were a weekly feature in Aldi during American week. They were actually pretty good, considering they weren’t homemade, although the bagels were definitely a miss. We are having some guests over for dinner tonight, just the people who I have spent the most time with over the past few weeks, so it should be nice.

I bought my last bread rolls from Lohner Landbäcker, did my last shopping trip at Aldi, took a last little bike excursion, and probably won’t be going back to the Kunstverein before I leave tomorrow. It never hits you that you will most likely never see a place again until the months and years start to pass by, but I hope that someday I will see Gudrun again. If she is ever in Minnesota, she knows who to call!

On the other side, there is a laundry list of all the things that I have missed and will be happy to have back in my life. At the beginning: fro-yo shops and Target. Yes, Target. God, I love that store. I’m ready to be surprised at how great a volume of coffee I receive for the same amount of money as in Germany, to say hello to having everything spread out in the typical fashion of the car culture-determined city, to have my own bike back(!!!), and to just be home with the people I love. It’s hard not having any friends in a foreign country, but at least there is the internet to help bridge at least a small amount of the gap.

And seriously, when someone first calls me or sends me a text, I’m not going to know what to do! I don’t really miss that technology all that much, though.

Here are a couple of great pictures of Gudrun’s front garden. It’s an ongoing adventure, but we tackled some more of her overgrown shrubbery two days ago. The whole scene is still basically a jungle, though. : )

I haven’t done a whole lot of drawing lately, but I’ll definitely update from my Great Britain and Ireland travels when I get back to the states! Knowing me, there will be at least a few sketches.

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I was an extremely strange child.

I don’t have all that much to update on for this week. The opening party for the new exhibition + conjoined with my going-away party is this Sunday. Saturday morning is brunch at some woman’s house (I sound so polite, I know, sorry – she won me over with brunch, whoever she is). We’re encouraged to bring stories to tell, so I have to get on that. Maybe I’ll tell my mom’s original story about the nook fairy. : )

Um, it was finally a little rainy today and yesterday, which was good for the plants. It only rained this morning, which I was definitely chill about. Usually I prefer when it doesn’t rain in the morning, but since my schedule is flexible in Germany I just bummed around a bit longer to wait out the weather before heading out. Alles gut.

So, why was I an extremely strange child? I just had a lot of quirks. First of all, I was obsessed with Nancy Drew. (Not so unusual). Whenever I went to Barnes and Noble with my mother to pick out a new book, though, I had to check to make sure that something “bad enough” happened to Nancy in the end. It was always in the second or third to last chapter, so I knew where to check. Examples of what was good enough: essentially anything near-death. Not good enough: when she didn’t get kidnapped, stuck in an elevator with chloroform gas, tied up, etc. I’m serious. I loved reading the entire book, but only if something really bad happened to her at the end.

And then, dreams. I frequently dreamed of being a princess or a lady in a castle, and occasionally of being a feisty fighting lady. But I had to get kidnapped and held for ransom, or threatened with death, or something. The most vivid scenes from my dreams of these story lines are thinking about the cells that I was detained in, how many chains were holding me to the wall, if I could move, and the like.

And then, reading the newspaper. I only read crime stories. And I only liked reading crime stories about women. If the story was about a man being the victim, I was immediately bored and stopped reading the article. This actually happened (and still happens) with choosing television crime show episodes. If the victim on the show isn’t female, I won’t pick that episode.

There you have it. Several reasons that attest to my weirdness. I was watching part of this crappy animated Snow White movie and realized that my favorite scene from childhood was, go figure, when she was tied up and about to be turned into a stone statue by the creepy mustached antagonist. He had blue skin and shot red lasers from his eyes – the show producers definitely took some liberties with the plot…

Happy Thursday, friends! I went to the figure drawing class again last night and put the drawings up on my art blog (reinasan.tumblr.com). Check them out! I also bought an adorable mini plush elephant from the overstock store. It pays off to rummage through bins of crap, I promise.

Tay

Broken Circle, Teaching More Art Classes, and Summer Heat

Gudrun and I trespassed on some private Dutch property today. It was great.

Now, the backstory: We drove 45 minutes to get to Emmen, a city in the Netherlands, only to find that the entrance to Robert Smithson’s piece “Broken Circle” was closed, with no one in sight. Robert Smithson is the artist who created Spiral Jetty in the Great Salt Lake, so he’s kind of a big deal. And he has this great piece in the middle of Dutch farmland – go figure. Anyways. We had already driven all that way, and apparently since the property (a nicely sized lake) is privately owned, you have to pay 5 euros just to get in. So, we… snuck in under the barbed-wire fence. I know, you don’t have to tell me how classy I am.

The piece itself is really beautiful, as you’ll be able to see in the photos. At first I thought the entire length of the lakeshore was part of it, but Broken Circle is only on the far side. The rest of the machinery and piles of dirt and sand are gouged up from the middle of the lake by the property owner and sold for profit.

Here are some photos (the birds-eye-view type one is from that big green mound on the hill that you see in one of the pictures. You can climb it, as there is a spiraling path hidden amidst all of the bushes.):

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Walking towards the piece (in the distance and difficult to see.)

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Standing on the end of the “broken” circle.

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View from the top of the green mound. The previous photo was taken from where Gudrun (the black speck) is sitting.

Aside from today’s adventure, Tuesday and Friday this week I taught more art classes for children and tried not to shrivel from the heat. Last night was the worst so far, but I don’t think it will be repeated. I also killed about 20 flies today because those things are so annoying. It was either keep all the doors and windows shut to prevent flies from coming in, and suffer in the heat, or compromise with flies and fresh air. The latter option was worth the additional annoyance. I’m definitely writing in my Kunstverein essay about how much my fly-swatting skills have improved over the past two months!

It’s hard to think that I only have a week or so left until I leave to explore the UK for a few days. And then I’ll be home! 18 days. I’m sad to leave Gudrun, Lukas, the Kunstverein, Neuenhaus, and all of the great people I’ve met, but it’s time to go home. : )

No art updates right now; I made something, but it’s a special present so I can’t put it on the internet! I’ll make more soon, though, so don’t worry too much.

Ciao!

I almost bought a cute finger puppet, but they didn’t have an elephant.

This seriously always happens to me. I constantly find myself in the section of shops where there is a bunch of random toylike or just plain random things, and of course it is my mission to find something both affordable and elephant-related. I was in one shop that was a combination of kitchen accoutrements and home goods, but they also had a little section for kids. And they had ADORABLE miniature knitted finger puppets. I looked through all of the bins searching for an elephant, but no such luck. I mean, what? They had giraffes, and monkeys, and sheep, and hedgehogs – how do you have a hedgehog and no elephant? – but no elephant.

Mood. Killer.

Good thing I bought a soft-serve ice cream cone from a vendor! It was bliss. I love soft-serve. I would eat a bajillion soft-serve anythings, but I don’t like premium ice cream. Yes, it’s true, I’m just not a huge fan of brands like Ben and Jerry’s and Haagen-Dazs! Just normal ice cream, thanks, and especially Edy’s Slow-Churned because I grew up with that. But now I’m off-topic. I also decided on this particular vendor because she had a Taylor machine, and I felt the need to financially support the famous soft-serve brand that is my namesake.

This was all in Enschede, by the way. Enschede is a city in the Netherlands about 45 minutes away from Neuenhaus by car. The train I took from Amsterdam went to Enschede, and then Gudrun picked me up. On Saturdays there is a wonderful giant market in the city center, so Gudrun leaped at the chance to stock up on more fruit and vegetables. I contributed by buying a quarter of a watermelon. : ) We also bought a kilogram of gummies because Dutch gummies are the best. It’s impossible for Gudrun to go to the Netherlands and come back to Germany without at least one bag of gummies, this is a proven fact.

I think I’m writing this post backwards, haha. The first thing we did in Enschede was visit the Rijksmuseum Twenthe. It has a nice (albeit small) collection, but the two contemporary exhibitions were the most interesting. One featured a female artist who made large-scale charcoal landscapes. There was a softness to them that felt almost dreamlike, but at the same time it was easy to feel as though you could walk into the black and white scenes. They aren’t idealized landscapes, so it’s easy to relate to them and think that it’s the same scene you walked past earlier in the day.

The other exhibition was a combination of video stills from famous movies, set alongside well-known paintings. The idea was to show how filmmakers reference imagery from paintings, and some of them were nearly identical! It was a good idea, but the artist chose to put a lot of images together and it was a little overwhelming at times. Still, a valuable reminder that there is a source for everything.

Here’s a “coffee shop”; the key is that if it’s spelled the American way, it means you can buy weed there. You’re good to get a real coffee at someplace that says “Koffie.” (I didn’t buy any drugs, don’t worry.)

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And then a recent doodle:

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And if you didn’t notice, I changed my header. Here is the original compilation image of my homeless drawings:

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Want to hear a bad joke? Of course you do.

I can’t remember if I mentioned it before or not, but on the way back from Kandern/Art Basel in June, Gudrun and I stopped to visit her friend Helmut near Cologne. He is a professional photographer and has worked for the Kunstverein on several occasions, so Gudrun asked him to come and photograph some of the Kunstwegen works again. (Sorry, I keep meaning to write a blog post about the Kunstwegen but then I forget. I am a bad blogger. Google it!) He lives in a castle and makes salad dressing, “Gabriella Saucen”, on the side. It’s actually quite the side-business, as he’s currently trying to reach an agreement with one of the grocery store franchises to have his dressing sold on a wide scale.

He also told me that one time he visited Minneapolis to photograph the owner of Harley-Davidson. I haven’t looked into it, but I suppose it’s possible that one of the image results for the owner on Google is done by Helmut? Ha. Well, he stayed for dinner and then drove home. Originally he was supposed to stay with us for a few days, but, well, he got in some major angry yelling phone argument with his wife (the sauce is named after her) and it sort of killed the mood. He did tell me a great bad joke before he left. I thought I was the queen of bad puns and jokes, but I may have found my match.

“Snow White and Pinocchio were walking through a forest. Suddenly, Snow White pushes Pinocchio to the ground. As he is laying there on his back, she sits on his face and yells “LIE!”

Um, I don’t know where on earth he got the idea for this, but Gudrun said that all of his jokes are lewd like this. He is such an interesting man. Sorry for destroying the sanctity of your Disney childhood.

Good night on that note!

Taylor

Update on lineart:

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Taylor made art on the computer? This is unheard of.

For some reason, it feels like it’s been a decade since I last posted on here, but I think it was yesterday or something? My sense of time has apparently decided to go kaput. Umm, nothing especially interesting has happened. I translated some more texts on the website, sketched some nice plants and whatnot, and doddled around with an app for the iPad that is kind of like simplified Photoshop. It’s made by Adobe, but it’s free, and of course doesn’t have all of the effects or options of real Photoshop. But that’s okay because I’m a cheapskate not well-versed in Photoshop and don’t actually know what I’m missing!

Seriously guys, I haven’t used Photoshop before in my life, and only used Paint Shop Pro 9 for a bit in junior high and high school. But I figured that in order to make myself marketable, I ought to at least teach myself some basic design skills. With that in mind, I made a doodle of a girl (it’s nothing special, just a practice WIP so it’s not going on here!) and also started making line art overlay of one of my newest pen and ink homeless prints. Oh, yeah. I’ve been blowing up my Tumblr but didn’t post on here yet – I made a fifth drawing! Yay! Annnnnd now I’m out of homeless people again. I will probably have to wait until I get to London to find more, bah.

I’m just going to spam-post some pictures here, although my art stuff is focused in my Tumblr, and leave it at that. The most interesting thing that has happened here since two days ago is that it is still hot as hell. Especially in the attic. Where I happen to sleep. I have this tiny fan that blows 6 degree Celsius air in my face all night long, which helps slightly. I don’t care about how much energy I’m using, because it’s probably way less than what it would cost to have A/C. So, there.

Also, AMERICA/GERMANY/WHOEVER HAS IT please send my parents’ care package to the house!! Please! I promise it doesn’t have bombs or plans for world domination. At least, they didn’t tell me they were including anything like that… I plead ignorant of any wrongdoing. The mail has hardly come at all recently, and I’m convinced that it didn’t come today. I should know, because I was at the house for all but four hours, and was sitting in the front yard drawing and straining for the sweet sounds of envelopes dropping into the box. Nope. Maybe tomorrow. There is almond butter in there! Gum! Calcium supplements! Drugs!

Ha. Alright, enjoy the pictures. This post brought to you by Shane Co. (“… and in Woodbury, at the corner of I-94 and Radio Drive…”)

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My beautiful drawing of the front yard did not make the package arrive any faster.

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Cherries Jubilee!

No, I’m not actually making cherries jubilee. ; ) But it is festive here now that we have a bunch of them! I’m just going to post a bunch of pictures and let them speak for themselves, but we may or may not have broken a cherry tree branch in our pursuit of happiness… Lukas was my espionage co-agent.

The tree:

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Riding away on our getaway bikes and hiding behind my secret sunglasses eye protectors:

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The end result (significantly diminished in volume at this point… how many cherries can a Taylor eat? A lot.):

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Have a wonderful Sunday, friends!

Life is slow here… painfully slow.

Aaaaaaagh. Okay. As great as it is here, I just need to take a minute and discuss the clashing of my fast-paced-always-want-to-be-doing-something-productive mindset with the inevitable European slowness and drawn-out everything. Europe is great, really. But I just can’t mesh with certain things, one of which is the leisurely length of mealtimes (and the fact that we keep having dinner guests or going to someone else’s house for dinner, etc. etc.). It’s like, we eat the meal, and then we talk. For an hour. And then someone makes espresso and the process repeats itself. Maybe I am just a terrible person, but all I can think about is how I can’t understand what is being said and also how many things I need/want to do.

I frequently excuse myself early, not only because I don’t really want espresso when it is 85 degrees out, but also because I need to get on with my life. It’s selfish, but I have literally so many things that I want to do and never enough time! Plus, today in particular is a Sunday and I shouldn’t be working. I’m sure I sound mean and inconsiderate right now, and I’m sorry for ranting in a post when I told myself this was a strictly no-negative blog. The majority of the blog is fine, and I’m happy to hear that people are reading! I just need to write out my feelings and this is a great vehicle.

In other news, I’ve been updating the Tumblr with photos! I’m not going to post as many on here, so just check out the link that I left in my previous post. : )

I’m waiting for people to stop eating the meal/talking with the artist so I can steal Lukas and use his extra height to pick cherries from the trees along my favorite path. It’s awful – there are SO MANY CHERRIES and I can’t reach any of them. I managed to get six, and they are delicious. Sorry I’m not sorry, but picking ripe cherries sounds way more appealing than spending hours with an artist (he’s really nice and cool and speaks great English, to be fair). So I hope I end up with lots of cherries at the end of the day, but we’ll see.

Foiled by cherry trees… why did you evolve to grow cherries only at the top of the tree? Nature can be so cruel.

Ciao!

Groningen and my post-Deutschland travel agenda

Oh, hallo!

Yesterday I went with my host to a city in the Netherlands called Groningen.  I’d never heard of it before she told me we were going, but it’s actually fairly large as a regional center.  We were visiting the artist Wim Bosch, who will have an exhibition in the Kunstverein in October.  His recent work involves photography of mid-19th century German and Dutch architecture, which is very square and simplistic.  He also has a series of black and white photographs of plastic playhouses for children.  One of them looks exactly like the playhouse I had as a child, except the way Bosch has altered the photograph makes it seem distant and foreign.  The houses are somber with the grey tones, and the shadows really accentuate the shiny plastic texture in the highlights while giving it an eerie look through the shadows.  There are no people, so it is easy to get the sense of abandonment.

Groningen seems like such a large city after living in tiny Neuenhaus for over a month, but in reality it’s much smaller than Minneapolis or even Saint Paul.  We did the traditional thing of café-hopping and wandering; I skipped the art museum because I wasn’t feeling it and opted to sketch outside instead.  I’m currently finishing the sketch and will post it when I’m done!  You’re warned:  it’s colorful.

I miss you all dearly!  After Germany, here are my (finally) official plans:

August 13th:  leave Neuenhaus, take series of trains to London

August 13th – 16th:  in London

August 16th – 18th:  in Edinburgh

August 18th – 20th:  in Glasgow

August 20th:  flight from Glasgow to Dublin; chill in Dublin for the day

August 21st:  fly home to Minneapolis!  Arrive around 7:45 pm.

Originally I was going to visit Liverpool and spend more time in Dublin, so I wouldn’t leave until the 24th, but it felt too long and I really just want to be home.  This way, I will be dead tired when I arrive in MSP, but I can go to bed asap and wake up on my birthday!!  It’ll be great, even if my family ends up being in Mexico… ah, haha.

Installing the new exhibition!

Hey guys!

This week is busy, but also flying by. Yesterday and today I go to Nordhorn and help teach manga drawing classes at the Staedtische Galerie. It’s fun! And my manga is so rusty… it looks too much like real people even when I try to cartoonify them. BUT. Everything is going well. Yesterday I ended up drawing Shego (Kim Possible, anyone) from memory, and when I checked the almighty internet afterwards it wasn’t half bad! I forgot that she’s a sourpuss and never smiles, though. Whoops. ; )

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On Monday I was helping put up the new exhibition. It’s called “Atelier auf Zeit” and themed after the idea of Arcadia, but with a twist. One wall is covered in large printed papers with the words “et in arcadia ego” – there is death even in Arcadia – and anagrams of the sentence that form jibberish sentences. The artist is also repurposing a former outdoor artwork that consisted of canvas panels printed with images. It was destroyed by the wind, so now it is cut up into pieces and either nailed to the wall or hung on a clothesline outside. Everything is looking very interesting!

The idea is that people will come in and be inspired to make some sort of art around the Arcadia theme, so there are some nice lawn chairs set up for relaxation. There will also be a section of the Kunstverein where people can actually draw something. I’m not quite sure how everything will proceed, but the mystery is always half the fun.

Not too much else to report, otherwise. I’m over halfway done and it’s a bittersweet feeling. While I know that I belong in Minnesota, it will be hard to leave the nice life I have here. Goal upon return: don’t get so stressed out about life. Take (coffee) breaks. Be social.

WordPress has itself all in a funk and won’t upload my watercolor pictures… but that’s okay, because I recently started posting on my Tumblr anyways. It’s just for art and ramblings, whereas this is more themed towards WorkART stuff. Go to reinasan. tumblr .com to see them! I’m still a total newbie when it comes to Tumblr, and, yes, I will eventually give myself an actual title. ; )

Ciao!