Servus, dear visitor!

Servus and a warm welcome to my other "Von Pappe" blog.

Edit 1: I have been thinking about this for quite some time now and have come to the decision to change this blog into a more personal one - more of a kind of diary of someone who struggles with Hashimoto thyroid disease (and therefore sometimes also depression) and also often with trying to be an artist (which both takes quite a lot of courage I found - especially when you lack self confidence ;).

Sometimes I feel I need to write down thoughts, ideas, plans or goals - just to make them "count" or more "real" for myself in a way. So what you will find in this place are traces of my personal journey towards feeling healthier again (after also having been diagnosed with borreliosis more recently) and also more confident as a creative.

I have also decided to keep this blog - though being quite personal - set to "public" in the hope that others who struggle, too and read my blog, feel less alone on their "journeys".

So if you choose to read posts on here you may well read about feelings and thoughts that are usually not being shared out there in crafty blogland and on facebook and all the other social platforms, where we all want to feel surrounded by shiny, happy people only to feel good and not be reminded of our own sorrows and struggles (which I totally understand to be honest).

Edit 2: After more consideration I have also decided to disable the commenting function, so no one needs to feel pressed to leave a comment, as some of my posts may seem as if I was "fishing for words of encouragement" I found...which definitely is the least I want for my wonderful creative friends out there, who care, to feel like!
I know you care - and for that I feel blessed and thankful! *

Please, know that I am fine. I just - like everybody else - have (harder) times when I am wearing the "darker glasses" and when I question everything and everyone and especially myself...and I also have times - and these are by far the majority - when it is just the usual artist's struggle...or real life struggle...or simply having gotten up on the wrong side of my bed....nothing exceptional. Just life.

Take care! XXX

PS: in case you want to contact me, do so via email under

* a huge, heartfelt THANK YOU to all those who have left uplifting comments on here in the past! I've loved them all and always will. xxx

Sunday, 14 December 2014

A Flowery Meadow Before Christmas

Well, here it flowery meadow right in the midst of a foggy, grey in grey winter! Of course I HAD TO finish it - BUT I did some cleaning up At least just as much to keep a bad conscience at bay. ;)

Thank you for all the understanding comments on my last post concerning this matter! It really helps to know that you're not the only one who struggles with colliding painterly and X-mas decorating/cleaning interests. :)

 (this is just a fraction of the whole canvas...scroll down for more ;)

There was a  moment - right after I had added the blue that is meant to resemble the air and the sky on a hot summer day - when I thought I had messed it all up. Uh oh - the blue I had mixed with some white Gesso and some drops of a deep blue media fluid acrylic wasn't turquoise enough to contrast the flowers' colours and redoing all the blue space would have meant to spend more time on painting (which would have meant even less time for X-mas - and also the risk of loosing precious texture from the crackle underneath! But I finally found a way to fix it rather quickly by scraping a vibrant red colour and some white Gesso with a palette knife onto some spots (which made the green pigment content from the blue I had used pop a bit more). Phew!

At one o'clock in the morning (and several "finishing touches" later) I sat in front of my bright and bloomin' flowery meadow and was (finally) content and happy (and ready for some relaxed sleep)!

(if you click on the images you get a larger view so you can see all the detail)

It's a 10''x 23'' (25 x 58 cm) canvas which I prepped with some Texture Crackle and heavy wet on wet colour spray misting to create random colour spots. Then the dry and highly textural surface was painted and doodled on with Gesso, acrylics and various markers.

I am still looking for a title for my canvas. It shows Bertram the grasshopper, who is preparing to leave this part of the meadow.

Maybe he's on the lookout for new adventures. Or he just wants to get away from Pubert, the ever ranting mosquito (who obviously suffers a heavy depression and scarcely makes it to the next blood filling station).

Besides this social mini-drama there's typical "meadow activity" of course.

Tiny moss is growing in the shade of some delicate crocus and other beauties' leaves.

And there's no real flowery meadow of course without the Canadian Burnet (= der "Gemeine Wiesenknopf" in German, which - if translated literally - means "Common Meadow Button")!

Bertram really has to make a very high jump to get past this large specimen:

Have you ever taken a really close look at a flower's construction? We tend to think of flowers as being quite "simple" - but in fact they aren't!

And there are so many different kinds of them! And they all work differently, have different needs and "guests" (like Maria, the lady bug - she prefers to spend her nights in the shelter of a wild Orchid's blossom for example). Here she is - getting ready for the night after a visit with her best friend Mathilda (an excentric dung beetle lady):

But even the simple stems of grasses or seedlings make a beautiful sight, don't they?

So I hope you have enjoyed your trip and meeting Bertram & Co. ! And I hope you do find some of the magic that I see and find in a common flowery meadow in my painting too. ;)

(C'mon, Pubert, ye grumpy ole chap! Feelers up! How about a little smile? Just give it a try. )

Claudia xxx

Thursday, 11 December 2014

So many ideas, so little time, so very procrastinating!

Seems I either have to learn to live with the fact that Christmas season is the time when something deep in me refuses to do any Christmas cards or Christmas home decorations or learn to already start in October so I will be done by the end of November.

It's the same with selfmade presents. I have started some, but then didn't like the idea or the outcome (as I mostly tend to think of my stuff not being good enough to make a worthy present for Christmas), redid them, had them already wrapped up for putting them with the mail and then took them out again to make some adjustments or changes....sigh. That's me I am afraid.

So here I am - slightly starting to feel that certain panic creeping up my back because there is still a lot of cleaning up to do before "Christkind can come visit our place" without finding cobwebs in the corners of my living room and dogs hair in almost every spot under the furniture. Not to mention the dusting around (or even under? really?) my treasures on my writing desk (which my husband tends to call "dust collectors") that most of the time leaves me with indulging in sweet memories connected to them....

I read somewhere on facebook these days (shouldn't spend so much time there either) that someone's mother in law uses to throw glitter at the cobwebs in the corners instead of dusting them maybe I just have to adjust my point of view on this?

But instead of at least trying to start with one or the other agenda on my list I am doing stuff like this:

Can you believe it? This is going to be a wide canvas with a summer-y flower meadow in full bloom (seen from an insect's point of view) and I have never before enjoyed diving into colour (especially the greens), painting and doodling that much! And of course this happens when I should be finishing my presents, doing white on white, glittery Christmas goodness or baking cookies or planning this year's Christmas dinner.... can someone, please, hit me in the head? lol

But I am sure you know that HAVE TO finish this painting because you so want to find out how it will look when it is done!!! Will it spread the feelings you wanted it to? Will it tell the story you had in your mind while painting? Will it form a complete piece of art that is more than just the sum of its components? Will others see in it what you wanted them to see and discover? So many questions and such an unknown outcome....could you do boring household stuff or concentrate on finishing up Christmas presents with questions like these at stake? And knowing that you definitely SHOULD, doesn't help. I can tell!

Guess I will have to lock up my studio so I can get (and stay) in Christmas preparations mood and enjoy this lovely and peaceful season of the year. But maybe I do need that summer-y meadow in full bloom to counter all the grey in grey and the cold wet weather... well, all I can tell is that I will try to do my best. Whatever that is. ;)

And for a finish my word of the day: procaffeinating = drinking coffee while procrastinating! That's so true, so me (and sadly a very addictive thing to do)...


Friday, 24 October 2014

C stands for "Courage"

Don't we all reach some point in our lives where we feel that we may have (finally) found the direction we want to head in...but still haven't found our very personal right pace or way of moving (towards whatever we think we will find at the end of our journey)?

Having been a blogger for about six years now (all of the blogs I started back then do not exist anymore - and I regard them being first steps rather than real blogs honestly), I still find myself lacking that courage to blog as "the real and complete ME". And when I read wonderful Seth Apter's blog post about authenticity (over HERE) this morning, I decided it was time to change that. Now.

Why? I hear you ask. Well - in fact I am a very thoughtful and earnest person (as those who know me a bit closer might already have noticed). It is what I would describe myself by if asked about my most typical qualities.

I started blogging as a photographer and poetry writer, you know? So there were a lot of very personal thoughts and feelings expressed in the poems I wrote back then. But since I discovered Mixed Media and turned to creating with paints, stamps and visual stuff of all kinds instead of painting images with words and their very sounds, something has gone missing.

I know that one's works of art always tell something about the artist too - but it always has a more "common" feel to it. And they are most of the time filtered to create that "sunny, happy (and therefore rather unreal) world"-image or to make a statement critical of society.
A lot of the feelings we all experience on a regular basis seem to be banned from "crafty blogland", which is the "bloggersphere" I "exist" and move in at the moment. And I understand that when people want to spend some time off everyday life (by getting creative) they don't want to read loads of burdening or mood-affecting stuff. We want to see something inspiring, bright, light-weighed. Something that makes us forget about our own worries for a while.

But then I found that we often tend to forget about the person/s behind the blog we are visiting - simply because they do not feel "real" (or authentic) in a way. It's that "shiny, happy people" image that is a very powerful thing that's going on in blogland. Part of us simply knows that noone is shiny and happy all of the time. It's just not a reality one could live by - no matter how hard he tried or wanted to. But visiting crafty blogland provides us with the illusion that it might be possible anyway. And don't we all long for this state of living without fear, illness, anger, frustration, pain and all the other burdens that consume part of our energy on a daily basis?

So me too was drawn into not blogging about my health issues (of which there are quite some, dealing with a chronical illness) or about things that annoy me or just get me thinking. Not even about failure with creative projects! Until only recently I realised that when blogging I feel that I have to serve readers with only that part of me that's positive, motivational, encouraging and visually appealing - the "perfect" me. (I know we all know there is no such state as being really "perfect"...).

Seems I never really asked myself whom I wanted to write my blogs for. Me or my readers? Who in the first place? Boy, it is really difficult deciding on how to balance this - I know. You wouldn't blog if you hadn't wished for at least a bunch of readers who like what you write about on a regular basis, would you? So for starters you try to present yourself as attractive and joyful as possible (don't we know that from real life too?) - you smile, you create, you burst with telling the world about your latest creative adventures, achievements and explorations. And once it starts getting you somewhere it is hard to change the old (and obviously successful) behaviour, isn't it?

And you are afraid of how readers will think of you once you show your less "shiny and happy"colours. Will they still like you? We all want to be loved for what we do and what we show of ourselves. We don't feel safe when showing our imperfections or talking about our worries or fears. But when we do so, we reach out for a hand. It is that urge for being touched so we can feel that we are not alone in whatever troubles us. But reaching out and therefore becoming "touchable" also makes us vulnerable. Right?

And that's why it takes tons of courage to blog and present ourselves authentically.

But if you feel that something's missing from your being a blogger...if you feel that it doesn't make you as "whole" as you wanted it to make you...shouldn't you just take a leap and try? You'll never find out unless you try.

Wednesday, 1 October 2014

A small gift

This is a small thank you gift for my son's dislexia trainer, who has always been there for him and helped him out of some really bad times at school.

The box is made from corrugated card and old dictionary pages. Its outside is decorated with Crackle Glaze, Antiquing Creams and acrylic washes.

The little container holds a necklace with a pendant done in encaustics. As I am just a beginner, these small objects are great for practicing and experimenting.

It is a wonderfully meditative thing to embed tiny objects into the wax, to add colour with Pan Pastels and oil pastels, to reheat, engrave, stamp in and remelt.

The small gears are a fleamarket find. 

I hope she will like it! I love making little boxes and altered art jewelry, so I had a wonderful time creating this piece!

Saturday, 10 May 2014

First Steps at Encaustic

I have always admired encaustic projects but it took me quite some time to dare try it myself.

What I love about encaustic is that this technique is very forgiving. You can always add layers, remelt, scrap off what you don't like or even embrace happy accidents ;)

I had a first play with this technique - trying to add texture, embed objects, add colour and also remove some of it.

Adding colour with oil pastels worked quite well - but not with all brands I had at home. It took some time until I found the one that was soft enough but also gave enough pigment.

I used scraps from an old French botanical textbook alongside some scraps from an old magazine from around 1940 to build up the background.

I encorporated rusted and patina-ed objects as well as an old yellowish tinted watch glass.

The frozen charlotte head is a cast made from an original and done with white UTEE. I combined it with an old watch key.

I call that yellow watch glass element my "encaustic fried egg" ;)

I love the highly textural feel that you can create with encaustic! And as I love assemblage too and using found objects, I really enjoyed embedding some of my "treasures" to the prepared surface.

The vintage buttons were a fleamarket find from my last visit to the Vienna Naschmarkt fleamarket. I love that they have a history - even (or especially) if it is a history of an ordinary life spent in a sewing chest...maybe being re-used several times.

Paint board, 4'' x 6''.
Bees wax, Palembang Dammar resin, oil pastels, black wire, found objects, scraps from old books.

Friday, 2 May 2014

A New Art Journal Page

I recently created an art journal page on my "creative fun blog" Von Pappe II as a project for Our Creative Corner.
If you are interested in that page too, you can get to the post by clicking here.

I loved the process and the result so much that I decided to do another page using the same technique and materials. But this time I wanted to make the process more visible for you - so I created a slide show which shows what I  added - bit by bit - to my page. But first let me show you both pages in my journal:

The left page was the one done for OCC and the right page is the one I want to share with you today. I took a picture of it every time I had added some new details (collaged items, drawn circles, stamping) - so you can follow the genesis of this page in detail and also learn a bit about how my creative process works.

Like with the left side page I used scraps from my antique watchmakers cabinet, old watch glass labels, scraps from a magazine from the 1930s, DecoArt matte Decou-Page, Distress markers and watercolour pencils.

I loved the various colour tones of the crumpled paper pieces. These were used in the watchmakers cabinet to help storing the watch glasses safely. The labels have all come off the hundreds of watch glasses that the cabinet held when I received it. I love the numbers on them - like a secret "code" I do not understand.

As I took the first images of my journal page (at the stage of preparing the background by collageing those scraps to the page) at a different angle than the others I show these separately - so you can see how I started my page:

The last image is also the starting image with the slide show I created for you to kind of let you "look over my shoulder" during the creative process.

If the slideshow doesn't work for you, please try the link below it.

I hope you enjoyed watching this page come to life. ;)
Some of the steps during the process seem rather subtle, but they are important when it comes to creating depth.

For example the shading of the ephemeras' edges with the Distress markers. It makes the torn edges and overlaps pop so much more!

This is an image taken before "distressing" the edges of the glued on scraps.

And this one shows the difference after shading the edges:

See the difference? 

The Decou-Page matte glue and varnish is perfect for preparing a background like dries really fast and also helps with smudging the Distress marker lines to shade the elements I want to make more prominent. 

Then I used the black (and also a pink) watercolour pencil and a water loaded brush to add some circles:

As you can see I also added some white highlights. When doing the background collage I tried to form "groups" of similar shaped objects...three circles in a vertical line...or three of the rectangle labels in a line:

By stamping (with Tim Holtz and Ditzie Designs stamps and black archival ink) I added some texture. But I let the ephemera play the main role.

The "message" of my journal page was stamped onto one of the pages of the old magazine (using a Red Lead stamp). Then I tore it to shape and glued it to that spot that felt as the "most boring" to me. For a finish I shaded the edges of that label with my "black soot" Distress marker.

I hope you like my journal page and enjoyed watching the slide show too.
I enter this journal page to Art Journal Journey's May collection, where "Circles" are wanted.... I can never get enough of circles honestly  ;)

xoxo Claudia