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

Saturday, 29 March 2014

Be Authentic!

When I recently shared this panel with you, I only showed you one of a pair. So today I would like to show you the other altered panel I created.

This one was done the same way as the other: on a piece of paint board which I coated with acrylic colours, before I added texture through a stencil using DecoArt Modelling Paste.

I also used DecoArt Metallic Lustres and Ranger Crackle Accents to add some shine and detail.

I love numerals and letters, so I stencilled some on using white Gesso and a Red Lead stencil. The "Authentic" word was from a Wendy Vecchi stencil.

Thanks for stopping by! Claudia x

Friday, 28 March 2014

Bird Journal No.1

My first try on making a book with coptic stitch binding. The book covers are made from heavy cardboard on which I used acrylic colours, some lace, designer paper, old book pages and a watercoloured quick sketch of a bird (done after a photograph).

I also covered the covers' insides with some lovely designer paper that matches the theme of my little watercolour.

On the outsides I used DecoArt Americana acrylic colours "Dusty Rose" and "Sea Glass" alongside some white DecoArt Acrylic Gesso, which I applied with a palette knife.

The edges of the covers were heavily scraped with the blade of a carpet knife to roughen them for a more shabby look.

I also roughened the edges of the designer paper before glueing it to the cover.

I like the look of the Coptic stitch binding although I 'm not sure if I did all the stitching as it should be done. But as my book doesn't fall apart the binding obviously seems to work. But I will definitely have to practise on this ;)

As I wanted my sketch to be finished quickly, I did the watercolouring with some Distress stains and a brush. Before that I had to seal the pencil drawing with some hairspray so not to smudge it when applying the watercolours.


Tuesday, 25 March 2014

When She Writes Poetry

Today a dear friend of mine sent me some poems her daughter wrote at the age of 8 and I was not only deeply touched by the love for nature that I found expressed in the most beautiful words but also by the way she used language....making it feel as if she had carefully woven from the very sound of the words and syllables the most soft and yet at the same time thick and strong carpet for the reader to walk upon or lie down on.

A bit later I browsed the net visiting some of my favourite blogs for some of which is Art Journal Journey.  I loved their theme "A Fantasy Scene"and wanted to create something  to join in (and thought about elves or fairies)...and then I came up with this scene, letting my gut and hands take the lead.

After it was finished I was wondering where the idea might have originated from. I hadn't thought about girls flying with balloons or about tiny houses on hills for a special reason... Until I realised that this was my friend's daughter as I imagine her when I read her poems.
Every single word in her poems is chosen with such a lot of thought and utter precision in meaning...trying to show the reader how she sees nature and the earth she walks upon.

Her poetry inspired me to create this mixed media project....showing this girl, flying in the sky (because to me good poetry is like a bird's song) and looking down at the beautiful earth below her - seeing it from her very special point of view...feeling the warmth of the sun and being deeply connected to everything that surrounds her. At least his is how I imagine her.

I collaged some of the elements using old book pages and a colour copy of one of my recent abstract paintings.

The sky and the green on the soft hills were done by applying acrylic colours with a palette knife, layering various tones of blue and white rather randomly.

I would like to enter it to Paint Party Friday's and Art Journal Journey's actual collection of lovely art journaling and mixed media.
Claudia x

Monday, 24 March 2014

"Envelope Encouragement"

What can you do when you know that a dear friend of yours is having a hard time? Send her something bright and colourful to cheer her up of course ;)

I only recently (and rather accidentally) stumbled upon Roben-Marie Smith, a wonderful artist who creates the most adorable and artful "mess" I have seen in a long time! She also combines own photography with her lovely I didn't hesitate a sec and took one of her adorable online classes.

The result of my first attempt on approaching her style is this "cheer up"-envelope as I love to call it.

It holds an ATC size card with an encouraging sentiment on it, kept safely underneath a lot of folded in wings.

I did some slight adaptions but with the colour scheme and shapes I mainly followed her style - using the striking black circles and doodleing. For a start I always find it good to stick to the shown project closely so you can focus on things like composition, shapes and how they work and how to blend it all together instead of just creating a smudgy mess because you have added too much or combined too many colours.

"Mark making" is one of Roben-Marie Smiths main "ingredient" and as she used this expression a lot with her tutorial it made me think about mark-making in general and what it is to "us humans"....just think of Graffity or lovers' initials carved into old trees. Even the antique Romans used to leave their engraved marks with the Egypt pyramids and temples a lot of centuries ago - simply saying "I was here!" as we still find it today with a lot of places.

What is it that makes us "mark" the places we have been to or objects we don't really own but use (like school desks for example). I guess sometimes we have to make places and things "our own" to feel in control and at other times we leave marks simply to prove (and make sure for ourselves) that we still can ;)

Creating "some thing" out of plain paper...just with the use of simple materials and our imagination is one of the most rewarding things to do for us humans. Some write on paper (or print their thoughts and knowledge on it), some use it to build something dimensional and really many of us love to draw on it, doodle, paint, scribble...fill the white "empty" space with our very own traces. Just because it feels good.

You will see a lot of circles on this make. So let's talk about circles.

Circles (or any other shapes close to them) are one of the most dominant shapes in art, because they draw the focus to them a lot easier and faster than any other geometrical shape. They lead our view towards the spot they sit on and are the most static elements to use. Simply because a circle does not have any other direction to lead our view to. Triangles for example lead our view along their sides and into their surrounding space and create a lot of motion, squares help "fixing" horizontal and vertical elements in a design. Both include their surroundings in image composition. But circles don't. So they have to be used with care but also help a lot when you need to balance abstract paintings.

Ever noticed that groups of similar elements only look good when they come in odd numbers? ;) This has to do with symmetry...which to our cognition is rather boring.

And why are so many of us attracted so much more to the less symmetrical and evenly done shapes than to the perfect circles, perfectly centered focal elements? Yes - for the same reason. Symmetry is boring because it looks very static compared to dynamical irregular shapes. On the other hand symmetry is necessary with a lot of our environmental it helps read "information" (on how to use, where to go, where to press a button,...) really fast. And it is one thing that we all have on us - because our bodies and faces are symmetrical. So we feel "safe" and at ease with symmetrie too. But when it comes to art we don't need and want to feel safe and at ease, right?

Art is expected to be "adventurous" for the eyes. (Well, there are exceptions with certain art genres, but these are rather conceptional). So we love to see the uneven, the unexpected and the contrasting or even "fighting" shapes or colours.

Art is all about cognition, personal taste and our very personal historic and educational background. Everyone "reads" art differently and the more abstract a painting is the more open space it provides to fill in some of one's own ideas, dreams, preferences and wishes on what we want to see.

Art is "mark making". Expressing ourselves through working with a piece of "white" (plain) space to create to our liking. So we can say "Look! I was here. I did this. This is "me". "

Materials used: watercolour paper, white Gesso, acrylic colours, artists pencil, watercolour pencil, vellum, whiteout marker, rubber stamping, black stamping ink, palette knife

Friday, 21 March 2014

blackbird fly

"Blackbird" has always been one of my most favourite songs by The Beatles. I just love the lyrics and have been taking comfort since I was a child in the thought that you can always take these sunken eyes and learn to see...

...and that when your wings are broken you just have to learn to fly again - differently. Life now and then "wounds" us - this is part of life and we would lie to ourselves if we believed that we can always avoid being wounded. Living successfully means to deal with a damage done, accept it and learn  to work your way around it or simply change your old behaviour...or simply the way you fly.

I wrote the song's lyrics along the branches so they look like ants climbing the trees bark.

Materials used: brown kraft paper, acrylic colours, brayer, designer paper, Decou-page matte, distress markers, stencil, old book pages

Branches and leaves were cut free hand, shading was done with distress markers over decou-page glue.

Why is it that birds touch our very souls so easily? Some say it is because they can get so much closer to heaven than we can (and without a window pane from a plane between them and the very air). But I believe it is their ability to sing the most beautiful songs. Wouldn't it be wonderful if we communicated through music instead of spoken words? (lol....just imagine getting a ticket from a police officer and he sings it to you instead of bark it in your face ;)

Leonardo da Vinci watched birds flight very closely and did the most wonderful drawings and studies. He was highly fascinated by the way they move their wings and tails to steer. And even though we have airplanes now and are able to travel the skies too, we still admire how these fragile creatures inhabit the sky.