More Trees

As I'm living beside a two square mile park full of trees, it's a great subject matter to paint or draw. Yesterday and this morning I worked on a new pastel drawing of the trees.

Undergrowth

Another acrylic and pastel painting: "Undergrowth". I feel like I'm on a roll now, painting every day.

Misaligned

"Misaligned" - Another painting started yesterday and finished today - acrylic paint and pastel pencils on paper.

Berlinische Galerie

I was at the Berlinische Galerie on Thursday, one of the best contemporary art museums in Berlin. They have a permanent collection of art from about 1870 onwards and currently there are 4 exhibitions, two of which I focused on today: Cornelia Schleime and Christine Streuli.

Cornelia Schleime was born in East Berlin and at a certain stage in her practice her work was banned by the GDR and she eventually was able to move to West Berlin in 1984 but she lost all her work as part of the move. Since then she's won many awards and her paintings tend to be large stylised portraits.

Christine Streuli's was born in Switzerland and has spend some time as a guest professor at Berlin’s University of the Arts. Her work has a Pop Art feel to it.

I also included some works from the permanent collection below. 

I find visiting galleries and looking at art very inspirational and I always leave with a feeling that I want to pick up my brushes and start painting (and I tend to do that when I get back to my apartment). 

I was at another writing Meet-up on Wednesday and I'm finding it very beneficial to be able to share thoughts and ideas on writing with other writers.

Cornelia Schleime

Cornelia Schleime

Cornelia Schleime

Cornelia Schleime

Cornelia Schleime

Cornelia Schleime

Christine Streuli'

Christine Streuli'

Nikolaus Braun (from the permanent collection)

Nikolaus Braun (from the permanent collection)

 

 

Riverbank

A new mixed media painting for today: Riverbank.

Inspired by Patrick O'Hearn's music track - "A lovely place to be".

More Art and Architecture

So much art, architecture, street art and sculpture here in Berlin, there is something to enjoy every day:  

  • Charlottenburg Palace, the largest palace in Berlin, was built as the summer residence of Sophie Charlotte, the first queen of Prussia in 1699.
  • A Botticelli painting from the Gemaldegalerie 
  • The beautiful staircase in the Berggruen museum opposite Charlottenburg Palace
  • A church off Augustrasse
  • Street Art
  • Alberto Giacometti sculpture
  • Matisse
  • Early Picasso
Charlottenburg Palace

Charlottenburg Palace

Botticelli

Botticelli

Berggruen staircase and atrium

Berggruen staircase and atrium

Church off Augustrasse

Church off Augustrasse

Street Art

Street Art

Alberto Giacometti sculpture

Alberto Giacometti sculpture

Matisse

Matisse

Early Picasso

Early Picasso

Reading and Listening

I’ve just finished Mark Dawson’s “The Cleaner”, the first book in the John Milton thriller series, and it was a was a pacey, enjoyable novel. I need to read or listen to lots of novels in this crime/spy genre to help me write in that area. In the last few weeks I’ve read or listened to novels by Val McDermid, Robert Bryndza and Mark Dawson. I’ve found that listening to audio books supplements my reading and as an added bonus, I can listen and paint at the same time.

Listening is also very useful for determining the flow of the language, however the actor reading has a huge impact on the overall experience.  Some novels I’ve listened to have been poorly read and I’ve abandoned listening to them after 50 or 60 pages, and returned to reading them instead.

I had never really considered before how important the skill of a good reader is. Now if I’m going to buy and listen to a novel for perhaps 8 or 10 hours over a week, I make sure I’ve heard samples read by that reader, before committing to it.

There is also something very satisfying about sitting back and closing your eyes and just listening, taking in the words, the different accents, the cadence, the descriptions and imagery and the flow of the story. Part of the pleasure for me, I think, is because it brings back childhood memories when I occasionally listened to serialised books read on BBC Radio 4, with my mother, after I’d come home from school.

But audio books are not cheap, often the price is €10 to €20, sometimes more than the price of the paperback, and I’ve been spoilt by Amazon Kindle pricing where so many books are priced at €1.99. I guess the price is higher because it’s for a reading actor’s performance and a writer’s creation. Audible.com offer a €9.50 one audio book per month option but that’s no comparison to Spotify’s €9.99 per month for millions of music tracks (and some audiobooks too), all month long. It’s not about the quantity, you can only read or listen to so much, but I would definitely subscribe to a service which offered audio or reading of any book at any time.

Amazon.com and Audible.com are getting there, but currently with a very restricted book catalogue.

New mixed media painting: Swirling

My new mixed media painting, Swirling was painted using acrylic paint, pastels and coloured pencils.

Drawing on Picasso for inspiration

While I was at the Berggruen Museum today looking at their fantastic collection of Picasso paintings, I spent an hour making a drawing of one of them "Woman with a hat". First there's the original Picasso and then there's my drawing of it.

Picasso's original "Woman with a hat"

Picasso's original "Woman with a hat"

My drawing of the Picasso

My drawing of the Picasso

Writing and Art

Saturday morning and it was a blustery rainy day in Berlin as I took an early S-Bahn over to Hackescher Markt station and walked up the nearly empty streets to Kaschk cafe on Linienstrasse where I was going to a writers Meetup called "Shut Up and Write". About thirty writers had gathered - novel writers, academics writing PhD theses,  short story writers, and bloggers. We sat down on long benches, drank strong coffee and talked first, then wrote for two hours with a small break in between and more conversation at the end.  There were no critiques - it was just a means to an end - get some writing done and get inspiration from taking to others from all around the globe. I had been writing on my own in the apartment all week and this was a great change. Ricardo from Mexico sat opposite me and after our writing we sat and discussed the novel he's working on. It's on every Saturday morning and sometimes on Wednesday and I've signed up to go along.

Later I took the M45 bus from Zoologischer Garten to Charlottenburg to visit the Berggruen Museum, one of my favourite modern art museums with an impressive collection of paintings by Picasso, Matisse, Klee, Cezanne and many others and a room of Alberto Giacometti sculptures all shown over three circular floors of galleries with a wonderful staircase and atrium. At the top floor of mostly Picasso paintings I sat a while and made a drawing of "Woman with a hat" (see my next post). It was raining when I left the museum but I didn't care, I'd had a fantastic day.

 

Picasso

Picasso

Picasso

Picasso

Picasso

Picasso

Matisse

Matisse

Matisse

Matisse

Alberto Giacometti

Alberto Giacometti

The Berggruen Museum at Charlottenburg

The Berggruen Museum at Charlottenburg

Interesting Buildings

As I've been walking around the local area in Berlin I've noticed a number of interesting buildings.

Berlin Philharmonic buildings 

Berlin Philharmonic buildings 

Photographic archive building near KulturForum 

Photographic archive building near KulturForum 

Austrian Embassy bedside Tiergarten

Austrian Embassy bedside Tiergarten

Government building at Tiergarten

Government building at Tiergarten

KultureForum buildings and St Matthaus Church

KultureForum buildings and St Matthaus Church

Max Planck Institute for Human Development 

Max Planck Institute for Human Development 

Tiergarten Park

I've been walking through Tiergarten park every day since I've arrived here and enjoyed the light through the trees in the mornings and the evenings. It is a large park (2 sq. miles, as you'll see from the photos below) and was designed in the 1830s by landscape architect Peter Lenne. The Victory Column (celebrating Prussian war victories) is in the centre of the park and you can walk up to the top (285 steps) for panoramic views across the park and the city beyond.

Victory Monument in the centre of the park

Victory Monument in the centre of the park

The Gemaldegalerie

The Gemaldegalerie Museum at the Kulturforum near Potsdamer Platz holds a huge collection of art from the 14th century to the 18th century. It's an Aladdin's Cave of art and my visit there today for two hours just scratched the surface (excuse the pun :), allowing me to view some of the most famous paintings, pictured below and spend an hour making a drawing of one of them.

Caravaggio 

Caravaggio 

Vermeer

Vermeer

Canaletto

Canaletto

Botticelli - Venus

Botticelli - Venus

Hans Holbein painting

Hans Holbein painting

Hans Holbein Drawing

I was in the Gemaldegalerie this afternoon and I made a drawing of a Hans Holbein painting while I was there.

Flow

Another mixed media painting started yesterday and finished this morning (acrylic, pastel and pencils). I was listening to an audiobook as I painted: "The Distant Echo" by Val McDermid.

Flow

Flow

Mixed Media Painting: "Isobars"

I've been experimenting with mixed media on this sunny Sunday morning in Berlin. "Isobars" is acrylic paint on paper with pastel and colour sticks, inspired by the "Music for Concentration" playlist from Spotify.

Trees from my window in Berlin

I brought pastels, pencils, some brushes and paper with me to Berlin. I'll buy some paint tomorrow but for now I'll just work in pastels. These are the trees from my window looking over Tiergarten.