Mittwoch, 31. Oktober 2012


Did I mention before that I am a total bookworm? Well, if not, it's about time to do so. I LOVE books - especially the kind of books that fit my love of art and beauty AND my curiosity about new techniques or "behind the scenes" kind of information. I really like a lot of blogs for that very reason, too (and more about this topic in a future post...).
If you are like me and enjoy the small interviews with all the creative folks on Etsy or DaWanda, you will love this book, too: "The New Artisans" by Olivier Dupon. Its little over 300 pages are mainly filled with lots of lovely gifted people and a peak at their workplaces and creations. I am less fond of the small more "shopping like" section where the products are placed by category at the end of the book, but overall it is a wonderful addition to my library. Last, but not least, the cover has a pleasant velvety touch to it.

PS (1.11): I have just discovered that lovely Holly Becker has made a much more extensive review on this book last year - you can find her insight on her blog decor8.

Hatte ich bereits erwähnt, was für ein Bücherwurm ich bin? Wenn nicht, dann wird es höchste Zeit dafür. Ich LIEBE Bücher - ganz besonders solche, die sowohl dem Auge, als auch dem Geist schmeicheln. Wenn sie dann noch Hintergrundinformationen über künstlerische Techniken oder Arbeitsweisen preisgeben, dann adoptiere ich sie mit wehenden Fahnen. Aus demselben Grund liebe ich übrigens zahlreiche Blogs (mehr dazu demnächst...).
Lesen Sie auch so gerne die kleinen Interviews mit den Machern von Etsy oder DaWanda? Wenn ja, dann werden Sie dieses (englischsprachige) Buch lieben: "The New Artisans" von Olivier Dupon.
Auf etwas über 300 Seiten werden hier zahlreiche Kreative aus vielen Ländern und deren Arbeitsstätten vorgestellt. Etwas weniger angetan bin ich von dem mehr "Shopping-artigen" letzten Teil des Buches, in dem einzelne Produkte nach Kategorien zusammengefasst werden, aber insgesamt ist es wirklich ein sehr schönes Buch. Auch die "samtige" Haptik des Außenumschlags trägt dazu bei, dass man es gerne in die Hand nimmt.

Sonntag, 28. Oktober 2012


Just a little impression from my balcony this morning...
And here you have the sound track going with the title on YouTube.

So sah es heute morgen auf unserem Balkon aus...
Und hier das Lied zum Titel auf YouTube.

Donnerstag, 25. Oktober 2012


Well the title says it all - I am sort-of "camera-addicted". After living very happily with just one old manual Nikon FM camera body for the first 13 years of my photo-journey, I have later developed this rather costly fascination for photo gear after my beloved old Nikon passed away... Two more Nikons later, I had a big love affair with a fabulous Hasselblad which only came to an end because of its back pain-inducing weight and the rise of digital age.

Now, I am rather partial to my Canon 5 D Mark II, but I don't want to carry it around all the time. So looking for a "one-fits-all" that would be small enough to fit in a handbag, lightweight on my shoulder, but taking great pictures, preferably even at night and hand-held and maybe even a video or two, (no, I'm not picky, why do you ask???) I came across this Sony Nex "5Nsomething" last year and am pretty happy with it so far. It's not the ultimate fit for a small handbag, but it is a pretty nice little camera to have around, especially when traveling.

However, I missed the macro feature you often have on a point and shoot camera and decided to give the Sony Sel 30M Macro lens a try. What you see above, are the first results: The roses on top are cropped a bit (underneath you have the "out-of-cam" version). Most of the other pics are a bit cropped, since I actually prefer a telephoto macro lens, but Sony does not offer it so far. The little camera itself was taken with the Canon and a Tamron 90 macro lens.

I'm a camera-,  but not a tech freak so I just wanted to share a few impressions and show some pictures. If you want to know more, you can certainly find out at dpreview or amazon.

(PS: None of my posts so far has been sponsored in any way. I would let you know immediately if this should change).

Nun, wie der Titel schon sagt - ich bin ein bekennender Kamera-Junkie...

Nachdem ich 13 Jahre lang mit einem einzigen, nicht nur analogem, sondern auch manuellem Nikon FM Body mehr als glücklich war, änderte sich das, als meine geliebte alte Kamera definitiv den Geist aufgab. Zwei Nikon Gehäuse später wurde eine Hasselblad meine große Liebe, bis meine Rückenschmerzen einerseits (das Gerät wiegt gefühlte zwei Tonnen) und der Siegeszug der Digitalkameras andererseits diese Romanze frühzeitig beendeten.

Inzwischen bin ich zwar schon seit Jahren mit meiner Canon 5 D Mark II hoch zufrieden, aber auch sie ist mir zu groß und schwer, um sie immer dabei zu haben. Also suche ich permanent, wie so viele andere auch, nach der Eierlegenden-Woll-Milch-Sau: eine schöne kleine Kamera, die man in der Handtasche mitnehmen kann, die großartige Bilder macht, am liebsten noch nachts, ohne Blitz und aus der Hand und wenn sie auch noch Video kann, umso besser. (Anspruchsvoll, wer, ich???)
Letztes Jahr bin ich dabei auf diese Sony 5"Nirgendwas" gestoßen und fast glücklich damit.

(Liebe Kamerahersteller, wenn Ihr das lest, hier noch meine Wunschliste für die "Super-Kamera": klein, leicht, elegant, eher Retro von der Anmutung, robust, kompromißlose Bildqualität auch bei Nacht + Nebel, Raw, Sucher, schwenkbares Display, lichtstarke Wechselobjektive und mir fällt sicher demnächst noch mehr ein...)

Aber um zum Thema zurückzukehren: Mir fehlte ein Makroobjektiv, da die Sony nicht, wie viele Kompakt-Kameras, über eine brauchbare Makro-Einstellung verfügt. Oben sehen sie also die ersten Versuche mit dem einzigen Makro-Objektiv der Marke, dem Sony SEL 30M (leider kein Teleobjektiv - das wäre mir lieber gewesen). Die Rosen ganz oben sind ein Ausschnitt aus dem out-of-camera Bild darunter; alle anderen Bilder sind geringfügig beschnitten worden; alle sind spontan und ohne Stativ entstanden. Die kleine Kamera selbst habe ich mit der Canon und einem 90er Makro Objektiv von Tamron aufgenommen.

Da mich technische Details nicht so interessieren, wollte ich Ihnen nur ein paar Bilder zeigen und einen Eindruck verschaffen. Wer mehr erfahren möchte, findet sicher jede Menge Information bei Dpreview oder bei Amazon.

(PS: Keiner meiner Posts ist bislang in irgendeiner Weise gesponsert worden. Sollte sich  daran etwas ändern, würde ich Sie darüber informieren.)

Sonntag, 21. Oktober 2012


Today, I wanted to share some of the practical tips I have found most helpful on my painting journey. Having taken lessons and workshops with many different teachers, I came to realize that almost all of them tell variations of the same things, so this here is not revolutionary news. However, I noticed that each one of my instructors had a special knack on explaining one particular thing that didn’t come across as clearly with the other ones. So maybe, it is worth repeating some of the basics that might hopefully be useful to somebody else.


When you squint, you loose all of the details and value families tend to merge, thus making a rather dark + a quite dark + a very dark ONE large dark family. This, in turn, makes it easier to identify the shapes of your object. If you are very short sighted, you could as well take your glasses of…

Close one eye

If you close one eye, the image in front of you will stop being 3-dimensional and this makes it easier to identify the actual form and translate it onto paper or canvas. Make sure to always close the same eye – at least while working on the same picture.

Upside down or in the mirror

Turning your painting upside down or viewing it in a mirror makes it way easier to identify the parts that do not work. In a workshop I attended, one day all the students, many of them complete beginners, painted copies from reproductions upside-down and the outcome was just amazing! One strange variation of this method that works for me, is to take a picture of the painting and look at the photograph instead of the original. I have not the slightest clue as to why this is so, but I guess the photograph creates a sort of distance to the original painting.

Negative space
Isn’t it enough to worry about the forms in front of you without having to worry about what is not even there? Well, no… The negative space (i.e. the “space” or “air” around your subject) can have very distinct forms that might help you a lot. Imagine a young lady resting with her head leaning on her hand – her arm will probably bend around a pretty distinct negative shape of a rather longish triangle. If you get this form right first, then it will be much easier to position the arm + hand.

Where to start?

If not all, at least many roads lead to Rome… So here are just some options:
Start a rough outline, then put marks on the darkest dark, the lightest light and the most vibrant color*. From there, you can compare all the other values and colors.
*This tip applies for oil or acrylic paintings and might not work for watercolor, where you work from light to dark.

For figure paintings:

Find the middle line first and see where the weight of your model is resting. Draw or paint a light line across this middle line and construct from there.
Imagine your model in a bag and draw… the bag! From this overall form, construct your painting.

Push backward, pull forward

If you want to create a sense of space, push the background… backward. You can do so by using cooler colors and by loosening the edges of your painting there. Reversely, warm colors, strong color contrasts and sharp edges tend to jump forwards. Keep your strongest contrast for your focal point (point of interest).

Forget me not – the background’s complaint

Having spoilt countless pictures that might have been less bad without this mistake, I really recommend this: do not forget the background and start painting it right from the start. Even if you make changes later, everything will grow together nicely if you work on the whole picture all the time. This applies to the “hair problem”, too: when painting portraits, start to paint the hair right away, otherwise it ends up looking like a wig.

Less is more

This was a hard one to swallow for a rather baroque personality like me… but unfortunately, it is true: a limited palette makes for an overall more harmonious painting. This does not necessarily mean you have to paint with only five or six colors, but once you have decided on what to use, stick to it. I have noticed that every time I added a new color when my painting was well on its way, it sort of “jumped out of the picture” and added a disturbing element to it. Then again, this could of course be done in purpose…

As said before, these tips are not an invention of mine – I just put down those that have helped me. (A special thank-you here goes to all of my teachers at Munich’s Akthof).

If you have other tips that have worked for you or if you have questions, I’d love to hear from you!

Mittwoch, 17. Oktober 2012


Copyright Corinne Korda 2012

For a colorful start in the day, here a little still-life with recycled chocolate mousse containers, now filled with thinned watercolor. I hope you appreciate the abnegation I crashed my diet with, just for this picture's sake...

Für einen bunten Start in den Tag, hier ein kleines Stillleben mit recycelten Schokoladencreme-Gläschen, die nun verdünnte Wasserfarbe enthalten. Ich hoffe, Sie wissen meine Opferbereitschaft zu schätzen - immerhin habe ich mir nur für dieses Bild mindestens ein Kilo angefuttert...

Sonntag, 14. Oktober 2012


One common preconception regarding art that often annoys me is the persistent myth of the precocious super genius. Here you have two of the most prominent examples: Albrecht Dürer and Raffaello Sanzio da Urbino, also known as Raphael, in a fun version of their respective famous self-portraits at age thirteen. 

Please do not get me wrong – I thoroughly admire these great artists and by no means want to belittle their talent and achievements. However, since these high achievers have probably discouraged more than one potential career in the arts, I’d like to have a closer look on why they could draw so damn well at their age.

For an aspiring artist in the 16th century, there was only one schooling option and that was to enter the workshop of a master painter at a very young age. (In Dürer’s particular case, he started out with his father, a goldsmith, and later switched to painting.)

This apprenticeship meant work, work, work from dawn till dusk, six days a week. No trade unions back then…. (Or, as Holly Becker puts it: "This is boot camp, not day spa!")

Now imagine you take a reasonably gifted teenager today and keep him away from school, sport, friends, computer games, smart-phones and TV and instead, leave him all day with professional chaperones and let him do nothing else but draw and paint (and mix a lot of colors, but that is another story…).

What do you think - could the outcome be as amazing as the originals below?


Samstag, 13. Oktober 2012


After my last post on “what” inspires me, here comes to “who” provides inspiration. I’d like you to meet a very special gentleman – the painter Edward B. Gordon.
Many of you are likely to know him already, but for those of you who don’t, I’d be really happy to introduce him to you.

I came across Edward’s work 3 years ago, when our friend Laurence (a talented photographer and webdesigner herself) brought along an article on him. At that point,  I was struggling with how to make my ever growing painting passion fit into a life already filled with a demanding day job, an equally demanding family and all the rest of what makes up this thing called life. In general, I would either postpone my plans for lack of time or wind up frustrated because I didn’t manage to finish a larger piece and turn out a “masterpiece” in one single Saturday afternoon.

And there came Mr. Gordon and the fantastic tiny artworks (his daily paintings measure 15cm x 15cm or 5.9 inches x 5.9 inches) he has been painting every single day since about 6 years. I instantly loved his style and his story. In the rather hermetic art world here in Germany, Edward’s auctioning of his paintings every day on his blog came quite close to a small revolution. Funnily enough, it seemed to be the business journalists who first became aware of his art because of this distribution practice and Edward’s success with it.

But apparently the art world has by now catched up with his work. This year’s exhibition “Vier Jahre später” at Galerie Liebkranz in Berlin, Edward’s first book published by “Kein und Aber Verlag” and a limited edition at Lumas all show that Edward B. Gordon will be here to stay. And as far as I am concerned, that fills me with joy.

Edward B. Gordon "Bilder einer Stadt" 
Kein & Aber
ISBN-10: 30369565 ISBN-13: 978-3036956510

The Jacket
(One of his larger paintings)
Copyright Edward B. Gordon

"The french wine glass"
Copyright Edward B. Gordon

Mittwoch, 10. Oktober 2012


What inspires you and why? This was option number one for my Blogging Your Way boot camp homework and admittedly, it was the most immediately appealing option for me. So very inspiring actually, that I had to apply one of the first things I had realized I should work on: FOCUS.

So amongst the many, many things I find inspiring, here is an essential one: COLOR.
As far as I can remember, I have always adored color. Not only on painting materials, but also on beads and fabric, on make-up palettes and nail enamel, on mosaics and walls, on flowers and food, on paper goods and packagings etc. etc…

When I got back to painting 14 years ago, a friend of ours lent me a huge wholesale catalogue with art supplies (that was my first encounter with Boesner). I was so smitten with everything in it, but especially the color charts, that I almost learnt them by heart.  Realizing that every specific color actually had a name made me love them even more. For quite a while, I used to sit in the car my husband was driving, trying to put names on everything I saw: a cerulean blue sky, “stil de grain” colored fields in autumn, alizarin crimson roses, cobalt green trash cans next to terra rossa colored walls and so on…
All this eventually led me to a shopaholic frenzy, because I wanted to try every available color – and believe me, I did!

And even if I now know that you actually need very, very few colors to paint (Titian apparently painted many of his latter day paintings with only 4 colors) and have slimmed down my own palette drastically, the magic of colors will always cast its spell on me.

Liebe deutsche Blog-Leser,

bitte nehmt es mir nicht übel, dass der heutige Text zunächst nur in der englischen Fassung fertig ist - bald geht es zweisprachig weiter...

Sonntag, 7. Oktober 2012

Back to school

Maybe you have noticed the little banner on the right already - yes, I am very proud and happy to announce that I am going to follow Holly Becker's (the founder of decor8) new e-course on blogging.

Vielleicht haben Sie das kleine Banner rechts schon bemerkt - ab sofort bin ich eine der Glücklichen, die an Holly Beckers (der kreative Geist hinter dem schon legendären decor8 Blog) neuem Kurs teilnehmen. 

I had wanted this blog to become more attractive and interesting for everyone since quite a while and now, help is coming!

Ich hatte mir schon lange gewünscht,  diese Seite interessanter und abwechslungsreicher zu machen. Jetzt bekomme ich so professionelle Hilfe dabei - darauf freue ich mich schon riesig!

But why had I been procrastinating for so long?
Aber warum habe ich mich so lange davor gedrückt?

Well, the weather forecast pictures here mirror past year's emotions pretty well: fog, thick clouds and the occasional hurricane...

Nun, die "Wetterbericht-Fotos" hier spiegeln ziemlich wahrheitsgetreu mein letztes Jahr: Nebel, dichte Wolkenfelder und Orkanböen...

Farewell, Saturn... This  planetary guy has been messing up my husband's and my charts for quite a while. (That's what you get when marrying a fellow libra...) 

Saturn hat sich nun endlich aus meinem Sternzeichen verabschiedet und so sieht die Zukunft schon viel rosiger aus...

Omnia vincit amor 

This quote by Latin poet Virgil translates with "Love conquers all things". Why am I talking about latin
quotes now? Well, because I like another one very much - "home is where the heart is", attributed to Pliny the Elder. And of course you have noticed that in heart, ART takes a lot of space. But however much I love art, the past year has showed me many times that "the whole is greater than the sum of its parts". (This one is by greek philosopher Aristotle)

 "Alles besiegt die Liebe" - ein schönes Zitat des lateinischen Dichters Virgil (selbst übrigens auch Waage). Aber wie komme ich jetzt auf lateinische Zitate? Nun, wegen der englischen Fassung eines anderen Klassikers -  "da wo mein Herz ist, bin ich zuhause" (Plinius dem Älteren zugesprochen) und den so möglichen Wortspielen mit "art". Doch obwohl ich manisch Kunstvernarrt bin, musste ich dieses Jahr sehr oft einem griechischen Zitat (von Aristoteles) recht geben: "das Ganze ist mehr als die Summe seiner Teile".

So, but now I promise not to bore you anymore with all to personal matters, Latin quotes and greek philosophers and to get back to the bright side of life. And for a start, here are my tips for finding four leaf-clovers (are they considered as lucky charms everywhere?):
First, you have to look to the ground from time to time (that's pretty obvious, but many people don't).
Second, the timing - I have noticed that June and September (make that late spring and early autumn if you live down under ) are the best months for finding them.
Third, watch for spots with huge clover families.
And last: lucky things often come in a bunch - if you find one, chances are, you'll find some more.

So, aber jetzt verspreche ich Ihnen, sie nicht weiter mit persönlichen Belangen, lateinischen Dichtern und griechischen Philosophen zu langweilen, sondern mich stattdessen wieder den heiteren Seiten des Lebens zu widmen. Und für den Anfang, hier ein paar Tipps zum Finden von 4blättrigen Kleeblättern:
Erstens sollte man ab und zu auf den Boden schauen. (Klingt logisch, macht aber nicht jeder).
Zweitens, das Timing: Meiner Erfahrung nach hat man im Juni und im September die besten Chancen.
Drittens, suchen Sie nach Stellen mit großen Kleefamilien.
Viertens, wenn Sie eines gefunden haben, suchen Sie an derselben Stelle weiter - 4blättrige Kleeblätter haben gerne Geschwister.

Mittwoch, 3. Oktober 2012

Messing around with pastels

Nur ein kleines Lebenszeichen mit mehr Material als Resultat - aber Pastelle sind einfach auch ohne Bild schön...

Just a little hello with more material than result, but pastels are so pretty by themselves that I think you will forgive me...