A short report from a busy semester

My intention, as summer turned in to autumn, was to “expand & broaden” my creative skills – turning from urban- & botanical sketching into testing different kinds of artistic methods and materials.

Designing my own art education, I am free to choose my own path. Having a MA in literature & aesthetic theory (including art history, film & architecture), I believe I have my theoretical and historical foundation in place. And since I’m not interested in working in conceptual art, what I need to learn is the material & practical side of it all. I need to learn craft and to develop skills.


To push on, to learn more, I looked for suitable tutors. I found quite a few… I also set a strict timetable for myself, ensuring I got creative work done – EVERY DAY. This is a short “line up” of what I have been doing:

Semester summary (courses & classes etc.):

  1. Daily croquis of new dog.
  2. Followed Nelleke Verhoeff’s class Creating Simple Characters (drawing & collage)
  3. Participated in the online class: 7 Essentials with Anita Lehmann.
  4. Four (very busy but tremendously fun) weeks in Este MacLeod’s online class: Flower Collage.
  5. A weekend painting workshop.
  6. A weekend workshop in Cyanotype/Blueprints
  7. An intensive 3-day-workshop focusing on image/text relationship.
  8. Last but not least; a weekend workshop in linocut printing.

Preliminary review

I worked a lot with collage this autumn, I think the process is too messy, and I sometimes find collage art lacking a personal touch or being too cool & trendy. But things changed a lot when I started painting and printing my own paper (as I did in the Flower Collage class). Suddenly it was no longer about a clever way to use pre-made images and found stuff. Instead I started working with my own paper and, to a greater degree than before, with my own imagination, and everything felt much more like an original, intuitive process.

I might not like messy untidiness, but I do like unpredictability to play a part in my art making.  I really like to work with projects where some of the process is left to chance. And all kinds of printmaking have this quality to it, and so no wonder I really enjoyed both cyanotype and linocut.

I think collage and printmaking will follow me into next semester, and I already have a week painting workshop scheduled. What I am looking for is a really good printing-workshop … so if you know of any, please let me know!

I must admit I really enjoy designing my own education! I have given myself 3 more years to go, three more years to study, before I’ll decide what to do with the rest of my life …

It’s a grand privilege – I know!

8 Comments Add yours

  1. I find this post so inspiring! I love that you created a syllabus for a semester of art exploration. I look forward to hearing more about your education:)

    1. Sigrun says:

      Dear Cheryl, thank youl!
      I made a syllabus, and also “went public” with my plan to study art, because I found that stating my plans to friends and family made my project more real to me and forced me to take my own intentions seriously.

      I organise my days in such a way that I secure time for creative work, not at the same time every day, but sometime during each day. I keep a diary at my desk, so I don’t end up fooling myself, believing I have done my chores when in fact I haven’t … 🙂

  2. Rio says:

    Thanks for sharing this. You have inspired me, again. I was not going to go to the last writing workshop I signed up for so I could save bus fare. But I am going! One of the things I promised I would learn this next “semester” is to be able to speak in front of a group without zoning out or freezing and I met a young woman who said she would got to some poetry slams in town with me at the workshop but I didn’t get her contact information, so I will go!

    1. Sigrun says:

      Dear Rio,
      You definitively should go! Looking forward to reading the slam report (how fun to have a young companion!).

  3. pflanzwas says:

    I agree with the others, very inspiring what you do and what you write about! And taking your time to experiment is fantastic. I like printing and similar techniques for the same reason as you do! The unpredictability is so inspiring, surprising yourself and giving you new input. I do a class with mixed techniques right now and I love it .I do a lot of printing with the most simple things. There are lots of possibilities and I think I can try more and more. A never ending story if you want 🙂 I love your figures, so funny and fresh 🙂 Please go on!!!

  4. pflanzwas says:

    PS and I am impressed what you did so far, so many classes and workshops, wow!

    1. Sigrun says:

      Thank you! This has been a great autumn for me! I wasn’t sure a summary would be of any interest to anybody but me – but since these classes have been really helpful and also important for my development, I chose to share it.

      Are you taking classes over a lenger time-period?

      I would love to try Japanese Watercolour Woodblock next, just have to find where to do it 😉

      1. pflanzwas says:

        I haven’t had the time to look at all your links yet, but I will catch up soon! Yes, I think it is very interesting to everyone who loves being creative or who loves to look at art and the creative process. It is always inspiring to substitute experience. – We have a good centre for creative education in town and I took a lot of classes the last years. Most of them are only for short time periods of 6 or 8 weeks, but they continue from term to term. – That sounds interesting! I will have a look at a video about it. – Do you have many classes nearby or are you travelling elsewhere to do workshops? There are so many fantastic things 🙂

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