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Aleksandra Bzdzikot

PAINTING & ILLUSTRATION

 

19.11.2017

Who am I?

Today I would like to share with you some thoughts that kept me company during the creation of my painting "Who am I?".

 

Humans are very curious beings and often I am puzzled by the question of who we really are. I explore this subject, as it is one of the most existential and important subjects in human history. Who are we? There can be as many answers to this question as there are people on earth.

 

Each of us is equipped with our inner-self, some call it a soul, while others consciousness. We are obviously not our bodies, but something far deeper and meaningful. Our body is just a tool enabling us to be in this journey of a physical reality. A beautiful and amazing tool, I must say.

 

 

With these thoughts in my head I sat down with a cup of tea to create a painting. The woman is looking at herself in the mirror, not only admiring her physical beauty, but also pondering about who she really is. She has grey-blue eyes, wonderful chestnut hair tied up in a bun, and she looks just lovely. She looks in her eyes with big interest and wonders. Is she an immortal soul, locked up in a physical body? Is she temporarily on earth? Will she incarnate again? Why is she here? What is the purpose of her life? Is life a game or school where we are expected to grow and pass further steps of advancement of our soul?

 

How often do you stand in front of a mirror and ask yourself these questions?

 

 

I do it every day and I feel the answer lies in us. Within ourselves. I strongly believe in what once St. Augustine said: "Noli foras ire, in te redi, in interiore homine habitat veritas". I could translate this quote as "Don't go outside, turn back into yourself. Inside humans is the truth".

 

In the contemporary world we spend most of the time outside of ourselves. We are distracted, we focus on our to-dos and people around us. We have lost the connection to our inside, to our heart and intuition. We don't spend much time being only with ourselves. Having these 30 minutes every day to listen to our souls. Paolo Coelho in his "The Alchemist"says exactly the same. The treasure is not at far away seas and lands. The treasure is within us. But do you have the courage to find it and use it to see the truth?

 

Some say we are the descendants of our ancestors, Adam and Eve. I think we are. But the story of Adam and Eve goes much deeper and can have an interstellar origin. Within our souls we have the knowledge of generations who lived before us. The history of the world and of our families is written in our energy field. Just think about it - can you spot some patterns of behaviour that you unconsciously follow? Such patterns are 'uploaded' with the moment of conception and I believe that we, humans, are not born as 'tabula rasa'.

I also believe we are energies who live in a bodily form. We are highly spiritual beings and we have powers within us that we are, unfortunately, not fully aware of.

 

 

Our bodies are perfect mechanisms, fit to exist in this dimension. If we feel pain or we are sick, I am sure this is just an effect, a hint that inside our souls we are suffering and we have energetical blocks. Our body is a temple and we should treat it like one.

 

When I was in Vienna, I felt captivated by this beautiful painting of Giovanni Bellini - a reneissance artist who lived in Venice. I saw the in-depth beauty of the woman and the scene with landscape outside the window. I felt touched, because I intuitively knew, that beauty is a significant part of who we are. Beauty of our bodies and beauty of our souls, our energies.

 

 

Have the courage to explore and ask yourself questions. This will allow you to grow and develop your intution.  Though we may not find the exact answer, its echos are still present in our souls. Dare to listen. Dare to dream and construct your own reality. Dare to be yourself - a powerful being which is able to do anything it wishes.

 

Love,

Aleksandra

 

 

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09.11.2017

Why planning your days is so important?

I have always loved planners, notebooks and calendars. Though not always I have been a person who was planning everything in her life. It happened that I was buying beautiful planners, but they stayed empty inside or the plans I had created for given days didn't work out due to lack of self-discipline.

 

How about you? Do you sometimes feel that time is slipping through your fingers and 24 hours is not enough to do everything, which you have planned?

 

Welcome in the club :-) I used to feel this way as well, until I realized that each day of my life is so precious and it will never return again, never be the same again.

I bet now you can oppose and say: "My days look the same, because I go to work and I do the same things every single day".Well, if you believe it's true, then it becomes true for you. Just think for a second: your body undergoes changes every day and your cells die and new ones emerge in their place.

You are not the same person that you were one year ago. And this is positive news! It means you can learn something new and change your behavioral patterns, like the above mentioned lack of self-discipline.

 

How to do it efficiently? Plan your days.

 

 

Most of people try to get through the day. They are stuck in average ordinary life with no space for something amazing. They complain that they have too much on their shoulders. The truth is, everyone does, to a certain degree, the same activities during their days. Like taking a shower in the morning, having breakfast, lunch, dinner. Doing the shopping. Driving to work. Taking the dog for a walk. These repeatable activities make a significant part of your day.

 

That's why it's good to plan them well and enjoy them. The secret lies in planning, thanks to which you are able to use every minute of your day efficiently and fulfil your dreams step by step. This doesn't have to be difficult. But frankly - it is. Why?

 

Planning makes you evaluate your time and energy. When you plan, you realize that you are able to achieve more. The things that get planned, get done.

So, what is the recipe for successful planning?

 

 

ELEMENTS OF SUCCESSFUL PLANNING

 

1. Cut out 15 minutes from your time to plan the next day.

When Zurich is still asleep and tosses to the right side, I get up and work with my planner to plan my day. I like early mornings and this is the time when everything is so quiet  and I am not disturbed by different things. I take my calendar, light a small aromatic candle and think what I would like to pursue this day. If you work, you know that the biggest part of your day is taken by the job you do. But still, you can plan time before work and after. Especially when you realize that you don't have so much time left to do the things you want.

 

2. Write in your calendar the plan for your day.

Each day is unique. You can make it unique. Time is your most precious gift - don't waste it. Days are slipping into weeks, and weeks are slipping into months. Then, you suddenly wake up one day and ask yourself: where is my life? Where did it go?

Writing in your calendar helps you to get control over your life. You can quickly assess what you have done for the last week and how far you are on the way to reach your goal.

 

Each day I plan a small activity, that will unleash my creativity. Today it was: "making a photo session for the post on my blog about planning". When writing in your planner be specific - write the title of the book you want to read or how many pages you want to read every day.

 

 

 

3. Make it your habit.

This is the toughest part, which requires self-discipline. When you start to do something for the first time you are excited. But with third or forth time, your old patterns and habits come to the surface. The key here is to overcome the preliminary difficulty in planning. You may not wake up earlier to make the notes in your calendar or you can say you're too busy and that you have the to-do list in your head. Believe me, you don't. Days are long, many things happen, stress at work and you suddenly forget about your plans or wishes. That's why it's crucial to set planning as your daily ritual. Think of it like taking a shower. Just do it. After three months, it will become a new habit and you will do it almost automatically.

 

4. Use strategic time blocking

This method can bring wonders to your world! Block the time for your most important task or plan of a given day. That means, block it from the influence of other people, electronic devices and other distractions. Entirely focus. It can be working 1-hour on your project or reading a book without having your iPhone close by and checking your facebook feed.

 

5. Be honest with yourself

Avoid self-betrayal. You wrote something in your planner and you didn't do it? Maybe you planned too many things for one day?

We are humans and we use our energy for all the tasks we want to do. Use your energy wisely. Do not plan in excess. Find the time to take rest.

Also, if you won't manage to do one or two points from your list do not panic. Just fit them in your plans for the next days. It quite often happens to me that I schedule to make a research about a topic that interests me, but at the end of the day I am simply too tired. Then, I don't push and  re-schedule the research to another day.

 

 

Life is a short ride. Do not postpone your greatness. Planning will help you to trace down your steps, your dreams, your plans and the mode of their realization.

Wake up each day radiating love and strength, regardless of whether you’re at the peak of the mountain or lost in the valley of heartbreak.

I know that you long to feel more alive. To pursue your dreams. To make your life more beautiful.

Imagine that every day you invest 10-15 minutes and then what you get in return depends on you. On what you have scheduled and done.  Plan your days, goals, dreams  - plan your success.

 

If you're searching for a perfect planner for 2018, I can recommend beautifully designed calendars with my women illustrations. This planner keeps me company every day and I adore starting my morning with it in my hands. You can buy it in my online shop.

 

 



Designed with love to make your dreams happen.

 

Have a great day and remember that what gets planned, gets done.

Aleksandra

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27.10.2017

I am a Finalist of the Global Art Awards in Dubai!

It's almost the end of October and I'm so excited to have been chosen a Finalist of the Global Art Awards in Dubai. It's an honour for me to participate in this competition among so many talented artists from all over the world.

 

 

When I got to know that I qualified as one of the finalists, my heart started to beat very fast. I bet, everyone knows this feeling, if you are an artist or not - the feeling when your work is appreciated and you already started to feel like a winner :-)

 

I am participating in the "Painting" category with my oil painting "Spring". This category has a strong competition of other great painters. Nonetheless, I strongly believe in my painting and the mere fact, that I have been chosen as one of the best painters from the whole world makes my heart smile.

 

 

 

The results will be announced during an Award Ceremony at the Final Gala, which will take place at a luxurious Armani Hotel ballroom in Dubai. As an artist I am always curious to know who will sit among the jury and choose a winner. This time the members of the jury come from creme de la creme of the art business environment. Just to mention such names as:

 

Mahmood Bin Karam Al Farsi - the Commercial Director of Arab Fashion Council and a film producer in Los Angeles

Sophie Neuendorf - Artnet Director

Jean Minguet - ArtPrice Head Economist and Art Market Analyst

 

 

Surely, it's going to be one of the most exciting events in the art business. Please keep your fingers crossed for my "Spring"!

I am curious to see the winners in all of the categories. Even if I don't win, I am still a winner in my own eyes. For an artist it is essential to appreciate all small successes on the way. Then, you have  more power and inspiration to create your artworks, so that they can become even better than they are now.

 

Love,

Aleksandra

 

 

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22.10.2017

How to create spectrum of colors by simply mixing primary ones?

If you paint, I bet you have asked yourself this question many times: "How do I create many colors if I only have three or four tubes of paints?"

Sometimes it happens that you have the urge to paint, but you discover that you have only limited number of acrylic colors to paint with.

 

Can this hinder your painting? No. If you know how to mix the colors to produce new ones and widen your palette.

Today I'm going to show you basic color mixing and will encourage you to do more self-exploration with the colors. Enjoy!

 

"Promised land" - oil and acrylic on canvas

 

First, a basic question comes to my mind: what is color and how it is perceived by us, humans?

 

When our eyes see something, let's say a tree, data sent from our eyes to our brain tells us it's a certain color (green). Objects in our world reflect light in different combinations of wavelengths. Our brain pick up on those wavelengths and translates them into a phenomenon called 'color'. Color is a property of our brain. Our experience of color depends not only on how our brain translates this wavelenght for us, but also on the context in which we perceive it.

The perception of blue will be different during a sunset and during a sunrise. That's because of the background colors and different lighting. How fascinating that is!

 

 

There exist three primary colors: yellow, blue and red. What are they?

 

These colors are called 'primary', because they cannot be mixed from other colors. In fact, they are the source of all other colors.

Did you know that the human eye makes millions of colors from three primary colors that it perceives?

 

Now let's prepare to play with the primary colors and mix them. Here's what you'll need:

  • red, yellow, blue and green (green - I decided to use it additionally) - acrylic paints
  • a palette for mixing volors or a piece of thick paper
  • 4 small brushes
  • water for cleaning the brushes

 

STEP 1

Start with primary colors (yellow, blue, red) and green. On your work surface dab each of the primary colors.

I organized them in a circle, to show it to you on the example of a color wheel.  I put the names of the colors I used. Please remember that they vary depending on the producer of paints. Just use the very basic ones. Most of them will have 'primary' in their name.

 

 

STEP 2

Create secondary colors by mixing the edges of the paints, like in a circle. Make sure to use clean brushes to mix each two adjacent colors. That's why you need four brushes. Stir the colors for a while until the new pigment becomes stable.

 

Mix the below combinations:

 

yellow + red

red + blue

blue + green

green + yellow

 

 

 

STEP 3

Are you curious what results you will achieve? A tip: when mixing colors try to mix them 50% each to ensure the even spread of the paints.

These are the new colors that I achieved:

 

1. Light, fresh green - from mixing green and yellow

2. Deep violet - from mixing red and blue

3. Turquoise, watery blue - from mixing blue and green

4. Light orange or salmon color :) - from mixing yellow and red

 

 

How to expand your palette?

 

Now, you have primary colors and new colors that you have created from mixing the primary colors. Alltogether, you've got 8 of them.

To make your new, brighter colors add some white. You can create different tones with different intensity. That's how you can create pastel colors, like light blue, baby pink or mint green. You decide how much white you add - it's your painting world where you take the decisions :-)

To create brown mix altogether red, yellow and blue.

To make colors with different intensity experiment with how much of the two colors you mix. It can not necessarily be 50%-50%. Try 20% and 80%. See what happens. If you measure the amount of paint you are adding you will get different results.

 

At the end I wanted to show you an additional mixing. This time I mixed pink and light blue - I got an interesting color of sea blue or hyacinths.

By mixing light blue and yellow - I got a pastel color of mint green.

 

 

What do you learn from this simple color mixing activity?

 

By learning how to combine colors, starting from the basic ones, you will be able to create every color you want, without special supplies.

Beginning artists often believe that first they need to be fully equipped with as many color tubes as possible. That's a gross misconception. I was also like that when I was a beginner. I wouldn't start a painting if I was not sure I had all the colors I needed in my paint tubes. Now, I know that if my violet has run out I can always create it by mixing red and blue.

 

You don't need to spend a lot for art supplies. Just play with paints, experiment with the amounts and observe. You can create almost everything with the very basic tools - primary colors.

 

 

Painting is about discovery. It's about creating your own colors in your own world. Just like in life. You are the creator and you decide with what colors you paint your world.

 

I will be happy to answer any questions of yours. Feel free to drop me an email.

 

Wishing you the best week!

Aleksandra

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13.10.2017

Woman with pearls - patience is the key to build something that lasts

Today I would like to share with you an important notion of patience and how it interacts with our daily routine and the things we want to build in our lives.

 

Yes, even in drawing or painting you need patience to achieve the results you want. Many of you ask me in your emails or on my social media for how long I have been painting and what it takes to do it well and be successful. I think this is a subject for another post, a very personal one. As I have written in the title of this post - patience is the key to build everything you want. This is my story as well.

I have been painting and drawing since I was a small girl. So, now you can assess how many years of practice, failures and constant work it takes to achieve something that lasts. I hope my art will last longer than me - well, this is the dream of every artist, I believe :)

 

Okay, now I will take you on a journey where you will see how I created one of my feminine illustrations "Woman with pearls". Hope my creative tips will be handy for you!

 

 

I start first with organizing my creative space and equipping it with the materials that I need. I don't like to be distracted when I create, therefore I prepare everything beforehand. With the exception of second and third coffee, in case one is not sufficient.

 

My women illustrations are made not only with pencil, but also with acrylic and cosmetics. In fact, cosmetics are my favourite when it comes to drawing women. They are delicate, can be used to make a good shadowing and add a sparkle to the overall image of a woman. Usually, I don't buy cosmetics just to make drawings, I use the ones I have for putting my make-up on. While doing "Woman with pearl" I was using eyeshadows by L'Oreal, blush by Benecos, a bronzing powder by Sephora and a nail polish by Kiko.

 

 

STEP 1

I make the basic sketch, making sure that the face looks proportional and symmetrical. The pencils I use vary from H, HB to B2 or B3. This stage ususally is the longest one. Before my final sketch looks as I wish it to look, it takes some trials and errors. Don't get discouraged if the shape of the eyes or lips gets out of control. Remember that patience is neccesary at this stage. Why? Because you are making a prototype, a basis for your painting. Therefore, it needs to be good. Take as much time you need to complete this stage.

 

STEP 2

Time for first shadowing! Here, I use the bronzing powder, which works very nice to make some shadows. You can achieve it also with pencil, by rubbing some spots, so that the color merges and becomes intense. Be careful not to overdo it, as it's easy to get carried away with shadowing. Just make it natural.

Imagine some parts of a woman's body and face are enlighted by the sun, while others remain in the shadow.

 

 

STEP 3

Second shadowing and adding more colors. Here I add some blush on the cheeks to gain a fresh look and work more with bronze and black eyeshadows. I do more shadowing onto the body and put bronze color on the hair. Then just rub it with my fingers. As soon as I finished with shadowing the details, I put some color on the lips. This time it was burgundy and I used Kiko nail polish for this.

 

STEP 4

Time for painting! At this stage I decide to paint the background of the illustration with white and add some color to the pearls. I use white acrylic and delicately paint the background. Make sure not to use too much water, as the paper grasps water very quickly and then some not wished marks come up when it dries.

 

STEP 5

I finish the pearls and make them emerald-white. To achieve this color I mix dark green and white acrylic. Then, I take a break and let the acrylic dry. It usually takes around 15 minutes.

Before I make a finishing touch, I take the pencil again and slighlty make the contours of the body and face more visible.

 

Voila! My illustration is ready:

 

 

If you would ask me how long it took me to make this illustration I would not be able to tell you exactly.

When I paint I don't count the time. Naturally, the toughest part is the first stage - making a good basic sketch. Sometimes I need half an hour to do that and sometimes one or more. It is very individual. Don't worry if it's not going to work the first time, you always have additional sheets of paper and you can start again.

 

Be patient with yourself because only in such a way you can create something amazing. Don't stress, panic or be sad. Just let your flow go and take your time.

 

 

Being patient is not easy. However, it helps you to grow your own game and focus on the results you want to achieve.

Great things take time. Patience is the skill worth cultivating as in the long run it will take you where you want to be.

 

Hope my short tutorial was of interest to you and don't hesitate to get in touch with me if you have any questions.

 

See you next time,

Aleksandra

 

 

 

 

 

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30.09.2017

Autumn is here. Time to regain balance.

Autumn has something magical. This something makes the morning air smell differently and the sun sinking lower and lower, preparing for the fall.

The ground is moist, the leaves turn red and yellow, painting themsleves with colors to the accord of the setting sun.

 

When I wake up in the mornings, it is grey and foggy. The wind has brought down the leaves and mixed them into golden origamis.

Autumn mornings - so special and magical for me. I light up a candle, stay under the blanket and sip my coffee. I focus on the beauty around me and feel grateful for everything I have and everything I have been through. This small practice makes the start of my days.

 

my painting "Wood of senses"

 

After the warmth of the summer months, of holidays and bright days spent predominantly outside, there comes the period where the darkness is slowly taking over. Days get shorter after the autumnal equinox and the sun is falling down. Getting away from us, slowly dying.

 

 

I used to ask myself questions why I feel so different in autumn and why it is my favourite time of the year?

In autumn months I feel the greatest influx of inspiration. I become more philosophical. I ponder more about the nature of this universe. The questions we don't ask ourselves in the sprint of our every day lives. Who are we? What is Earth? What is the sun?

 

Autumn is about getting your balance right.

Evenings are longer and I can sit with a cup of hot tea under the blanket. So wonderful to feel the touch of warmth on chilly days. For me, getting my balance is all about feeling good about myself, giving more to myself, taking care of my body and spirit.

 

 

In the past months I was using the great summer weather and spending the time outside. Swimming in the lake and sea, travelling, meeting friends and basking in the sun. September made me turn more inwards, especially during rainy weather. Do you want to know my recipe for rainy and dark days?

 

1. CREATION

You can use long autumn evenings and do something creative with the help of your hands. It can be a painting, writing a poem, cooking a new meal or arranging flowers in your home. Typing something on the laptop keybord does not count. It's more mechanical than creative.

 

 my illustration "Autumn days"

 

2. BODY WELLNESS

Three times per week I take a long and relaxing bath. I light the candles, put my favourite music on and lock the bathroom doors, so that no one can disturb me ;)

I give this time to myself, the so-called "beauty time". Time for a peeling, a mask and putting precious oils on my body and hair. This feels so great. Like in times of Cleopatra.  After such a bath I feel rejuvenated and beautiful.

 

3. SOUL WELLNESS

The simplest recipe is doing something you like, every day. When your days are busy and you wake up quickly in the morning to go to work, then come back, cook the dinner, clean the house, meet friends and family and what not - I guarantee you that you can find half an hour only for yourself.

It can be waking a bit earlier in the morning, taking a nice walk during your lunch break or locking yourself in the bathroom - point 2 above :)

 

 

 

Now I think I know why I like autumn so much.

Nature makes a slow and colorful striptease. The sun falls and prepares to be buried in December. Everything prepares for the darkness to come.

I feel the breath of the dying sun, I feel that things might not last for long. I feel that my life is so precious.

 

This feeling makes me regain my inner power and have the guts to ask myself: "What is most important in my life?" and choose my own way.

 

 

 

See you soon,

Aleksandra

 

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17.09.2017

How to bring back beauty to your life

How often do you realize you lack beauty and inspiration in your life?

 

Naturally, everyone of us has some duties, time to work, time to go shopping, time to cook the soup, time to give to our family and time for ourselves. Yes.

Time - one of the most mysterious notions of this universe. Does time exist or was it is just a measurement of changes we are undergoing? Why it is so important and why we people feel that time is running out and we are trying to chase it? We seem to be forever in lack of time. A lack of time to enjoy life, to do what we really want, to appreciate this very moment.

 

What was the last time you fully disconnected and pampered yourself? Without checking your emails, texting your friends or directing your thoughts to some stress and impatience. 

 

My last vacations in Italy made me realize how important it is to give yourself time and space and to spend your energy inwards. By doing so, you have the chance to feel, see and taste the beauty. The beauty we all long for.

 

 

What does beauty mean to me? 

These are the moments that bring my attention back to notice and appreciate how much beauty is all around me. 

I was sitting on one of the Ligurian beaches, no computer, no checking my emails, no technology. Just me, salty sea, warm stones and the sounds of omnipresent life. 

Instead of diving into my everyday routine I disconnected from technology and reconnected with nature. For me, drawing is a practice that helps me to plunge into the very moment of existence. When I draw, the world holds its breath and the only thing that matters is here and now. 

 

I reflect beauty in my art. The outward beauty of this world and the inward beauty of my soul. Beauty satisfies and enriches the soul. 

 

 

How to bring back beauty to you life? My recipe is simple, but it requires from you a shift of attention.

 

1) Bring back the beauty to this moment. Look around, see what is or who is beautiful around you. Appreciate you are alive. 

2) Let go of weighty things. Release stress, worry or anxiety. Focus on the good.

3) Do something that makes you happy. It can be a drawing, singing a song or a walk in the park.

4) Take care of your body and soul. Take a long aromatic bath, read an inspiring book and tell yourself you are beautiful.

5) Smile!

 

 

Where are you when you think about the future? In the present. Where are you when you think about the past? Also in the present moment. 

The present moment allows you to experience everything. To taste the beauty of the universe. To be. To breathe. To exist.

 

Before watches were invented to calculate the time the only method to measure it was the change of day and night. The rhythm of day and night influenced also the life of animals and plants. The nature has its own mechanism and we don't need to wear our watches to see that. The living organisms are full of internal mechanisms like molecular, chemical or hormonal ones. Including, of course, humans. The rhythm of life was always calculated by days, nights, years, cycles of the moon. In short, by observing phenomena and things that change.

 

Aristotle was the first who posed the question about the nature of time and he arrived at the conclusion that time is the measurement of change. But what if nothing happens and there is nothing to measure? Does time depend on things and events or it runs regardless of them? Newton had a different opinion than Aristotle. He thought that there is something called "an absolute time" that runs independently of things.

You can think that the world consists of things, of substance, of entities, of permanence. In fact, nothing is permanent as everything is in constant movement. In the process of life. Your world is made of events, experiences, feelings, of kisses. 

 

 

While on my holidays I visited Acquario di Genova, where I was inspired by the beauty and delicacy of jellyfish. Can you believe that even such small organisms can bring admiration and inspiration to your life?  Genoa is a special place for me and I am happy I was able to go there again. 

On the way back to Zurich I stopped at Milan where I bought a fascinating book about time. 

 

My holidays were beautiful, because I was in the present. Living in the here and now. 

You as well can make your world a better place. More beautiful. Just be in everything you do. Add beauty to your everyday life. 

 

Wishing you a beauty-full week!

Aleksandra 

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28.08.2017

10 things you don't know about me

Today I want to reveal to you some personal details. Hope you'll enjoy it!

 

1. I love eating seafood. If anybody asks me to go out and have a delicious pizza frutti di mare or a seafood dish, I am definitely in!

 

2. The craziest thing I have ever done was stand-up paddling. Actually, before you do this the key requirement is that you need to be a good swimmer, which I am not.

I have never learned how to swim at school. Fortunately, I learned to swim a bit by myself, which helps me to swim small distances and keep myself on the water for 5 minutes :-)

 

3. I make the best tiramisu in the neighborhood.

 

4. One of my favourite movies is "Prometheus" by Ridley Scott. I could watch it all over again.

 

5. I believe in natural healing and I don't take any medicines.

 

6. I like the smell of bedsheets in the morning, when they are still warm.

 

7. I love receiving flowers.

 

8. I'm quite tall - 176 cm. I was always the tallest girl in the class.

 

9. I can easily cry over a breathtaking sunrise or sunset.

 

10. I can speak 5 languages, fluently or less fluently :)

 

 

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16.08.2017

Preparing your art exhibition abroad - all you need to know

Recently, I am taking part in a couple of exhibitions. Usually, this is quite a busy time, from one art show to another. Last month I participated in an art exhibition in Udine, Italy and soon, basically in 2 days' time, I will have my exhibition at the Steiner Gallery in Vienna. 

 

If you're curious to check how the process of the preparation for a personal art exhibition looks like  - then, I hope you'll find the below information handy.

 

After you have successfuly signed the contract with the gallery you feel simply amazing and full of overwhelming "I can do it!" energy :) That's great, because your positive attitude plays an important role in the preparations, which are time-consuming and not so easy at the beginning, especially with the respective customs regulations. But if you treat this as a challenge, and not a problem, then it's an interesting process to experience.

 

1. CAREFULLY SELECT THE EXHIBITED PIECES

It's up to you to make a selection of your artworks, which will be shown at the art show, so make sure you choose the ones that define your style best. For my exhibition in Vienna, where I am going to show twenty of my works, I have selected impresssionistic landscapes on canvas and my women portraits. Naturally, it's good as well to have the opinion of the gallery owners to confirm your selected works will go well together.

 

 

2. MAKE AN INVENTORY LIST OF YOUR PAINTINGS 

This is a very important step, which is useful in the customs procedure. Make a list of all your pieces and accompany them with clear photographs and description.

My list contained such information as: title of the work, size, medium and the pricelist. This list you can then forward to your art gallery and use for the shipment of your paintings abroad. The more details the inventory includes, the better it is. As an example, the inventory of my artwork "Paradise found" looks as follows:

 

Artist: Aleksandra Bzdzikot

Title: "Paradise found"

Size: 70 cm x 50 cm

Medium: oil on canvas 

Year of production: 2016

Origin: CH (Switzerland)

 

3. CHECK THE CUSTOMS REGULATIONS 

This is the tricky part and the most difficult at the same time. If you're shipping your art abroad you must find out in advance how to do it and what is the correct procedure. If you are based in an EU country and you are shipping your works to another EU country - then I think it's less of a hustle.

My case was different. I was shipping works from outside of EU (Switzerland) into the EU (Austria). It took me quite a while to get to know the regulations and it ended up with endless phone calls with the customs officers, who do not necessarily know other languages that their own :-) Therefore, if you do not speak well the language of the country of import it's better, in my view, to rely on help of your friends, in my case German-speaking friends. Customs regulations are legal regulations, therefore, it is essential to fully understand them. When you export something from Switzerland and import it into another country you are legally obliged to pay the customs duty, import taxes and VAT, depending on your case. 

 

I decided to make an ATA Carnet, which helps me to smoothly cross the border without paying any taxes, provided all the works will be imported back to Switzerland. It works perfectly if you are shipping many artworks and you don't want to be caught up at the customs control with no documents for your paintings.

It looks quite complicated, I know! But once you figure out how to do it, you can surely say you have become a junior expert in customs law :)

 

4. DECIDE IF YOUR ARTWORKS REQUIRE FRAMING 

If some of your artworks are not on canvas, but on paper or other medium they need framing. Make sure you frame them in advance, to have a big supply of time before the exhibition. If you have many works to frame, try to negotatie with your frames supplier, as the framing costs can be quite high. 

Frame increases the dimensions of your artwork, so it's advisable to put it in your inventory and tick the pieces which are framed.

 

 

5. FIX A HANGING OPTION AT THE BACK OF YOUR PAINTINGS

This concerns paintings on canvas. Those, which are framed, ussually have hacks or hangers at the back of the frame.

When it comes to canvas, you are not equipped with any hanging option. Therefore, it is very important to fix a hanging at the back of your canvas painting before shipping it to your gallery. The best option is to install a wire on screws, like I did. 

 

 

6. TRANSPORTING

Pack the works properly to avoid any damage during transportation. Regardless of the fact whether it's a domestic or international transport put enough layers of the bubble plastic wrap to protect it from the scratches and dents. 

If you're exhibiting abroad, you need to think about the best and cost-effective shipping option for your painitngs. This depends on:

 

a) the size of the artworks

b) the distance to your exhibit location

c) the way of transport: car, plane, shipping forwarder company

 

My transport to Vienna first was going to be by car from Zurich, but then I resigned from this option to take a flight. The size of my paintings allowed me to put them into 3 big suitcases of checked baggage and arrive to Vienna within 1 hour flight. One painting had nonstandard dimensions, so I was able to take it on board of a plane. 

The flight option works well if the size of your paintings can fit into a big luggage case. Just remember to arrive early at the airport before the departure to go to the customs and stamp your ATA Carnet. 

 

As soon as you ship and hang your paintings in the gallery it's time to relax before the vernissage! I am spending my days in Vienna strolling around the city and visiting its splendid museums and art galleries. 

 

The vernissage at the Steiner Gallery starts tomorrow at 19:00 and I will be happy to welcome you there!

 

 

See you next time,

Aleksandra 

 

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