Today I’m excited to have a very special guest, Stefanie Seltner, here to share. I ran across her work a while ago but just recently got reacquainted with her via Instagram. Stefanie has been doing a daily drawing for a couple years now and has a wealth of experience in creative habits. Crystal: I'm so excited to have you here! Please tell us a little bit about you.
Stefanie: I am a German mixed media artist, living with my family in the south of Germany at the lake of Constance. I was born last century in Berlin. I studied painting and stage design. I later graduated from Babelsberg Film School. Since 1992 I've been participating in exhibitions as well as theatre and film productions.
My main focus is painting and drawing. I like working with different media mostly on canvas using plaster of paris, dust, ashes, acrylics, pigments, charcoal, oil paint, ink and paint sticks. I cover my canvas with many layers so it appears to be 'used.' I also use 'newer' media like photography and video.
My art deals with the ups and downs of everyday living. Inspirations are my family, life experiences, dreams, and cultures as well as encounters with other artists. In my cellar studio, I dip into the richness of my personal and collective consciousness (C.J. Jung). Symbols appear; dream images become visible. I dance with archetypes and fairytale figures and let myself drift and explore when I am drawing, always hunting for miracles. My favourite time to work is early in the morning when dream and reality are still in touch and my hands are still a little bit cold.
"My favourite time to work is early in the morning when dream and reality are still in touch and my hands are still a little bit cold."
S: It's been important to me for some years! I don't know if this year is different for me because I started my so called daily project in the beginning of 2012. To have a creative habit or habits... I would say today I know about the meaning, about the importance to have one. It's like this: now I am aware of it. C: Tell us a little about your creative habits in the past and today.
S: In December 2011 the English artist Cathy Cullis asked on her blog for artists who are planning a daily project or projects for next year. I used to draw quite a lot each day but I never did it with that kind of plan or intention. So I decided to start one. My sister gave me a Moleskine sketchbook; this was perfect. Each day, a drawing like a diary. I did not know if I would do it the whole year but I felt some sneaking ambition. For sure it was helpful to share the drawings on my blog - like if you quit smoking and you tell everybody around. It was funny because by chance the pages of the sketchbook were about one month. That was a great discovery! I did not make a drama if I missed one day. And soon I got bored with the pencil so I prepared the pages with watercolor to inspire myself (at the beginning of a month I covered all the pages of one book). After a while I let my son do this for me, because I noticed I knew too well how to make the blots have the result I wanted. The year passed by quickly and at the end there were 12 sketchbooks filled with my daily drawings. Good feeling!
But for sure I did not want to go on the same way in 2013. By chance my husband and I found an old Italian agenda from 1928 at a market in Milan. He bought it for me and I really loved to draw on the old pages. It was a challenge because the paper was delicate. At the end of 2013, it was my sister who found the next book for me:the Moleskine calendar. It's perfect for me. Just one small book for the whole year. I would never miss a day! Over time it changed. It is not a duty, it has become a beloved habit. It's just natural, it's a part of my daily life. It does not bore me. I notice I just look at the page and I do the first stroke. There is almost no time between - this I really appreciate- to capture the first image without judgement. It's so important. Even if I don't find the time to work, I have this little drawing and this helps me to keep the flow and to develop my artistic work, to be on the way. To me this is the main thing about the magic of my daily project!
You asked about my creative habits this year so I will share another one with you. I try to combine my clothes, I'm used to to taking pictures of my feet. It's just for fun but it gives me a lot: celebrating life, every day I remember I am free and able to walk, to color my life, to make my day creative. I am not a fashion victim but I love this sentence of my best friend: "Fashion is the small art of the daily life." I am a mother of two little children and I'm busy with them and with managing our family life. I think all parents know about that... daily projects feed the artist's soul.
"Daily projects feed the artist's soul."
I have established another habit this year which helps me a lot: I sit, I am quiet, I drink a cup of tea and I do nothing else - this is a great adventure ;-) I am also writing in my diary again. C: Who/what inspires you?
S: My children, their spontanity is always stunning. Female artists give me the courage that it is okay and possible to be an artist, a woman, and a mum at the same time. Also I am interested in the spirit of people like Patti Smith and Meret Oppenheim. My dreams, of course my daily project drawings, and my daily outfit- inspired by my best friend. C: What benefits do you see from your daily drawing books?
S: I get so much feedback from all over the world. Thanks to everyone who ever told me something about my daily project and who is accompanying me! My daily project books are a never-ending source of ideas. It's kind of like writing in my own language. I feel the cosmic order because of this ritual, the time of one year, of a week, a day...there is a spiritual dimension, like a prayer.
"I feel the cosmic order because of this ritual, the time of one year, of a week, a day...there is a spiritual dimension, like a prayer."
S: Just do! Don't think too much about the result. Let yourself flow, develop. You will make discoveries. Don't judge yourself. If you stop or have a break, you can start again and again. Why not start a daily project each day?! (For example, I always stop when I am on holidays and in summertime it seems to be less important.) Do it for yourself. It might help to share it on your blog, at instagram etc. - sharing is a great thing. Be nice to yourself and play! Many thanks to Stefanie for sharing here! You can see more of Stefanie's work:
- her blog
- 2012 daily project
- 2013 daily project
- 2014 daily project
- 2014 drawing challenge about daily projects
[Also, in case you are wondering, I didn't miss my daily drawing today. It's posted on instagram here.]