Daily Stroll vs. Daily Scroll or: It is solved by walking.*

When I don’t know what to do, I go for a walk. 

In front of a beatuifully painted wall, 5th district, Vienna.

In front of a beatuifully painted wall, 5th district, Vienna.

In my neighbourhood, downtown Vienna, a park, anywhere I am really.

To me, walking is a deceivingly simple, yet powerful practice. My favorite way to get away from any screen, because wow, that line between inspiration and addictive (or even avoidant) habit is getting oh-so-thin lately.

Also, 99.9% of the time, I have one (or several) creative problems I am trying to solve, or some big unanswered questions rolling around in my head, and I just take them with me.

August sky over Vienna, 5th district (no editing or filters, it was that blue for real.)

August sky over Vienna, 5th district (no editing or filters, it was that blue for real.)

This is a practice that has been ingrained into my bones and very being since I was little. Once a day, we had to go out! This was a non-negotiable rule set by my mother. Many of my happiest childhood memories took place ‘outside’. Later, as a teenager and young adult, it felt too restrictive - no matter the weather or mood - there were no excuses accepted and I often found taking walks boring and uncomfortable. 

It wasn’t until the last couple of years that I have found a new appreciation for the simple act of … walking. Alone. Just for the sake of it. Not for health benefits, not to get anywhere, not to achieve anything other than more lightness in my being. Through movement and paying attention and letting my thoughts wander, while not pushing for any specific outcome.

Ultimate window sill gardening. 15th district, Vienna

Ultimate window sill gardening. 15th district, Vienna

It is a ritual of sorts. 

It comforts me, it distracts me, it delights me, it rearranges me. 

It takes me out of my head and the endless over-thinking. 

Bonus: I get to see all these interesting places. Sometimes I take my phone to capture what I see, often not. I thought I’d share some impressions in this space every now and then. Also: Vienna is SO beautiful (Yes, I am totally biased when it comes to my hometown!)

rose gardens at Volksgarten, view to Burgtheater, 1st district, downtown Vienna

rose gardens at Volksgarten, view to Burgtheater, 1st district, downtown Vienna

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Open windows, how inviting is this coffee house corner?!

Open windows, how inviting is this coffee house corner?!

Volksgarten again. Lots of construction to renovate the parliament.

Volksgarten again. Lots of construction to renovate the parliament.

Trees in my neighbourhood park in full bloom.

Trees in my neighbourhood park in full bloom.

Public flowerbed, bursting a-bloom after historic rain-record in May this year. And yes, I looove the painted curb.

Public flowerbed, bursting a-bloom after historic rain-record in May this year. And yes, I looove the painted curb.

I especially like to go the same route(s), over and over. Somehow, it never gets boring! It feels more like comfort. As if the appreciation and love for where I live is deepening, and I notice even more details and tiny changes.

The latest creation, powered by walking and inspired by the beautiful summer weather in Vienna lately, aptly titled “Perfect Summer Day”. 24x30cm acrylic on canvas, available HERE.

*Post inspired by  a quote from St. Augustine: ‘Solvitur ambulando’ which is latin for ‘It is solved by walking.’ I agree.

B O H F U N K I A

This fall, it will be 10 years since I started painting and immersing myself in the creative process.

There was not much stability during this decade of my life, but I never gave up on my painting practice. While it has certainly waxed and waned in its intensity, very naturally following cycles of high productivity and long inspirational droughts, I was too intrigued to ever stop. It’s like a visual diary I must carry on with, no matter what. Something always needs to be expressed.

Painting remained a constant in my life, and I am so grateful for that. 

When I paint, I have ALL the feelings, and that is probably also WHY I paint. To be more alive. To leave some sort of trace.

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Time has come to put my creative work into a more official format. It felt as if it took forever and then some, but suddenly, it was here: BOHFUNKIA. Bohemia and funkiness put into one.  A banner, a brand, a name - a place where all of my ideas and work, current and future projects, can have a home.

Bohfunkia is my own personal idea of artistic utopia, my creative playground.

The ultimative artist’s dream, a manifestation of my love for art and freedom.

There are no rules, no second guessing, no critics.

It’s groovy, bold and unapologetic. Real and raw, messy and dark, emotional and “too much” in the best of ways. Emotional, passionate, and a little rough around the edges.

Creativity means living a life of unhinibited (self) expression where the mind is fully rooted in possibility. It’s quite the aspiration, and I like that. Forever in process! I hope to live in that space more often than not, especially when I create. The place is called Bohfunkia. Let’s go!

I hope you are coming along for the trip. It will be great, I promise.

For updates, you can subscribe here.

Hidden gems

For a long time, I had this hunch of wanting to paint more loosely. While I love details and mandalas and planned out, repetitive, even meditative ways of working, there is something very intriguing about working in a painterly, fluid way.

Just when summer began this year, some doors closed in my life and I found myself with a lot of unexpected time on my hands. It came as a surprise, and I struggled to adapt to it. It took a few weeks, and some solid mental work, but by now I have come to see it as an opportunity - it feels like a space that invites me in. That beckons me. I may fill this pocket of time with whatever I desire, despite all the uncertainties ahead. A lot of freedom, a lot of choice, a lot of anxiety. And yet. A rare moment in a grown-up life.

Faced with these new circumstances, while the first heatwave of the year hit Vienna, the loose painting came easy. Easier than expected for sure. No striving for it. It is just…what wants to happen, seems to be the best way to put it.

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Opening all the windows, painting with a lot of paint (quite literally), building up texture, and playing on the canvas is what this currently looks like for me. Giving in to the rhythm of summer, and my life, if you will. A rare overlapping of personal circumstance, season of the year and artistic intentions. A recipe for magic right there!

It feels fresh and free, to paint this way. It feels like summer! The result are cheerful, dynamic abstract paintings that I love. Visible brushstrokes, delicious texture, happy colours. Layers of paint where those easy-warm breeze-carefree-summer vibes are captured.

You can find all the details for “Hidden Gems” right here.

Stay tuned for more paintings in this collection coming soon this summer.

New Painting: Higher Self

Here is the latest painting I finished, called ‘Higher Self’:

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It is part of a little batch of paintings that I created quite spontaneously a few weeks ago. This one is the first I present here, because it speaks to me the most. It was a really good painting session, I totally got into that magical state of flow where you just do your thing without thinking. I did not plan to paint something figural, it just happened! It continues with the theme of working with my favourite color combo of teal, orange and magenta.

For a long time, these have been my favorite colors to paint with. Remind me of sunsets and the magic hour of dawn, when everything gets that special glow as the sun sets, and you get the best photos of your subjects. It’s like a person, made up of this kind of moment!

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At first, I thought the two heads were a little creepy. What was THAT? A representation of one’s one shadow, a demon, or…? But as time passed, and I kept looking at the painting, I actually liked one of the comments I got from a friend as a feedback the most: that the darker, smaller head represents our true self, our innermost core, who we really are. It appears as if it is hidden, because we do not show it all the time in real life, and maybe also need to protect it every now and then.

You can find this painting in my shop HERE.

What is your art about?

I recently applied to a co-working office that had an open call for artists, offering the possibility of an art exhibition in their space.

There was a pretty detailed application form to fill out, and I liked that they asked a lot of questions. I do that that too :) The questions made me think about why I do what I do, which is always a good thing. While artist statements always evolve, these were the answers that I gave and that are currently true to my work.

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What is your art about?

I create modern, colorful art with an emphasis on contrasts – in style, color, tone. You have to look twice (at least) to grasp its whole depth. I am a self-taught artist and have a rather unconventional approach to painting, combining expressive and planned elements to create unique and dynamic visual worlds on canvas. I am passionate about doing things differently – this comes through in my art. 

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What sets you apart?

What is your specialty?

My specialty is acrylic painting (sometimes mixed with collage elements). My work consists of many layers and stresses the co-existence of opposites that are everywhere, like shadow and light, love and pain, filth and beauty. In my detailed paintings, this looks like the rawness of seemingly random, expressive brush strokes next to the meticulous details and meditative quality of a mandala, for example.

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What inspires you?

I consider myself a constant seeker, and my endless curiosity only supports that. I find inspiration anywhere - nature, emotions, fabrics, memories, foreign places, books. Intellectually, the theme behind my art is the complexity and the many layers all of our experiences have, and to find ways to show that.

2018 - a review in paintings and words

These are the paintings I made in 2018:

2018 was a crazy year for me and I am glad to see it go.

While I always had jobs to support myself and my art practice, this year there were 3 of them, and all the stress that comes with that.

While I am a person who naturally likes questioning everything, this year the self-doubt and questions felt a lot more challenging and relentless, circling around topics such as

freedom & time vs money & safety 

longings & dreams vs reality

fear vs trust & instincts

forcing things vs synchronicity

insisting vs letting go

who I am (slow, savouring, sensitive) vs. what the world is like (fast, competitive, ever-changing)

societal expectations atop of my own that seemed to grow heavier by the minute 

visual and informational excess via social media and the uncomfortable realisation that I might be more addicted to using it as an escape from (my) real life when it feels unbearable than I cared to admit

It felt hard to find a place to land, a place to feel safe to be myself.

At times, it was even hard to know what it was like to be myself.

There was a lot of sadness, confusion, fear, tears, so many questions and SO MUCH soul searching.

And yet, there was art making! It was not a massively productive year, but I am happy with this collection nonetheless.

Mandalas continued to fascinate me and make up the main subject matter of this year. I guess they were an antidote to all the madness in my mind and life. Repetitive details make for great meditation. I tried to do things that came easily and naturally, so there is a lot of funky colour as always, dripping paint, splattering, some scribbling and my favourite newly discovered thing in painting, using a palette knife to apply the paint. 

What was the year like for you?

And which is your favourite painting? and why? 

All paintings are available in my online shop HERE.

A painter's journey - Episode 3/2018 - Savouring and slowing down

I actually like to take my sweet old time with things. It's the reason why it mostly takes me a very long time to finish a painting, and it's also the reason why I often have a hard time existing in a world that expects you to go faster all the time. For better or for worse, I find myself on the opposite ende of the spectrum of pace.

While many times I do not have a choice and have to hurry, when it comes to art, I do allow myself to go with my own rhythm. It feels like the ultimate indulgence. Recently, I finished this painting:

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I think savouring is my superpower, always has been. Be it food, art, love, dancing - I enjoy my moments more when I slow down. In a group, I am always the last one to finish a meal. When I love a book, I read it extra slowly, in order to read it longer. 

I love getting lost in the details, the brushstrokes, sitting back, taking another look, savouring the smooth paint and mixing it, loading it onto my brush and sliding it over the canvas. Everything becomes more sensual and curious when I slow down.

The painting is available HERE.

A painter's journey - Episode 2/2018 - why I think we need art

This week, there wasn't a lot of painting happening in my world. While a little discipline is fine sometimes, I do not like forcing myself to create. For now, I still enjoy that freedom.

Nevertheless, there was art present. The "other" art form that I like to indulge in is dancing, Kizomba, specifically.  It's so different from visual arts, of course, there is no end result, nothing to show for it, no one to show it to. And yet, there is something that I love so much about it, and somehow, different art forms always inform and inspire each other. Moving my body and experiencing transformative moments on the dance floor remind me of why we need art in our lives, and why it has such a strong pull for me. Every once in a while, you catch "that" dance, or find yourself in "that" moment while creating, be it on the dance floor or the easel, catapulting yourself into some kind of trance that is the best feeling ever. It's like the most intense feeling of being alive. After all, it's what I am always after, and what keeps me creating.

A painter's journey - Episode 1/2018 - post vacation thoughts

It’s always on the verge of change that I long like crazy to be someone else. 

I’d rather take any other path, instead of choosing and forging my own. How strange a mind behaves, in the face of fear.

It was a week of easing back into everyday life, after a week away on an island, where I did little beside staring at my beloved teal waters. That coming home always makes me see with crystal clear vision, all the things I live that do not fit me, and all the things I long for and have not created yet.

The push and pull of what I have to do, and what I want to do is strong these days. I am learning, slowly, how to be ok with wanting what I want. How to work towards it. Some art came from it, and more will follow, I suppose. 

“If the pain of staying stuck is bigger than the fear of the thing, that’s when you take action.” (Matt Boggs)

New painting - 'Mallorca'

This is my latest painting, 'Mallorca' (50x70cm, acrylic on canvas). It was inspired by a trip to Mallorca this spring. 

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The colour teal and all its nuances have been my favorite color for a long time, and the teal coloured ocean on the island reminded me of that, so it found its way into this painting. 

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Also, I am still obsessed with mandalas, and how to combine the intricate details of them with more lose elements of the painting, like brushstrokes and dripping or splattering paint. 

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The painting has a few layers that you can see peeking through in the mandala. I love how the warm and cool colours complement each other and make the whole piece work. 

'Mallorca' is available here.

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Mallorca island vibes

I just returned from a week of vacation in Mallorca, full of inspiration and island vibes. For some time now, I have been thinking about how to create art that is a little more cohesive, maybe even a series. The trick is to not feel restricted by it! Quite a dilemma for a free spirit like me. But I am determined to try (again). One thing that has inspired me for a long time is the color teal. The ocean reminded me of that again. Just look at the color!

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On the last day, I snuck out really early to catch the sunrise by the water. I felt relaxed, inspired and so appreciative of the time away. It was a sweet moment in time, where I had a feeling of recommitment to my art of sorts, as if that fire in my belly was lit again.

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It is a beautiful thing, to dedicate oneself to art. After a week without distractions or social media, I felt this clearly again. Living a simple life does that, I guess - my time consisted of coastal hikes, good food, lots of exploring and nature, soaking up a different culture, at a very slowed-down pace. Suddenly, there was space for new thoughts and ideas to enter my mind.  

Back home, I could not wait to get back to work on my current painting. Also, my little furry studio companion was happy to have me back.

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Current painting in progress, acrylic on canvas

Current painting in progress, acrylic on canvas

Behind the painting - Sleeping Buddha

The idea for this series of blog posts is to shine the spotlight on a selected painting - to tell the story of how it came to be, the transformations it went through, the reasons why I felt called to create it. Find all of the “Behind the painting” posts HERE.

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When I made this painting in 2011, I was deeply in the process of exploring intuitive painting. This means that I started playing with colours and different ways to apply paint to canvas, without a lot of thinking or any kind of plan or expectation.

At some point while building layers of acrylic paint, I had the idea to add a cowering nude. Only that…that move did not quite work out the way I wanted it to!

The painting  "Sleeping Buddha"  in early progress stages, by Tanja Zinkl

The painting "Sleeping Buddha" in early progress stages, by Tanja Zinkl

I remember feeling the frustration with this outcome. I did not like it at all. 

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So, after looking at it long enough, I decided to just let it go and randomly painted over it, just so that it vanished - and thus starting to morph it into something else entirely.

"Sleeping Buddha"  painting in progress, by Tanja Zinkl

"Sleeping Buddha" painting in progress, by Tanja Zinkl

And suddenly, before I covered the nude up completely, I saw how that shape of a figure could turn into a sleeping one. The remaining knee looked like a shoulder and an arm. I turned the canvas and continued painting with this new idea in mind.

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I kept this orientation of the canvas, and added more details: the face, the splattering of colour, and the watery, fluid part of the head, the little ponds on the top right corner. 

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Eventually, it turned into this serene, sleeping buddha. 

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The painting has a matte finish and measures 30cm x 60cm (or ca. 11,8 x 23,6 inches) and has a thick side of 3,5cm (or 1,2 inches), painted in black. The serene feeling of this painting will add a touch of colour and spirituality to any room. It is available to purchase HERE

Summer recap

My brain likes compartments of time, and looking back at things, replaying memories. So, to get this blog started, I thought it would be a nice idea to do a little recap of what kept me busy these past few months.

The summer started off for me by finishing a big project - getting this website online! What a huge undertaking this was. Especially since I am not really into technical things. But, given the fact that I did it ALL by myself, I am really happy with the result.

Around June a new summer series took shape. I started playing with watercolors, line drawing and abstract shapes after an interesting experimental doodle during a long phone call. These are small works of art on 14,5 x 20,5cm paper - here are some finished pieces of this ongoing series:

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There were two glorious weeks of vacation in Spain, recharging, with lots of amazing Sangria, snorkelling and exploring.

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Another big project that took all summer was that I committed to working through Julia Cameron’s 12 week course “The Artist’s way”. This probably deserves a blog post for itself. It sparked SO many ideas and new ways of being, but most importantly, it helped me to get back to a regular painting practice. It’s probably the best book on creativity I have ever read.

Snapshot of my studio this summer. Sunflowers, Sini the cat and a big painting I was working on.

Snapshot of my studio this summer. Sunflowers, Sini the cat and a big painting I was working on.

100x100cm, acrylic on canvas, work in progress

100x100cm, acrylic on canvas, work in progress

close up of the layers, 100x100cm acrylic on canvas by Tanja Zinkl

close up of the layers, 100x100cm acrylic on canvas by Tanja Zinkl

One thing I am always interested in is finding different surfaces to paint on! I got lucky and was offered some birch wood, that was turned into a lot of surfaces for painting, look at this:

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Lots of space for creativity!

Lots of space for creativity!

Many mandalas in the making!

Many mandalas in the making!

A finished piece. Acrylic on wood.

A finished piece. Acrylic on wood.

There are only a few finished pieces yet, and lots more in the making - more info coming soon as I finish more of these paintings on wood!

Sprinkled in between all of this, there were a few trips to festivals around Europe to get my fix of my "other" creative passion, which is dancing Kizomba. 

 

Dancing Kizomba by the water, Vienna.

Dancing Kizomba by the water, Vienna.

Lastly, my birthday in September always concludes summer - and this time, it was no little celebration :) 

I was maybe a little too crazy about these balloons, loved them!

I was maybe a little too crazy about these balloons, loved them!

“Develop an interest in life as you see it; the people, things, literature, music - the world is so rich, simply throbbing with rich treasures, beautiful souls and interesting people. Forget yourself.” - Henry Miller