A tiny house experience!

continuing with the Summer Holidays 2019 sketches ….!

After coming back from our wonderful holidays in Upper Austria, we decided to stay a bit in our home city of Graz before hitting the road again.

Our first stop on this trip was the headquarter of one of Austria’s best ice-cream makers, Eis Greissler in Krumbach (https://www.eis-greissler.at/manufaktur/). The weather that day wasn’t great,  it was cold,  wet and extremely windy in the Bucklige welt (land of thousand hills). After entering the café our son insisted on having his favourite ice-cream despite the weather being so cold, whilst we treated ourselves with a hot cup of cappuccino and mini bunt cakes, which we didn’t get to eat as they made their way into our son’s grumbling stomach :-)!

After satisfying our taste-buds we explored the premises for a little while. We walked up the hill to observe the beautiful landscape. I couldn’t help but sketch despite it being very windy and cold.   The weather condition was making my paper dry too fast, so I had to be really quick with my brush strokes. The fun of travel sketching is facing all sorts of uncertainties!

 

We next visited Natursinne not very far from eis-greissler. We were curious to know what it was all about, but it was closed due to a private event being underway. I took the opportunity of our brief stop here to sketch this landscape.

After Bucklige welt we headed to Gutenstein, our ‘holiday’ destination. Gutenstein is nestled idyllically between Schneeberg and the Vienna basin, home to Austria’s most wooded district. We spent our night in a small sustainable tiny house located in the middle of nowhere (https://www.wohnwagon.at). The tiny house was called ‘Fanni’ and it was really beautiful. The aged wooden floorboards, indigo dyed & hand block printed curtains (Blaudruck, Burgenland), solar-powered energy, compostable toilet,  a kitchen that was equipped with all the basic needs including local organic produce.  It was the kind of house that we dream of owning ourselves one day and living a 100% sustainable life!  All that surrounded us was nature and a strong stream flowing nearby. Our son’s excitement and joy were hard to contain and ours too :-)!

 

We settled in Fanni pretty quickly and had a hot cup of chai in our living/dining area. I sipped on the hot chai and sketched the cup of tea and glass jar with wildflowers. Oh ! it was so serene and beautiful sitting by the window looking out to the forest and listening to the sound of the rivulet.

Our tiny house-Fanni!
Living and dining area in Fanni

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The next morning we enjoyed our coffee in the garden and got ready to leave. We wished we could have stayed forever in Fanni! I had a few minutes before leaving to quickly capture the kitchen with warm sunlight filtering through the glass door. I couldn’t finish my sketch, though I captured the memory of our wonderful time spent as a family!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

From Steinapisting we shifted our base to Mariahilfberg also in Gutenstein. There are several trail walks in this region. We didn’t do any serious hike around but we did go into the woods to explore a bit.

The view of Schneeberg,  one of the mountains that provides drinking water supply to the city of Vienna, the world’s best drinking water! After sketching with my son we went for lunch in the only operating Gasthaus on Mariahilfberg.

 

 

 

                     Our son’s sketches of the tiny house. He is a fervent sketcher!

After having lunch I went to sketch the town Church, whilst my husband and son decided to have an ice-cream again. I am always very hesitant in sketching architecture and especially baroque. It was a very complicated scene to sketch. I became frustrated and ended up scribbling some marks.  Well, that’s what Travel Sketching is anyway, its quick and spontaneous. It is an impression of the people and the place. It’s not all about great art, or skill. Drawing is something everyone can do. I don’t use an eraser or straight edge while I sketching: misplaced lines, side doodles, quirky shapes are all part of it.

Our final destination on this trip was to an organic farmhouse called Adamah Biohof in Glinzendorf near Vienna (https://adamah.at). I took the opportunity of our business visit here to sketch the lovely herb garden on the premises.

This was a very short trip but a memorable one!

I am really glad to have picked up a habit of keeping an illustrated travel journal which not only enhances my trips but also opens my mind. An added bonus is our son gets very intensely involved in sketching along with me. I love his passion for he is truly in the moment, rather than living in some odd parallel world of constant screen time, and he makes for a great sketching partner!

Sketching is, by nature, an old-fashioned way of seeing which a child seems to understand instinctively. To sketch a scene is to truly observe it.  Once we return from any trip, my mind remains full of wonder. A quick flip through my journal’s pages and it all comes alive! It’s certainly not the same as capturing a passing moment with the click of a digital camera!

 

 

Next up-sketches from South Bürgenland and East Styria.....coming soon!

 

 

Ignorance is not bliss!

The entire world keeps talking about how its not that hard to blog about something ! Where do I begin, I am still struggling how to start this very first blog article of mine. I am a professionally trained scientist and I consider myself as an artist too, but a writer? Well, at least not a creative writer because I have published articles in scientific journals.   I was quite frustrated on the weekend staring at a blank screen waiting for that moment to strike! Aha! I know how to write an opening line! Well, that moment never arrived! So, I ditched the whole idea to have that perfect creative post. Instead,  I decided to just dive into the topic that matters to me a lot. Indeed, its health and safety issue in the Art world. Who would have thought that it matters? Perhaps, if I didn’t have a science background I too would have remained ignorant about the hazards that are associated with the art supplies. How many of you know what’s in an artist’s pigment?

If any art material has a hazard warning mentioned on the back of the paint I take notice.  Health and safety aren’t often mentioned in connection with fine arts, but we are exposed to more toxins than we may be aware of. You may know that the cadmiums, cobalts, chromes, lead are toxic but what about your other paint colors? Are they toxic? I am not saying do not use such paints. In fact, I believe that would be pretty much impossible, but you should know what you are handling. Simply because ignorance is not bliss!

I don’t want to write a scientific post here but just a little chemistry: most, but not all, of the toxicity issues are associated with heavy metals such as copper, cobalt, cadmium, lead, chromium etc. Chronic exposure to these poisons the body, and many are known or suspected to be carcinogens. If you remember your periodic table from high school chemistry class, these are transition metals from that central section. So a quick rule of thumb is that if there’s heavy metal in pigment, it’s probably toxic.

Safety is as simple as ABC = Always Be Careful

 

 

DISCLAIMER: This article concerns itself with the common-sense safety aspects of art materials and art safety in general. The intent of this article is merely to raise individual awareness of some of the issues involved and to encourage the reader to take steps in learning more about the factors involved with the hazards associated with the artist’s materials. The author may change the contents of this document at any time, either in whole or in part.Thanks.