All posts by lucyschmidt

2016 round up.

As a New Year begins, many of us take a moment to reflect on the last 12 months.
And what a 12 months it has been! 2016 has been given a pretty hard time in the media, understandably, a lot of shit has happened and some questionable big changes are occurring (or not occurring) in the world.
However,  I’m pretty sure a lot of good happened to and it’s far too easy to concentrate on the negative.

Wanting to put a positive spin on the end of an eventful year, I took action and did what I know best, I made a list! Of the achievements and good things that happened to me this year, some big, some small. And as I scribbled away, I was surprised about how much I wrote down! Of course, this list is personal to me and it’s not a way to brag, but a way to encourage you to do the same. You don’t even have to read my list, however, take 10 minutes of your time to write your own, and I think you’ll surprise yourself with how much you achieved. Then give yourself a pat on the back, do a victory dance and start 2017 with the motivation to exceed your 2016 accomplishments.

2016 – The Good Bits.

– I travelled to Amsterdam, Vienna, La Palma, England, and various places in Germany.
– I booked my first BIG trip to Chile in March 2017.
– I had some exhausting but amazing weeks teaching English to children in Germany and in the process met some great people.
– I created over 25 pieces of new artwork. (this one surprised me the most)
– I delved deeper into my ‘Art Beneath Our Feet’ project.
– I have a never ending list of new project ideas.
– I strengthened some already great friendships and caught up with old friends I hadn’t seen for years.
– We celebrated multiple marriages and engagements of friends.
– I helped a friend out with their English and enjoyed seeing them improve and grow in confidence.
– I grew in confidence with the German language and tackled some ‘day to day’ things alone, like dental appointments, doctors appointments, and other official stuff.
– I started a blog and I found out that I really enjoy writing, even if there’s great room for improvement.
– I FINALLY got my website together.
– I became aware of practicing mindfulness and I can feel it working!!! It’s slow progress but I already feel a healthy shift in my mindset. Here’s a link to the blog that helps me – zenhabits.net
– I was given the opportunity to move to a new country in 2017.
– I found and secured a place to live in Madrid.
– I successfully applied for a job I NEVER thought I would get which has set my path in a completely new direction.
It will once again allow me to experience the joys and exhaustion of living in a new country, learning a new language and skills and meeting new people …
2017 I already know you are going to be a wild ride and I can’t wait to get started!

I’d love to hear your achievements for 2016, feel free to share in the comments or get in touch via social media or email! Happy New Year.

Art Beneath Our Feet – Toronto

toronto-abof

Taken in Toronto by Momszn
Technique – Acrylic and colour pencil on paper.
Dimensions – 20 x 20 cm

Art Beneath Our Feet – Elda

Taken by Ana Monsalve Shoes in Elda, Spain.
Technique – Pencil and acrylic on paper.
Dimensions – 20 x 20 cm

Art Beneath Our Feet – Joo Chiat

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Taken by Shelovesblooms in Joo Chiat in 2016.
Technique – Colour pencil and acrylic on paper.
Dimensions – 20 x 20 cm

Floor Finding Success

This week was an EXCELLENT week of floor finding in Berlin, which you probably saw if following my Instagram account artbeneathourfeet, however, I know not all of you do so I wanted to share them with you here too.

I’m always on the look out for fancy floors, but somehow I stumbled upon a dozen (well, almost) of beautiful floors I’d not seen before, in an area of Berlin that I often walk around. How did that happen?

It started on Saturday as I got off the bus at Mehringdamm, I found this floor teasing me as it poked out beneath the large front door.

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As I went to take a picture I looked through the glass panes of the door to see that it expanded across the whole hallway! HEAVEN…but I couldn’t get to it!  This is frequently the case in Berlin, many stunning tiled floors are hidden away behind the closed doors of apartment buildings and more often than not the doors have glass windows where, if like me you are a floor addict, you can look through longingly at the beautiful but unobtainable floor! Such a tease!

The next floor I came across was this one…

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I have walked past it before and perhaps even taken a photo of it before. I’ve seen a lot of floors in Berlin, especially at door entrances, that have the word SALVE tiled into them. I always wondered why and what it meant and I’ve since been informed that it means ‘Greetings’ or ‘Welcome’ in Latin. Makes sense!

After meeting a friend for breakfast, the reason for my trip to Mehringdamm, I walked to get my Bus which wasn’t leaving for 5 minutes. It was super cold so I walked up and down the street a little to keep warm, and in doing so found this magnificent floor, again in the doorway to a building.

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Right next to this building was another tiled floor, not quite as stunning as the first but still worthy of a picture.

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It was a weekend that kept bringing me back to this part of town, and in doing so I found another handful of interesting floors as you can see here.
The one on the left was found in a doorway in Katzbachstrasse, and on the right, found in an open doorway where I could see a cafe’s kitchen getting ready for the day.

Found in a doorway on Katzbachstrasse 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

This one was found on a quiet street up a few steps to the entrance of an apartment block that was being refurbished.
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I have to say I lost track of where these two floors were found other than it was in the same area as the others. At this point, I had found so many floors!

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And lastly, this was in another part of town called Kurfurstendamm, or otherwise known as Ku’damm, one of the famous shopping streets in Berlin.

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Next week I will be in La Palma, Canary Islands, where I will be on the hunt for new floors.
Stay tuned!

Productivity Pressure

I’m sure like many of us do, I put a lot of pressure on myself to be productive every day, and there’s nothing that can put me in a bad mood quicker than the feeling of not getting things done (okay, apart from people with bad manners and a trip to the local supermarket)

Here’s what’s got me thinking about this –

This morning I sketched some lettering, sent emails, and sorted through my archive of drawings and fine art prints. It was a relaxing morning and helped distract my thoughts from the looming dentist appointment in the afternoon. Going to the dentist is always a little nerve-racking, but this was to be my first one in Germany and I’m sure fellow expats will understand the anxiety of trying to talk in a second language about an unfamiliar topic, especially one that involves important information that won’t lead to them unnecessarily taking a tooth out. Anyway, it was a positive experience and once home I photographed the drawings I had sorted in the morning and made a yummy pumpkin soup for dinner.
Writing this out makes me realise that it’s a reasonable amount of things for one day…yet I’ve felt frustrated about my post-dinner zombie like state and have this overwhelming need to do more.

This feeling lead me to question what I perceive as being productive…I didn’t just lay in my bed and watch TV all day, so why do I feel like this? I was productive in taking care of my health, doing a little creative work and ticking a few lingering tasks off my to-do list, yet I still don’t feel satisfied enough to end the day.

I think we have become programmed to make use of every minute of the day. There’s so much emphasis and pressure on being efficient and getting unrealistic amounts of work done.
We are human and cannot be 100% productive 100% of the time, nor should we be, and we have to get better at not feeling bad about it.
Of course, long work days are sometimes inevitable but this has to be balanced with taking time out for ourselves to relax.
It sounds like a stupid thing to be bad at… but I suck at relaxing. Not always, but often when I’m at home and “relaxing” I feel guilty doing something that isn’t work. I’m just guessing here, but I imagine this is a problem more often felt by those who work or study from home, the line between when work stops and personal time begins is more blurred.

I realise I sound like an uptight, anxious workaholic which I’m definitely not. I know when enough is enough and lead a balanced life of work and play, but I can’t say I don’t frequently have this anxiety of getting things done bubbling under the surface.

It’s something I am working on improving and one thing I have put in place is to stop writing myself unrealistic daily to-do lists. Instead, I write a big, more general to-do list, highlighting the most urgent tasks I need to get done, the tasks which are quick, painless but necessary and the tasks that can wait for another day. From this list, I chose one urgent task for the day and a couple of quick painless but necessary ones. The other things I will get around to at some point or will happen organically.
I’m writing this post as self-advice really and maybe you can’t relate to this topic at all. Perhaps you are a relaxation master, if so, well done you! Tell me your secrets!
However, if like me you set yourself impossible amounts of work and sometimes beat yourself up about not being superhuman enough to get through them all, then firstly let’s start being kinder to ourselves, let’s practice shifting our mindset to the things we did accomplish that day, prioritise our lists and praise ourselves for ticking off a couple things each day and finally take breaks or days off to enjoy ourselves…guilt free!

I’d be interested to know your thoughts on your relationship with productivity and what makes you feel productive and how you deal with days of unproductivity. Feel free to get in touch on social media.

My Week 23.10.16 – 30.10.16

I didn’t get off to a very productive start to the week after spending almost the whole of Monday procrastibaking (procrastination + baking) even though it meant I had yummy things to eat, it wasn’t great for my work. Anyway, I decided to write the day off and remember that sometimes we need a day of unproductiveness (or 2)  to whip us into shape for the days ahead.

On Tuesday I concentrated on finishing a little drawing of some Viennese statues, which took more time than initially planned…and after tipping a glass of water over my nearly finished piece, ARGH! Luckily it was thick water colour paper and just bled the colour green into the legs of the statues. I decided it wasn’t completely ruined and to go with it. Here is the finished result.

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I’m not completely happy with the drawings of the statues. I was working on a  textured watercolour paper so it was hard to get such small details in with the pencil. However, I really like the background! There’s always positives and negatives!

From Wednesday onwards I worked on an ‘Art Beneath Our Feet’ piece taken by Ana Monsalve Shoes in Elda, Spain which is apparently on of the biggest shoe industry cities.

      

I created this piece with a mixture of acrylic, watercolour pencil, colour pencil and chalk pencils. The skin of the feet was particularly challenging, as in the photo the shadows on the skin looked quite abstract and when I copied it exactly, it looked strange. So I had to use my artistic licence to lighten it a little. I think it’s a lovely and warm piece…exactly what you think of when you think of Spain.

It’s been an incredible grey week in Berlin, if you follow me on Instagram you’ll know this as I moaned about it enough. Still, there were a couple of bright moments where I got out of the house and enjoyed the Berlin Autumn. It’s actually my favourite season in Berlin…when the sun shines!

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This photo was taken at the lake, Schlachtensee, which I’m very lucky to only live a couple of stops away by train.

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Enjoying some autumn leaves, and a photo of the TV tower surrounded by rare BLUE sky whilst wandering around Berlin Mitte today. Hoping for some sunnier days heading into next week!

A Little Review of My Week in Vienna

At the end of September, I was lucky enough to spend a week in Vienna.
I happened to catch the last few days of summer, because of this and as I had no real plan of where I was going or what I wanted to see, I didn’t take any public transport and walked EVERYWHERE! Over a few days I clocked up almost 60km (pulling a hamstring in the process) but despite that, I feel like it’s the best way to see a city, especially if time is on your side and when everything is within walking distance of up to an hour.

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Photo by Dennis Kummer

The architecture in Vienna blew me away. It is SO over the top that it’s almost ridiculous. However, I loved it and had neck ache from constantly looking up. I don’t think I’ve ever taken so many photos of buildings in my life and I had never been inspired to draw architecture before…until I was here.
Even ‘regular’ apartment buildings look fit for a King, often being held up by epic looking statues and adorned with decorative borders and columns.
This was one of my favourites…
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Between all the walking, I of course stopped for many coffee and food breaks. Like most big cities you are spoilt for choice, although I often chose a smaller side street and found some real gems in
doing so, including a delicious Vietamese place called Tata and a Japanese called Mochi, which was closer to our apartment, a little out of the main centre. It was very small inside and a little pricier there but definitely worth a visit.
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Of course one of my obsessions is to look for beautiful floors on my adventures. It’s actually one of the things I get most excited about now when traveling somewhere new (don’t judge… I did use the word obsession) On my first day of walking around I was a little disheartened as I only came across a couple, one of those being in the entrance of the National History Museum, but you needed a ticket to pass through the entrance. I cheekily asked the security guard if I could just quickly take a photo, he was super kind and let me! Great success!

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Floor to the Natural History Museum

On my second day of walking around, I came across a bunch of floors, one after another…I was on a floor roll! And I realised why I’d been missing them the day before. Almost all of these were found in the entrance of apartment buildings. Okay so, I didn’t break into the apartments, don’t worry..the obsession isn’t out of hand. A lot of apartment buildings, similar to Berlin, often house something like a doctors practice or a lawyer’s office, meaning the door to the street was wedged open. So, I’d just quickly step into the entrance, take a snap and be on my way.
Here are just a few of the floors I found…you can see more of them by clicking on one the pictures and following me on my ‘Art Beneath Our Feet’ Instagram account.

7104201f-de6f-4ab8-bc41-f2ff0264f55c    889d57f9-1032-4a7a-826e-36ffbe518fda    9e9db21c-16c0-40fa-8cdb-7ca8064aa3a8   508d4f84-8922-431a-85c5-94ccd00e60c9

So all in all, I give Vienna a big thumbs up! After Berlin and Budapest, I would rate Vienna my next favourite European city I’ve been to and would take any opportunity to head back for another visit.

 

alan-signed-edition-copy

Alan

Technique – Pencil on paper and digital work on Procreate

Masai Mara copy_web

Masai Mara

Photograph taken by Sian Lewis on her trip to the Masai Mara in Kenya.
Technique – Pencil drawing on Hahnemühle paper.
Dimensions – 50 x 65cm

Limited Edition Fine Art Prints available for purchase.

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