My cute little Orchid gave me inspiration for the below piece, which I finalised recently.  I was wondering how she looked so good since weeks had passed and I had forgotten to water her. I checked the vase and I could see little water at the bottom, but as the vase was too narrow, pot didn’t reach the bottom, and normally plant would have not survived. For my surprise, my persistent Orchid had grown a root through the small whole and now drank the leftover water. It really impressed me a lot.

With the illustration I want to cherish how amazingly nature finds its way to reach water and and sun.

Technique: Watercolor and India Ink on 300g/m2 aquarelle paper, size 50×65 cm

Painting Music

It is funny how you can struggle with your thoughts and works, and then you realise that the answer is in front of you. Something like this happened to me lately. Even I am interested in fashion and clothing I began to feel I tried too much, and I felt my approach to the topic was too obvious. Instead of hitting my head against the wall I started to think over my interests and change direction.

Then it hit me, music, it was so obvious! Why haven’t I thought of it before? Music has always been a big part of my life as I have played the piano and hand bells for many years. I also love listening to music.

I pictured myself playing the piano and thought how the music flows in the space. I think it is amazing how we can read the music from 2D music sheets and translate it to sound waves, that is, I think, something invisible, layered and three dimensional; It evokes feelings and emotions and can resonate in your body. Below are some of my first interpretation on music.



Media: Fiber-tip pen and pigment ink on 200g paper, A4

Media: Watercolor, finer-tip pen and pigment ink on 150g paper, A3



About Abstract Art

Regarding abstract art, and especially the theme about painting music, I have discovered that there are two common names in fine arts; Vasily Kandinsky and Paul Klee. Speaking of Kandinsky I found a very interesting article Ways of mind-walking: reading, writing, painting by Tim Ingold, a Professor of Social Anthropology and Head of the School of Social Science at the University of Aberdeen. In the article Ingold offers an insight into how the terrain of imagination and real life can be understood in visual and non-visual practices. I was especially interested in the part of the article where he approaches modern abstract art using its pioneer, Vasily Kandinsky, as an example.

Ingold mentioned about Kandinsky’s concept of external and internal. I found that Kandinsky’s theory is quite complex, and I need to find more sources in order to understand it better. However, Ingold illustrates Kandinsky’s idea that paintings were no longer meant to be understood in a way that one can say a painting is a picture of something. In other words, a painting should be more non-figurative. Figurative paintings bind objects in the visible world, and sometimes they lack content. In abstract art, paintings drill down to the viewer’s soul and evoke feelings. But what exactly did Kandinsky mean by abstract contents? How I see this is that; paintings of objects are too obvious and they can’t convey meanings in a way that abstract art does. Abstract contents of paintings give an opportunity to be part of the experience. Could it be, in this case, that abstract contents describe what the artist (Kandinsky) felt while painting music?


Above painting is one of my very first reflection on music. Media: Ink and Watercolor on 180g/m2, A4.




Ingold, T. (2010) ‘Ways of mind-walking: reading, writing, painting’. Visual Studies. 25(1 )April. pp. 16-23.

The Story of the Jumper


Lately I have been reading sources about visual culture, fashion and communication. I find it very interesting, as clothing is part of our everyday life. It’s connected to everyone, and it pretty much tells something about us; maybe something about our lifestyles, values, cultures, or interests. In up coming paragraphs I would like to share my own experience on how a garment evokes meanings and stories, or finally do they?

This picture of me is taken two months ago. I was just about to start my MA studies at the University of Hertfordshire. Everything was new to me, and I was exited but at the same time little bit confused about everything –No wonder why, it takes some time to adapt to a new environment; moving abroad and starting studies in the new university takes a lot of energy. That is, I needed to make feel myself as comfortable as I could.

However, I have this white and red coloured jumper, which I tended to wear these days quite often. There are several reasons why I chose to pack it within my luggage, for instance, as autumn- and wintertime can be quite chilly and dark, so I wanted to take something warm and colourful with me. I also like patterning and shapes very much. Nevertheless, I think the most important reason is that the jumper was my mothers, and was knitted by my grandma in the early 60’s.

I think this jumper is more than a jumper to me. It carries meanings, that is, it connects me to my roots and practise. I’ve been described how my grandma used to spin wool thread and send them out to be dyed. Then she knitted them by copying models from magazines. Usually every family member got something warm and colourful for Christmas. This tradition has continued in my family as my mom does a lot of knitting today too. I feel that I get much energy when thinking about all this.

Back to the jumper. Two months back I felt that this pullover reminded me who I am, and it gave me confidence. But why was it like that? Do clothes tell stories or share meanings, or am I creating them all by myself?  Regarding Finkelstein (2007), people are producing their reality through their identity, which is shaped by social forces in our culture. He explains that visual culture is full of cultural codes, which can be considered intangible, and are perceived through goods. Likewise Malcolm Bernard (2010) presents an idea of cultured bodies, where the body is a base of cultural phenomenon, yet different cultural bodies share the meanings through fashion. He further illustrates his approach of the meaning of clothing and culture as follows: When a garment is linked to culture it will construct meanings, and these meanings are shared and understood by the members of the same cultural or social groups. He also stresses that a garment itself can’t create meanings, it has to be connected with culture.

Refer to Finkelstein and Barnard’s ideas; the jumper itself doesn’t create meanings. The jumper represents something from the past. If I’m thinking back to the time when my mother got the jumper I’m sure she might think differently about it than I do now. Obviously I can’t tell how she felt when she wore it. Perhaps the jumper connects me to my family, culture and handcraft tradition, or maybe I perceive some values or ideals through it. Maybe the jumper is one way to strengthen my identity. I think is important to point out that at the same time when I have decided to include this pullover as part of my visual appearance, I have also excluded something else.

Apparently I could analyse this for many pages, as there are so many layers that can be contemplated. However, I’m considering this post to be a start of my research of visuality, and later its connection to my practice as an illustrator.


Finkelstein, J. (2007) The Art of Self Invention. IB Tauris & Co Ltd

Barnard, M. (2010) Fashion statements: Communication and Culture. In Barnard Scap, R. & Seitz, B. (2010) (ed.) Fashion Statement on Style, Appearance, and Reality. Palgrave Macmillan.

Bringing Background Music in Front

Couple of days ago I randomly went trough some magazines I had kept in my drawer for quite some time. I found this little recommendation ad about Sunday lunch restaurants in London. As I’m working on the music theme I started to think what kind of music do I usually hear in restaurants. What is the typical background music like? Of course it depends on the restaurant but in general I think it is most likely some light, melodic music; something you don’t pay much attention to but it is nice that you can listen to it. Sometimes people’s talk can mix with the music and perhaps, after all, it can considered to be more sound pollution than pleasant voices.

So, I came up with this idea to illustrate the background music; bringing the music in front. I used the ad as a surface for my painting. I listened to some jazz music pieces, looked for some music sheets, and using the light box I copied ties, staves and notes to the surface. I choose the piece below as I think it well represents a music genre that I would hear while having lunch or brunch at an idyllick restaurant.

You can listen to the piece here.

I painted over the ad with silver acrylic paint to bring out “the invisible” in front. I left it to be little bit transparent as I wanted the food plates and cups to be recognizable. I wanted to illustrate how music, and on the other hand human voices, would interact in the space. It can be quite a mess when you try to distinguish music from the other voices in a busy restaurant.


Overall, I found it was fun to paint and play around with this idea. Besides, this is a new media for me as I haven’t really done any experiments with a collage style before. I like how acrylic paint performs on the magazine. Depends on which angle you choose to view the work, the picture of the magazine appears more or less visible, and the texture of the acrylic paint shows differently.

Media: Silver acrylic paint, a golden pen and black fiber tip pen on magazine page.

23 / 12 / 14 


Zooming Music

I found this interesting video, again from the Slow Mo Guys. In the video Gavin Free and Dan Gruchy record a slow motion film of a speaker, which is covered with paint. They literally paint the music. As music plays paint drops vibrate and jump along with the music. They are using a high speed camera, which shows the world hundereds of times slower than normal eye can see. It looks amazing how rhythms shape the colourful paint drops.

I think, this is very inspiring, as it gives me totally different insight into ways of painting music. Could I illustrate music in slow motion, and how? Maybe I could concentrate on fine structures of sounds and try to bring alive the present; investigate the ‘nowness’ of music.








27 / 12 / 14


“Color is the keyboard. The Eye is the hammer. The Soul is the piano with its many strings. The artist is the hand that purposefully sets the soul vibrating by means of this or that key”.

The sentence above was written by Kandinsky. It’s from Tim Ingold’s article (Ways of mind-walking: reading, writing, painting), which I mentioned in the former post. Concerning painting music Ingold mentions that Kandisky had characterised how music and painting music  “…open the mind to inner thruths…“. Ingold described how Kandinsky took inspiration from the composer Modest Mussorgsky’s piano composition Pictures at an Exhibition (1874). Kandisky used the same name for his own exhibition in 1928. In turn Mussorgsky had taken inspiration for the composition from his friend Viktor Hartmann, the Russian artist and architect. I think it’s fascinating how Hartmann’s works have transformed to music, and later to abstract art pieces.

To illustrate the transformation I searched for one of  `the exhibition´ works. The below image (picture 1) presents the painting called The Great Gate of Kiev, by Hartmann. Originally Hartmann’s work was for the competition, where he was commissioned to design the great gate in memory of the 4th of April in 1866, when Tsar Alexander II survived an assassination attempt, and escaped to Kiev  (Stmoroky 2000). However, the project was cancelled and Hartmann wasn’t recognised for this work in his lifetime. After he had passed away Mussorgsky composed the piano suite mentioned above, and he named the pieces after Hartmann’s works. (Ingold 2010) The last `picture’ of the exhibition suite was named after this event. Later Kandinsky painted his own version of the same theme (picture 2).

You can listen to Mussorgsky’s piano piece The Great Gate of Kiev here.


1. Hartmann; The Great Gate of Kiev (Stmoroky 2000)



2. Kandinsky; The Great Gate of Kiev (Wikiart 2014)



Ingold, T. (2010) ‘Ways of mind-walking: reading, writing, painting’. Visual Studies. 25(1 )April. pp. 16-23.

Stmoroky (2000). http://www.stmoroky.com/reviews/gallery/pictures/hartmann.htm

Wikiart 2014. Kandinsky. Visual Art Encyclopedia. http://www.wikiart.org/en/wassily-kandinsky/picture-xvi-the-great-gate-of-kiev-stage-set-for-mussorgsky-s-pictures-at-an-exhibition-in-1928

28 / 12 / 14

Different Kinds of Music Patterns

I have recently looked for different kinds of ways to illustrate or track music. Besides ‘normal’ notation here are some other methods I have found.

Martin Shelter is an interaction designer based in Berlin Germany. He has created a method, as part of his bachelor thesis, to depict music. There are some screenshots of the video below. As a whole the video can be seen here.

Another example is Rainer Wehinger’s visual listening score of Romanian composer Ligeti’s Articulation, which can be seen hereI found this one very eye opening for Ligeti’s music. I think it illustrates brilliantly the different sounds and sensitive structures of the piece.

I also found a book about Paul Klee (Kagan, A. (1983) Paul Klee/ Art & Music. Cornell University Press). I recommend to have a look at it if you are interested his interpretation of painting music.

Below you may see my versions on creating musical pattern


Media: pigment ink on magazine page, A4


Media: Pigment ink on layered acrylic sheets, 20×18 cm






Kagan, A. (1983) Paul Klee/ Art & Music. Cornell University Press

01 / 01 / 15

Fruit Song

One of my colleagues recommended I watch a video of cyborg artist, Neil Harbisson, who can actually listen to colors. He has been color blind most of his life but since 2004 he got a color sensor. The sensor changes the colors to audible frequencies through a chip which is installed at the back of his head in the bone. He can not only interpret the spectrum of colors but the color ranges out of human sight too.

I think it is unbelievable how he can distinguish the differences between color tones, and if he can hear so many tones of colors it’s amazing that he can compose based on that. Obviously he must be very talented in music as he can hear the differences between microtones. In the video he is explaining that when he enters to a shopping mall his head is full of different sounds as he interprets the surrounding activities.

Here’s a song he has composed based on the colors of fruits. I think this gives a good idea how he colors are matching to sound frequencies.

Notation vs. Music

I’ve been thinking about how the symbols on music sheets can look quite monotonous but they actually conceal another dimension. I think, individually the notes are just notes; signs of certain frequencies and times. However when we are playing them, the notes are interacting with each other and creating harmonies. If I am thinking about music in a space, I feel it is flowing around us. Nevertheless, it’s written in a formal sheet that one can read and play; it starts at top left corner and usually ends at the bottom right corner of the sheet. It’s quite amazing how music has its own written language, and whoever can translate it is able to experience and share it.

With the sketches below I try to reflect these ideas. I chose the piano piece Clair de Lune from the French composer Debussy, simply because I like the piece and piano compositions are close to my heart. As I did in the former post “Bringing the background music in front”, I searched for the music sheet, and using the light box I copied some of the staves, slurs and ties. I used black fiber tip pen to draw the notations from the music sheets on paper. I layered and drew them in different directions, to illustrate the interaction of sounds. The applied watercolors describe aspects of the music we cannot see: harmonies, evoked feelings, and the propagation of the sound waves.



Media: Fiber tip pen and watercolor.

03 / 01 / 15