Nathalie Kalbach’s artwork has appeared in the magazine, Cloth Paper Scissors, and on videos on Artist Network TV. I’ve been a big fan, and have eagerly been awaiting her new book, Artful Adventures in Mixed Media that focuses on “techniques inspired by observation and experience.” I’ve been thinking about observation a lot lately—the ways in which I’m moved and in awe of cityscapes, the natural world, and in particular, the magic that comes from seeing a place or a thing for the very first time.
Nathalie addresses observation in brilliant ways. One perspective in particular that resonated with me was the importance she places on details, colors, shapes and other elements e.g. different shapes that can be found in the patterns of ironwork doorways and windows, graffiti on city walls. Nathalie encourages using our smartphone cameras to help record patterns we notice, to make notations about background sounds and scents, and on the go sketches.
I find that using observations in this way can make me feel more alive, more present in my surroundings. They help foster “be here now” type experiences and combined with favorite mark making tools, observing real-time can be the type of creative experiences that will often set me free.
Artful Adventures in Mixed Media offers thoughtful explorations. Ones that are often so difficult to articulate and describe in writing but fortunately for us, Nathalie Kalbach does it with great ease and clarity.