ART: Maria Tiqwah

Quite a while ago I discovered the amazing artist Maria Tiqwah on Facebook. I asked her if she’d  like to be on my blog and though it has been a while since the first time we spoke, she still agreed to it. Lucky me and lucky you, because she makes amazing things. I think she is super talented and her work should be out there more! Maria was born in Boskoop (Netherlands), in October 1982. Already since a very young age she is fascinated by animals. Her first words (yes, before ‘mummy’ and ‘daddy’) were ‘cat’ and ‘fish’. Because her love for animals, she always drew animals. That is also where her inspiration is coming from. She says: ‘Animals move me, amaze me and fascinate me. They make me smile and that smile I want to pass on via my paintings’.

In August 2011, Maria watched a horrible video about the bio industry. She decided she didn’t want to contribute to this cruel industry any longer and she gave the sausage, she just got that morning, to the dog of her employer. At first she thought that veganism was a little extreme, but when she did educate herself and found out what was behind dairy, eggs and honey, she became vegan. She only uses vegan materials to make her paintings. When she became vegan she checked everything and luckily it turned out everything she was using was vegan already. She only uses 1 little brush for everything. She doesn’t like to use 20 different brushes and 100 different colours. She rather shapes her brush in different shapes and mixes colours herself. For her paintings she uses a combination of: soft pastel, water colours (aquarelle) and a white gel pen on paper. She likes soft pastel as she can work faster and it gives nice bright colours. ‘The water colours are perfect for sharp lines and details’ she says and she uses the gel pen for the white bits in a painting. For the aquarelle paper she uses, she always has to make sure she gets the right one as some paper is made with gelatine. She used to use oil based paint and then she would sometimes work on a painting for 100 hours, within 1 year. With he technique she is using now, she can finish a painting in about 20 hours. She makes about 10 painting a year now.

With her paintings she wants to show people the love, beauty and individuality of animals. This way she hopes there will be more respect for animals. This is why she also used a few of her paintings to create organic, ‘Happy Vegan T-shirts‘. Take a look, because I can tell you, it’s totally worth it (+ worldwide shipping)! At the moment she doesn’t have any particular plans for the future, but she will be on VegFestNL in Utrecht (Netherlands). She was there last year for the first time and she loved it. So make sure you check her out when you’re there! She would also love to find a nice vegan friendly gallery for her paintings (Tips are welcome!).

Maria is quite a busy woman, because making beautiful paintings isn’t the only thing she does. She also runs her own green advertisement business. Some clients are: ‘Partij voor de Dieren’ (Party for the Animals – a political party in the Netherlands) and ‘Dier & Recht’ (Animal & Right – a organisation for animals). Last year she also published a little book with her paintings, called ‘En nu wat Vroluks‘ (direct translation: and now something cheerful). It’s a little book with her paintings, combined with poetry (from several writers) about animals. She also volunteers, doing some graphic design work for Dutch organisations: ‘Nederlandse Vereniging voor Veganisme‘ (direct translation: Dutch organisation for Veganism) and for ‘Melk, je kan zonder!‘ (direct translation: Milk, you can do without!). And if this isn’t enough yet, she also volunteers for Plenty Food. This is a plant-based development aid organisation that helps families in Africa. At the moment they have a project running, where you can buy a fruit tree (€12,50) for a family in Kenya.

Nowadays Maria lives, with her husband Raqib, in Istanbul. They fell in love in 2005 and in 2009 they decided to move to the popular Turkish city. For them it’s the perfect place to live, as both cultural and geographical, it’s in the middle of the Netherlands and Kurdistan (where her husband is from). You can buy her work, though she doesn’t like to send her paintings via the mail. The easiest way would be to come to the VegFestNL in the Netherlands (28/29 of October 2017) or to plan a trip to Istanbul! You can always contact her via Facebook or by email: maria@colourfulgreen.nl. At the moment she is only doing free work, but in the future she will maybe do commissions too.

Something Maria would like to pass on to you all:
Follow your heart and enjoy life, to be vegan in a non vegan world isn’t always easy! Also she would like to share something she finds really helpful herself: a presentation about ‘Sustainable Activism’ by Melany Joy.

I want to thank Maria very much for letting me share her story and art with all my readers. 

Do you like Maria’s work? Is it the kind of art you would get for yourself? Please let me (and Maria) know by leaving a comment below or via Instagram by using #PlanetManel. Thank you! X

Advertisements

Scotland – Roadtrip + 24 hours in Glasgow

If you read the last newsletter, you knew I was in Glasgow last week. I was asked by my previous employers to drive their car over there as they wanted to use it on their holiday. First I was going with my boyfriend, but he cancelled and then very last-minute my brother (Julian) came with me, thanks to my mum. Yay! He already came on Thursday evening, what meant we also had the Friday together here in London. So nice! We had croissants for breakfast, went to a children’s party (of the girl I used to look after), walked down Portobello Road (where Julian found and bought a lovely hand-made 60’s dress for his girlfriend) and we went to Westfield to do a little bit of shopping and to eat at Yo Sushi. What a lovely day! In the evening we picked up the car and parked it in the street next to me, so we could leave early.

The plan was to leave at 7:00 and so we woke up at 6:15, but before we left and put diesel in the car, it was 7:30. Still a very good time to leave though. The drive went really well. It wasn’t busy anywhere and it was lots of fun. We had time to chat and Julian was my personal DJ, making sure we had great music all the time. We listened to some of his own music, The Opposites (Dutch HipHop we both loveeee!) and Mac Miller! Our first stop was around 9:45. Time to go to the toilet, have a tea/cappuccino at Costa and to have a home-made sandwich, I made the evening before. We were chatting so much that time went quite fast and before we knew it, there was almost an hour gone. Oops! Luckily we were not in a rush at all. The second part of our road trip went a little slower as they were working on the road and we had very long bits where we had to cut speed almost in half. Doesn’t matter though, there was so much to see. Nature changed every hour and there are so many lovely cows and sheep to look at. Our second stop was around 12:30 and the place had a lovely shop, with fresh bread, food and lots of gifts and nice things. It’s a good thing I left my money in the car, haha! We had lunch with a beautiful view and there was a very cute Yorkshire Terrier coming to us all the time for cuddles. Also a seagull decided to do a poo exactly on my trousers.. he probably wasn’t aware that I’m vegan, haha! Oh well.. About 45 min later we were hitting the road again. Time flies really.. We weren’t planning to make another stop, but we needed more diesel for the car and as we made a stop anyway, we better make use of it and go to the toilet too. This was around 14:30, when we only had an hour to go. We arrived at the airport at 15:45 and we parked the car. We both didn’t feel like we sat in the car for long. It felt like we just drove for an hour or so. This clearly proves how much fun it was! We checked if we got all our stuff, locked it and started to look for a taxi. That was not very hard and before we knew it we were dropped in front of our AirBnB.

The girl of the AirBnB was super friendly and kind. She showed us everything and made us feel very welcome. She was going to the park with friends that evening and planned to be away the next day too. So we actually had the whole flat to ourselves, super relaxed. We sat down for a bit, a little relaxing before we left to find a restaurant/bar called Mono, to have dinner. I did my research and planned the places we were going to eat, to review and to make an amazing hotspot list. It was about a 20 min walk, but that was lovely after being in the car for most of the day. Very soon we agreed that Glasgow felt like Berlin (we have been both). The neglected fields, old buildings mixed with new buildings, graffiti, fences and also Mono. Mono is quite a big restaurant, with a bar, a stage and a vinyl shop.  The furniture was all very vintage and everything was super dated, but that is kind of the idea. The waiter who brought us to our seats looked like he came straight from the 80’s (I was looking for a time machine), hair, glasses, clothes.. everything. And he wasn’t the only one. It was quite a fun experience. We both ordered a burger. Julian had the falafel burger and it was very tasty. Fresh, crispy and a little spicy, truly perfect. I had the seitan burger and that was truly perfect as well. The burger itself was yummy, the sauce was super tasty and the buns they came on were making the whole combination complete. But the one thing what was most perfect, were the fries. I think I’ve never had such tasty fries. You got to go here to try them! After dinner we walked around a bit and came passed The 13th Note. This is, like Mono, also a music venue and a cafe/bar/restaurant. All very artistic and easy going. We had a quick look inside, but were too full to order something. They have a great menu though, with mostly vegan food. We kept walking and saw a little bit of Glasgow this way. Very nice! there is a lot of street art, what I absolutely love and very interesting sights. We sat down for a bit, to enjoy the last sun rays, but then walked back to our AirBnB. We did pop into a very lovely Asian shop called Oaka. You have to go here,  if you’re into this. I bought some tofu, seaweed crackers, Pu-Erh tea and a very nice matte black can with matcha powder. They also do some beautiful Asian dishes and tea sets. Back in the flat, we had a shower, watched some You Tube on the big tv there and then went to sleep.

I was so tired, that I slept really well. We had a relaxed morning and left around 10:00ish. It’s lovely not to be in a rush. We walked to this cafe called Picnic. I was very looking forward to this, because yesterday we walked passed it and it looked so nice from the inside. It’s all vegan and they have a lot of choice. They do breakfast, sandwiches, warm dishes, cakes, smoothies.. it’s amazing. It’s nice that my brother is more and more into healthy vegan food too. It’s nice to share the experience together, being like-minded. So we took a seat and were excited to order. We both ordered the granola and yogurt and aso a croissant and a blueberry and kale smoothie. The yogurt and granola was very delicious with all the fresh fruit on top. The croissant, though not having the exact consistency of an average croissant, was very tasty. More filling I would say. What a perfect breakfast. The interior of Picnic is really nice too. Light, bright and colourful, but not too colourful. It’s done right. The staff was very kind as well. The only downside I would say is that the music was a little loud and didn’t really go with the whole atmosphere.

With a full tummy we walked up to the city centre, what is very close from Picnic. We saw some more beautiful graffiti, but it also started to rain. Now I’m a big fan of rain, but I only had the clothes I was wearing and still had to wear them all day long, so we had to stay our of the rain as much as possible. We went into a shopping mall and Julian saw the shop Game. He asked for second-hand games (he collects old games) and were redirected to Cex. This was heaven for him, he looked like a little boy in a sweets shop. Hehe.. He bought 2 games and we spend a lot of time there, looking at all the games. Then there was also a shop with all anime toys and stuff, so we went in there too and later it turned out, the whole street was kind of geek heaven. Julian had to leave Glasgow around 14:00 as the only flight to Amsterdam that day was at 16:00. So we had to keep an eye on the time and went to have lunch. We chose to go to Stereo, as that was the closest from where we were. It’s a little tricky to find at first as it’s located in a very narrow street, with lots of bins. You wouldn’t think there is a restaurant. When you go inside it feels like Berlin again. Very vintage and easy going. We took a seat and chose something from the 100% vegan menu. Yay! Julian went for a broccoli burger and I went for the aubergine fritters + some fries on the side (I love fries, it’s one of my favourite foods.. so bad and childish! Haha!). My food was delicious, but very oily though. Also the fries were very oily. It looked like everything was fried in the same oil, what made the quality of the oil (and so the food) less. Overall it was tasty though. The broccoli burger was very yum and it had a very nice obvious broccoli taste which we both loved.

It was time to say goodbye. A little sad, because we had such an amazing time together. I really appreciated him coming with me. It was helpful, but most of all it was super nice. Julian makes me laugh 24/7 (literally until the last seconds, driving away in the bus), whilst we can also talk about serious things and everything and nothing. I love him! Now it was time to explore some more hotspots. We walked passed a juice bar earlier, called the Juice Garden, and I decided to go there. I ordered a green juice and took a seat. It’s a very nice juice bar, with a lot of juices and smoothies to choose from. They also do other things like: acai bowls, breakfast, sandwiches and salads + some snacks too. It was nice to have a little break, especially because they had great music. All 90’s/00’s hip hop and R&B, totally loved it! I edited some pictures and planned my next hotspot. Close to there was an Asian restaurant called Nippon Kitchen and apparently they have a vegan menu. I had to test this of course. It’s a very nice, typical Asian restaurant. I asked for the vegan menu and I was happy to see there was a lot of choice. As I already had lunch and I planned to eat dinner out too, I only chose 3 things. The maki avocado and cucumber and a temaki. It came on a very nice dish and it was very yummy. A shame Julian was gone already, because he loves sushi too.

I then walked around a little bit and in the end of the afternoon I went the The Flying Duck. This was quite an experience. It’s located in a basement (with great art down the stairs) and it’s a very big space. It’s quite dark, vintage and it has Berlin written all over it. They have a lot of different types of seats and I was lucky enough to get a lovely chair to sit in. They also have a pool table, board games you can play and loud music. I ordered a sandwich with tempeh at first, but they run out of tempeh (of course that happens, after I finally decided what I wanted). So I went for a hotdog instead. I didn’t want something too big, because I had quite a lot of (fast) food already. Though when the hotdog arrived, it turned out to be huge.. haha! It looked super delicious though and it came with salad. Very tasty, especially the cole slaw. The hotdog itself was exactly what you want from a hotdog. A tasty sausage, pretzel bun, onions, ketchup and perfect mustard.. sooo yum! The downside was that their menu is very unclear. There is just too much going on in black, white and bright pink colours, with very big ‘screaming’ letters. It also all took quite long. There was only one girl to serve all the customers and she also helped making some orders in the meantime. In the end I had to rush a bit as I had to wait so long before I was able to pay.

Then at the bus stop I had to wait 15 minutes for the bus, what made the little rush very unnecessary in the end. The Airport Express (bus 500) to Glasgow Airport leaves from ‘St. Vincent Ln’ btw and is very modern and new. It takes about 20 minutes to get to the airport, what is super convenient. I got there on time though and the security was super quiet en quick. I waited at Starbucks with a tea whilst charging my phone and watching all the traveling people walk by. I had to wait until 19:25 until they would announce the gate, whilst 19:25 was also the time of my flight. In the end it took an hour before I was able to board. So many people were annoyed, short-tempered and sighing. So silly, because there is nothing somebody could do and so they only destroyed their own mood. The flight itself is almost 1,5 hour. We landed a little before 22:00, but before I was at Victoria station (by train), took the bus and got home, it was 00:00. I was so exhausted by then. So I quickly unpacked some things and got ready for bed.

Overall I think, for the short time I was there, I can say that Glasgow is a great city. There is a lot of music, art and freedom. People are artistic and are not afraid to express themselves. People who love Berlin, definitely have to pay Glasgow a visit too. I’m sure you will love it!

HOTSPOTS:
Mono – 12 King Street, G1 5RB.
The 13th Note – 50-60 King Street, G1 5QT.
Oaka – 130 George Street, G1 1RG.
Picnic – 103 Ingram Street, G1 1DX.
Stereo – 22-28 Renfield Lane, G2 6PH.
Juice Garden – 23 Renfield Street, G2 5AH.
Nippon Kitchen – 91 W George Street, G2 1PB.
The Flying Duck -142 Renfield Street, G2 3AU.

Have you been to Glasgow yet? Did you know about these cool hotspots or do you have any other recommendations? Are you really excited to go now? I would love to hear about your trip and experiences! You can leave a comment below or you can show me by using #PlanetManel on Instagram. Thank you! X

ART: Elise Klinkert

If you read my travel posts about Holland, I’m sure you know that my mum works at hotel-restaurant Rikus. I always mention RIkus as I always go to my mum when she’s working. Do you also remember that in my first post about ‘Holland Groningen/Drenthe‘ I mentioned the artist Elise Klinkert? She makes beautiful paintings, from animals (mainly horses) and also people. Her work is some sort of dreamy and magical. I especially like the paintings with the horses, but there are also some people-portraits I really like. Always when I go, I hope there are new paintings I like and I’ve never been disappointed.This is why I like to tell you about her and her work. 

Elise Klinkert was born in 1967 in the Netherlands. She now lives in the north of the Netherlands, with her husband and 2 children. As a child she actually never painted. She was good at drawing, but she never decided to do something with it. She has always been creative though and designed and made other things, like jumpers, cardigans, teddies, lamps and even a wedding dress. Now, since 20 years, she is a stylist for fashion and advertisement photography. For the last couple of years she’s also been active as a photographer herself. Only 3 years ago she started painting and she feels that this is her future. When she paints it feels like everything comes together and this is what she wants to do. She is completely autodidact when it comes to painting. In the back of her garden she created a little studio. It’s very quiet there and she can completely focus on her paintings, whilst looking at an old magnolia tree and the birds singing in the background.

As a vegan I was curious why she chose to paint a lot of animals. But she actually doesn’t have a clear explanation for that. She loves animals and if something touches me she wants to translate that into a painting. ‘It’s that simple’ she says. For me this is a very clear answer of why she chooses animals automatically. Animals touch you, they’re so pure, honest and majestic. Nature and emotion are her biggest sources of inspiration. Most of the time it’s just that one moment, that glance or that right atmosphere she tries to translate through her paintings. She finds it very important in her work. She doesn’t make some sort of plan of what she should paint. She paints what she feels. This means that sometimes she started something, but then she doesn’t touch it for months. Then later on she will work on it again. It also means that some paintings will never be finished and end up in the hearth. ‘That’s part of it’ she says.

She mainly works with acrylic paint, but sometimes also with oil paint (like the ‘White Goat’ here on the right.) She definitely prefers acrylic paint, as she has difficulty with the mediums you use with oil paint. She also likes to use acrylic paint better, because oil paint is bad for your health and for the environment. Depending on the painting and her mood, it can happen that she finishes a painting in a matter of days, but it also happens that it takes months and that she does other painting in the meantime. Elise also does commissions, depending on the clients wishes. If you’re interested in her work, I recommend taking a look at her beautiful website. Here you can see all her art work and all the other things she does. At the moment she is looking for a nice gallery what suits her, so all she has to do is paint.

New York
About a year ago she notices an art competition: The Equus Film Festival Art competition! Everybody who makes art, involving horses, was invited to send their work. As she likes to paint horses and she does it quite often, she decided to send some of her work. She made it into the competition and was invited to join. The first round was choses by the public. Everybody could vote via Facebook. After that, out of the winners, a jury of experts picked the winner. Elise Klinkert won!! She never even dared to dream about winning this. It felt all very surreal to her and it was totally unexpected.So last November she flew to New York, with her paintings, to exhibit her work at the Equus Film Festival! ‘You understand, this was an amazing experience!’ she says. The painting you see on the left, used to hang on the wall at Rikus and I saw it many times. She couldn’t bring this specific painting, as right after the news that she was going to New York, it was sold instantly. The painting on the right is one of my personal favourites. In my opinion she totally deserved to win as I’m a big fan of her work. So without any doubt: congratulations Elise!

I want to thank Elise very much for letting me share her story and art with all my readers. 

Do you like Elise Klinkert her work? Is it the kind of art you would get for yourself? Please let me (and Elise) know by leaving a comment below or on Instagram by using #PlanetManel. Thank you! X

ART: Limppu by Laura Witick

laura-4Via Facebook I came across ‘Limppu’, the artist name of Laura Witick. I saw this beautiful image of a pig she painted. (My eyes always seem to spy pigs..) The painting really got to me. It had my full attention from the first second I saw it. I absolutely love it! It gives me goosebumps, makes me feel incredibly happy and it makes me want to burst out in tears at the same time. I think it’s amazing and Laura is a beautiful person, as she is involved in different animal rights organisations, donates part of what she earns with her art to all sorts of different charities and she is vegan. I really wanted to interview her and write about her, so more people will get to know her and can enjoy and support her work.


lauraIn March 1991, Laura Witick was born in Kokkola in Finland. It was right then when her father gave her the nickname ‘Limppu’, what literally means ‘loaf of bread’ in Finnish. Unfortunately he can’t remember how he came up with it anymore, but nowadays she still goes by that name. When her real name got mixed up because more people are called ‘Laura Witick’, she decided to use ‘Limppu’ as het artist name.

Laura always loved drawing and basically started as soon as she was able to hold a pencil. At first she only drew animals, mainly fish. As a teenager she also started to draw people’s faces and she was especially intrigued by drawing eyes. Until the age of 18 she only drew, but then she also started painting when she got her first acrylic paints set, gifted by her mum. Laura is a vegan artist and so she makes sure the materials she is using are vegan too. That means she is using synthetic brushes, acrylic paints from art‘Winsor&Newton’ (note: the colours ‘Ivory Black’ and ‘Payne’s Gray’ are not vegan) and canvases from ‘Daler-Rowney’ for her paintings. For her drawings she uses the pencils from ‘Faber-Castell’ and drawing paper from ‘Canson’. To see what other art supplies she uses, you can click here.

lauraWhen Laura was 6 years old she started Kokkola Art School. It’s an art school for children and young people. You would think it was something she’d love, but the unexpected happened, she quit after a month. She only wanted to draw, paint and mould animals, but because that was not the only thing they did there, she thought it was boring. Though a year later she did attend the entrance exams again and she got in, again. She went to art school for 8 years, but when there was only 1 year left before graduation she quit again. This time because she was moving to Lapland. It didn’t really upset her, as she didn’t have any interest of continuing anyway. Since then she never applied for any art school again. She can be very short about it: ‘I really love art, but I don’t love studying it’. Nevertheless, she did graduate from ‘Upper Secondary School’, ‘Visual Arts’ oriented and she has completed a Fine Arts Diploma in there too (5/5). She has also did several art courses in the ‘Adult Education Centre’ of Joensuu.

laura-2Laura is not just an artist who likes to paint animals, because she also has a Lutheran priest education and she’s a Master of Theology. She believes that God created animals for independent purposes and not so much for the nourishment of humans or for any consumer goods. She has based her views above all on the story of creation, where all beings are depicted as vegetarians. Laura tells me something else what I found very interesting. In her words: ‘Like the famous animal theologian Andrew Linzey deduces, the rule of humans cannot focus on killing or usage of any created being, because humans didn’t have permission to eat animals in paradise despite their rule over creation. The nature of domination is a protective rule. To act as the image of God means the ability of humans to intermediate the love of God’. 

laura-3Laura gets her inspiration from every day life. Most of the time it’s when she is doing something very irrelevant to art, like grocery shopping or reading a book. Any time of the day a great idea can pop into her head and when that happens she feels the urge to paint it. At the moment Laura is creating her first art exhibition, called ‘Mercy!’. It’ll be about the relationship between God and animals in Christianity. She hopes that her art gets more people interested in animal rights. She wants to make the world a better place, for all of us. She’s aware of the fact that it mind sound idealistic and a bit naïve, but I think that people like Laura is what the world needs. Now more than ever.

laura2Laura is self-employed and she also does commissions for a living. If you are interested in her work you can go to her website, her Facebook page or her Instagram page. She will have her first Art Exhibition next year in Joensuu from the 5th of October until the 30th of October, 2017. Joensuu is in Finland, unfortunately for us in the UK, but I’m sure it’ll be worth going. (Finland trip?) Keep an eye on her website and profiles so you won’t miss the exact date!

A personal message from her to all of you guys reading this:
Be nice to all! Peace and love, Limppu.

I’m a fan! How can I not be if somebody is so talented and then uses her talent to make the world a better place? What do you think of Laura and her beautiful work? Please let me, and especially Laura, know by leaving a comment below or on Instagram by using #PlanetManel. Thank you! X