Sunday, December 24, 2017

Happy Holidays & New Year 2018!

Sand sculptures from Las Canteras beach

Dear friends, my solo exhibition "Instantes de Fantasía" ended on last Friday the 22nd. Once again, it was a great experience showing my artworks, getting feedbacks and meeting with wonderful locals and outsiders visiting from all over the world. I am happy to announce that a few of my artworks found their new homes too!

From the exhibition "Instantes de Fantasía" at Colegio de Abogados, Las Palmas.

I'd like to thank the visitors who recently joined my "A Creative Journal of an Artist" Newsletter mailing list. Please feel free to share your thoughts, keep in touch by simply replying the e-mails. Let me know if you would like to receive the PDF catalog of the exhibition.

I wish Happy Holidays to all of you, and hope you will have a wonderful and creative New Year 2018!

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Wednesday, December 6, 2017

My Solo Exhibition "Instantes de Fantasía"

Last Friday we proudly inaugurated my solo exhibition "Instantes de Fantasía" at the beautiful courtyard of one of Vegueta's most emblematic building, Colegio de Abogados, Las Palmas de Gran Canaria. I am showing 36 pieces of my artworks in oil, acrylic, pastel and linocut print techniques. 

At the opening I was honored by Vice Dean Don Patricio Rodriguez whom did the opening presentation speech and by the friends and visitors who were able to attend to support me. The exhibition will be opened til 22nd of December, (Mon- Fri 9 - 15hr) at Plaza San Agustín 3 Vegueta, Las Palmas.  If you are in the area those dates, please come and visit the exhibition. I can assure that you will enjoy it!

Building of Colegio de Abogados

Partial view of the exhibition area 
from the patio of Colegio de Abogados

From the opening night

See more pictures from the exhibition opening night at the link below:

If you have a problem to view the videoclip, click on 

Cactus linocut pieces

Color cactus linocuts and an acrylic artwork.

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Wednesday, November 22, 2017

How to store small size paper artworks

Happy Thanksgiving to all my American friends and followers! 

When it gets close to the end of the year, I go through my artworks to organize and store them. These are generally the finished artworks, sketches, studies, some unfinished ones and some for giveaways. Obviously, I cannot frame all the finished ones. The cost wouldn't be feasible. But I would like some paintings available for easy viewing for studio visitors.

I did my research and found out a good way to display and conserve safely my painted on paper artworks . Professional artists use crystal clear bags and a hard cardboard to display and store them. These are high quality clear bags with an adhesive flap seal. They are acid-free and archival safe. They come in an huge array of sizes. I ordered a few different sizes from Ebay. If the artwork is smaller than the bag size I fold the extra part at the back and tape it nicely. Also, I put a sticker on the cardboard with my contact information.

crystal clear bags

back of the artwork

an example with clear bag

This method works for my watercolor, linocut, oil pastel, color pencil and sketch artworks. One thing, though, maybe I am a little picky, but I prefer not to put my soft pastel artworks into plastic sleeves. Because they get some residual pastel dust on the inside of the bag and it looks cloudy. For me the best way to conserve soft pastel artworks is putting a thin acid-free parchment paper on each layer of artwork and keep them flat in drawers.

A bunch of  small size artworks with plastic sleeves


"Sweet almond verdena branch with bronze owl"  
12,5" x  9,5" Oil pastel by Birsen Ozbilge

***For a limited time, I am offering a SALE on my ETSY ClickGallery Shop.***

* Order before December 6th and Save 20% off on all original artworks + FREE Shipping worldwide with registered mail.

* BONUS! Orders of 100 € or more will receive a giveaway Linocut Print Gift

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Friday, October 20, 2017

News from outside of my studio

Hi to All!

It's great to be outside again, just relax and draw on my sketch book. We had very bad weather last month, a heat wave with "Kalima" which happens when sand comes from Sahara desert. It was hard to breath outside, I stayed indoors mostly working on a research project and creating new art video tutorials.

Yesterday, sky was cleared out and the air was fresh. So we went to visit our neighbor town Agüimes improvising a little bit. 

Sketchbook drawing 

After spending really nice time in nature, we headed to the historical part of town and came across with a very good art exhibition at Casa de la Cultura. Two artists; Painter Luis Deza (Peru) and sculpture artist Ina Stromberg (Sweden) exhibited wonderful artworks. If you are in the area, I highly recommend you to visit this one, It will open until 27th of October. Have a great weekend!

With Luis Deza's painting
Ina Stromberg's sculpture

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Wednesday, September 13, 2017

Back to Studio with a New Oil Painting

Last month it was extremely hot in the studio, so I tried working during late hours and I put more time on online marketing. I guess my hard work paid off and I made a few sales! Now my ETSY Shop rating has 5 stars, thanks to my wonderful collectors.

"Girl reading in Central Park" by Birsen Ozbilge
6" x 8,75", oil on wood panel, 2013

Last week, I worked on a small oil painting. I got inspired by the subject of "book reading". I used to have lunch breaks in Central Park, New York, while I was working at The Frick Museum. This painting brings back those good memories...   

work in progress


"Lunch break" by Birsen Ozbilge
Oil on canvas, 7" x 9.5" (18 x 24 cm.)
Contact me for purchase details.

Friday, June 23, 2017

Plein air painting from Tenerife

Gran Canaria above the clouds

Plein air travel kit for the flight

Last week I flew with my plein air art materials to our neighbor island Tenerife. Before the trip I did my research about how to pack these materials according to the airline company's rules. So, we checked the tools, watercolors and oil pastels with the wooden box into the luggage. I was able to take the portable easel with me without checking it but they had to hold it until we land. At the end everything arrived safely. Same way, I had no problem on the way back. 

Working with oil pastels

Gran Canaria above the clouds, Oil pastel on blue pastel paper

When we arrived the weather in Tenerife was great, you could see Gran Canaria very clear. Generally this is a sign that the following days rain might come... Anyways, I took advantage of this beautiful and rare occasion to paint with oil pastels (see above).
Work in progress

Casa de "La finca", watercolor on paper

The following days were cloudy and rainy as we were expecting... But I had the chance to paint outside with watercolors (see above). When it was rainy outside, I did drawings looking out from the window (see below).

drawing from the sketchbook

drawing from the sketchbook

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Tuesday, May 16, 2017

Painting is my bread and butter

“Self-Portrait” by Anders Zorn, for the Uffizi Gallery. 1889

Lately I was doing research about Anders Leonard Zorn, Sweden's most celebrated master painter and his painting technique. I watched a few documentaries and read about his life, which was quite interesting, so I would like to share with you a little bit of that... Zorn was born in 1860 in Mora, Sweden. He studied at Royal Academy of Art in Stockholm. He was planned to become a sculptor but his talent on painting changed everything on his career, so he became a very famous portrait artist, in the same league as Joaquín Sorolla and John Singer Sargent. He painted three US presidents and many wealthy people, for a total of 550 portrait paintings. Besides painting with oils, he was actually a watercolor master. He created 300 etchings and some bronze sculptures as well. After his death in 1920, his wife donated all his artworks to the Swedish government and founded Zorn Museum in Mora, Sweden.

Zorn palette has very limited colors, including cadmium red, yellow ochre, ivory black and titanium white. In addition to this colors he used very small amount of blue and green, only when needed. Also alternated them with red and black variations. I prepared a chart with these colors to see the possibilities. I found incredible that there were so many warm and cool tones and these are great for portraits, still-life and landscape paintings (see pic below).

work in progress

After studying "Zorn Palette" I was ready to set my still-life composition. This time my main objects were bread, butter and butter knife. "Bread and butter" means; something that provides you with regular income, your job basically... It's symbolic way to express myself as a painter.

I toned the wood panel with acrylic blue color. I started to paint the structure of the composition with a dark tone color and laid the mid tones inside first. I created three sections of background using black, yellow ochre and white mixtures. Practicing "Alla Prima" oil painting technique I added darks and the highlights at the end (see pic below). 

work in progress

"Bread and butter" by Birsen Ozbilge
7" x 6", oil on wood panel.

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Friday, April 28, 2017

New Multicolor Linocut Print

Printed the first four pieces

These days I was busy with a Multicolor Linocut design. A succulent from cactus family and a frog are its main objects. This is the second design with colors in this series. After transferring the design on the lino sheet, I cut out each lino block to print with different colors. I needed to run a few test prints first and I decided to relocate the frog image moving it down by the water falling design area (see pics below). I hope you enjoy seeing the process... If you have any input or questions, please feel free to leave your comments below. Have a great weekend!  

work in progress

work in progress

Final color printed
"Frog by succulent" by Birsen Ozbilge, 
Original Handmade Multicolor Linocut Print
Paper size 6" x 8" ( 15 x 20 cm.)
Image size 5" x 5" (12 x 12 cm.)
Available, FREE worldwide shipping with registered mail, 
click on SHOP to read details.

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Monday, April 10, 2017

Studio upgrade

I have finally completed the spring studio cleaning. My studio has two new slim display shelves for showcasing small-format artworks (see pic below). The new look of the studio is much better now. It will be very useful this way, especially when I need to show my artworks to studio visitors. Also, this will be my studio exhibition for open studio visits.

 New  display shelves with linocut print and oil pastel artworks

If you are not connected to social networks you may have not realized that recently I shared an exhibition news. A few weeks ago my painting "Daydream" was selected to be part of a collective exhibition along with 33 other artworks by 31 women artists from ULPGC Art Collection (see pic below). The collective exhibition "Mujeres y Creación" was curated by Diana Fernández Romero. I had the chance to attend the opening and had the honor to meet with her in person. 

Visitors staring at my painting 

Last week I created a new cactus linocut print (see pic below): "Ladybug on a cactus". This is the fifth one in this series. Each cactus is associated with an animal from wild nature. If you remember, the previous ones were with; a butterfly, a bird, a lizard, and a snail (see pic below). Maybe the next one will be with a bee or a spider... If you have any suggestions, let me know. Have a nice week!


"Ladybug on cactus" by Birsen Ozbilge, 
Original Handmade Linocut Print
Paper size 6.5" x 9" (17 x 22 cm.)
Image size 4" x 6" (10 x 15 cm.)
Available, click on SHOP

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Monday, March 13, 2017

New Oil Pastel Artwork: Still-life with Tiger Mug and Oranges

"Child archer", oil on canvas,126 x 126 cm, (1912-1913) 
by Néstor Martín Fernandéz de la Torre, 
Mapfre Guanarteme Foundation Collection.

Last week I visited a collective exhibition: "Espacios de Arte: Colección Fundación MAPFRE Guanarteme" in Las Palmas City. I was very happy to see another beautiful painting of Néstor Martín-Fernández, my favorite Canarian painter (see pic above). The collective exhibition was held as part of Mapfre's private collection, such famous Canarian artists; Manolo Millares, Martín Chirino, Pedro González, Emilio Machado, Rafael Monagas, Tony Gallardo, Lola Massieu, Miró Mainou and Jane Millares. It's a great chance if you want to see really good artworks by famous local artists. It can be seeing til May 15th at Mapfre's art gallery in Vegueta, very close to Plaza de Santa Ana (calle Juan de Quesada, 10. Visiting hours: Monday to Friday 10:00-13:00 and 18:00-21:00).

Work in progress

At the studio I was working on a new still-life oil pastel piece. This time the main object was a ceramic tiger mug that I bought recently from Zara Home shop. This mug looked really nice with the paint brushes in. After playing around with it and thinking about the composition for a while, finally I placed it into a small vintage leather suitcase. Over the years I had a few tiny vintage suitcases for my outdoor paintings. During the collage years I used to carry one of these with my oil pastels everywhere I went, I love them! Inside the suitcase I added a few oranges with a purple scarf, and both a paint tube and a sketchbook in the pockets. I used acid-free heavy-weight craft paper with Sakura Cray Pas Expressionist oil pastels. Enjoy it and have a great week!


"Still-life with tiger mug and oranges" by Birsen Ozbilge, 2017
(Click on image to see in better quality)
11" x 8" (29 x 20 cm) Sakura Cray Pas Expressionist oil pastels on 
Acid-free heavy-weight craft paper.
Available, click on SHOP

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Monday, February 27, 2017

A Collaborative Portrait Project and Interview with Artist Dana Payne Saunders

Last Friday I visited "Grabados de Rembrandt" exhibition at Casa de Colon in Las Palmas City. It was absolutely marvelous! There were 16 pieces of engravings of Rembrandt which belong to the museum collection. Since I knew they were very tiny pieces, I brought my magnifier to see in more detail (see pic below). If you would like to see some master pieces of artworks, I`d say don't miss this one. The exhibition can be seen til the 5th of March. (Mon-Fri 10:00-21:00, Saturday 10:00-18:00, Sunday and Holidays 10:00-15:00)

Enjoying the details

Adam and Eve by Rembrandt, 1638, etching on paper

About a month ago on a social network group related to oil pastels, I posted a picture of my oil pastel materials asking to learn more about what other brands were popular. This was a good chance to meet with other oil pastel artists and learn new things from their experiences. During the conversations, I met an LA-based artist, Dana Payne Saunders (see pic below). Her oil pastel artworks are beautifully created with black contours and bright colors which reminded me style of “Die Brücke” (The Bridge), a group of German expressionist artists. Well, after seeing each other's works, we found out that we have a lot in common. It was quite spontaneous. Later I offered her if she would like to collaborate with me for an oil pastel project, which was the idea of painting each other's portraits. I have a great time working on her portrait artwork and also it was a pleasure to meet with a wonderful and talented artist. Let me introduce her to you with this charming interview.

Dana Payne Saunders at her studio

Birsen Ozbilge: Welcome Dana, thank you very much for taking the time for the interview. Tell us about yourself, how long have you been painting for?

Dana Payne Saunders: Hi Birsen. Thanks for talking to me and especially for our recent collaboration.  I’ve been painting since around 2010.  I doodled and enjoyed art when I was young, but it wasn’t until after my son left for college that I felt I had the time to explore art on a more intimate and personal basis.

BO: I know you work with oil pastels, do you use other mediums as well?

DPS: I started out with acrylic paint and it remains my current medium of choice because it’s so easy to paint something and then immediately put it on a wall to enjoy. I really love using oil pastels as well because of the vibrant colours, which I think speaks to my style of work. I also use pastel pencils. 

BO: What is your daily ritual for painting? Do you listen to music or radio while you work?

DPS: My daily ritual for painting revolves around another full-time job I have.  I’m fortunate to work in the vibrant downtown Los Angeles area and I spend my lunch hours with my sketchbook and camera at museums and outdoor areas. When I get home I usually spend a couple of hours in the evening executing the ideas I have drawn or photographed during the day.

Sometimes I listen to music while I create. I go through phases. I like to listen to 60’s and 70’s rock. I often sing along and dance while I paint.

BO: Do you share your artwork in social networks? Any awkward comments on your posts? For instance, I got the other day; Why Adam and Eve have belly buttons?”.

DPS: I share my artwork on my website, FaceBook and Instagram. FaceBook and Instagram are immensely inspirational as I have met so many artists from around the world, such as yourself.

I have found that if I paint flowers and puppies people love my work and endlessly comment with hearts. But it took me these years to learn how to stop seeing representationally and to create from my own inner vision. Many people don’t know how to respond to these works of art. One day, when I was feeling that my art didn’t compare to “real artists” works I painted an arm with a razor blade cutting the words “My Art Sucks” into the bloody arm (see here). That piece was censored and I was ultimately banned from a group because people said I was an artist who “promoted” cutting and that I was urging sensitive people to kill themselves. I heard so many hateful things from people who misunderstood my visual message of pain. But I also heard from many more people who understood the message and loved the work.

BO: I love the work you’ve done with my portrait painting (see pic below). It’s a memorable piece with your lovely way of expressing your work, thanks again. What was the most challenging part of the process?

DPS: I absolutely LOVE to paint portraits and many of my fans identify my work as portrait art.  I often hear “I knew it was your work before I saw the name” because of the colour. I dove right into painting your portrait because your photo spoke to me. Your image called me to paint. So, in that respect it wasn’t challenging at all, it was natural for me to paint you. Many people ask me to paint their portrait but unless the photo calls me, I just can’t physically do it.

"Portrait of the artist Birsen" by Dana Payne Saunders
16" x 20", oil pastel on paper

BO: If I was asking you to instead of painting our portraits, to paint someone famous, who would it be? 

DPS: I become fascinated with faces. My current obsession is with Serge Gainsbourg’s face. I recently wandered by his home in the 7th arr. in Paris where he lived when he died. And because I love colour and graffiti and street art, I instantly took to looking up images of him on the internet and painting him (see here). I love to paint other artists and writers and musicians. I love my painting of Edgar Allen Poe (see pic below).

"Portrait of Poe" by Dana Payne Saunders
16" x 20", Acrylic on canvas

BO: Tell us about your upcoming projects, do you have any exhibitions or collaborations with other artists?

DPS: I’m currently working on multiple pieces of what I like to refer to as my Neo-Cobra collection, and I hope to get the collection shown in a local gallery in Los Angeles. I’ve also been photographing ghosts I see in the cement walls of the metro station and have started translating those images into paint.

BO: And the last question... What advice would you give to a late bloomer artist that is just starting out? 

DPS: Is there such a thing as a late bloomer artist? I would say it’s never too late to start a new chapter in your life. Our books are made up of many different chapters. If you start creating later in life, then let it take you where you want to be instead of trying to force it to take you to success or fame or fortune.  Because the journey is always more satisfying than the end.

BO: Thanks a lot again, it was so lovely talking to you, I give my best wishes on your art journey. Have a great day!

DPS: Thank YOU Birsen! It was a joy collaborating with you and getting to know you through this process.
**To see more artworks from Artist Dana Payne Saunder visit her website here.

work in progress

Last week I was working on Dana's portrait (see pic above). She sent me several reference pictures to use. I didn't choose just one but combined them together with a landscape view to the background of the famous Hollywood sign, because she is an LA-based artist. I decided to use a heavy-weight acid-free craft paper. After sketching the basic features of the composition, I started to paint with oil pastels (Sakura Cray Pass Expressionist 50 color set). First I laid the cloud, the sky colors and later on the face and the hair colors. I worked on the details in several sessions. This way my eye didn't get fooled and I was able to catch the details easily. Dana has a beautiful and very sincere looking face, her blue eyes are full of light with sparkles. It was not easy to reflect that expression, but when the painting started to take form, I think I achieved my goal and at the end I was very happy that she liked her portrait (see pic below). Enjoy it!

"Portrait of Artist Dana Payne" by Birsen Ozbilge
8" x 11", oil pastel on heavy-weight acid-free craft paper

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