First sketches of spring and the last days of my exhibition at Kaufbar Berlin.
Wismarplatz in Berlin

Things are happening


Lots of People on Public Transport

My exhibition at Kaufbar Berlin is coming to a close (it has been prolonged and is still on until 9 April). While I haven't gotten used yet to groups of my drawings hanging on walls that are not my own, there have already bigger and better exhibition opportunities come up. The first one, and the only one I can talk about right now, is a solo exhibition in the museum of Weinheim an der Bergstraße, where I attended school. I'm truly flabbergasted by this. I had expected to work my way through café exhibitions and self-organized spaces for at least a year or two before any 'real' gallery or 'official' institution would touch me, even a small town museum like this. But a collector of mine showed some of my drawings to somebody working there, and somebody else gave the head of the museum a copy of a drawing of Weinheim I did some years ago. They looked up my website and by the time I spoke to them for the first time they seemed to already have made up their minds that they wanted to exhibit me. 
The exhibition itself will be a combination of drawings and watercolors of Weinheim and a group of plant drawings. It's title is 'Fremde Heimat, vertraute Fremde' [it does not translate well, but goes into the direction of 'foreign home, familiar outland'] and it will play with my relationship to the town itself. I don't take things for granted, I look harder than I did when I still lived there. I want to show Weinheim to its inhabitants in ways they have never looked at it. Weinheim, like many old towns with attractive historical centers, likes to project a postcard image, and a rather affluent one as well, beeing situated in one of Germany's more prosperous regions. I'm not interested in that postcard. I will go looking for the dirt, but I also believe I will find beauty in places nobody noticed before. For those of you who read German, this is the official description for the exhibition:
"Oona Leganovic besuchte in Weinheim die Schule und zog dann in die große weite Welt hinaus. Mit neuen Augen hat sie jetzt ungewohnte Ansichten Weinheims in Aquarellen festgehalten und dabei ebenso Schattenseiten gefunden, die der Alltag ausblendet, wie auch überraschende Schönheit aus oft übersehenen Blickwinkeln. Außerdem ausgestellt sind Zeichnungen von Pflanzen in Gläsern."
(It was strange writing about drawings I have yet to make as if they were already done.)
Ink drawing of a plant in a jar

The opening will be on the 17 July. This exhibition is going to be a lot of work, and I will spend some weeks in late April/early May there to do research and make sketches, and the rest of summer before it opens in Berlin working up the sketches and promoting this as hard as I can. I'm not quite sure yet where the money for materials and living expenses will actually come from, but I am determined to make this nothing less than an outstanding exhibition. I might not be able to actually afford to do this – but even less can I afford to let an opportunity like this slip by.

In Print and on TV

Whew, now that the potentially life changing stuff is out of the way, I've also made an appearance in print and on TV this year: The Urban Sketchers book 'The Art of Urban Sketching' is finally out, including two drawings of yours truly; the one you see below is one of them as well as the one that got the attention of the head of the museum in Weinheim:

Pen drawing of the old town of Weinheim

You can order the book now from Amazon [com/de/in the UK it is listed for an insanely expensive price], but there might be delays as the first printing is apparently already sold out. 
The Urban Sketchers Berlin group (several members of which appear in the book with their drawings) was featured on regional TV RBB, and except Rolf Schröter (who sketched my opening at Kaufbar!) most of us were able to make it to the shooting. You can still watch the feature, along with a handy transcript, here.

Blogpostings in March

Watercolor of a brick house in Liverpool

I'm slowly getting around to scanning more of my travel sketchbooks. While I was in Liverpool I experienced a strange collusion of real riots and the presence of historical riots in the local museums, and you can see me experimenting with the relationship of line and color while battling the rain in the sketches:

From Liverpool I hitchhiked to Wales, and filled a whole sketchbook with plants, old stonehouses and landscapes, while staying in a hostel in the woods without internet or mobile reception:

Watercolor of a sunlit tree in Wales

After only drawing on loose sheets of paper since I came back from my travels I now have the luxury of a sketchbook again, and drawing for the sake of drawing and exploration rather than the production of finished works. I missed this. In the new sketchbook I'm watching spring unfold, from the first nice days warm enough to draw outside, but still cold enough to freeze my washes on the page, to drawings of the buds on bushes and trees. I'm already making notes for next year – things are changing so quickly now, I just can't get around to everything I want to draw in time.

Landscape from a train
I've started to work more from memory, and get deeper into the subtleties of light. Many of my location sketches are done early in the morning, when the world is still almost a monochrome blueish gray, still cold. Sometimes now I just make a quick pencil underdrawing on location, and fill in the colors at home from memory:

It forces me to look harder, understand better, and hopefully be truer to whatever it was that made me want to draw something in the first place. To help with that I've started copying master works again – mostly William Turner so far, but Carl Blechen, John Singer Sargent and Anderw Wyeth are next. There is so much to learn!

All the Best,

Oona Leganovic

P.S. If you're in Berlin this week, maybe you'd like to take a friend for breakfast, coffee or beer at my exhibition. It is not just on until 9 April, but Kaufbar is also a nice place for hot or cold drinks, snacks and a little chat. My personal favorites are the raspery mint shake and the chorizo toast...

Gärtnerstraße 4
10245 berlin

thursday–monday 10.00–00.00
tuesday+wednesday 15.00–00.00

Monochrome Tradescantia Purpurea
Letter from Lisbon
People on Public Transport
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