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giftwrap3variationMy pattern “summer nights” was shortlisted (again) for the recent Tigerprint giftwrap Make Your Mark competition – from over 960 entries 71 designs were chosen, here is the shortlist. If this pattern looks familiar to you, you’re right, it was already part of my Pattern 16/52 giftwrap collection. But I really wanted to share the Tigerprint news with you and truth be told I have no new pattern this week – all my design skills were needed for my big, shiny and new online project. To be revealed next week!

Cathrin Gressieker- Summer Nights

I have resisted the siren song of the iPhone for a long time …

in fact, I didn’t even hear it.

This week I answered the call.

Cathrin Gressieker DSC06863-kFind me instagramming @cathringressieker.

This week’s pattern was created to a brief in week 2 of the ABSPD course Module 3 (The Art and Business of Surface Pattern Design). The assignment was to design a tea towel using traditional media and only black, white and two other colours of choice.

I really wanted to recycle the textures I made last week as they were already black and white. Also I have enjoyed paper cutouts recently and got myself some coloured paper at the art store. So here it is:

Cathrin-Gressieker-_teatowelmidcenturymodernburnI glued everything to a 50 x 70 cm canvas and once it was dry I thought: This would actually also fit into my upcoming exhibition alongside with this painting and this collage. I really love it, when surface pattern design and “art” come together. And you know what, I also used the tea towel design for another e-course. Yes, e-course-addict (me) has started a new course this week: radiant heART. But how could I resist a painting/photography course with the amazing Alena Hennessy and Susan Tuttle? See, I just couldn’t. In this course the first exercise was to make an “I-am-collage” with a painterly background and write on them (digitally) all the wonderful qualities that make you who you are. That’s me:

Cathrin Gressieker_I-am-collage

My yoga and painting buddy Doris and me – we are having another exhibition coming up in May. Our first LoveLights show is still hanging beautifully and for our new show at a fancy hairdresser’s we also want to some of our collaborative paintings. We had another painting session last weekend. It was a warm and wonderful spring afternoon, so we could move out from Doris studio space into my garden.

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My daughters happily joined (who can resist acrylic paint?) inside and outside the house. This time our painting process was even more loose and playful – we switched between four to five paintings all the time, but there were no time limits, you just painted as long as you wanted on a piece.


A perfect painterly afternoon.

As you might have noticed by now, I am quite addicted to online art courses. Addicted is probably not the right word – e-courses are just such a gift of modern technology. You can learn from top artists and teachers, be part of a supportive worldwide online community and have some schedule and assignments to keep you motivated and for structuring your creative time.

This week Module 3 of ABSPD (The Art and Business of Surface Pattern Design) started. I took Module 1 in October last year and Module 3 in January and I can see and feel how my designs have evolved and how much I have learned all along the surface pattern way.

This is another 5-week-intensive course and there is only one problem for me now – making time for art and designing. I am teaching more yoga classes at the moment and then there is the usual family bustle. So it’s all about finding small windows of time. We were given an assigment for designing 6 patterns for a giftwrap – non floral and non organic, please! Everything else was possible, geometric, ornate, abstract, textural. For late 30’s affluent female customers (would that be me?).

I went for textural and made some textures with black acrylic paint in my studio.

DSC06803-kThe finished giftwrap collection came together in Photoshop and Illustrator (in the wee hours of Saturday morning). I wanted to keep it loose, free and playful.

Cathrin Gressieker giftwrap collectionThese are all placement prints, but could be made into repeating patterns easily. I am warmed up now for the coming weeks of pattern designing.

Cathrin Gressieker magnoliaDSC06809-square

oh, how I love magnolias!

I have already painted on a round canvas board this year and now I grabbed an oval one.

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Cathrin Gressieker cosmic telephone - call me DSC06759-k

the finished painting is called: “cosmic telephone: call me”

The painting is influenced by a lesson in Alena Hennessy’s A Year of Painting 2, encouraging the use of black & white for classy elegance – but you can see, there is still a bit of pink in the upper left corner, from one layer that was a pink background. The collage circles are again from Indian paper bought in Amsterdam.

Speaking of classy elegance, I never paint my fingernails. But in another e-course that I am taking right now, Module 3 of the Art and Business of Surface Pattern Design, one exercise was to design a pattern for fingernails! I had just finished the painting and had fun digitally applying it in Illustrator:


A new collage called “triple goddess”.

Cathrin Gressieker triple goddess-k

I usually have a couple of backgrounds on rotation in my studio. I put leftover paint on them, stencil stuff or start collages. They keep evolving over a couple of weeks and sometimes months, with some changes every now and then. And I rarely have an idea how they will turn out. This was such a background. Glueing on some circles from Indian paper bought in Amsterdam made all the difference in this piece, some white paint pen work on top (while working in the kitchen) and I felt ii coming together. I love my work to surprise me.

This week’s pattern is again a by-product of the Make Art that Sells course Part B, its 5th and final week was dedicated to Party Paper – paper plates, napkins, paper cups, wrapping paper etc. Our inspiration – the mini – was Bavarian and Ukrainian folk art. Ok, I am half-German (but not Bavarian) and half-Russian (but not Ukrainian), so this had something of a homey feel. But – I wasn’t at home at all, we were on our family trip in Amsterdam during most of the week. The good thing is, inspiration is everywhere. And the mini warm-up exercise gave me some kind of tunnel vision in the back of my head (if that’s the right term) for our time in easy-going Amsterdam. You can see my inspiration from what I brought home from Amsterdam. The latest Dutch edition of Flow magazine had a great folksy illustration by Uzbekistan-born Dinara Mirtalipova in it and I remembered having seen her work in the German Flow magazine as well. Folk art is a lot about flowers and birds and the idea for the birds came flying to me while seeing the Matisse exhibition with this paper cutouts. Let’s try a Matisse-inspired folk art thing! I took some coloured paper with me from the children’s corner as I wanted to bring some original Amsterdam flavour home, plus a limited colour palette can be such a liberation also. My mind was set.

Back at home I started the manifestation.

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All my cutouts. And then I started glueing. A bit scary, so final. Here is the paper plate.

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Over the course of the first day back at home I glued together this plate, a napkin and a cup. And then I scanned them all in and brought them into Photoshop for final tweaks and presentation.

Cathrin Gressieker_Matisse in Amsterdam_4B_WK5

As the “fairy art mother” of the MATS courses Lilla Rogers says, you can reuse the art and icons for one market for other markets. And I did that for another upcoming Spoonflower contest “Flowers for Mom Border Print” – a floral border print design for Mother’s Day. Here – at last, if you made it that far – comes my pattern of the week “Amsterdam in April”:

Cathrin Gressieker _Amsterdam in April _floral border pattern

And tested on an apron template (the template comes from Jenna Frye’s Skillshare class “Introduction to Surface Design: Creating And Mixing Patterns”, that you could watch for free this week):

Cathrin-Gressieker-apron-amsterdam-in-aprilLooks pretty Dutch, doesn’t it?

 You can enter the contest until Tuesday, April 28th. Voting will open on Thursday, April 30th.