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BSDA Interview : Marleen Pennings

Wednesday, June 24, 2015 · No Comments

Marleen Pennings, who also goes by the moniker Stroke a Bird, is the latest artist to show on Art Hound’s sister site Buy Some Damn Art. Marleen is based in Rotterdam, The Netherlands where she is a visual art, illustrator and stylist. Her lilliputian paintings on scrap wood depict the perfectly imperfect living space – just the right mix of old and new, static and living.


What do you paint on and where do you source these materials?
I paint on canvas, paper and wood. I really like to paint on scrap wood. I source it on places where people renovate their houses. When I pass a construction site I always pause to see if there is a beautiful piece of wood lying around. It already has had a lifetime when I find it, you can see and feel that. The structure has mostly softened during time and the old paint has turned pale. I really love these old pale colors and use them in the artwork.
Are your paintings always so small?
No, I also paint on big canvases or big pieces of paper and wood, it depends on my mood and ideas in my head. But I do like to paint small, it sometimes feels like you can bond better with the painting, because it’s so small.

How did your career evolve from a degree in Fashion Design and Styling to illustration and fine art? Why did you take up painting?

After I graduated I worked in Fashion Design for a while, but it didn’t really fit me. So I concentrated more and more on my illustration and one day I just started to paint, because I was curious. The next step was that I quit my job in fashion and concentrated fully on developing my painting skills, because I liked it so much. 




You describe your work as a “subtle translation of a mix of city and nature.” Tell us about that idea. ‘Subtle’ mostly because of my use of colours, I rarely use very bright colours. The colours I use are mostly a bit pale and powdered, I like that. The wood I paint on is a natural material used to build houses in the city. And most houses and buildings have plants for decoration. The indoor landscapes in this series are like a snapshot of daily life where nature and city are combined and mixed up.

The interior scenes you paint are beautiful. Are they inspired by your home city of Rotterdam?

The scenes are a translation of what I see around me and what inspires me, a coloured wall in a waiting room, a kitchen chair and a beautiful fern I saw someplace else. I collect them in one scene and try to capture the feeling of the three together when painting them.
Rotterdam is a great city for inspiration, but I would like to have a little more nature around me sometimes. So I paint them both.


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