It feels like the spring has flown by, and I haven’t really gotten around to sharing any of the things that I’ve drafted in my mind. So, here’s a list of some nice things that I’ve been wanting to tell about:
I spent a week and a half in Finland, visiting family and friends. During the vacation, I got to go for morning walks with my sister and my hairy nephew, who is the best dog in the world (I swear I’m not biased)! I also visited my grandma and ate her homemade blueberry pie, which is the tastiest thing ever (again, certainly not biased!). I caught up with friends, consumed tons of chocolate and laughed so much that I probably got a few new wrinkles of joy on my face. I went for lunch with my grandparents who live up North, read newspapers with them and admired the christmassy view outside their house – yup, it was -13℃ there!
While in Finland, I also discovered the work of illustrator Timo Mänttäri(above). The colour palettes in his postcards are my latest crush!
Illustration-wise, I got commissioned to draw another family portrait, which I really enjoyed creating! I would love to take on more personal portrait commissions, it’s been so nice to illustrate something a bit different like that for a change.Last week, we celebrated King’s Day, which is undoubtedly the best day of the year in the Netherlands. Our celebration contained more home-baked goodies than alcohol, as we spent the day strolling through the so called ‘free markets’, where people sell all kinds of things from self-made apple pie and pancakes to old clothes, books and whatnot. We also stuck with our annual King’s Day tradition by commissioning a young Dutch artist to make a portrait of us. This year our picture was painted by Roya Hes (see above), a very talented young painter who has a wonderful sense of colour!
And last but not least: I’ve been listening to a podcast called Creative Pep Talk a lot recently, so last Sunday I visited a bookshop to order the newly released Creative Pep Talk book. Can’t wait to read it!
Living abroad, I always notice some small changes when I go back home (to Finland, that is). Bars that have disappeared from the nightlife scene and new cafes that have opened their doors. Moomin cheese (yes, that really exists), new ice cream flavours or the latest food inventions like pulled oatsthat are flying off the shelves.
This year, however, also the buses caught my attention. A few bus lines had gone through visual make-overs, and I was really excited to see that they had chosen playfully illustrated styles instead of sticking with something serious and corporate.
Below you can see a long distance bus of Savonlinja, visually transformed by Nitroid. If you are curious to read more about the beauty treatment of the company (in Finnish), you can find more information here.
Photo by Savonlinja
Here’s a preview of the buses of Jyväskylän seudun joukkoliikenne, re-branded by an agency called Zeniitti. You can find more about the project here (in Finnish). Video by Zeniitti
These vehicles were really a joy to see in city centers as well as on the long, quiet roads between villages. Not only did they look cute and cheerful, but I also liked how both transformations had been inspired by locality and Finland. Whereas Savonlinja’s new look was influenced by the landscape and nature of the country, the re-design of Jyväskylä’s buses was to communicate the pleasantness of living in the area.
Speaking of small things that can make a big difference, one should never underestimate the positive effect a pretty image on a bus might have. Applause to Nitroid, Zeniitti and the brave Finnish bus lines that are replacing corporate with cheerfulness!
A few weeks ago, I packed my backpack and travelled to Italian Riviera. The week I spent there (marinating myself in SPF 50 sunscreen) was wonderful. We travelled from one town to another and changed the scenery pretty much everyday, ate great pizza, amazing gelato and found the best pasta bolognese in a simple beach bar in San Remo. We walked till our feet were about to fall off, swam in the most extraordinary places between the cliffs and also got to experience an impressive thunderstorm on the hills.
I carried my camera everywhere we went and it became a bit of a thing for me to photograph the charmingly colourful old buildings. Some of them also had painted decorations on them, making it difficult to see whether the intricate frames around the windows were real or 2D paintings. Indeed, the Italians seemed to have paid lots of attention to details and the colour palette of their towns.
Visiting the colourful villages, I couldn’t help thinking what a pity it is that the majority of Northern European cities are quite plain and colourless. It reminded me of something that happened years ago in Finland, when my parents decided to be a bit playful and had the wall of our back porch painted purple. The innocent splash of colour resulted in a disapproving comment from the officials. Luckily, the porch was facing the forest, so there was practically no-one except the squirrels to see it. Therefore, we didn’t end up having to repaint it. Of course, the case would have been different had there been another house facing our back yard, allowing our neighbours to see the purple porch. Good grief, the poor people might even have found it cheerful!
Anyway, back to Italy. Here’s a glimpse of the Italian colour palette:
Were you able to spot the painted 2D window frames…?