Meet Marleen Kleiberg: Painter from The Netherlands

I’m happy to introduce Marleen Kleiberg from the Marleen Art Etsy shop! You can follow her on Etsy, Instagram, and Facebook to stay updated on her work.

Can you tell me a little bit about yourself and your journey with art? 

I live in a village in The Netherlands with my husband and 5 kids.
A long as I can remember I’ve loved doing creative things like cross stitching, sewing, drawing and painting. After high school I started my career as a nurse in the hospital, but I didn’t stop being creative.
When I had more kids I began to work less and started seriously as an artist.

Can you tell me a little bit about where you gain inspiration? 

I have learned a lot from books and by visiting exhibitions.
I have tried to make progress by making small artworks. I had of many of them and when I heard about Etsy I immediately started a shop. That’s perfect for a mum I thought! My larger paintings are for sale on Saatchi Art. I am still surprised that I sell so much there. Every sale makes me happy.

I find inspiration in and around my home. I love to be in my garden and the forest near my house.  I like to paint kids with watercolor or larger in oil on canvas. Inspiration comes also from the internet, like Instagram or Pinterest. There are so many beautiful photos.

In every painting I try to give it a glance. I think that’s in every painting I make. I do that with a dark/light contrast but most with a color contrast. I never ever use pure black or brown in my paintings, I mix them with primary colors.

My studio is in the basement of our house. It’s a nice space to work.

Are you working on any new and exciting projects, or have any outstanding artistic or business goals for the near future? 

I have done small canvases for a long time. But now I make large botanical paintings and I am busy with a beach series. It’s good to change sometimes to improve yourself and to find new techniques to use.


I am also making a website, which is not my favorite thing to do, but my goal is to go online on 1 September.

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Interview with Romanian Painter Ioana Iacob: Transforming Traditional Romanian Roof Tiles Into Works of Art

Interview with Romanian Painter Ioana Iacob

It is my pleasure to introduce Ioana Iacob from Bucharest, Romania who creates small paintings on local reclaimed wood roof tiles. Her Etsy shop is filled with colorful paintings that are perfect for small spaces.

Can you tell me a little bit about yourself and your journey with art? 

I have been dreaming of this all my life. Having grown up in a family where almost everybody was drawing and painting, art and colors have fascinated me since I was a little kid. Both my grandfathers painted and I loved the smell and feel of the painting studio. However, I always believed I was not good enough. Fast forward many years later, after finishing photography school and having had a few group exhibitions, I started believing in myself as an artist.

Interview with Romanian Painter Ioana Iacob: Transforming Traditional Romanian Roof Tiles Into Works of Art

As I got older, I also realized that life is too short and that we should do what we love. Painting came easy, after I discovered acrylic painting. I could not stop painting after discovering the little wooden tiles I use as support for my mini paintings. I came across them when refurbishing my parents house, in the mountains. What are they? They are actually pieces of wood used for roofing houses, the traditional way, in some areas of Romania. They are hand carved by local craftsmen and nailed like pieces of puzzles to make a perfect cover for any house.

Interview with Romanian Painter Ioana Iacob: Transforming Traditional Romanian Roof Tiles Into Works of Art

What is life like in Bucharest, Romania? Do you have any favorite spots you can recommend visitors?

Life in Bucharest is great. So is Romania. Do come to see for yourselves! I have lived in the city all my life, but rural life and Romanian traditions and country lifestyle have always attracted me. You can catch a glimpse of these by visiting Bucharest Village and Romanian Peasant Museums. There you can also see houses that have roofs tiled with small wooden tiles, like the ones I use for painting.

Where do you draw your inspiration and vibrant color schemes from? Why the use of wood?

I like living a simple life, enjoy spending time with my family. They and my friends are my main inspiration.

I also love the bright colors that bring life to the wood, make it more animated. Each small painted wooden tile can sparkle up any room.

 Interview with Romanian Painter Ioana Iacob: Transforming Traditional Romanian Roof Tiles Into Works of ArtInterview with Romanian Painter Ioana Iacob: Transforming Traditional Romanian Roof Tiles Into Works of Art

Do you have any favorite music that you like to listen to while you create?

The laughter of my three children is music to my ears and the one I listen to every time I paint. In the rare moments they are asleep, I like to listen to classical music or turn on the radio.

Interview with Romanian Painter Ioana Iacob: Transforming Traditional Romanian Roof Tiles Into Works of Art

Interview with Romanian Painter Ioana Iacob: Transforming Traditional Romanian Roof Tiles Into Works of Art

Are you working on any new and exciting projects, or have any outstanding artistic or business goals for the near future? 

Plans for the future? I have read that you become a real artist after you have painted 1000 pictures. I have yet to reach that number and call myself a true artist :). I also dream of my own studio with a garden, where I can paint under the sun.

Interview with Romanian Painter Ioana Iacob: Transforming Traditional Romanian Roof Tiles Into Works of Art

You can like and follow Ioana on Facebook to stay updated on her latest tile paintings!

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Past Your Porch Light: The Soft Sculptures of Etsy Artist Jessie Cunningham

Past Your Porch Light: The Soft Sculptures of Etsy Artist Jessie Cunningham

It is my pleasure to introduce Etsy artist Jessie Cunningham from Ontario, Canada! Jessie’s shop, Past Your Porch Light, is a charming place where “grizzlies wander and owls take wing.” We both hope you enjoy this artist interview and can give Jessie’s shop a look-see!

Each creature you sculpt seems to come from a dreamland! Where do you get the ideas for your soft sculpted creatures?

That kind of dreamy quality is something I really value, in art and in life, and I’m so pleased that it comes across. For the most part my inspiration comes from where you’d expect, nature and wildlife. I grew up in Canada with access to the woods behind our house and as a child I’d climb trees for hours exploring that world. I had notions of being a professional animal watcher or leaving home to make friends with orcas off the coast of British Columbia, and while I grew out of those somewhat unrealistic ideas (mostly) I’ve never lost my fascination with the animal kingdom. There’s a magical quality to those sort of unconquered areas of life that I can daydream about for hours, personalities or stories I can imagine creatures having, and more and more that’s where my creations find their beginning.

Past Your Porch Light: The Soft Sculptures of Etsy Artist Jessie Cunningham

That dreamland and the details in our own natural world play the biggest parts – I can obsess over conveying the weight in a grizzly bears footstep, or capturing the posture of a badger pausing to listen to its surroundings before moving on. Other times even a song or scene in a film can spark an idea.

Past Your Porch Light: The Soft Sculptures of Etsy Artist Jessie Cunningham

Why did you decide to use this soft sculpting medium for these creatures and not another medium? How long does it take you to make one of your soft sculptures?

It’s been a slow process of discovery but the love and obsession was immediate once found. I’ve tried many kinds of art since I was young, I knew I wanted to create but not always what or how.  When I first dabbled with fabric I worked with faux fur- it’s great stuff but messy and can be difficult to maneuver, which is ultimately why I discovered felt as a medium.

Past Your Porch Light: The Soft Sculptures of Etsy Artist Jessie Cunningham

Past Your Porch Light: The Soft Sculptures of Etsy Artist Jessie Cunningham

Wool felt sort of happened to me when I was dealing with some health issues that restricted me from using more labor intensive materials, it was something I could easily pile next to me on the couch on a bad day and sew by hand. During that time I watched a lot of nature documentaries, and one day was struck by the image of a polar bear. Their silhouette and posture is so distinctive, almost otherworldly, and I knew I wanted to somehow capture that, and the feeling it gave me, and make it into something tangible. That iconic shape became the focal point of that first soft sculpture project, and those are things I pay close attention to on every new undertaking. While I still integrate previous mediums into new works, wool felt has really taken root with me. It may change, it will definitely evolve, but for now I’m really enjoying finding those shapes and feelings in felt.

Past Your Porch Light: The Soft Sculptures of Etsy Artist Jessie Cunningham

How did business on Etsy start and how has your experience been so far?

I found Etsy more out of necessity than because I had a plan. I posted something I’d made on another website and to my shock it became popular very quickly, people would message asking how to purchase and I needed to scramble to figure that out. The business aspect is the area I’ve struggled with the most – I didn’t go into this established as an artist, or even as the person I was going to be, it’s been something I’ve grown alongside of (sometimes clumsily, I changed my brand name a few times.)

Past Your Porch Light: The Soft Sculptures of Etsy Artist Jessie Cunningham

I think a lot of artists get into this “JUST CREATE” mindset and maybe don’t put the effort they may have to into getting the art seen. For a long, long time that was a huge issue for me, but Etsy has taught me a lot. There’s a really resourceful community there rich with advice and opportunity, but I also think promoting off the website is very important too. Instagram has been my biggest help in that arena.

Past Your Porch Light: The Soft Sculptures of Etsy Artist Jessie Cunningham

Do you have any future plans for your business and do you plan on adding any new creature designs to the shop?

At any given time I have about 6 new creature designs in a prototype stage, with dozens more on paper and loping around my mind. As for future plans, they range from developing a better understanding of color combinations and design to something as ambitious as having a studio space. I’m still very much in my beginning stages so I’m mostly happy to continue to learn- but I also have some very cool collaborations coming up as well that I’m pretty excited about.

Past Your Porch Light: The Soft Sculptures of Etsy Artist Jessie Cunningham

Past Your Porch Light: The Soft Sculptures of Etsy Artist Jessie Cunningham

Jessie also sells enamel pins in her shop along with her soft sculptures:

Past Your Porch Light: The Soft Sculptures of Etsy Artist Jessie Cunningham

Past Your Porch Light: The Soft Sculptures of Etsy Artist Jessie Cunningham

Follow The Art Spectrum for more interview like this!

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Recommended Reading

Etsy Excellence: The Simple Guide to Creating a Thriving Etsy Business


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