A few days ago, I had the chance to show my paintings to a wider audience.
I am a transactional analyst, counselling people to improve their personal and professional development. To further develop my professional skills in that field, I need to attend yearly workshops and seminars, given at national and international conferences by my analyst colleagues.
This year, the German transactional analysis conference took place in Hamburg and the organizers asked for artists to show their works. I applied, got accepted and thus had the opportunity to exhibit during that conference. When I saw the list of the other exhibitors, the shock of sheer respect went through my body: my co-exhibitors were professional artists, art therapists and art educators, all somehow experts in art. Even though I saw it as a great chance to show my paintings to the more than 600 participants of that conference, I was suddenly no longer sure I should exhibit. But I dared, with success 🙂
I sold my Sad Memories to somebody who immediately got attached to the image (and did know nothing about my thought when painting it). My sad memories turned into something more delightful. It brings light and good feelings, and it has interesting structures to discover.
Few days later, I sold Deep Blue and Latvia. Both buyers said they love to dive into the colours and dream about the ocean and the forest.
I am very happy having got so much positive feedback and such recognition.
By plastering walls using different materials and pigments, I came to abstract painting. I learned about plastering at OKHRA, a cooperative in the small village of Roussillon. There I buy most of the pigments I use.
When plastering a wall, I always prepare some colour examples, trying out different mixtures and shades, experimenting with different binders and opacity. I mostly use mineral pigments such as iron oxides in red, green, black and ultramarine (Lapislazuli) and earth pigments like ochres, sienna, umber. In Deep Blue I also used a plant based pigment, Indigo. Some pigments are suitable for transparent paints, others for opaque paints, like ochre.
The colours of the South of France, were the sun shines brightly but the light is soft and diffused, are subtle like the leafs on an olive tree and intensive like an ochre wall in bright sun.
Yellow and red ochre are parts of houses, fabrics, and the earth and contrasts wonderfully with the blue sky 😉
In the paintings La Terre, I mixed and layered these ochres. The colours changing their appearance from vibrant to mute depending on the amount of light surrounding.
Even around Fitou are some places were long time ago pigments and gypsum were mined, and it’s still beautiful to see the fading colours of these forgotten places.
I was not melancholic when I made this painting. I love the colour blue. When I was in Marrakesh last year, I was searching for the Moroccan blue and came back home with some Indigo and a piece of Lapizlazuli to grind my own ultramarine.
In that painting, I experimented with it, raw and dissolved in different oils and acrylic. There are about 15 layers of blue. I thought of the sky, the sea, the night and what else is connected to it for me: dreams, wanderlust and profundity.
Blue stands, in different cultures, for different things: for loyalty, coldness, quality, anger, fear, care, romance, truth, peace, trust, prudence. It’s the colour of kings in France 😉
Some people are associating numbers with it (1 for a “normal” blue, 4 for a dark blue), and it is also the colour of melancholia.
Psychologists say, blue is a colour to calm you down, releasing stress, for good sleep and dreams.
It is my preferred colour for bathrooms as it is fresh and emanates purity.
Dream away with Deep Blue.
Last year, I took the opportunity to spend some days in Latvia at a friend’s place. I had a working meeting in Kaunas and Latvia is only a stone’s throw away.
I have been several times in Riga (a beautiful city!) and surroundings but this time I wanted to explore a bit more of the country. I rented a car and left Kaunas towards Latvia on small roads and very soon dived into pure nature. There are endless deep woods, vast greenery. You can drive for hours without seeing anything of human interventions, it’s just green and a blue sky on top. And a lot of storks, I saw hundreds, on the fields, in the air, walking along the roads, buildings nests.
It’s a perfect environment to recover from stress, it slows you down immediately. It is so green!
Our friend lives in a small town but towns and villages are like big green parks, dotted with houses. So much space between the houses, every with a garden where people grow what they eat, some are situated close to a small lake or river where they catch fishes. They live in and from the nature but taking care of it with huge respect.
It’s a really sustainable living, not rich in a material sense, but resilient.
It reminded me a bit on my childhood, when I spent my summer holidays in a small village, being outside the day, building tree houses, roaming through fields and forest.
All this I tried to put into the painting called Latvia.
Somehow, it felt like a lost paradise. But after four days, I needed a city. I was longing for people, cafes, streets, shops, galleries. I realized, I could not live in a place without having the lively feeling of a city.
When started, I had a very precise image in my head how it should be. I wanted to create two colour blocks in orange and grey, in graduated layers to achieve depth. Orange and grey are in between colours. Orange is a warm colour, between red and yellow and can be seen as “joie de vivre” while grey is a boring, inanimate and nebulous colour, often used to express melancholy. Somehow I thought it’s a nice colour combination.
Anyway, I did not think of these meanings when I started but the first result was very appalling for me. That was not me! It was too wishy-washy, alien to me. I am a straight person, say what I am thinking and do what I am saying, sometimes challenging, but never undefinable.
I had an internal dialogue, one part of myself is very controlled, rational and logic, the other part is rather impulsive, passionate and hardly to retard, especially when it comes to explore something.
The next day I went back to my painting and started with different layers of blue to find my peace again, red for expressing power and passion and white for the rational part of me. It was naturally to separate the two blocks with a strong dark line.
The different colours I used are gleaming through, giving depth and showing a sort of turbulences. This impression has been enhanced by a high-gloss finish.
Exactly how I felt at the end of my first painting, churned up inside but somehow satisfied. I found something new to follow.
I was always interested in restoration, either furniture or houses. It could not be old enough, as more dilapidated as more interesting to discover the original structures, surfaces and materials. Since a few years, mainly since we are living in France, we spend a lot of time restoring old village houses. We restored our 300 years house framework house in Germany before, but here in Fitou we already did three houses and the fourth will be ready very soon. Every house was a complete restoration, we mostly started with nothing else than the outside walls, didn’t even had a complete roof.
It’s very satisfying to create something beautiful for people to live in and it’s an intensive learning process to. I learned a lot about materials and techniques, even took a course to learn about plastering walls traditionally, with natural materials appropriate for the region and climate. That includes plastering walls with certain surfaces, like Stucco, Fresco, Tadelakt, and thus it all started: working with colours, pigments, marble powder, lime, savon noir, etc. People were fascinated about the results and some friends said I am an artist 😉
And even an artist which stayed with us for a month to prepare his exhibition for La Chapelle, an Art association in Fitou, said I should explore this ability.
In a very quiet moment, when I was alone for a few days, I started my first painting, using traditional plastering techniques and something magical happened to me. Read about it next week.
Meantime, I did a few more paintings and it was time to think about what to do with. Of course, I like them all, but it’s not the point to keep it all for myself. I want to share it with a wider audience, hoping people will love and enjoy it, get inspired by it and buy it.
Obviously, I registered a domain name, set up a website and made a plan how to promote all. I chose .co.uk because it was the only top level domain available with my name and I have some connections in UK too 🙂