Vietnamese Lacquer

During my trip to Vietnam at the end of last year I visited the exhibition in the Museum of Modern Art in Ho Chi Minh City.
That was somehow a weird mixture of old, classical, revolutionary painting and so called real socialism art. In the courtyard of the museum, many smaller galleries show traditional as well as modern paintings and sculptures.
And of course you can see a lot of traditional lacquer painting there, and to my surprise, even modern abstract art using lacquer.
Lacquer is a clear or black sap from the wax tree, the same way collected as rubber and with a similar smell.
I was instantly fascinated by that material and wanted to find out more about it.
That led me to the College of Fine Arts. In the hope to get some substantial information about the use of lacquer, I asked students, a teacher and the shop staff but this turned out to ended up in funny gibberish communication as nearly nobody spoke any other language than Vietnamese.
However, I bought two water plastic bottles with lacquer and a very expensive, but so beautiful Chinese red pigment.

Back home, I did some research and learned about the history of Vietnamese lacquer paintings, how it differs to those in Japan and China.
And then, I started to experiment with it and that little series was created.

After, I was more confident and dared bigger formats. I applied the lacquer in many layers of different viscosity, added different amounts of Chinese red pigment and that series of three paintings came out: Lacquer I, Lacquer II, Lacquer III.
All these paintings are exhibited at the ART Fabrik until mid of July.

It took a long time to make it. The lacquer needs to dry under certain conditions, best is heat and humidity, which was not sufficiently available during the process and therefore the drying took weeks. Sanding was needed before applying a new layer and only when a layer was dry the final colour emerged.
It was a very interesting process, it challenged my not very well developed patience a lot 😉

Painting with cement

When creating the sunny house I became curious about using cement in my paintings. I quite liked the combination of glossy oil paint and raw cement and got in my mind to create a little series using such materials. Yellow will be followed by blue and red, always adding cement to it.
So, that’s the second painting: Rough.
The challenge lies in the application of such a rough material to canvas and thus I needed to explore how to mix different sorts of cement so it does not crack when dry.


First, I applied some layers of blue oil paint, ready made and self composed, to combine it with cement. It fascinates me to see how these different materials react to and with each other, how they repel or connect, how they mix and how new structures emerge. I love the contrast of shiny and smooth surface to very rough one’s. 


Contrasts

Between all the house restoration work, I had time to do another painting. When doing a full house restoration we really start from the bottom, removing everything what was added to the original structure of house, leaving us with bare walls, without floors and ceilings, left with the rough, basic foundation.

When we are done with our restoration work, a shiny and beautiful surface is visible and make people feel welcomed.

This is what I had in my mind when creating that new painting.
The bottom is made with concrete and the finish on top is created by several coats of lacquered oil paint in a bright, warm and sunny yellow.

Even though I need to apply some last layers, I want to give you a first impression.

A new painting

After a long pause, caused by a water damage in my little atelier and due to lots of renovation work, I started painting again.

This time, I layered oil paints over ash and washed them away again and again to create subtle effects. It’s a play of appearing and disappearing, of strong presence and nebulous absence. Like memories, they come and go, sometimes they are very clear and sometimes you wondering if an event really happened or if it is just in your imagination.

Plastering a wall with stucco

Many years ago, when we restored our house, I plastered my very first walls ever in our living room. I just came back from a one week training course where I learned the basics of wall plastering with lime, sand and marble powder. These walls were in a very rough condition, we had removed the old plaster, closed some holes with natural stones and here I came, ready to build up all the layers necessary before the final one could be done. Back then, I used sieved sand with lime and troweled it off. I did not know that the trowel should be made of a special steel so that no traces of troweling will be visible afterwards. My trowel wasn’t such a one and when the walls were try, lots of greyish traces became visible. It didn’t bother us very much but during the last years I became more Continue reading “Plastering a wall with stucco”

Casein-Lime Paint

It`s already seven years since we constructed a new spiral staircase for our house. Hagen built a wooden skeleton and I put gypsum on it, layer by layer, until it looked like an elegant, old staircase. The final surface was plastered with a mix of lime, gypsum, pigments and protected with savon noir.
One can certainly imagine that time left some signs of wear on the surface, scratches and stains from the daily use. It also had, from the beginning of her life, some fine slopes and dales, resulting from my first attempts of working with fine plaster. Every day I saw it and thought: I can do it better now! Continue reading “Casein-Lime Paint”

Kunst & Kommerz

mohamed_hassan / Pixabay

Wie vermutlich jeder Künstler, möchte ich meine Arbeiten nicht nur zeigen, sondern auch verkaufen. Das klappt ganz gut über Ausstellungen, also offline, und manchmal eben auch online. Zu Beginn meiner Künstlerkarriere hatte ich hier einen Shop (woocommerce) integriert. Das stellte sich als ein wenig überdimensioniert heraus.
Ich hab die Erfahrung gemacht, dass die meisten Menschen Kunst nur dann online kaufen, wenn sie mich entweder kennen bzw. meine Malerei schon mal gesehen haben.
Also hab ich den Shop wieder entfernt. Ich möchte natürlich dennoch sichtbar machen, dass man meine Bilder kaufen kann.
Bisher hatte ich nur einen, relativ diskreten, Hinweis auf meiner About Page dafür. Aber es braucht schon eine gewisse Zielstrebigkeit um sich bis dahin durchzuklicken;-)
Nach vielen Diskussionen mit meinem persönlichen IT Master, haben wir uns darauf geeinigt, dass unter jedem Bild, welches verkäuflich ist, nicht nur der Preis erscheint (!) sondern auch ein Kontaktformular, welches von einem Kaufinteressenten schnell ausgefüllt und versendet werden kann.
Die E-Mail, die ich dann erhalte, enthält neben dem Titel des Bildes auch den Namen und die E-Mail Adresse des Interessenten, so dass wir nun zueinander finden und die Kaufabwicklung klären können.
In einem nächsten Schritt möchte ich nun noch auf der Portfolio Page sichtbar machen, welche Bilder käuflich sind.
Aber dafür muß ich erst einen neuen Termin bei meinem Master buchen 😉

Blue Study Series

Steadiness

Making that painting was a real struggle for me, on the one hand technically and on the other hand emotionally.
I used different blue pigments in different solvents which still reacted with each other long time after I decided the painting is ready, but not in the desired way. The components changed colours and structures and I needed to find out what happened to be able to correct it e.g. use it. Thus I tried different compositions on smaller canvas which resulted in a little series of blue-greens.

The technical exploration was fun and I learned a lot. The other side of the making was more difficult. I thought of a person close to me and to whom I am strongly tight emotionally. Our relation was not that easy over a long period, when I did not get the care I needed, when I did not understand decisions imposed on me, when I was lost and sad.
It changed over the time, as we both were able to talk to each other on equal footing.

That painting expresses all my ambivalence how I see this person: the deepness and the impenetrability, the beauty and ugly, the strengths and weaknesses, infinity and finitude, steadiness.
Hard as a rock on which you can crash, but also can provide protection.

Orchids

Undecided

In the 18th century, quinine, obtained from South America was the expensive medicine used to treat Malaria. Because of the high costs, chemists were experimenting to develop a synthetic equivalent, so did W.H.Perkin. He did not succeed in creating quinine out of coal tar but accidentally discovered the colour mauve.

I combined violet pigments with some green mineral pigments, mixed them with a light grey in cold wax and acrylic to create a more soft, subtle, undecided appearance.

Mauve was long time a colour preferred by noble women, such as Eugenie, the Empress of France and thus became very fashionable for some decades but this trend burnt quickly.
For a long time, the greyish violet was often related to old women and not popular at all.
This might change as Pantone declared ultra-violet the colour of the year 2018 and I guess, all it’s shades will become fashion again 😉