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. 


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.

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.

Winter

I like to experiment with different materials over and over again and try out how they react to each other. For this painting I mixed blue and white pigments with cold beeswax and acrylic, applied all in countless layers on canvas and the result fits perfectly to the time of the year.
Actually, I did not think much of winter, the painting just turned out like this. I can see some snow on top of the Canigou, about 80 kilometers away, when driving to the supermarket, and that is indubitably a beautiful view, but it’s enough winter for me 🙂

Imagine, you are walking through a snow-covered forest, it is clear, icy cold winter weather, the snow crunches under your feet, ice cones are hanging from the branches. All that I can see and feel in this painting.

Beach

Blue

Blue again.
Don’t ask me why.
It’s just about sitting at beach, watching the sea and the sky, listening to the waves, philosophising, dreaming into infinity, sleeping away, waking up refreshed and energised.

It sounds
It rustles
It echoes
It reverberates
It sparkles
It smells
And becomes devoutly singing blue.
The blue fades to light.

Hans Arp: Singing Blue

 

 

 

Temperaments

Perfect Blue

I was searching for a long time for the perfect blue, played around with different pigments, lost my track a bit through the dead of my mother and finally felt that I need another colour in this painting.
My perfect blue has got a dash of green, a green I created by adding some terre jaune italienne to the Lapis Lazuli blue.
Blue stands for the ratio, the cool analytical part of a person. Do you remember?
Having some green in the blue was not really a conscious decision, it just came into my mind after all these sad weeks. These weeks also had a good side: I spent time with my wider family, socialized, did not rush, slowed down instead.
Thinking of C.G. Jung’s allocation of temperaments to colours, I really welcomed some “green people” attitudes for helping me through these difficult weeks.
“Green people” are very social, focus more on relationships than on solving problems. They love to discuss things thoroughly but hate to be pushed to decisions. It could be that they never decide anything at all and therefore, blue or red people are needed ;-).
I am more a purple person and thus sometimes it was a bit challenging for me, but I am happy to have such great a family!

The painting has been finished with savon noir and linseed oil, bringing the colours alive.

Laboratory https://www.flickr.com/photos/karen_roe/7190376549 CC BY 2.0 https://flic.kr/p/bXoyrt

Exploratory Painting

I am always experimenting with different natural materials, such as lime, marble powder, fine sand, ash, to create depth and structure.

The challenge lies in bonding these materials and adhere them to a flexible canvas. Sometimes, they just crumble away after drying.
Using a mix of pure lime with marble powder, which is used for creating stucco, gives nice structures and pigments can easily react with it, creating wonderful effects. To adhere it on canvas, an additive is necessary. No essay choice as I want to restrict myself to natural materials.
So I tried egg white, linseed oil, animal glue (colle de Lapin) and natural latex and each additive resulted in a quite different consistency. I grated Lapislazuli, added some pigments and water and applied it layer by layer on my exercise canvas. Fascinated by the results, I created a small series of greenish – blueish paintings.
I really like them, they look very nice, changing their appearance depending on how the light shines on it.

Turquoise

Turquoise - detail
Turquoise – detail

Blue again, in all its shades, as the light let it seem and the wind stirs it up.
In this painting, deep blue and green, with dashes of turquoise.

If you have ever seen the different seas of this world, you know what I mean 😉
Turquoise, a transition from blue to green, is perceived either as crystal clear or as icy cold.
In any case, this color dissociates, it stands for independence, self-reliance and idealism. Just like the sea, it has burbled for millions of years, even though we human beings are increasingly harming it with our so-called civilisation.
here where I live, I see the sea almost every day.
sea_03 Now, the main holiday season is over again, the sea starts to recover. It almost always begins with a strong wind or storm, which seems to sweep away everything that does not belong to the sea and to the beach, as if the sea is angry at what it had to endure.
When the wind calmed down, everything looks very flashy and almost virgin (except for the garbage that has been flushed to the beach after such a storm).sea_01And then the sea appears to me so powerful, independent and self-reliant, as it is attributed to the color turquoise.

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Mark Rothko red on maroon

Who inspired me: Mark Rothko

Until a few years ago, I could not imagine that I can create art.
It changed when I took a course in 2009, to learn using traditional techniques to restore and decorate walls.
My trainer was an artist-artisan, he not only miraculously mixed colours and materials, and explained how the different materials react with each other, he also conjured beautiful examples of multi-coloured stucco, lime plaster and Tadelakt.
I was thrilled, but still far away from thinking that this might have something to do with art.
For me, it was perfect craftsmanship, but it bordered on art 😉
During this course, I discovered that I have a knack for colours and I am quite good in applying the various techniques. So I started practicing to refine my skills. Over the years I have plastered many hundreds of square meters of walls. And still I did not think that this is a kind of art.
Friends who come to visit us every year began early to tell me that I should go a bit further and also use other supports than just walls because it is art, what I was doing.
I am indeed happy they liked the results of my work, but for me, the thought of trying that on canvas, was far away.
In January this year, we visited the Pop Art exhibition at the Tate Modern in London, and because this is such a wonderful museum, we went there again the next day and had a look at the permanent exhibition. I wanted to see the paintings of Gerhard Richter, who impressed me a bit a few years ago at the Museum of Fine Art in Leipzig, but this is another story to tell.
The Richter paintings are wonderful, but the biggest surprise for me that day was a room in which the Seegram Murals by Mark Rothko hang.

Mark Rothko Red on Maroon
Mark Rothko Red on Maroon

I had never heard of this artist and was deeply fascinated. What was hanging there, were paintings for decorating the walls of the Four Seasons restaurants in New York. These paintings reminded me very much of how I decorate walls. I spent about one hour in this dark room, I went back and forth, repeatedly looked at all pictures and was deeply touched. This subtle effect of how colours can influence a room (and moods) was overwhelming.
Now I understood what our friends thought when they looked at my walls and rooms. I decided to transfer techniques for the design of walls on canvas and adapt them to this flexible material.
At a first glance, it might look easy to paint with only one color, but it is quite complicated to bring in texture and depth and trigger emotions.

My two paintings Red and Blue are my first examples of just applying different hues of one colour.
Currently I’m experimenting with the color white, but it still takes a little until I like to show the result to the public.

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