Ich war heute am Strand. Seit Wochen das erste Mal. Dazwischen war viel Arbeit, Reisen, Grippe und Sturm. Aber heute, da mußte ich unbedingt wissen, ob das Meer noch immer so wunderbar gleichmäßig rauscht. Das tut es 😉 Es scheint, als ob das Meer sich im Winter von den Strapazen des Sommers erholt. Bei sonnigen 15 °C, ohne Wind, blauem Himmel und ein paar Wolken. Der Strand war beinahe menschenleer, das glasklare Wasser hat große Teile des Strands weggespült, aber dafür viele Muscheln angeschwemmt. Im Sommer findet man kaum welche, die werden vermutlich alle von den Urlaubern aufgesammelt.
Eine gute Gelegenheit für mich, auch ein paar besonders schöne Examplare mit nach Hause zu nehmen, denn ich hinterlasse Muscheln als meine Signatur auf von mir verputzten Wänden. Demnächst habe ich nämlich wieder viele Quadratmeter Wandfläche zu verschönern.
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.
The design of walls, their colours and surface structure, decisively influences how well we feel in it. Of course, this also subject to trends and fashions, but I think it should fit to the personality of the people living in it. It is like a coat that envelops us.
There is a universe of ready-made products, imitating old techniques such as Stuc or Tadelakt. As I have written several times, I learned how to make and apply decorative coatings by just using sand, lime and marble. I follow old recipes, which are partly written down and so surpassed, but as always, the real secrets you learn only when you work with it. There are almost no restrictions, you can coat almost any underground with an appropriate pre-treatment. The result of this work is always unique, always personal and never exactly foreseeable, because I work with natural materials. The little irregularities are part of the decoration and make it so distinctive and charming. I have already decorated many hundred square meters of walls, I work I really like and therefore, I included it into my repertoire.
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.
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.