After a long break, filled with plastering lots of walls with stucco and lime, I found some time painting again. Deeply inspired by Chinese art, I started exploring ink drawing and calligraphy, watched many tutorials about it, went to the amazing exhibition of Fabienne Verdiers’ paintings in Aix en Provence and finally tried it myself. I skipped my taloche and used new tools, techniques and materials. The result is also quite different to what I did before: different feeling to paint that way, very fine, soft, reduced to the essentials and somehow quiet.
I’ll go in this direction for a while, there is still so much to discover.
After a long winter break, caused by too much other work, I did a new painting.
I do not really like winter especially, the cold and the snow, even if a winter wonderland certainly has its charms. The snow covers and hides the beautiful colours of nature and when the sun is strong enough, they shimmer through. I already smelled the spring a few weeks ago and then, when the birds were chirping every morning and the flamingos made their rounds in the sky, I knew: spring is here. This year-by-year awakening of nature continually fills me with fascination and awe.
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.
I like to experiment with different materials over and over again and try out how they react to each other. For this paintingI 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.
I have experimented with lots of colours and intuitively, I limited myself to shades of maximal two colours in one painting.
In my last paintings I even only used nuances of one colour. This reduction arises from my desire to recognize the essentials, to clear out all the buzz until the core of a thing is visible to me.
It’s a difficult thing with colors, they are for me as complex as emotions and thus a constant challenge to make the essential visible by applying many layers of paint, quite the contrary to analysing something.
Now using white.
For me, white is the complete reduction, the “Enough”. White has as many shades as “right” colors, it can be greyish, cold bluish, yellowish or even perfectly white.
But what is really perfect? Some things, memories or events always intervene, remind us of all the unresolved conflicts of our so perfect world.
It is often said that grey is not a colour, but a statement, if you want to hide or remain invisible (the grey mouse). Sometimes, instead of positioning oneself for one side or another, we are looking for a way in the middle between two opposites, between white and black.
But grey can also be understood as a departure from all colours, all affluence, as a conscious counter-design to a noisy world.
To be honest, I did not have these thoughts when I started the painting. I just wanted to experiment with black and white pigments, dissolved in acrylic and a silver oil paint. The result is a painting full of nuances, interesting and colourful and not at all boring.
Gold and silver are often mentioned in the same breath, somehow belonging together, they represent about the same symbols and attributes. Admittedly, I have a slightly different feeling about silver, to me it is more clean and has more clarity, typifies modernity and technology. Anyway, after painting Gold, it was obvious to paint the other half of that couple.
As always, I applied many layers of paint in varying thickness, by using spatulas, brushes and self-made fabric stamps.
I then sanded or abraded them and anew these layers. Instead of genuine silver, I used silver paint since it does not oxidize.
Here a series of photos documenting the painting process a bit:
The result is as always a little surprising also for myself, because the structures arise on the go, at random. See the full painting here.
Rush, hurry up to get the subway, the bus, the plane, be on time at the office. Countlessphone calls, talking to employees and customers, power struggles.
In between eating a bit, little fresh air, always under time pressure. Fast organizing a few personal things. Shopping food online, something healthy, if possible.
Even more quickly, make a little sport.
Getting back home, tired.
Hardly time to breathe, few highlights.
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.