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A new piece of art

garage door

Last week, I created a new piece of art, I painted a garage door.

Well, it’s a different kind of art, the art lies more in the paint itself.

The newly built wooden garage door needed to be protected and I wanted to have it open-pored to let the wood breath and keep it natural touch. The challenge here is the sun, which lets every artificial colour chip off after a relatively short period. I did a bit of a research and found the old recipes for the famous Swedish paint “Swedish red”. This paint has been created about 250 years ago and it’s still used, especially for restoration of old buildings and furniture.
I felt like a witch in her kitchen when I cooked the paint 😉

The recipe for about 16 :

175 g flour (with gluten!)
2 l water
50 g ferrous sulfate
500 g pigments
0,25 l linseed oil
25 cl savon noir

Heat half of the water. Pour the flour into 0,5 l of cold water and mix it to get a paste without any lumps. Slowly stir the paste into the warm water, add the pigments and the sulfate. Stir it for about 15 min until the mix gets creamy. Pour gradually the linseed oil in, when all is mixed together (after about 15 min), add the savon to stabilize the mixture. Stir everything for another 15 min.
The paint is ready when it has a creamy consistency, as if you prepare the mix for a crêpe.
I recommend to soak the pigments into water before pouring them into the flour soup.Let it cool down.

The paint is ready when cold and it needs to be stirred from time to time during application. It’s a non-dropping paint.

I applied it three times on new wood, which I washed with savon noir emulsion a day before.
The base recipe can be coloured any many shades and I wanted to create a grey tone to match the already painted shutters and windows of the house.

The result is a very natural paint, looking velvety and I think it is perfect for an old house.

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Should abstract paintings have a title ?


I’m a little torn on this issue.
On one hand, I want my pictures give a title, and by him telling, what I deliberated about while painting. On the other hand I give a direction and thus influence the viewer. I don’t want to define the direction or interpretation, each viewer should  develop its own thoughts and reflections. However, a title can also be stimulating, it may well be so, that the viewer would never get the idea behind the painting and it could be quite enriching to be drawn to this path.
Sometimes, a title provokes the viewer to have a closer look at the painting and only than develop his own thoughts.
This is sometimes a real challenge, which perhaps needs some practice to master.
Many deters abstract painting, because they do not want (or can’t) stand their own thoughts and emotions. Then a title may help.
I am tempted not giving titles to my paintings anymore, just number them.
What do you think?

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Structures and Surfaces

Charred Wood

So far, I intensively worked with colours, their production and application, and I learned a lot about the interaction of various binders, and produced some really cool effects 🙂
For example, I got the idea for my paintings After the Fire and Ashes when cleaning the fireplace after a nice and cosy evening in front of it. The picture above is a montage created from a detail of my painting After the Fire and charred wood.
The surface of these paintings is relatively flat, it gets depth through the application of different thick layers of colour and raw pigments.

Now I would like to work more plastically and for this reason I want to learn more about surfaces and structures in abstract painting.
It seems to be a vast field of experimentation! I watched countless tutorials on YouTube and it’s partly very adventurous what some artists create;-)
I would like to focus on using natural materials, f.e. on marble powder, sand, wood chips, ashes, plants and what I find along my way.
Right now I am collecting ideas and immerse myself in my Painter’s Handbook to learn more about the interaction between supports and applied materials.

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I got some gold leaves and played around with it, tried to show the dirty and shiny sides of gold, by applying layers of sienna, ardoise, noir de vigne, titan oxyde.

Gold – symbol of power, wealth, purity, dead, war, earth, slavery, blood, jewelry, gold rush, enlightenment, greed, cyanidation, altering nature, wedding ring, currency speculation, spiritual values, imperishability, eternity.

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Supports, Pretreatments and Materials


So far, I produced most of my colors by myself, only the primer and the varnish for Passion vs. Ratio I bought.
Doing everything by myself is like a huge field of experimentation and  a lot of fun. When tinkering I learn a lot about the successive reactions of the materials and of course, I discover also my limits. I realize, that I do not have enough knowledge about the use and reactions to various substrates and materials and so far I did not really think a lot about the long-term durability of the result.
So I researched to learn more about supports, to learn their properties and necessary pretreatments. Until now I have almost exclusively painted on canvas, one exception is Focus, here I have worked on wood.
The canvasses I’ve bought ready, were already impregnated and provided with several layers of primer. Following advice of a grown artist, I applied another layer of primer. Canvas is a relatively flexible support and must be treated differently than a rigid, such as wood (or walls). A primer serves to make the surface smooth and receptive to the colors, without these being too absorbed and not to be rejected. A common primer is gesso, a mixture of lime, gypsum, rabbit skin glue and white pigments. Quite complicate to produce, since the mixing ratio of the ingredients decides if it adheres well on the support and the paints on it.
That is the traditional mixture, but bought gesso has not always something to do with that and it differs in its quality properties to the price 😉
For the longevity of a painting, a well-prepared support is at least as important as the application of the colours.
As I soon would like to work more on wood, I shall deal more with this subject.

Your tips are very welcome.