Random Order

For this painting I left a bit my usual way of mixing natural pigments with different media to create in-depth nuances of one or two colours.
Here I just used gesso and mixed it with ash and metallic silver paint. This melange resulted into something very organic, with wonderful, random structures and colours. To me, it looks like the walls of a cave, deep under the earth, with metalliferous lodes. These imperfect, coincidentally structures contrasts with the perfect shape of the pink square in the corner. Somehow, that’s just like in “real” life: there are things that we can plan, develop and create exactly how we want them to be, but many things just happen by chance.
The challenge is to balance both.

conservatoire des ocres

Ochres from Roussillon

There are places in this world, I have to go there again and again and so I went last Friday. Roussillon, more precisely, the Conservatoire des ocres et de la couleur is such a place. Here I learned all the old techniques of wall plastering, here I always buy pigments and tools for my paintings and wall design, here I get advice and answers to technical questions.
This is such a beautiful place, it is so pleasant to stroll through the rooms of the old ochre mill and get inspired by all these wonderful colours.
And of course, I always find new pigments, this time a new blue 🙂

Treppe

Die glĂĽckliche Befreiung einer Treppe

Seit Januar arbeiten wir an der Renovierung einer alten Treppe, genauer gesagt an der Umgestaltung des Eingangsbereichs eines Hauses. Ein paar Stufen dieser Treppe waren ziemlich kaputt und vom Vorbesitzer aus diesem Grund mit Beton ĂĽbergossen worden. Das sah echt nicht schön aus und als ich eben diese Stufen repariert hatte, fiel mir auf, dass die Seiten der Treppe ziemlich bröslig waren. Solche alten Treppen sind hier in der Gegend meistens aus Gips und Feldsteinen gebaut worden. Belegt wurden die Trittstufen entweder mit Terrakottafliesen oder Naturstein. Beides tritt sich ĂĽber die Zeit ab bzw. geht kaputt und deshalb wurden diese alten Treppen bei einer Modernisierung entweder herausgerissen oder irgendwie, selten schön, repariert. Continue reading “Die glĂĽckliche Befreiung einer Treppe”

Da brauchste Nerven wie Drahtseile

Die letzte Woche war vollgepackt mit so vielen unterschiedlichen Arbeiten, Tüdel und organisatorischem Kram, dass ich am Freitagabend nicht das Gefühl hatte irgendetwas wirklich geschafft zu haben. In solchen Momenten fällt es mir schwer freundlich zu sein. Die teilweise völlige Abwesenheit von Kundenorientierung in hiesigen Baumärkten wirkt da eher wie ein Katalysator für meine zunehmende Ungeduld.

Momentan bauen wir einen FuĂźboden fĂĽr dieses Haus. DafĂĽr brauchen wir Kies. Der nächste Baumarkt ist ca. 20 km entfernt und es dauert ca. 45 Minuten hinzufahren, zu kaufen und wieder zurĂĽckzufahren. Es sollte also möglich sein, vormittags drei Fuhren zu schaffen (der Laden macht 12h00 zu und zwischendrin mĂĽssen wir den Kies per Schaufel abladen und ins Haus tragen.) Continue reading “Da brauchste Nerven wie Drahtseile”

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.

Imitated Rust, seen at ART Basel

Rust – Rost – Rouille

I always experiment with different materials and inspired by some art I saw at the ART Basel, I wanted to create artificial rust on canvas.
There are ready to buy kits for creating artificial rust, which are quite expensive and I thought, also boring to apply. I like to figured it out by myself 🙂
Obviously, I needed some fine metal shavings, which I could get from the local blacksmith. He just shook his head when I told him what I was about, I believe he thinks I am a bit crazy…
These shavings I mixed with acrylic medium to apply it on a wooden board. To activate the rust I moistened it with acid. That process I repeated several times until I got the desired result.
Between I incorporated several layers of acrylic and oil paint, and other media to create some special effects.
I learned a lot about how the different materials react to each other and now I am ready to apply this technique on canvas too.

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.

at work

Decorative Wall Finishes

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.

A New Masterpiece: Silver

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:

Silver - steps
Silver – steps

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.

Swedish Red

Swedish Paint

Few weeks ago, I wrote about a natural paint, based on flower and pigments, I created for painting a new garage door.
Last week, I wanted to paint the shelter for our firewood in the garden and again, I cooked my paint, using the same recipe but with red iron oxide pigment.
The shelter is much more exposed to weather (sometimes rain, but mostly sun and wind) than the garage door and thus a durable paint is needed to protect the wood.
Permanent exposure to the sun is a big challenge, most of the synthetic paints peel of after a few months.  So far, I used Osmo paints but even those semi-natural paints chipped of after two years.
It can become an expensive hobby to paint all the outdoor wooden pieces every two years. A durable natural paint, tested under Scandinavian weather conditions for centuries seems to be a good alternative.
It’s easy to create and it’s cheap: 5 L of paint costs about 5 €!
Thinking of the environment, I also wanted to avoid any toxic ingredients.
The paint should last approx. 4-5 years and restoration is easy as the surface needs to be brushed before repainting it.

Swedish Red  or Rouge de Falun

In the town of Falun is a copper mine which has been explored for more than thousand years. The red iron oxide is a by-product of the copper mining. The earth above the copper contains ocher, silicon and zinc. At plain air, it washes out and dries. The result is a fine red powder, the red iron oxide.
The mine closed in 1992. Today, the area is on the UNESCO list and a tourist hot spot.

Since a few years, we have Swedish family members and one of the first pictures which popped up in our heads were those of the nice red wooden houses in Sweden.

Red Swedish House
Red Swedish House
Isabell Schulz - Yellow Swedish House https://www.flickr.com/photos/isapisa/8471500192 (CC BY-SA 2.0)
Isabell Schulz – Yellow Swedish House https://www.flickr.com/photos/isapisa/8471500192 (CC BY-SA 2.0)

In the 16 century the city municipalities ordered home owners to paint their house front facing the street in red to impress the royals.
Later on, it became a countrywide fashion to paint all new country houses red, urban villas in yellow and window frames and fences in red or green.  At this time, the paint did not contain any linseed oil or savon noir, but sometimes brine, beer or tar.

Either you cook your own paint, or you buy it from the two manufacturers of traditional Swedish paint, Falu Rödfärg and Moose Färg.
Nowadays, the colour palette offers also different shades of blue, yellow, grey, green and even black.

Application

The base recipe stays the same, just different pigments are added.
You can use this kind of paint also for painting wooden floors, furniture, already painted walls (plaster boards like Rigips and Fermacell) and bricks.
Ferrous sulfate protects the wood against fungus infestation and is not needed for indoor paints.
The surface needs to be rough, the best is to seal it in advance.
Even an application on paper walls is possible but you need to make the wall absorbent with a layer of acrylic.

 

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