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.

Plastering a wall with stucco

Many years ago, when we restored our house, I plastered my very first walls ever in our living room. I just came back from a one week training course where I learned the basics of wall plastering with lime, sand and marble powder. These walls were in a very rough condition, we had removed the old plaster, closed some holes with natural stones and here I came, ready to build up all the layers necessary before the final one could be done. Back then, I used sieved sand with lime and troweled it off. I did not know that the trowel should be made of a special steel so that no traces of troweling will be visible afterwards. My trowel wasn’t such a one and when the walls were try, lots of greyish traces became visible. It didn’t bother us very much but during the last years I became more Continue reading “Plastering a wall with stucco”

Toute petite

After a long break, I painted a little bit again yesterday.
Well, it was more of a few exercises to try out some new materials and a different format. Everything should be very small, at max. 5 x 7 cm. And that was and still is the biggest challenge for me, because painting in such small formats I found extraordinarily difficult. So I experimented a bit with ink, silk, pastels and marble flour on paper.
Somehow that was quite exhausting for me, I felt 
very limited in my workflow by the smallness of the paintings.

I think abstract painting demands big formats and I’ll go back there in a few weeks.

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 glückliche 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 übergossen 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 über 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 glückliche 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 Fußboden für dieses Haus. Dafür brauchen wir Kies. Der nächste Baumarkt ist ca. 20 km entfernt und es dauert ca. 45 Minuten hinzufahren, zu kaufen und wieder zurückzufahren. Es sollte also möglich sein, vormittags drei Fuhren zu schaffen (der Laden macht 12h00 zu und zwischendrin müssen 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.