Tuesday, February 16, 2016

Painting and Wood Block Printing

Green Marble

This piece started as an experiment when I did not have the energy to create something really complicated.
Daily life does not always allow us to do what we love to do only – there are tasks which have to be fulfilled, more important things which call for attention.

As you know I love pigeons. They have been a joy to watch for me and so it happened that they became models for my painting. But when you love something you also have to take care because you cannot just take and give nothing for it. And so it came that we had suddenly several very sick feral pigeons to care for – all of them with PMV infection and normally doomed to death if you go the regular way. But there is always hope if you invest a lot of time and intensive care for a potential recovery. As I love these birds which have given me more pleasure and joy than humans do in general besides a handful of people I can say now that all birds which we had hospitalized have fully recovered and are flying free again, enjoying their lives as pigeons do.

This was an amazing result and I knew without my partner’s continuous and loving help and with optimism and a helping hand from all good spirits I would not have been able to accomplish this task. I was grateful beyond any words and had my joy to see these birds fly free and become more motifs for my painting series. But this had to stay aside for a little while longer.

As my energies for complicated and demanding paintings were quite low I thought about some possibilities how I could foster my creative juices and re-mount the work flow of an active artist with projects which were quicker to complete i.e. which would demand not as much attention as others. So why not paint for more decorative intentions?

Aaaarrrgh – the word has been spoken – DECORATIVE. What a come-down! I already saw people wrinkle their noses… But honestly – what was so bad about this? Isn’t art often a mere decorative object that people buy to match the colours of their interior? What does it help if you paint the heart out of your body with demanding themes and starve yourself to death? Nonsense. People who have the luxury to spend their time at their leisure often do not even appreciate what they have. Or even worse, they have all the financial resources which could buy them heaven but they are sick. So what would they do with all those things they have gathered? Money cannot buy you true happiness. But watching a bird fly free after 9 months of near death is something that can make you happy especially when it was your care that helped to accomplish this. That’s what life and true happiness is about.

You remember my love for textiles? Well, I have created quite a few painted and hand stitched art quilts, I have done silk paintings where stitching was added to achieve additional textures and shadows. Now these textures led me to patterns, regular and irregular patterns as you can find on hand printed cloth. So here we were – painting and printing. No – not what you might think now – I was not going to create prints because I didn’t have the space for a good press nor the experience with various techniques. I wanted to access something that I had at hand: a wonderful collection of old Indian wooden stamps for block printing which contained intriguing and very delicate hand carved patterns. These have been partially collected by my mother and by myself. Using these in any way would have been a wonderful contribution to my dear mother’s remembrance who died a few years ago. Wasn’t this reason enough?

But using these stamps on a plain piece of paper wasn’t just enough. I wanted to include some more patterns and structures such as those which you could find on polished marble. I have always been fascinated by all kinds of minerals, stones and fossils. To re-create these patterns on paper or cloth was so inspiring because you could do everything with it, in all colours you liked whether you wanted it to look real or not. This was the first piece (virtually framed):

“Green Marble”
20″ x 15″
 acrylic on paper

Here are some details:

The material I used here was heavy watercolour paper with grain torchon that added a great texture. I started with painting a first background layer for the faux marble pattern with acrylic paint. Then I added the prints, afterwards layering the various marble patterns – between the various layers I heavily glazed the surface with a glossy acrylic lacquer. Finally I added some highlights with metallic pigment.

A good idea is – I think – to show how a painting can look like framed and virtually hung on a wall such as this example – I love to play with these ideas…

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