Thursday, March 31, 2016

Special Acrylic Painting Techniques on Rayon - Triassic Prints II

The original acrylic painting on rayon belongs to the small series of Fossils.

I am collecting minerals, crystals and fossils. But not only that I am also digging them up when I find the time and the right place. It is so much fun and very relaxing. Currently though I am rather painting them and so it happened that a couple of paintings became a series about Minerals and Fossils such as this one, called Triassic Prints II. The name comes from the imprints of fossils you can often find in stones. Ferns are the oldest plants on our earth - I love them.

This series about Fossils started with a special painting technique I am using normally on silk only - dye resist painting. This means the shadowy patterns of the ferns have been created with dye paint resists in several layers just similar to the batik techniques only that instead of wax a water soluble gel has been used. It was an experiment because this technique is commonly used on thin cloth such as silk or cotton batiste not on rather thick rayon fabric I used here.

"Triassic Prints II"
40" x 13"
Acrylic on Rayon

Btw - the background was inspired by the incredible images the Hubble Telescope is delivering from our universe and the stardust that might have impregnated our planet with the first spores of ferns.

Here are some more details of the painting and I added another image of an example how the painting (or a Fine Art Print) could look like in an extra frame...


Tuesday, March 29, 2016

Silk Paintings - The Valley

The Valley is from the Magical Landscapes series that explores the magic of landscapes and special places, the moments of awe when we see the wonders that are created by nature rather than human phantasy, the moments of spiritual connection with the past and the future and the moments of transformation through human imagination.
I feel a deep affiliation with the Hawaiian islands – another part of this world where I felt at home immediately. I cannot explain why this is so – I only know it is true. I have often asked why some places are just familiar and some not so – although there are lots of beautiful places in this world – very few you just call home…

The Valley is painted on real Pongé silk.
The silk painting is mounted on stretcher bars and is gallery wrapped (stapled on the back - sides are painted) and can be hung with or without additional frame. An example how the painting could look like framed is shown below. The painting will be shipped without additional frame though.

"The Valley"
21″ x 40″

Here are some details of the silk painting...

And here is an example of the painting, virtually framed...


Friday, March 25, 2016

Silk Paintings - Ricefields

This was a painting project that gave me real headaches. I had finished it but then I went back and re-worked it again. Sometimes this does not make sense at all and it is better to re-start the whole project from scratch. In this case I did not....

The very moment when I saw ricefields built in terraces in southeast Asia for the first time I was hooked by the sight. They had something magical no matter how hard the life of a rice farmer is. The mist that starts to rise early in the morning when the sun is just above the horizon and the muted colours that still cover the plains – all that creates a very special mood. There is some melancholy involved that is hard to describe with words.

So the piece I wanted to create had to have muted colours, no greens or yellows (as in full daylight) but rather browns with a slight purple touch to it and only a few lighter areas that would be covered with water and thus reflecting the first light of the morning. I think I proceeded quite well but when the piece was “finished” it looked a bit dull to my taste but I had no idea how to change it. Somehow the upper part was looking as if a chemical accident had happened in that area – I did not like the milky look of the supposedly foggy area there and changed it later to more contrast. The painting was kept aside for a little while.

before the change

After I had finished another project, where I used some layers of acrylic lacquer on the finished silk painting and realized that this was the icing on the top – colours became incredibly saturated – I thought this might help the Ricefields piece also.
First I added some more colour glazes here and there to increase the purple/reddish shimmer and then applied 2 layers of glossy acrylic lacquer. I could not believe the difference it made – although you would not recognize it that much on the computer but in reality there was a significant change – specifically when the piece was lit by the right lamps.
So it really can help to go back to a piece and simply do a bit of re-work. It may not even take a lot to improve the work but it is worth while to have a second thought about it.
Here is the finished work...

40" x 21"
silk, stitched


Wednesday, March 23, 2016

Silk Scrolls - Desert

Desert belongs to the series of natural abstracts.
The motif has been inspired by the colours and forms of the desert while the sun is going down. Since I have witnessed this incredible natural play of colours I could not forget this incredible scenery again.

These decorative silk scrolls are reminiscent of ancient Chinese or Japanese scroll paintings, their construction though is completely different and has been developed by myself.
While traditional Japanese and Chinese silk scrolls are made from very thin painted silk, that is glued to paper which again is normally covered by patterned silk, my scrolls consist of 3 layers of fabric and no paper at all.

The middle piece is constructed like a quilt with a layer of very thin batting between the top layer which is the painted silk and the back. Headpieces and footpieces are normally made from silk as well, which has been fused to a thin layer of rayon fabric.
The middle piece has been hand painted and machine stitched to add texture.

Different from the Chinese and Japanese painting scrolls where the dowels are glued to the paintings themselves I have created something different: the fabric has been sewn to the back in order to form a little sleeve so that the dowel can be pushed in but also removed again. This gives more freedom in regard of hanging this scroll. Thus it is also possible to mount it on stretcher bars instead, deliberately without the head and foot piece without damaging the whole painting. I'll show an example at the bottom of this page.

56" x 24"
silk, stitched

The last image shows an example how these scrolls could be framed...



Tuesday, March 22, 2016

Silk Carving from the Hawaiian Symbols Series - Bamboo

Bamboo is a silk carving© and belongs to the series of Hawaiian Symbols. Each of these symbols picks one special characteristic of the Hawaiian Islands. This one, Bamboo,  is one of them. Bamboo grows everywhere on the islands - you can even find whole forests of bamboo.

As a motif bamboo is widely used by artists. It is the fascination for its strength and fragility at the same time, its beauty and its secrets, its sound when the wind is moving through the leaves - no other sound can be compared with the mystic whisper of a bamboo forest.

The technique used on these piece is called "silk carving" and was born out of the trapunto techniques (from quilting) but uses multiple layers. My intent was to create a symbiosis between carving and fiber art. The additional use of paints and pigments creates another effect - silk looks like stone or metal or any other material, the structure is completely changed into a relief. Thus the 2-dimensionality of a painting is turned into some 3-dimensional work that looks different from any angle and changes again depending on the incidence of light.

The actual sculpting happens on the reverse side - the silk sculpture is made from one single piece of silk - nothing has been added on the top.

59" x 15"
silk, stitched

Here are some details of the silk carving...


Sunday, March 20, 2016

Acrylic Painting from the Pigeons Series again - Contemplation on a Predator

The feet of Pete, the patriarch of our pigeon family are here portrayed again as well as part of his beautiful plumage. He was an impressive pigeon man with incredibly broad shoulders and beautiful feet with completely white nails. He went over the rainbow in February 2011 and you can read his story here and here. I miss him still after so many years - he will always have a place in my heart.

Pigeons have many enemies and often sit between two chairs. For example there are other birds, which prey on pigeons such as the peregrine falcon, being the #1 enemy and then hawks. There is a declared hostility between crows and pigeons although crows normally are not able to catch pigeons unless they are too young or sick and old. Pigeons are simply too fast and too maneuverable to be caught by crows. But often they are no real enemies. I have seen groups of pigeons and crows grazing together in total peace. Near my home I observed one crow surrounded by at least 20 of pigeons which looked really funny. This scene occurred a couple of times not only once. Maybe it was a young crow and s/he had an identity crisis, thinking s/he was a pigeon herself. But they also were grazing peacefully together.

Pigeons can also be caught and eaten by birds you would not expect to be predators such as a pelican f.e. But these are rare and strange incidents and rather accidental. I assume this can happen because pigeons normally do not consider pelicans being their enemies.

There are endless 4-legged predators, who can be dangerous for a pigeon such as cats and dogs. Normally pigeons are too fast to be caught by such a predator but it may be inattentive, without experience, too young, sick or injured. Pigeons are often not alert enough, trusting that their environment is safe. The reason for this is that city pigeons are not really wild birds but feral birds which are to be considered domestic animals due to their genes. This is something that most people do not know about pigeons. Although they can learn to be alert against certain circumstances and predators (which they normally learn from their parents and the flock to whom they belong) they do not own the same instincts as wild doves and wood pigeons. Then it can happen that the pet dog from the neighbourhood or the nice little cat from another garden suddenly decides to eat pigeon meat.

And last but not least there is a certain 2-legged predator, called human, who’s behaviour is definitely not human at all. When pigeons get used to humans who are nice to them they become easy prey for all kinds of cruelties and ferocities, stupid jokes and endless disrespect including from all kinds of organizations which pride themselves rescuing birds and other animals. As soon as they get to know it is about a city pigeon they back down from giving help and or protection. This is very sad and makes me really furious. This is discrimination of a whole species.

Pigeons are mistreated, beaten for fun, kicked, shot and run over by cars when the driver thinks the bird takes too long to get off the road only because it was desperate for food. Pigeons are chased away by any means, sometimes only by clapping hands, sometimes by placing dreadful and dangerous spikes on places where people think they should not roost. That pigeons can injure themselves in these traps is not relevant. Pigeons are poisoned, beaten to death, strangled. Pigeons are bred to be eaten, trained for “racing sport” with methods which seem to originate from the dark middle ages, senseless, barbarous, cruel, and totally against any understanding of treating any living being with respect and care.

Pigeons are bred for purposes which are beyond my understanding, f.e. the king pigeons. These are bred to be meat only, huge, white, beautiful but for one purpose only: a dish on one’s plate. The cruelty of this breeding is that these birds, whenever they happen to escape their cages, do not know who their predators are. They do not know any more how to survive in the “wild city”, which means they are doomed for starvation if not fed. They have lost their shortening reaction which makes them prey for any animal that is keen on pigeon meat. How sick is this?

I could go on and on with this rant. I will continue in another post about the myths regarding pathogenic deseases which merely do not exist, not for humans nor for other animals.

For now I am going back to the painting and how the painting process came along....

My challenge in this painting was the plumage. I had never painted feathers before so this became a real exercise. To be honest, it became more difficult than I thought it was because I really wanted to show the delicacy of those feathers, their wonderful luster, their different shapes...

I had to admit that it had turned out a bit more difficult than I thought it would be. The problem was the skull, which I started allover 3 times. I was still not really satisfied with it but I left it for the time being until I knew what could be improved. Also there was still some work to do on the background…

Those were Pete’s feet again. I found that he had exceptionally beautiful feet so they made a wonderful role model. Also his white wing feathers looked beautiful, especially when he was flying. You could recognize him from far…

Finally the second painting from the new pigeon project Contemplation on a Predator was finished. I scanned the painting. I must say though that the original did look better than the photo and viewed from a distance made the skull glow dangerously - this is not quite visible in the photo – probably due to the subdued pastel colours – although in nearly all cases the scans of my paintings come very close to the original.

Of course I have no influence on the appearance on other monitors which may be of great disadvantage because of all the different settings people have on their computers. So there is always the danger of creepy colours on someone else’s monitor. I know for example that Dell monitors tend to show colours with a greenish touch which looks devastating on certain images. I have no idea why they do that. Heaven may forbid that…

Now enough words – here is the finished painting and some details...

"Contemplation on a Predator"
18" x 26"
acrylic on cotton 

While the skull turned out quite nicely in the end I was not content with the feathers yet. In my opinion they were still too coarse. I was working towards getting a photorealistic result but was far from that goal. I liked the colour composition though – this was exactly as I planned it.

Off to the next painting and more feathers…


Monday, March 14, 2016

Quilt Art on Silk - Dragon

The dragon always has been a symbol for luck and prosperity especially in Asian countries.
You will find dragon sculptures everywhere in China in front of larger buildings, private houses and at the entrances of the temples. It is a protective symbol against malevolent spirits and maybe against bad people? You can find the motif on dishes, pottery and bronzes, on clothes, on greeting cards (I bought some nice birthday cards in red with golden dragons in Hongkong), simply everywhere in daily life...

I love dragons and I like far better the Asian interpretation of the motif than the western one. In western countries the dragon has always been a menacing symbol, a symbol of the evil that needs to be destroyed. The whole western myths and tales are talking about killing the dragon who eats people and literally spits fire.

I have always been fascinated by dragon figures especially as bronzes and in paintings. Therefore I decided to paint this quilt in the same colours as traditional Chinese ink paintings: mainly black and white and just with a touch of red.

70" x 50"
silk, hand quilted

And here are quite a few details where you can see the stitching as well as the painting....

The image below shows the sleeve that has been attached to the quilt's reverse side to be able to mount it on the wall with a dowel you can push through it...

Image below shows the reverse side of the quilt (made of rayon) and the pattern from the quilting...


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