Tuesday, April 26, 2016

Silk Scrolls - Panaxia I

Panaxia was inspired by a natural spectacle that takes place in Rhodes, Greece each year:

on the western side of the island there is the Valley of the Butterflies. During August, thousands of butterflies of the genus Panaxia (species Quadripunctaria Poda) overwhelm the valley in order to reproduce. During the rainy season, the caterpillars feed on the foliage of the Mediterranean bushes. Towards the end of May, the metamorphosis begins and thousands of butterflies appear. They move constantly towards areas of highest humidity and finally arrive at the valley.
Due to several factors this natural wonder is endangered: disturbance by visitors. The butterfly cannot eat because it has no stomach. As a butterfly it purely survives from the energy stored from its previous stage as a caterpillar - if it is disturbed it has to fly all day consuming its energy which is needed for the mating season.

These decorative 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. Headpiece and footpiece are normally made from silk as well, which has been fused to a thin layer of rayon fabric.

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 without damaging the painting.

 "Panaxia I"
42" x 24"
silk scroll, stitched and embroidered

The lines are an abstract representation of the bark of a tree and the red embroidery is the butterfly's under wing which you can only see when he opens his wings.
Here are some details of the scroll....

And again a virtual example of how the scroll could look like framed (just the middle piece)....


Saturday, April 23, 2016

Painting on Paper and Wood Block Printing again - Sari II

Here is my second painting and wood block printing on paper - Sari II. Of course this has been as much fun as the first one. Again painted in red a bit differently and then different wood block patterns of course.

Sari II has also been painted on heavy watercolour paper. The block prints add a graphic element to the painting which is a reminiscence of those precious silk saris Indian women wear for special events as f.e. a wedding.

I have a great love for textiles. Besides creating 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 theses textures led me to patterns, regular and irregular patterns as you can find on handprinted cloth. Additionally I wanted to access something that I have never used before in this combination: a wonderful collection of old Indian wooden stamps for block printing which contain intriguing and very delicate handcarved patterns. I have always been intrigued to create works that are mocking the real thing - this is another example.

The painting has been glazed with layers of acrylic glaze. Therefore it is not neccessary to frame this painting with glass.

Sari II
20" x 15"
acrylic on paper 

Here are some details again....


Friday, April 22, 2016

Silk Carving from the Hawaiian Symbols Series - Ahi Ko A'A

Ahi Ko A'A means "the fire of Lava" and is a silk carving©. This little wallhanging belongs to the series of Hawaiian Symbols. Each of these symbols picks one special characteristic of the Hawaiian Islands. This one, "Ahi",  is one of them. What could be a better representation for the islands than an interpretation of the lava fire you can sometimes see on Hawai'i?

Ahi Ko A'A incorporates a technique called "silk carving©", which is a development by me and was born out of the trapunto techniques but uses multiple layers. The intent of this technique was to create a symbiosis between carving and fiber art. The surface of the fiber was transformed completely into a relief. The upper layer of this piece was made from one single piece of silk - nothing was sewn on top to add depth. The glowing paints reflect the colours of fire and flowing lava. The viewer is supposed to feel the heat. But it is "only" a piece of soft sculptured silk.

"Ahi Ko A'A"
15" x 23"
silk carving, stitched 

This little work is one of my smallest. But nevertheless it is glowing when hung under the right light. Here are a few details.....

This little silk carving could be enhanced by mounting it on a sophisticated frame. I have added a virtual example....


Wednesday, April 20, 2016

Acrylic Painting from the Pigeons Series again - The Gathering

Here is another painting from the Pigeon series again. And again I start with the WIP of this painting. The background of my obsession with pigeons you can read here and here. I am living with pigeons, caring for them, dreaming of pigeons and working with them. And they are a big joy in my life despite all the work and time I need for them...
The Gathering is about a whole pigeon family, the first one who lived on our balcony with their first offspring: Pete and Emily, Willy and Joey, their sons...

Willy is the one in the middle with his white cap, Pete is towering over everybody else, mother Emily is the one on the left and Joey is the one on the right side. Sadly Pete and Emily have gone over the rainbow, Willy and Joey have left many years ago.

Willly was living on our balcony with Winnie, his mate and sister. Then he caught the PMV virus (paramyxovirus), became very sick and was hospitalized inside for many weeks. He could not eat by himself, nor drink and he could not fly any more. With lots of care and love he recovered again completely even learned to fly again. Sadly his longing for being free again became too big and so one day he left, leaving his sick mate behind. I don't know anything about his whereabouts. I wished I knew....
But I have wonderful memories even if some of them are bitter sweet....

Here is the painting process in chronological sequence. I started with Willy's funny face....

Here I was working on Emma's face. Emma was rather a nondescript and petite little pigeon at first view but if you watched her for a while you would have realized that she had quite a personality. She was very brave and courageous and was not afraid of defending herself and her babies from much larger pigeons, especially cocks. A pecularity were her eyes which somehow had an Asian touch – I hope I could demonstrate this in the painting. Emma also had a wonderful collar of iridescent little feathers, whose strong metallic shimmer appeared only in full sunlight. These feathers alone were inspirational for any painting…

The last face I finished was Joey's, a very sweet little pigeon boy. As usual he also left one day to start his own independant life. If I only knew where he is right now....

Finally the painting was finsihed and here it is:

"The Gathering"
26" x 18"
Acrylic on cotton

Some more details of the finished painting are below...


Tuesday, April 19, 2016

The Magic of Crystals and Minerals - Painting another Tourmaline

I am collecting minerals and fossils. Nearly all of my collected treasures do not have any value at all besides being just beautiful and thus meaning a lot to me. They are also an endless well of inspiration. And so it came that this series was started.

My intent for these was not a most realistic reproduction of crystal images – photos can do this much quicker – but I wanted to catch the very essence of something that nature creates in perfection. What is the essence of a crystal? Translucency? Not necessarily – there is an abundance of crystals in the metal section which are not translucent at all – bismuth (Bi) crystals f.e. which reflect all colours of the rainbow, or pyrites which glissen like gold.

Nevertheless – the first association we have when we think of the word “crystal” is that of something translucent, clear like water. Not without reason we say “crystal clear” water. And crystals will never fail to inherit something mysterious and seductive.

Another painting from the series about Crystals and Minerals is Tourmaline I. This tourmaline has been painted in various green hues. I think most people remember tourmalines being green but there are much more variations. I wanted to show the magic that does exist in a crystal such as this one.

"Tourmaline I"
40" x 13"
Acrylic on Rayon

After some research in the Internet I realized that not many painterly representations of minerals or crystals can be found. So these motives are not "worn" like so many others. So these themes are wonderful for painting - not only for realistic presentations. The play with light and shadow and endless forms is predestined also for abstract painting. As a matter of course you can photograph these motives and there are numerous works to be found but these are not the same as a painted interpretation. Traditional photography tries to present the object with perfect light and form, depending on the assignment.

Painting takes a completely different approach. With this work the nature of the natural unpolished crystal was the main interest and the character of a tourmaline. The crystals of a tourmaline can differ substantially in form and colour, but the basic structure is always the same: they are composed polar and react on temperature changes with polar charging, i.e. the edges are charged positively on one end and negatively on the other. Tourmaline crystals often appear as needles - that was the reason for the many lines I used in this painting.

Wouldn't this be the perfect painting for a collector of minerals and any lover of nature's treasures? This way nothing is destroyed nor exploited but instead this would be a contribution to nature conservation....

Virtually framed could this painting look like this....


Sunday, April 17, 2016

Silk Scrolls - Iceworld

"Iceworld" was inspired by images from the arctic world with their icebergs and ice caves which form fantastic and unearthly landscapes. The forms which are created by mother nature when the ice is melting make any sculptor go green with envy. And the colour blue gains a completely new signification. Every painter on this world would need to amplify his palette just for all the shades of blue here...

79″ x 25″
silk scroll, stitched

The amazing turquoise hues in the waters of the artic sea seem to invite for a bathing pleasure if they weren’t so damn cold . Btw – did you know that the crystal clear dark ice of the glaciers and the icebergs that is formed only under immense pressure is called “black ice”?

Imitating the colours of these landscapes is only partially possible. But at least silk is the perfect material for such a purpose, because paints can flow into one another just as it happens in nature with the colour shades. Also the lucency of silk and paints is perfect for painting such landscapes. More in the next batch of images…

Before I continue presenting more images of this silk scroll I would like to introduce a couple of interesting websites about colour theory and interpretations:

Color Theory Tutorial by Worqx. This is the website of Janet Lynn Ford, which exclusively covers scientific colour theory in a crisp and understandable manner. She covers
* Color Theory Overview
* Color Basics
* Color Systems
* Color Wheel
* Complementary Colors
* After Images
* Color Combinations
* Color & Contrast
* Itten’s Contrasts
* Proportion & Intensity
* Contrast & Dominance
* Shades & Tints
* Color Studies
* Palette Picker
Now – this is said specifically about the colour blue:
“Blue is the color of the sky and sea. It is often associated with depth and stability. It symbolizes trust, loyalty, wisdom, confidence, intelligence,  faith, truth, and heaven.
Blue is considered beneficial to the mind and body. It slows human metabolism and produces a calming effect.
Blue is strongly associated with tranquility and calmness. In heraldry, blue is used to symbolize piety and sincerity.
You can use blue to promote products and services related to cleanliness  (water purification filters, cleaning liquids, vodka), air and sky (airlines, airports, air conditioners), water and sea (sea voyages, mineral water). As opposed to emotionally warm colors like red, orange, and yellow; blue  is linked to consciousness and intellect. Use blue to suggest precision  when promoting high-tech products.
Blue is a masculine color; according to studies, it is highly accepted  among males. Dark blue is associated with depth, expertise, and stability; it is a preferred color for corporate America.
Avoid using blue when promoting food and cooking, because blue suppresses  appetite. When used together with warm colors like yellow or red, blue  can create high-impact, vibrant designs; for example, blue-yellow-red  is a perfect color scheme for a superhero.
Light blue is associated with health, healing,   tranquility, understanding, and softness.

Dark blue represents knowledge, power, integrity, and seriousness.”
(from the Color Wheel Pro website)
Interesting isn’t it? But is this valid in general?
“Each colour appeals to the viewer in a way that is characteristic for that colour. This is perceived differently by each person due to his/her different personality and due to the fact that many hues belong to one colour label…
…the perception of a hue can be changed by the colour environment…

Therefore the characteristics, which are assigned to a certain colour, possess a certain spectrum of positive as well as negative aspects. Nevertheless each colour has its own quality and through that its own connotation and impact, which are valid for most people.” (translated from Farbtheorie und Farbgestaltung by Ingrid Crüger, IPSI Fraunhofer Institut)
Another interesting website from Thomas Seilnacht which is about natural scientific work with a special chapter about colours says:
“Blue transfers a person into a dreamlike state, the colour makes you wistful, comforts and leads you to an inner view… Blue is the colour of the mind and tunes you into a positive state”.
The colour blue enjoys great popularity. But there are exceptions. On my own colour palette the earth colours are dominant and colours which emanate much warmth. But this is – as usual – a question of preference and taste, which cannot be reasoned. I strongly doubt that you can deduct certain personal characteristics from colour preferences.
Otherwise this would mean that if I don’t like the colour blue I lack all the virtues as described above? Well – that needs to be discussed….
The colour blue actually does not belong to my regular colour palette. Though it can be refreshing and inspiring to jump out of the box and try something completely different. This became true specifically with my latest series Reminiscences of acrylic paintings about the Olympic Student Village in Munich.

Here is another very interesting website about the psychology of colour codes – Farbcodes – by Andreas Heck. It says about blue: (translated from German)
“It symbolizes: sympathy, harmony, friendliness, friendship, loyalty, confidence, reliability, desire, coolness, cold, fantasy.
Blue is the colour of distance. A colour appears to be nearer the warmer it is and farther away the cooler it is. Blue creates space, perspective. All colours seem to be bluer in the distance, duller because they are covered by atmospheric layers. Water and air seem to be blue. According to your experience the blue derives from the transparent. The biggest contrast it the earth colour brown, the solid.
Blue is the positive part of the fantasy, utopian ideas are in the distance. But in old German idioms blue was connected with lying. “
The latter is not only totally contra-dictionary to the above mentioned connotations but it  applies to  German language only (to my knowledge):  “das Blaue vom Himmel herunterlügen”  – literally translated “to lie the blue from the sky” which does not make any sense in English at all – it would rather mean “to lie through one’s teeth”. This means that connotations to a colour which exist in one language or country does not necessarily mean the same in another.
On the same website it also says (translated):
“Blue is the complementary colour to orange. Orange is the hottest, blue the coldest colour of the spectrum. Shadows of the sunlight seem to be blue (Cézanne, Van Gogh). Snow shines in blue. Skin becomes blue. Blue is an outdoor colour. Blue is uncomfortable as a room colour (in blue rooms temperatures are always underestimated). Blue in restaurants makes guests look pale and sickly, food with a blue tint looks putrid. Cold blue symbolically is a repellent colour: the colour of insensibility, pride, cruelty.
But blue also means relaxation, silence, peace. Blue is the colour of masculinity (it was red earlier on) and it is the cool, dispassionate virtues: courage, accomplishment, sportsmanship, independence, concentration. It is the main colour of  labour and mind: wisdom, science, accuracy, timeliness.”
.So much about the psychology and theory of colours and back to the blues of the silk scroll and more details.....


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