Information on Composition and Artistic Techniques


The artistic technique emphasises the areas and thus the effect of colours. Each colour is intended to be effective within a specific area. This is why there are hardly any gradual transitions between the various tones. A very special effect is achieved in both the aquarelles on cardboard and the acrylic paintings by the gentle nature of the borders between the various areas. This technique, which often creates an "out-of-focus" impression in the paintings, is the heart of the effect of the paintings and makes a decisive contribution to the flair of the paintings, as if the colours floated over the works.

Related complementary contrasts form the basic structure of most of the colour "sounds". Green is not combined with its exact complement which is red, but with violet and orange, both of which contain red. An indigo blue is not combined with orange, its complementary colour, but with an English red that contains only a hint of orange. A bright yellow is found side-by-side with blue and green, both colours that have only their blue aspect in common with violet.

Perspective lines, colour perspectives and the positioning of landscape elements in foreground and background put depth back into the flatness of the presentation which is reinforced by the contouring. This gentle effect is also present in the aquarelles on Japanese paper. In this case it is achieved not by softening of the borders (which is not possible when using this material), but by painting watery colours on dry paper (and allowing it to dry in between applications). As in the case of oil and acrylic painting, the intensity of the colour is achieved by applying a number of coats of paint on top of each other which gives a deeper glow to the colours.

Since the drawings but never the paintings themselves are created out "on the scene", and the drawings show the form of the landscape but seldom specific factors such as weather, time of day etc., there is often a space of up to two years between the sketch and the final painting. When painting in the studio, it is no longer important how it is now or how it was at the time. Of course the motif has to be seen as a potential painting and the drawing therefore has to capture features of the composition (section of the chosen scene and elements of the landscape to be portrayed). The original drawing seldom corresponds with the final version of the painting. It is reconsidered with respect to the final form: is the group of trees there necessary from the point of view of the composition of the painting? Should the house perhaps be moved a little more to the left? Is the area in the foreground adequately designed? No notes are made on the colour values at the drawing stage either. Thus the decision on the choice of colours remains open. It is only in the studio that a colour sound of two or three colours is created to bring out the best of the major elements of the painting, and if necessary this combination of colours is modified during painting. Depending on the material being painted on, the colours used demand an appropriate painting technique. It is these elements which determine the effect of the painting.

The aquarelles on Japanese paper are still typical of aquarelles in spite of the fact that the intensity of the colours is greater than the usual rather pale character of aquarelles on aquarelle cardboard. If it is watery enough, the aquarelle paint will be absorbed into the dry surface of the Japanese paper, giving the coloured area an uneven boundary. The typical thin smooth lines that border colour areas in the typical aquarelle on aquarelle cardboard are lacking. Frequent painting over the repeatedly dried Japanese paper intensifies the colour effect.

The openness of the edges of the forms is reinforced by uneven colour shading as a result of the various coats of paint. In addition there is a fine fold structure in the paper which livens up the surface reinforcing the shapes while extending beyond the shapes, giving the aquarelles a physical component.

The result is aquarelles that are intensive in colour but not brightly coloured, and that show the motif without restricting it to clear boundaries. Thus the paintings appear to float, become intangible. As we look at the paintings they open windows to country atmospheres and invite us to ponder in the open space, the peace and movement. They let us submerge into timelessness, with space for ourselves and our thoughts.

If the type of paint used determines the type of painting, then the aquarelle works on grey cardboard are strictly speaking also "aquarelles". Only parts of the painting that are to be light (such as sky or water) are first treated with casein paint or gouache. As in the case of Japanese paper, a number of coats of aquarelles are then applied until the desired final shade is achieved. So the main paint used is aquarelle, with gouache or casein forming the basis in certain areas.

However, the effect of such a procedure combined with the highly absorbent material being painted on has no similarity with aquarelles. The delicacy and transparency are gone. The paintings are characterised by colours of an unobtrusive tone, but rare intensity, that radiate from dark colours. They appear clearer, more distinct than the aquarelles on Japanese paper, not least as a result of the contouring of many elements in the painting. Nevertheless, the lines forming the borders are soft. They infer a line between two colour areas rather than emphasising it.

As with the works on Japanese paper, the result is an openness that tempts one to look at the painting longer than the few forms there would normally warrant. Soft contours and harsh colourfulness give this type of painting a very special aesthetic charm. One can hardly deny the independence of these works, and this applies also to the works in acrylics and oils.

The desire to create larger paintings makes the work with aquarelles more laborious, especially in view of the need to apply several coats. Acrylics have been chosen rather than oils which remain "wet" much longer. Since these paints cover if used unthinned, the question of the material being painted on is of a secondary nature.

The difficulties encountered when painting with acrylics are exactly the opposite of those typical when working with aquarelles. While aquarelles dry lighter than they appear when wet, the acrylics dry somewhat darker. It is more difficult to achieve soft contours because of the speed of the drying process and the fact that the dry acrylics are insoluble in water. On the other hand the substantiality of the unthinned paint emphasises the painting aspect most clearly. The use of layers is also possible when using this paint thinned. They can give a direction to the colour areas but do not achieve the intensity of the aquarelles. Thus the correct choice of the unthinned colour is of particular importance.

Since the early nineties plywood and fibreboard have been increasingly used to paint on. The reasons for this preference is the high absorbency and the grain of the wood/structure resulting from pressing. The wood grain in particular can be well integrated into the composition. Sometimes the form is like a fine inner structure contributing to the painting in larger areas.

The usually glazing use of oils that can be mixed with water and the occasional use of oil pastels completes the work on paintings in recent years, so that most of these may be regarded as mixed techniques.




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