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What materials do I use?
Paints are made from pigments. Regular pigments are mostly based on metals and other mineral substances. For most of my water-colour works, however, I use pigments and medium made from plants to produce my paints. The colours are different: they are less sharp, more harmonious together and have a living quality (difficult to convey over digital media). The resulting art can be tender in colour and bright, but can also go into strong colours or dark moods. I choose to work only with the most light-fast plant-based pigments; this reduces my palette, but not the colours of my paintings. The brushes I use are very divers, but I prefer not to use artificial hair. For oil paintings I use ready made quality paints and medium made in the Netherlands, and work mostly on canvas. Most of the companies I get my material from were established in the 16th century or earlier.
How are my paintings created?
In a work of art there is a relationship between the spiritual and the physical world - spiritual being connects to a material object. Such a connection is all the more possible, the more the object corresponds to the spiritual being: in substance, colour, shape, size and so on. If such a relationship is actually established, as with the great, true works of art, one can feel a presence, something that speaks to one and does not let go, almost regardless of the beauty of the work. Such a presence is related to the real material object, and can hardly be replaced by a reproduction - and so are, even in this age of digital media, the museums still full of people who want to experience art.
That which is spiritual is not shown in symbolic representation, instead it is to work in the creative process, and to connect to the object of the art-work, from which the impact into the soul and spirit realm results.
The form and shape of the image is found through painting with transparent layers of paint. What colour a new layer has, what form, on what part of the image it should be: all of this is determined through contemplation, time and again, on the theme of the work, for instance a person. After a while a form appears which has not been set before hand. This shape is then worked upon many times, in the same way.
This allows the spirit, through the contemplation and meditation, to connect with the painter, one way or the other, consciously or unconsciously. And so the impulses for the choice of colour, the position on the paper, the brush strokes and so on, come about.
Through this procedure, it is not possible at first to produce a certain image one has in mind, for example, a frontal face. Even if one has chosen a person as a subject of the work, one does not know what will emerge, which form this topic will take. The result, on the other hand, the final image, is however quite specific and corresponds to a personality in this example - therefore for instance a face with only general characteristics is not the expected outcome.
If working this way has to some extent succeeded, a picture has emerged which has a presence; furthermore, and this can be experienced, something unexpected will have appeared in the image, something one previously did not know, even could not have known. Here is truth – is an utterance which might be heard when viewing this art.
The plant-based water-colour paints are especially fit for this method. But also for the oil paintings the method of painting is largely the same; be it without the living character of the plant colours, but also with more flexibility because the oil colours are stronger, sharper and easier to manipulate.
These works of art are more or less one of a kind, there seems to be not much like it. They fit well into that stream of art from the low-countries that consists of artists who tend to be unique individuals: like Bosch, Rembrandt, Ensor, Mondriaan, van Gogh, de Kooning - to name only a very few.
Back to Spirit in Colour: here.
and here is the book:
Geist in Farbe - Spirit in Colour
Deutsch & English
Contents: 80 A5 pages in colour;
text in German and English, with more than 50 colour illustrations
CHF 20 plus postage & packaging.
For ordering or questions, please write to the author at: spaan (at) lanz-spaan.ch