Art painting with oil and acrylic

new category: artblog

Hello world,

I again found great pleasure in painting. Quite a number of paintings have been done recently. In fact I’m writing this, while waiting for a canvas to dry. It all started again after going to an exhibition of modern art and enjoying some great paintings. I want to use this platform to share my work and my view to certain topics, where I find it could help others. I am mainly into abstract art right now. I sometimes struggled a bit starting a painting. Great pieces of art have been formed by techniques, which seem to be unadequate at first glance.

Jackson Pollock dripped paint uncontrolled over canvas, Gerhard Richter blurred fine paintings Ad Reinhardt made canvases appear only black when you look only briefly at them and Mark Rothko painted undefined boxes of “some” color. All this can be theoretically done by everyone. It can destroy a nice white canvas or generate a masterpiece worth tens of millions of Euros. What makes the difference between both is often hard to quantify. One thing is obvious: those paintings show bravery. The artist was not afraid to “spoil” a huge canvas. I found this feeling blocked me in the beginning. For a long time my best painting was one I did only to relax. I didn’t care for the outcome. Nevertheless the result was in my opinion unreached for a few years. Finally being back to this point a door opens for many paintings I enjoy painting and watching at.

Here I’ll show my paintings to you. I hope you’ll enjoy watching at them or can maybe learn something for your work – in case you paint. The first lesson, which helped me very much to improve my paintings was:

Just dare!

Enjoy art.

Paintings coming up soon

I have been quite productive during the last weeks and generated a number of paintings. Some I consider to be “real pictures”, others just studies. But also they were made to try some things and I learned while doing them. So I’ll also present them here. As well as some general thoughts and hints to you out there…

Painting for fun

After talking about the long past with few paintings and the newer past with more paintings, I like to present the painting with which it all started again – the first oil painting in years. I painted this without having a clear result in mind. I just wanted to paint for fun and really enjoyed it. Somehow this pictures always reminds me on the fun in the creation process. This picture has clear flaws and I don’t know, if people consider it to be good, but for me it’s my favourite.

Untitled - 2008
Untitled – 2008

Untitled (2008)

oil on canvas

60cm x 80cm

(not for sale)

Learning from Jackson Pollock

If you search for paintings of Jackson Pollock you’ll find his “drip paintings”. Liters of low viscosity paint splashed on huge canvases. Fans enjoy looking at those paintings and being able to imagine how Jackson was “painting” them. But have a look at those paintings. Couldn’t you also do this? I think you could. And if you could and others can, why does someone pay 140 million dollars for one of those paintings, instead of just doing the same for less than 1000$. Obviously because he wants to have an original Pollock. Maybe also because he also especially fell in love with this painting and none of those paintings is accurately reproduceable. Not even Jackson Pollock could do this, would he still be alive. Where exactly how much paint drips to, how they lie above each other is all randomness. But having a close look one will find beauty in it. That is one great thing of abstract art – using randomness.

Painting with chance

After being not happy with the previous paintings I tried a new way. On this picture I allowed the paint to mix on the canvas and even supported it by squeezing and pushing. I actually had it all covered when doing so and couldn’t control the result. Removing the cover from the paint generated nice root like structures and even influenced the way the colors mixed. After I long time this was a great picture. There are so many details, which couldn’t have been created intentionally. Just have a look at the region around the bright blue spot in the top right. Allow chance to play a role in your paintings and you’ll get surprised. This actually is no big surprise ;-)

yellow_on_the_left

Yellow on the left (2013)

acrylic on canvas

50cm x 60cm

(not for sale)

Painting without fun

I very much enjoyed the first painting I made. It took a long for me to realize, that it was not because of my skill and especially not because of the motive. It was purely because of the feelings I had when painting it. The trials to generate other good pictures where in vain for years. Below you’ll find the only painting I kept for a few years. Some paintings got overpainted, most I destroyed. Even hear some corrections are visible, because I wasn’t achieving the result I wanted. I had to learn again to not care for the results, but for the process. The painting is a bit dusty – it needs some cleaning.

untitled_2011

Untitled (2011)

oil on canvas

60cm x 80cm

Painting with color

Classic paintings combine the many shapes with many colors. In this painting I tried to focus only on the use of the colors. It’s easy to see the connection to Mark Rothko, a famous Latvia born US painter. His painting and paintings were very emotional. Rothko wanted to make the viewer feel like he did when painting. Due to his depression this would unfortunately make the ones who truly understand the picture cry.

What made Rothko paint like this was the experience when seeing the painting “Red Studio” by Henry Matisse, where color and shape where separated. I find this painting technique very appealing. Especially for the early layers the lack of shapes forces to focus on the color and the effect when adding a new layer couldn’t be seen clearer. For me it doesn’t seem tempting to leave viewers of my paintings crying, so that the painting had to be drawn in a more joyful way. On the “thickest” part, more than ten layers of paint have been applied over each other. Some thicker, but all let the underlying colors shine through.

two_times_red

two times red (2003)

oil on canvas

50cm x 60cm

Learning from Gerhard Richter

Germany born Gerhard Richter is consistently in the top 10 of most expensive selling artists. I adore his early picture paintings. Now he becomes more famous for his abstract works, which get sold for tens of millions of Euros. Looking at them one might ask where’s the skill of the artist in generating those pictures? Those skills are not only technical. Many famous pieces of abstract art don’t show the high technical level as the older art does. Abstract artists are not worse painters – think of Pablo Picasso, who was maybe the most skilled painter as a child. Still in his famous paintings other things are in focus. In abstract art other things are important, and they need other skills. Exactly this we can learn from Gerhard Richter.

The major skill is the courage to destroy the own painting. In his “Abstrakte Bilder” (abstract paintings) he paints many layers, one after another. Each layer can completely destroy everything. Still he continues applying thick layers of paint on the canvas. In 2006 he painted over 100 hundred pictures called “Weiß” (white), which he all finished with a thick white layer of paint almost covering everything which was done before. This courage allows you to create “big” pictures, rather in terms of depth than in size. It’s nice, that at the same time this skill also gives courage. You don’t have to worry about your painting knowing that you can apply a new layer if needed. You still need to be aware of what you are doing, since you don’t want to start from sketch again and again, but this knowledge might take some pressure away.

The second skill now becomes obvious. You don’t want to paint on the same canvas for all your life. What you need to know is when the painting is finished. In my opinion this is the biggest skill of Gerhard Richter in his abstract art. If you have troubles with this, then just take it slow. Just hang the picture after each layer for one week somewhere where you often see it and make up you mind, if the picture needs another layer or not.

 

Twirl

Sometimes the unintentional and temporary things are very beautiful. Unfortunately I couldn’t keep this picture as it was. I’m trying to somehow “rescue” it. Let’s see if I succeed.

a colurful blue abstract oil painting experiment

– (2003)

acrylic on foil (this is actually neither a painting nor “storable”

30cm x 30cm

Painting for money

In my painting “Yellow on the left” I intensly used colors. In this painting without title I tried to do the same but different. Also here I used much paint and intense colors. The contrast is more on smaller scales. Obviously I also added  brushwork. This picture is the first to be sold. It’s new owners liked how many and how intense colors I used. So far all my pictures (including this one) were painted just for fun. I don’t want to change this because I learned it would spoil the results, but it makes me think if I should look for other people interested in my paintings…

Untitled 1 2013 - oilpainting on canvas
Untitled 1 2013

Untitled 1 (2013)

acrylic on canvas

50cm x 60cm

(sold)

red painting

As written previously I experimented with “hard-to-control painting techniques”. The results were nice colorful pictures, rich in details. Inspired by Gerhard Richter’s abstract painting 849-3 I also experimented with “squegeeing”. The aim was to get a picture which is not the most colorful, but strong in expression. For the first time also the title was found before I started working on the picture. The motive “Aggression” is chosen to ensure creating a very strong painting. On the first glimpse I find this title makes sense. What I like very much about this technique is that when looking close there are so many details. Many also not aggressive. You’ll see that the painting is not just red, blue and white. Some of the color mixtures work extremely well. Also small amounts of silver color create appealing affects. The painting has the number 1, because I planned further experiments with this motive on a smaller scale.

aggression_1

Aggression 1 (2013)

acrylic on canvas

50cm x 60cm

 Lines and splash and blue

One piece of the slightly earlier work of mine. An experiment with lines, giving a geometric structures and splashes of red paint. Since it was too boring in white i added different shades of blue. Right now I’m thinking whether to keep it like this or add another layer.

untitled oil painting 2011

Untitled (2011)

oil on canvas

60cm x 80cm

Learning to love the spatula

I’d say life is about learning. Doing painting I could learn more than I expected. Trying things for the first the result is often not exactly as expected, but with time you will very fast get closer. One thing to learn is to try new techniques. Here I present the first painting I did with a spatula. Actually it was not so far away from what I wanted. I went for an old, rubbish look, like old newspapers – torn, soaked with water and soil, unreadable but still some bright colors shining through. Obviously that’s not the most happy motive. Because I prefer making enjoyable paintings over depressive ones, I added that yellow  disc with color running down the painting. It should take the focus away from the spatula work, which still takes almost the whole canvas and will provide an interesting background once the eye wanders away from the yellow disc. It probably will only be visible after one or two seconds despite it’s huge area.

reflection_of_the_sun

reflection of the sun (2013)

acrylic on canvas

50cm x 70cm

abstract oilpainting – seaside 1

I did a lot of experiments with different tools and techniques. To generate a oilpainting in between abstract and realistic I needed to combine many of them. The motive is an ocean and the sky above. Both are blue, both have areas tints and shades a bit of tones and mixed colors. The only difference between the sky and the ocean is the technique which is used to paint. One thing which can’t be seen, is the extreme difference in texture. When sweeping over the painting the sound of the sky area is completely different and much louder than the one the ocean. Maybe for many this is not important, I quite like the little extra in the haptic of the painting.

This oilpainting was done for my bedroom. Finding someone heavily interested in it made me give it away. I’ll probably end up making a new one for my bedroom.

seaside 1 - abstract oilpainting on canvas

Seaside 1 (2013)

oil on canvas

40cm x 50cm

(sold)

Painting at night

What can you do when you wake up very early in the morning and can’t find sleep? You are perfectly awake, but can’t arrive at work at 4pm, because the colleagues you need are sleeping in their beds? Since I’m posting this here, what I obviously did was painting. The result is the following:

Nightpainting oil on canvas
Nightpainting

Nightpainting

acrylic

30cm x 30cm

new abstract work

Another painting inspired by Gerhard Richter. I very much liked his colorful paintings covered by smeared black and white paint. When planning this I thought I’d like most a shiny color. What’s better then I color which most people correlate with a hot sun or burning fire. A clean orange and yellow behind a dirty smear of black, white and grey.  To make it a bit more interesting I added some structure to it.

abstract painting
abstract painting

Untitled 2 – 2013

acrylic

30cm x 40cm

Break

As you might have noticed, new articles were missing. Due to personal reasons (like vacation ;-) I neither had time to write nor to paint. This will last for a bit more time, but I hope to be able to give some updates soon. Until then:

Merry christmas and a happy new year!

More paintings from me you can find in my artblog. E.g. a green one.

Photography – starting, improving, help and internet

new category: photography

Nothing new in my blog? No new paintings uploaded? Why this?

The answer is rather simple – maybe some of you have guessed – I didn’t paint anything! Why not? Among the reasons -which can be summarized as not enough time- there are two which might be worth mentioning. One is that I went traveling to Asia for some time. I hope everyone understands, that I didn’t want to take my painting stuff with me in my check-in luggage. The second reason is, that I’m not only doing painting. I also like to do photography. So what’s coming up now is of course a new category for photography including also pictures from my trip. I’ll try also the story of how I evolved there, like I hopefully evolve in painting. If you like to have a look already, please visit my flickr-account.

Happy new year!

Top 3 video channels when starting photography

When starting photography there are three problems:

  • deciding which equipment to buy
  • learning how to take good pictures
  • staying motivated after taking “only bad pictures”

To find out what camera is good and what else is needed for the start, I did a long recherche in the internet. Getting tired of all the reading I used youtube for the search and found the first channel, which stayd in my top 3. All of the channels offer reviews of the most important DSLR cameras, some also cover other kind of cameras. Just search their channels for the cameras which you think of buying.

Learning how to take good pictures is impossible by just reading. You at least have to look at some pictures. The step from text and pictures to speech and movies (and pictures) is not so big. It is very helpful to “be part of the process” when a good picture is taken. For this all three channels offer tutorials which help you to learn the basics of photography.

After getting a new set of equipment, you will probably be very excited and start shooting whatever comes in front of your lens. I found this is perfect for learning. But looking back, there were not many good shots I took amongst the many. The first shot worth mentioning I took after one month. I often went out for taking pictures without any good result. When feeling like it’s just not working also those channels helped me. After seeing new content, getting new ideas and watching people enjoy this hobby I went out again for trying things myself. Of course often I failed again, but even then you are improving. Unfortunately it might feel different.

My description above sounds like a top 1 list will follow up. Actually those three channels are quite similiar, but they still have individual strengths.

Jared Polin does not only have an afro haircut – he covers all the points listed above. This channel I found last. What Jared does better than the others is teaching how to edit RAW pictures. He features a section Raw edit of the week where a selected rawfile gets edited by him, Adam Lerner and his viewers every week. This is a good opportunity to see how a picture is professionally edited, get inspiration for edits and also submit your own getting a short feedback. The reason why I rank the channel “only” 3rd place is because the editing is not so important at the beginning. Despite you can achieve very much with it, in my opinion shooting good pictures is much more important than editing them right.

Matt Granger that formerly known Nikon guy, reviews, teaches, edits, critiques, jokes, … very much like Jared. What style you prefer, you can judge for yourself. One thing I like most here are the monthly photo competitions. Every month a new topic and only pictures taken this month are allowed to participate. Also every month Matt assures that every camera brand can be used. I guess this might be the reason for the change of the channel name. The pictures have to be submitted via Flickr. So if you have an account there, just participate to try it. Don’t hope for winning, this is too tough in the beginning. So why should you participate then? You can see your picture in his youtube movie which is viewed by thousands, you get a few “free visits” to your picture and most important you’ll get a short critique of your picture.

Again similar content. One thing is missing here: interaction. No way to submit your photos, participate in regular competitions or make it on their videos other than running around in Hong Kong and looking for them making a video. Why do I still chose them as winner? What that’s them apart? It’s humor! You can get all your information. Maybe a little bit less as somewhere else, but their are just a bit more fun. I think this channel spreads the fun of photography and is suitable to keep you motivated. And that’s the most important thing in improving your skill – never stop taking pictures. One channel I like most here is the Pro Photographer – Cheap Camera Challenge. The best photographer try to take good pictures with the worst cameras. This not only shows that skill and creativity can compensate any lack of material – it also shows that if you are not happy with the pictures you take, it’s not the equipment’s fault.

 

I hope you like the channels I listed here, if you didn’t know them. Please give your comments. One thing I’d be specially interested in would be other good youtube channels. What’s your top 3?

The start

As a pupil I once was joining the photography course like so many people of my age did. I also took a few pictures later. Then came a break for very roughly two decades. A bit more than two years ago, just before christmas, I bought a decent camera set. After “snapshoting” with my compact camera, I wanted to do this more serious with a DSLR, changeable lenses, flashes, filters, tripods, … So to start I got a camera and lens. Now what’s the picture you see below? Not very impressive picture, ey? This one is my start into photography again! Like with so many things also photography you have to learn and exercise. So of course many things went wrong at the beginning, many pictures turned out much worse than I expected. But I can encourage everyone, to just go out, take pictures again and again. This picture is one of the early ones I kept in my flickr-Fotostream. It was taken quite exactly one month after I got my hands on a real camera.

 

Trees and Sky
Trees and Sky
One year: getting some inspiration from the gratest

After some time of photographing you might get a bit tired of it and run out of ideas. In this case it might be worth to look a bit at other pictures. One artist I admire -and I’m probably not the only one with this- is Henri Cartier-Bresson. He made great photographs just because of the motivs and his skills. Again it’s proven, that having the best camera is not necessary for this. Of course during his time he probably had the best, but without the possibilities of modern digital cameras and photo editing he created masterworks. One of his fotos (you can easily find via google “Henri Cartier-Bresson”) showed that a stairway is not necessarily boring. With this finding a nearby stairway I made the photograph below. So look at the masters and your possibilities and you’ll find motivation for new photos. Don’t copy, but be inspired.
photography- stairway

Asian food: satay

As promised one week ago, here is a first picture of my Asia trip. When talking to locals one object of interest is always mentioned: food! No big surprise, you get the best Asian food in Asia. And in Asia Malaysia is rated very high. This stuff is so much better than what you get in Europe’s “Chinese Restaurants”. Actually there you are hardly eating in restaurants, but in “Hawker Centers”. Small food stands on or near the street. Busy street. At least if the food is good. Being back I already missed it. One thing I noticed was, the more fume, smell or fire you could see in front of the stand, the more people were eating there. So I also tried the food from the  stand, which spread the most vapur on the road and it was very good.

photography- food- satay in penang, malaysia
Satay cooking in Penang

 

Satay cook at the Hawker Center in Georgetown Malaysia (2013)

Vacation in Malta

I’m just back from my vacation in Malta. With temperatures above 30°C I managed to grab a cold. That is true skill. In addition to eating, riding busses, walking, sweating and watching a bit of the soccer world championship I made a lot of pictures. Above 500 to be exact. It’s a long way to go through them and do the editing. I did it so far for one. Why? Because I want to enter Matt Granger’s photo competition. See the video below he announced a competition to the motto “symbol”. So not only is this photo taken during my vacation, it also imho perfectly symbolizes vacation. Let’s see what Matt things of this one.

My photo:

Vacation: sailing into the sun

Wish me good luck!

Lucy in the sky and purple rain (timelapse videos)

My calender tells me it’s summer. My thermometer tells me 15°C. Not only is this the coldest summer I can remember, it’s also the wettest. Despite the sun is hardly visible it’s still worth to look up to the sky sometimes. E.g. when the rain stops and some beautiful clouds are visible. Since I anyway wanted to make some timelapses, I tried it out this time and uploaded them to youtube. It’s actually quite easy, once you know what to do. I might write an tutorial on it. First I made this one:

(Lucy) in the sky:

Next I played a bit around with the levers. I actually did also some work and e.g. removed some flies.

Purple rain (clouds)

Which one you like better? What timelapse you want to see in the future? (only if I can make them – so please no pyramid timelapse suggestions and so…)

I’d also be happy when you share, like, fav or comment the videos.

Thanks.

dramatic red sky from the timelapse video
dramatic red sky from the timelapse video

Winterwonderland

Photocompetition

Every month Matt Granger (Thatnikonguy) starts a photocompetition on youtube. See his announcement here. This month I want to particitpate with my picture “Winterwonderland”.

Winterwonderland

This is a picture of the mountain Dobratsch. It’s in the Austrian Alps. I took the picture last winter in January. After this month I was suddenly very busy with my real life and also had not taken any nice pictures. Hopefully this will change soon.

Winterwonderland - The Alps (Austria)

Winterwonderland – click on the picture for fullscreen (Flickr)

Background

This photography was taken with a Nikon D5100, a Tamron 17-50mm VCII lens at 17mm, f=18, t=1/320 and ISO 1250! I used a circular polarizer.

One year earlier

I also took I photo quite exactly one year before. See the difference? Not much…
Dobratsch

The picture from the same spot one year (eleven moths, to be exact) earlier