## Thursday, September 26, 2013

### more dance drawings

dance of the earth and sky xii (own work, 2013, 21 x 30 cm, click on the image for an enlargement)

dance of the earth and sky vi (own work, 1990, 33 x 48 cm, click on the image for an enlargement)

dance of the earth and sky iii (own work, 1989, 23 x 32 cm, click on the image for an enlargement)

saturday night dancing i (own work, 2003, 21 x 30 cm, click on the image for an enlargement)

dancing with the animals (own work, 2008, 10 x 15 cm, click on the image for an enlargement)

strange dance (own work, 2008, 10 x 15 cm, click on the image for an enlargement)

dancing with nymphs (own work, 2004, 21 x 30 cm, click on the image for an enlargement)

### she sends her flamingos (finishing not so old work 2)

(when i get depressed) she sends her flamingos (own work, 2008-2013, 21 x 30 cm, click on the image for an enlargement)

i have a fair number of unfinished drawings awaiting their turn for another attempt by me to bring them to a suitable conclusion. they lie around my studio in various places, and i look at them from time to time. there is no rhyme or reason to which one will grab my eye, at a certain point in time. but perhaps there is one pattern: some themes need time to settle. this differs from theme to theme.

as i have been writing about this here on this blog: at least one big challenge left for me is to explore human relations, and la condition humaine. as i grow older i find i'm even more disenchanted with superficial esthetics. poignancy, relevancy to real life, i'm looking for those.

one serious question is whether to cater to the general public's taste... i do not wish to create images just for myself, but if one wishes for poignancy, relevancy and non-superficiality, then it is a fair guess that the general public's taste will need time to catch up. at least as much time as i do, when creating the works. or perhaps of course my art is all rubbish :-)

just so you know where i'm coming from...

## Thursday, September 19, 2013

### finishing (not so old) work

grief and comfort (own work, 2012-2013, 34 x 50 cm, click on the image for an enlargement)

sometimes, a work takes more stages before it is finished than i expected. this is mostly the case when i'm really experimenting with style. one inner debate which almost always takes place is simplicity vs. subtility/sophistication. and a very related question: how much imperfection is called for in this work?

so after starting this drawing in the beginning of 2012, i thought it finished at the end of last year. but i always study finished works for some time in my studio, before storing them, and its imperfections kept consistently nagging at me. i know that imperfection has its own quality and necessity, but when it keeps nagging me i usually feel that i have to improve on the work. i this case i chose to work more on detail, colour and expression. effectively this changed the entire drawing. the three pictures of details below should show you the expressivity of hands, faces and last but certainly not least: the expressivity of abstract elements.

hands in grief and comfort, detail i (click on the image for an enlargement)

faces in grief and comfort, detail ii (click on the image for an enlargement)

abstract elements in grief and comfort, detail iii (click on the image for an enlargement)

## Wednesday, September 18, 2013

### finishing/restoring old work: pre-academy days

gambler (own work, 1982-2013, 64 x 91 cm, click on the image for an enlargement)

the original painting the gambler in the city' (see below) was made in 1982, when i was still in high school. i had just returned from a one-year exchange program in minnetonka, minnesota (1981-1982). before starting in minnetonka high school i had already decided that i wanted to become an artist. therefore i took all sorts of classes that weren't available in my dutch high school (vwo science), like oil painting, lettering and calligraphy, photography, film. since the classroom for oil painting was open all day, i spent about two hours a day in there, for a year, taught by my wonderful teacher richard cunningham. he, being impressed with my work and dedication, pushed me to apply for an art academy grant in the united states, but i wished to go home.

at home in the netherlands i didn't have a studio, and nowhere the necessary finances to use oil paint. i just was drawing all day and making sculptures, and then i decided to use cheaper outdoor paint for painting. in the painting you can see that i was already then fascinated by ways of depicting faces in a non-standard manner. picasso was a great inspiration for me, although i never became a real cubist.

but i was never really satisfied with the painting, the left-hand side was unconvincing and the colours weren't really what i wanted. however, for being 17, i was still happy with having painted such a face at all, and to develop my skills in any way possible. then a dear friend of mine took a liking to the painting, and for more than 25 years it stood or hung somewhere in his apartment. this was largely a boon, since some other works from that period have been lost over time, but the downside was that i never got around to really finishing it. a few years ago he returned it, saying he had lost his enchantment, partly due to its state of deterioration. this was not hard to understand. the painting had lost its lustre, the paint had faded and accumulated dirt/dust, and in my eyes it never was a very good painting to begin with, except for the face.

the gambler in the city (own work (now lost due to reworking), 1982, 64 x 91 cm, click on the image for an enlargement).

so i told my friend: i will restore the painting, but it will become very different. i will restore the lustre, but i also have to improve everything, from composition to colour etc., yet at the same time i want to retain its basic quality, if possible.' for the past 3 years i have been slowly working on a remake, the finished result which you see above. i found it hard to retain the buildings, their integration was already a problem when i started the painting. so i decided to simplify, and portray a gambler amidst another major addiction: alcohol.

all in all it was a painstaking process. nowadays i usually paint very differently, and i finally decided to blend the two styles, but this is not so easy as one might think. the result however gives me joy: i feel i have finally finished the original painting in the way it deserved to be finished.

[ps: by the way, my canon refuses to capture the colours of gambler' anywhere close to accurately. it remains frustrating how badly affordable technology manages to handle colours. not only cameras, but computer screens as well. and many many people don't even notice. isn't that something...as an artist i'm always trying to achieve colour depth, colour life, colour tensions, colour harmonies. but who really notices? i like to think that some of my efforts go a long way with some people. it is probably too optimistic to expect that many people would notice.]

## Monday, September 16, 2013

### restoring old work: some examples

eve (own work, 1986, 40 x 50 cm, click on the image for an enlargement)

this painting was made with a variety of paints, some pieces of tape and candle wax. i restored the bright red (which had deteriorated) and cleaned the rest. i especially like the expression and experimentation in this work. eva is the dutch name for eve.

horses, trees (own work, 1985, 25 x 47 cm, click on the image for an enlargement)

this work was made with thick gouache on cardboard, partly pressed straight out of the plastic container. in drying, the heavy cracking of the gouache leads to entire pieces falling off the cardboard. also the colours were somewhat faded. i reglued everything by varnishing with acrylic medium, which also restores some of the colour.

untitled (own work, 1989, 10 x 19 cm, click on the image for an enlargement)

this work was made on plasterboard, with ink and toothpaste. the paper had discoloured, and the ink had faded. the toothpaste, like the gouache above, threatened to fall off. i restored the original colour somewhat by painting, and replenished some ink, and finished with an acrylic varnish. then i mounted the result on a clear acrylic plate, as a frame which shows the plasterboard as well.

## Friday, September 13, 2013

### finishing and/or restoring old work: boon & bane

smokester (own work, 1989-2013, 23 x 31 cm, acrylic and mixed media on paper, click on the image for an enlargement)

finishing and/or restoring old works to me is both boon and bane. the boon of finishing old work lies partly in discovering that i have reached new levels of artistry, which enable me to find solutions where previously i got stuck. the boon of restoring old work partly lies in discovering that i still appreciate many older works, often also for their directness and unconventionality. some of them were made with not-so-durable materials, leading to fading colours or browning paper. and then it is a real pleasure to see these works restored.

the bane however is not small either. the finishing of old work is especially time-consuming, restoring old work is less so but still costs time and focus which i could also spend on developing truly new avenues.

and i really need to explore new avenues. this i will elucidate also in posts to come. (to be continued)

ps: in this old work you can find my signature initials faw' on the front. nowadays i usually sign my work on the back side, still using faw'. the reason for this is that i mostly find the signature to be a disturbing element. in this work smokester' i managed to blend the signature in with the tablecloth pattern, which goes to show that i was having trouble with signing on the front already then. the work was made using quite an amount of toothpaste, which i used to buy in quantity and then squeeze directly from the tube onto canvas or paper.

## Wednesday, September 11, 2013

### Recuerdos de Tenerife (paintings series of the Canary Islands)

recuerdos de tenerife (own work, 2013, 60 x 80 cm, acrylic and mixed media on canvas, click on the image for an enlargement)

The Canary Islands continue to inspire me. Last February we visited Tenerife, and with a feeling of nostalgia I painted the above. Yes, the title borrows of course from the incomparable guitar piece Recuerdos de la Alhambra' composed by Francisco Tárrega.

Another motivating factor was my wish to paint the beauty of simple' foliage. I'm always enthralled by plants, and can look at them for hours and hours. An artist is truly insignificant when it comes to creating beauty, for nature is the true master, I feel.

## Tuesday, September 10, 2013

### outsiderness & photoshop experiments

my drawing "outsider" is being used in various places on the internet, by people wishing to illustrate the feeling of outsiderness. all without asking permission [copyrights apply], but mostly with appropriate reference to this blog, which i insist on since it is hard enough to garner some recognition as an artist. however, to see people using my drawings to bring across some emotion is a special form of recognition, which i greatly appreciate. i have been considering for some time now to release a body of work to wikimedia commons, so that people can use my drawings more freely. but i have not yet studied the consequences in enough detail.

the theme of outsiderness keeps intriguing me [you can click on the label "outsiderness" below this post to see other posts on this theme].

self-portrait in outsider forest (own work, 2012-2013, 21 x 21 cm, digital, click on the image for an enlargement)

i'm experimenting, in many ways. the combination of photoshop with `ordinary' drawing fascinates me, but seldom leaves me satisfied. but things are progressing, slowly. i'm extremely hampered by rsi (repetitive strain injury), which has been plaguing me for the past 12 years. the reason also why my blogging activity is limited.

night encounter (ongoing own work, 2007-2012, 21 x 22 cm, digital, click on the image for an enlargement)

finally then, i designed another record sleeve for my friend and fellow artist ralf kwaaknijd, who is also an active musician.

ralfk goes astral (2012, 35 x 35cm, digital, click on the image for an enlargement)