Showing posts with label art and life. Show all posts
Showing posts with label art and life. Show all posts

Tuesday, October 15, 2013

art & spirituality 3: vortex of life

vortex of life ~ frank waaldijk
vortex of life (own work, 2013, 21 x 30 cm, click on the image for enlargement)

as an artist, i try to create images that reflect on life, on society, existence, i don't know. life, existence, the universe, they are a complete mystery to me. and many others, i presume. still, we try to create some meaning, some order in our lives. even, preferably, security and control over our situation.

but in my perception, we are so tiny and insignificant, and our real influence on events is often negligible. we are simply swept along, with some luckier than others. is it any wonder that we cling to each other, and to religion?

detail of vortex of life ~ frank waaldijk
detail of vortex of life (own work, 2013, 21 x 30 cm, click on the image for enlargement)

Thursday, September 26, 2013

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

grief and comfort v ~ frank waaldijk
(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...

Saturday, December 1, 2012

again drawings (5): experiment, new worlds

grief and comfort v ~ frank waaldijk
grief and comfort (own work, 2012-2013, 40 x 55 cm, click on the image for an enlargement)[updated sept 2013]

wodance together, dance alone ~ frank waaldijk
dance together, dance alone (own work, 2010, 20 x 30 cm, click on the image for an enlargement)

child abuse ~ frank waaldijk
child abuse (own work, 2010, 40 x 50 cm, click on the image for an enlargement)

like i wrote in this earlier post on digital photopgraphy, i feel artists should explore new worlds. for this, i need constant experimenting. that doesn't only mean technical experimenting, but also a lot of emotional and psychological experimenting.

what is it that my `inner' artist self wants to show? how can i, the holder of pen, brush, pencil,...help this inner source to express itself in a poignant, perhaps sometimes disturbing but hopefully moving way?

life is not about superficial esthetics, and so for me neither is art.

Thursday, November 29, 2012

again drawings (2): notre dame des anges and hans holbein

notre dame des anges, hand on heart ~ frank waaldijk
notre dame des anges, hand on heart (own work, 2012, 30 x 21 cm, click on the image for an enlargement)

notre dame des anges in blue dress ~ frank waaldijk
notre dame des anges in blue dress (own work, 2012, 30 x 21 cm, click on the image for an enlargement)

woman texting on the bed at night ~ frank waaldijk
woman texting on the bed at night (own work, 2011, 30 x 21 cm, click on the image for an enlargement)

what could be an artist's motivation to draw, in such quantities too? being an artist used to be a living :-), which raises the possibility that drawing is a money scheme :-). there are those who like to demystify the great artists of the past in this way. one of those great artists in my eyes is hans holbein the younger. i have never seen any work of his which did not cause me to pause in my tracks. the drawing below was made in 1526, but looks as fresh and poignant as if made today.

the strikingly demure pose, the colouring, well everything really...goes to show that drawing is not a money scheme but a deep inner compulsion to express, to portray, to touch upon the world especially also in the non-visible layers, through visual means.


hans holbein the younger, portrait of anna meyer
hans holbein the younger, portrait of anna meyer (1526)

and what about letting yourself be portrayed in this fashion? does that not show deep respect for the artist?

Saturday, March 10, 2012

of human relations 3: drawings, drawings

[repeated: `as i said, i'm looking for new ways to visualize human relations, feelings, real-life struggle as well as uplifting moments. looking back on centuries of art, i find myself surprised that there is so little art which addresses this in a way that i find provoking, uplifting, inspiring.

this gives new motivation to continue my investigation. i feel sure enough of the emotive strength of the drawings which come up in this sense. and this translates into paintings as well. but enough words, the images themselves should be stronger.']

self-portrait as a mother worried about her children ~ frank waaldijk
self-portrait as a mother worried about her children (own work, 2012, 30 x 36 cm, click on the image for an enlargement)

rejection ~ frank waaldijk
rejection (own work, 2012, 21 x 20 cm, click on the image for an enlargement)

for the next image, also see the post on notre dame des anges:

seigneur notre retraite (in brown-red) ~ frank waaldijk
seigneur notre retraite (in brown-red) (own work, 2011, 30 x 40 cm, click on the image for an enlargement)

another theme that crops up ever more frequently: the people who do not fit well into our `wonderful' society. sure, they are the misfits, so to say. but who is the more crazy, he who accepts this crazy world, or he who does not fit in? if you have read my previous posts, you will know that i for one cannot simply answer that question. and my concern and sympathy are often with the misfits, and my anger is often directed at all the `respected' institutions which together comprise the status quo in our society.

woman out of kilter ~ frank waaldijk
woman out of kilter (own work, 2011, 20 x 28 cm, click on the image for an enlargement)

i think emotive expressive power comes from the eyes, the face, the body language...and the materials and techniques used. this is what i study on, laboriously, and much unappreciatedly...but the time of appreciation will come, i suppose, once enough people see the works and enough time has passed for them to compare this avenue of art to other avenues. anyway, if you see any art touching on the same themes, please let me know, since it would be inspiring to me to know other artists with a similar outlook.

detail of woman out of kilter ~ frank waaldijk
detail of woman out of kilter (own work, 2011, 20 x 28 cm, click on the image for an enlargement)


taking care of the psychiatric patient iii ~ frank waaldijk
taking care of the psychiatric patient iii (own work, 2011, 21 x 30 cm, click on the image for an enlargement)


grief and comfort iii ~ frank waaldijk
grief and comfort iii (own work, 2011, 21 x 30 cm, click on the image for an enlargement)


self-portrait in orange unrest ~ frank waaldijk
self-portrait in orange unrest (own work, 2011, 21 x 30 cm, click on the image for an enlargement)


man, lost in thoughts and orange background ~ frank waaldijk
man, lost in thoughts and orange background (own work, 2011, 30 x 36 cm, click on the image for an enlargement)

st. frances posing ~ frank waaldijk
st. frances posing (own work, 2011, 30 x 35 cm, click on the image for an enlargement)

woman in white bra ~ frank waaldijk
woman in white bra (own work, 2012, 30 x 40 cm, click on the image for an enlargement)

Sunday, February 26, 2012

art and life: societal criticism in art

i had a discussion with a dear friend, the other day. not known for my lack of radical views, i stated that i had trouble accepting that so many people in our western society seem to prefer 'positive' untruths to ... well, to the bleak truth that e.g. in a country like ethiopia people have to pick coffee beans at a wage of 40 eurocent a day...7 days a week, for 10 grueling hours a day...just so we can drink cheap coffee. please don't dismiss this statement too easily. think about it for some time.

she said: well, if you are so unhappy about exploitation of poor workers, why don't you do something about it? so i tried to explain to her that this is what i try to do -in my way, which is the only way that i see myself capable of keeping up over the years. which means talking about it, writing about it, painting and drawing about it...although most of my drawings and paintings approach the subject from the other way round: i try to portray how the world would look if we concentrate on a 'spiritual' interaction (compassionate, mild, respectful, you get my drift). and of course i have been buying fair trade as much as i can, for a very long time.

which brings me to another aspect of this thread which has been going on for quite some posts now: societal criticism in art. the theme of societal criticism has been around for centuries in art. a 19th century example:

jean-françois millet, gleaners
jean-françois millet the gleaners (les glaneuses, 1857, musée d'orsay, paris, click for enlargement)

we see three gleaners: poor women, who when the wheat had been harvested scoured the land for the remaining stalks and ears. The so prominent display of the poorest of the population was seen by many as an indictment of poverty and exploitation of the workers. from wikipedia:
Millet first unveiled The Gleaners at the Salon in 1857. It immediately drew negative criticism from the middle and upper classes, who viewed the topic with suspicion: one art critic, speaking for other Parisians, perceived in it an alarming intimation of "the scaffolds of 1793."[1] Having recently come out of the French Revolution of 1848, these prosperous classes saw the painting as glorifying the lower-class worker.[1] To them, it was a reminder that French society was built upon the labor of the working masses, and landowners linked this working class with the growing movement of Socialism and the dangerous voices of Karl Marx and Émile Zola.[2]

One critic commented that "his three gleaners have gigantic pretensions, they pose as the Three Fates of Poverty…their ugliness and their grossness unrelieved."[3] While the act of gleaning was not a new topic—representations of Ruth had already been composed—this new work was a statement on rural poverty and not Biblical piety:[3] there is no touch of the Biblical sense of community and compassion in contrast of the embodiments of grinding poverty in the foreground and the rich harvest in the sunlit distance beyond. The implicit irony was unsettling.
millet was a big source of inspiration for vincent van gogh:

vincent van gogh, the potato eaters
vincent van gogh, the potato eaters (1885, Van Gogh Museum Amsterdam, click for enlargement)

$$$$$$

let me add a drawing which i made yesterday, after having had this discussion. i don't think it's my best work...since my subconscious seems to work better on its own, without a directive from my mind. but i do have enough image-creating experience to get things done, visually speaking. however, i'm left with a low expectation that any of my art works will really have an impact on this persistent problem of greed, wealth, uneven distribution of resources,...human nature you could say. you may call me negative for stating this. but i think we need this negativism in order for anything to change. much of the so-valued 'positivism' in my eyes serves to maintain a status quo which is decidedly injust on a global scale.

we trample on them, to maintain our luxury
we trample on them, to maintain our luxury (own work, 2012, 21 x 30 cm, click on the image for an enlargement)

Saturday, February 25, 2012

of human relations & dance of life 4

so, like i might or not have said in previous posts, i'm actually working my figurative butt off to develop some way to portray human relations, human emotions, human connections.

Kunst gibt nicht das Sichtbare wieder, sondern macht sichtbar.

('art doesn't show what is visible, rather it makes visible' - paul klee, 1920)

at times i have found it frustrating to have to explain the above to the lay person...but in later years i find myself explaining less and less. it is hard enough to come up with the images, the techniques, the perseverance in details... this reluctance to explain is not arrogance, it is a form of acceptance that some things cannot be explained.

of human relations
of human relations (own work, 2009, 21 x 30 cm, click on the image for an enlargement)

some more drawings on dance...where in the first you could notice that i'm working on some new painting techniques to paint people...

dance 3 figures
dance 3 figures (own work, 2011, 30 x 45 cm, click on the image for an enlargement)

dance 4 figures
dance 4 figures (own work, 2009, 10 x 15 cm, click on the image for an enlargement)

dance 2 figures
dance 2 figures (own work, 2011, 15 x 16 cm, click on the image for an enlargement)

dance 1 figure
dance 1 figure (own work, 2011, 20 x 30 cm, click on the image for an enlargement)

Thursday, February 23, 2012

dance of life 3

i came across a reproduction of one of my drawings at a friend's house last week...she made a photocopy of it during one of my previous visits because she liked it so much. i had already almost forgotten about this drawing, but it deserves a place in this thread on art, dance, life.

dance of life iii
dance of life iii (own work, 2011, 21 x 30 cm, click on the image for an enlargement)

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

what is art for? homo aestheticus by ellen dissanayake

as an illustration to the previous post, let me quote from the wikipedia lemma on ellen dissanayake:

In Homo Aestheticus (University of Washington Press, 1995), Ellen Dissanayake argues that art was central to the emergence, adaptation and survival of the human species, that aesthetic ability is innate in every human being, and that art is a need as fundamental to our species as food, warmth or shelter.

What art “makes special”
This aesthetic ability, she says, enabled us to ‘bracket off’ the things and activities that were important to our survival, separate them from the mundane, and make them special. We took the objects and practices involved in marriage, birth, death, food production, war and peacemaking and enhanced them to make them more attractive and pleasurable, more intriguing and more memorable. We invented dance, poetry, charms, spells, masks, dress and a multitude of other artifacts to make these associated activities, whether hauling nets or pounding grain, more sensual and enjoyable, to promote cooperation, harmony and unity among group members, and to also enable us to cope with life’s less expected or explicable events.

Methods of “making special” derived from our evolutionary inheritance
Using her own lived, anthropological experience and a wide knowledge of contemporary literature on the subject, she provides many examples of how this “making special” is done. She argues that in making things special we drew on those aspects of the world that evolution had led us to find attractive and to prize: visual signs of health, youth and vitality such as smoothness, glossiness, warm colors, cleanness and lack of blemishes; vigor, precision, agility, endurance and grace of movement; in sounds - sonority, vividness, rhythmicity, resonance, power; in the spoken word repetition of syllables, verses and key words, the use of antiphony, alliteration, assonance and rhyme. She adds to these pattern, contrast, balance, roundness, length, geometric shapes such as circles, squares, triangles, diagonals, horizontals and verticals) - and more complex forms arising from variation on a theme, or to put it the other way round, the absorbing of asymmetry and difference within a wider, encompassing pattern - the taming of the unruly wild. As such, she argues that art springs from the same sources and interacts with the same physiology as everyday life, but because it is so crafted, more intensely.

Art as a normal and necessary part of human life
In Homo Aestheticus, Dissanayake argues that Art is not an ornamental and dispensable luxury, but intrinsic to our species. And once we recognize this truth, she says “each one of us should feel permission and justification for taking the trouble to live our life with care and thought for its quality rather than being helplessly caught up in the reductive and alienating pragmatic imperatives of consumer and efficiency-oriented and “entertain-me” society.”
“Art is a normal and necessary behavior of human beings and like other common and universal occupations such as talking, working, exercising, playing, socializing, learning, loving, and caring, should be recognized, encouraged and developed in everyone. Via art, experience is heightened, elevated, made more memorable and significant”

Included in the book are more than 16 pages of references covering the emergent fields of Bioaesthetics, Neuroaesthetics and Psychobiology.


what is art for? is the title of another book by ellen dissanayake (this links to her website):

what is art for?, ellen dissanayake

and you will note the nice 'coincidence' that the author uses the same painting by gauguin as the one that started me on this whole thread...;-)

Sunday, February 12, 2012

art of dance, pina bausch, dance of life


youtube compilation of wim wenders' movie pina: dance dance otherwise we are lost. the music is by jun miyake, the song is called 'lilies of the valley' and features prominently in the movie.

this movie about dancer /choreographer pina bausch is absolutely stunning. it reflects the previous post on gauguin, since clearly pina tried to approach gauguin's questions through dance.

dance is a very special visual art form, to me. i do not always appreciate it, but i do agree with pina: dance dance otherwise we are lost. many of my drawings are about dance in some way. the two drawings below are a philosophical approach to dance and life.

dance of life i
dance of life i (own work, 2011, 32 x 48 cm, click on the image for an enlargement)

dance of life i
dance of life ii (own work, 2011, 32 x 48 cm, click on the image for an enlargement)

art on life (gauguin; tree of life)

i intend this blog to contain more than pictures of my work...but i have been lagging behind so much in putting works on the web, that i'm tempted to create a large number of posts just to show drawings, paintings, sculptures which ideally should be findable on the web.

however, a better (although more laborious) way is to present some of my inspirations as well.

one work by paul gauguin has always been of special interest to me:


paul gauguin, where do we come from? what are we? where are we going?

paul gauguin, where do we come from * what are we * where are we going

the work is so philosophical, through its title, which puts the painting in a perspective different from most paintings of humans in a spatial setting. these three questions, albeit originally put to gauguin by a clerical teacher, are still quite unanswerable today, as far as i can tell, and probably never will be.

call it the mystery of life, i don't know, but it is an inspiration to me nonetheless:

tree of life
tree of life (own work, 2012, 32 x 48 cm, click on the image for an enlargement)

Thursday, April 3, 2008

art about life, life about art?

what drives human beings to communication? what is communication anyway? (coming back to the tower of babel theme) what happens when i communicate something to you? who are `you' anyway, who&what am `i'?

so much about communication seems to me taken for granted, where in closer look the above questions might help us understand better why so many troubles arise out of communication.

but even if restricted to art, what drives an artist to make art? what drives others to look at it and try to `get' whatever is `in' the artwork? for me about my own work, a few things are clear.

first of all, making art is a way to communicate with myself, comparable on some level to making music. second, its communication is on a semi-conscious level and nonverbal. third, i most often strive to make the communication broader than just for me. some part of me wants to share with others, for this i try to make things visible in such a way that at some point i get the feeling: yes, an interested `listener' can hear/feel somewhat what it emanates.

so then what are these communications about? to me art is about life, but also about beauty/nonbeauty/patterns/nonpatterns (i don't know how to put it into words really sharply, this is makeshift). and strangely enough, i feel life is about art too, in the sense that to live one's life in a spiritual way to me seems like working on a painting, step by step, correcting errors & superficial patches etc., in order to arrive at more depth, luminosity, compassion.

but the dark sides of life then? are they to be ignored or what? what to depict? holocaust images or soulful serenity? or both? human folly & debauchery, human misery, some of it selfchosen...or hollywood happiness and clichés and beautiful landscapes and harmonious abstracts...or just anything looking `cool' that hasn't been done before for the sake of artistic originality?

enough questions here to merit one of my favourite gauguins:

gauguin, where do we come from? what are we? where are we going?paul gauguin, where do we come from? what are we? where are we going?