Showing posts with label restoring old work. Show all posts
Showing posts with label restoring old work. Show all posts

Saturday, October 25, 2014

extraneous work (vii): storing art, transporting art, restoring art

most people don't stop to consider that many sculptures are fragile, and that the storage and transport of such sculptures is not trivial. even during shows it happens that sculptures get damaged by --- i have no suitable adjective --- visitors. over the past 32 years, strangely enough i've observed that storage is the hardest. because no storage is permanent (for me, with limited funds), which means that sculptures need to be disassembled, repacked and transported... and this is where the loss of components and damage hazard creeps in. i have lost around 10 sculptures completely, in this way. and about the same number of sculptures has been damaged to the point where serious restoration was necessary.

storing --> restoring

as an example of fragile sculptures consider:

man woman relation, left view, frank waaldijk
man woman relation (20 x 15 x 15 cm, own work, 2005)

the slow triumph of death ~ frank waaldijk
the slow triumph of death (own work, 2010-2011, 30 x 15 x 30 cm, click on the image for an enlargement)

but also the ceramic sculptures tend to be fragile and accident-prone. so one learns how to disassemble, reassemble and package sculptures. and one learns how to restore. restoring paintings and drawings actually seems to have become a fruitful artistic sideline for me! (see the series on finishing old work). so then the word `extraneous' must be dropped. but it was meant to be a bit provocative in the first place, since i think all these endeavours are fruitful, and in some sense related. just wanted to share something of all the hidden aspects of being an artist.

xerophyte, frank waaldijk
xerophyte (26 x 30 cm, own work, 1994-2013, click on the image for an enlargement)

the unfinished original of the above drawing had completely faded, due to my using iodine as ink, until only the outline of the original was visible. now the original was left unfinished since i did not know how to proceed with it. restoring always means reconsidering, and this time i chose a simple background to better focus on the plant and its supporting table itself.

i like to draw plants, but it demands some patience...all those leaves (mother nature at all times remains the greatest artist).i can't resist another drawing of a xerophyte, since also in this drawing the supporting table plays a major role:

xerophyte, frank waaldijk
xerophyte ii (20 x 30 cm, own work, 2010, click on the image for an enlargement)

Saturday, October 19, 2013

(finishing old work) four seasons: autumn

four seasons: autumn ~ frank waaldijk
autumn (own work, 1996-2012, 40 x 55 cm, click on the image for enlargement)

see previous post...i remain a bit ambiguous about these cardboard panels. i like them for some reasons, but the photographic representation lacks convincing qualities i believe.

i think colours can convey many many things, and i like this type of experiment. however, i have diluted the experiment somewhat by going for non-seasonal colour effects during reworking.

finishing old work 4: winter (four seasons)

four seasons: winter ~ frank waaldijk
winter (own work, 1996-2012, 40 x 55 cm, click on the image for enlargement)

i painted a four-seasons series, as a johannes-itten-like experiment, in 1996, working with diluted oils. i like this type of painting, actually my first real painting (1982) had a landscape background also made of rectangles.

so last year i decided to restore this series, refining the colours in three of the four (the summer panel i still like as it is), using diluted acrylics.

Monday, October 7, 2013

finishing/restoring old work 2 (academy days): our lady of the stars and the planets

our lady of the stars and the planets ~ frank waaldijk
our lady of the stars and the planets (own work, 1986-2014, 50 x 57 cm, click on the image for an enlargement)

i started this painting somewhere in 1986, when i just started out with acrylics. i was forced to start using acrylics since i had developed a serious allergy against all oil-based paints and their associated fumes already then. this in turn was largely due to my non-stop painting which for years took part in the same room where i slept (me being a poor student).

the painting was a complete experiment, in materials as well as form, and it didn't work out satisfactorily. but the result was intriguing and hung on my wall for well over a year until i finally gave up on trying to improve it. its merits were a certain freedom of expression, but its limitations were severe and i didn't have a clue how to proceed. i always kept it, hoping to one day find inspiration for a reworking.

this reworking took place the last few weeks. once again i had to cross certain unknown lands to get here. i decided to clarify some facial structures, and to simplify the background. then, using some painted cardboard parts that i had removed from the painting earlier, i cut out some stars. used palettes i tried in many combinations, to create planets. and i added seashells to our lady's clothing. i collected those shells last year, during endless walks by the seaside between st. maartenszee and bergen. (i will come back to those shells in a future post, but let me say already here that i picked just one sort, because i thought it would work very well in paintings. the surface of these shells is simply amazing.) of course, planets, stars and seashells refer to the traditional role of maria as stella maris (star of the sea), a guiding light for seafarers.

as in almost all my works, i find a great difficulty in achieving `the' fitting expression. most often it needs to be a mixture between some (soft) sadness, some contemplation, some compassion and some (small) smile as well. [postscript 2014: changed the expression once again, and added some hair make the painting more unambiguously uplifting]

the religious connotation is largely the same as in the `notre dame des anges' series, but i wanted some surprise and childlike qualities in the painting. i'm not sure how well i have achieved these qualities, but i do have a strong sense that it is finished now, and should be taken as it is, with all its history and possible shortcomings. [and it probably has a strong `outsider art' feeling for many viewers. i have decided to not hold back this side of my art, especially when restoring/finishing older work].

madonna and child ~ filippo lippi
filippo lippi, madonna and child (mid 15th century)

filippo lippi was the teacher of sandro botticelli, his influence on his pupil is clear to see. the star on maria in the above painting refers to her role as stella maris.

Wednesday, September 18, 2013

finishing/restoring old work: pre-academy days

gambler ~ frank waaldijk
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~ frank waaldijk
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 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

eva ~ frank waaldijk
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 ~ frank waaldijk
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 ~ frank waaldijk
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 ~ frank waaldijk
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.