Showing posts with label expression. Show all posts
Showing posts with label expression. Show all posts

Thursday, October 16, 2014

young woman in tangerine dress (notre dame des anges)

notre dame des anges (young woman in tangerine dress), frank waaldijk
young woman in tangerine dress (notre dame des anges) (own work, 2014, 55 x 80 cm, click on the image for an enlargement)

this painting also arose from experimenting, but it appears more traditional. if you look more closely you can see the paper cut-outs that i used to start the painting. the light tangerine colour is captured poorly by the photograph. my current three main points of painting people: expression, expression, expression...

and still more (notre dame des anges)

notre dame des anges with folded hands, frank waaldijk
notre dame des anges with folded hands (own work, 2014, 55 x 80 cm, click on the image for an enlargement)

see the previous post: i'm simply working very hard to get things to work... which for now seems to imply that i'm hardly involved on a conscious/verbal level, so i can't really add much to the picture itself. endless reworking, adding of extraneous materials etc., to achieve a certain expression. once again, a photograph hardly does justice to the real thing.

[repeated from previous posts: the woman portraits made in this series share the name `notre dame des anges´. this is a reference to the `medieval´ spirituality i mentioned above. but the portraits are of course not a depiction of maria. they are intended as portraits of contemporary women emanating this type of spirituality which i find hard to describe.
in this series i experiment with all sorts of visual elements. you can see that i do not shy away from outsider-like techniques. at the same time, i'm also studying the human form and face, as a means of expressing spirituality, vulnerability, openness, unarmedness etc.]

Monday, October 14, 2013

art & spirituality 2: mare de déu amb el nen sostenint una poma (cont.)

[continued from the previous post, which you should read first]

so as promised a bit more about the sculpture itself. its form arrived in 45 minutes, and i wanted spontaneity all the way. the final painting i took up 2 years later than the preliminary painting (itself 2 years later than the clay form). in the painting, as in the form, i was looking for non-classical emotive expression.

detail 0 of mare de déu amb el nen sostenint una poma
detail of mare de déu amb el nen sostenint una poma (click on the image for enlargement)

detail 1 of mare de déu amb el nen sostenint una poma
detail of mare de déu amb el nen sostenint una poma (click on the image for enlargement)

detail 2 of mare de déu amb el nen sostenint una poma
detail of mare de déu amb el nen sostenint una poma (click on the image for enlargement)

you may have noticed that mother and child are not of the same skin colour. in my own small way, as a mostly humble artist, i try to comment on issues/conditions in society that i would like to see improved. one of those issues is the to me absurd one of racism. we are all human, we are one mankind. i have tried to put that feeling in this statuette, as well as in its larger successor madonna statue (where i reversed the colours of mother and child).

the apple (`poma' in catalan) in traditional iconography stands for the original sin, or so i gather. jesus accepting the apple is taken as jesus accepting mankind's sins as well as his fate regarding this (the cross, to wash away these sins). here it should be taken as nothing but joy of life, or if you wish to be philospohical: the joy of the fruit of knowledge.

illustrating the traditional apple iconography, behold below the beautiful middle panel of the portinari triptych by hans memling (1430-1494, ironically the best reference on wikipedia is the catalan hans memling page!):

hans memling, virgin and child, portinari triptych
hans memling, mary and jesus (middle panel of portinari triptych, click on the image for enlargement)

let me end this post with a rear view of the statuette:

rear view of mare de déu amb el nen sostenint una poma
rear view of mare de déu amb el nen sostenint una poma (click on the image for enlargement)

Thursday, October 10, 2013

frida kahlo & recognition as an artist

Frida Kahlo, Self-portrait with Thorn Necklace and Hummingbird
frida kahlo, self-portrait with thorn necklace and hummingbird

a few days ago, i spoke a good friend. and she said she admired my persistence in my artistic endeavour. because, she said, she would find it very hard to keep up the necessary motivation in similar circumstances.

to summarize: her perception is that i'm not getting so much recognition as an artist. and for her personally, the lack of such recognition would be a good reason to chuck it all in.

a double-edged compliment if ever i saw one :-) ! lucky for me, i have a different perception of recognition. as i wrote many times before, i'm not so impressed with the 'upper echelons' of contemporary art. that world is so much driven by fashion, money, competition, name dropping, and `entartainment', that real artistic merit often becomes irrelevant.

recognition for me comes in the many many people who have expressed to me personally that they were touched by one or more of my works. and also in the numerous fellow artists who have expressed their wonder at my themes and techniques. but it also comes from what my friend called aptly my inner compass. for me, i'm very content to be at a stage where things have been coming together for many years. for the first decade of my artist life, i was often frustrated by my lack of sufficient capability to create what i wanted to create. especially when painting, since drawing and sculpting mostly came reasonably naturally.

now, instead of frustration i'm often amazed at what comes out of the creative process. of course, on a different level i still lack all sorts of capabilities. but the difference is that this lack does not hinder me in creating works that evocate what i want them to. and that often amazes me, especially since a large part of this is beyond my conscious control. anyway, the gist is: i have enough inner compass to see that what i am doing has more quality than i could have hoped for twenty years ago...and that alone is enough recognition for me.

what in heavens' name does this have to do with frida kahlo, you wonder. well, you may not be aware that she garnered relatively little recognition during her lifetime. she was often seen primarily as the wife of the then-acclaimed artist diego rivera.

also this week, i borrowed a book from the library on 20th century latin-american art, wishing to expand my horizons a bit. only to find that frida's works were the only ones to really impress me. especially (but not only) her self-portraits are simply astonishing. [i restrict myself to showing only the above painting from wikipedia, since they are all copyrighted, and hope that its use is covered by the same fair-use policy as wikipedia's].

so, to sum it up for this post: recognition during one's lifetime is a happy circumstance for an artist. but let us be thankful that many artists have other considerations to create art as well.

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.