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

Tuesday, February 7, 2012

young woman in pink dress (new work, new directions)

young woman in pink dress ~ frank waaldijk
young woman in pink dress (own work, 2012, 50 x 76 cm, click on the image for an enlargement)

this painting is new in more than the sense of being just finished. i'm working in new directions, actually i'm looking for a new way of painting people.

this because i realize that i want to depict human relations, human feelings, etc. from a very personal point of view. so it's time to develop that point of view, and for this i need to experiment with various forms of realism as well. but never for the sake of realism, but simply because i now feel the need for Form in a way that i have not felt before. so i'm actually willing to also go into clumsiness, childlike style, whatever, if it gets across what i want to get across. (also see the previous post!)

strangely enough, i discovered that my sense of 3D form has only improved during the past years, even though i haven't been practising on it in any way. however, i'm also using some new techniques, in fact i want to incorporate my drawing styles and skills into my paintings...since in drawing i am the most free. the result in this painting can be seen mostly in the facial features, where i drew as well as painted.

also in this case the background/foreground colour contrasts were resolved with the glazing techniques discussed in the previous posts. 3D is only barely suggested, but that is how i think it should be here. naturally, i also drew on many inspirations from portrait art history.

Monday, February 6, 2012

the artist is always naked (finishing really old work 2)

the artist is always naked ~ frank waaldijk
the artist is always naked (own work, 1982-2012, 45 x 90 cm, click on the image for an enlargement)

this painting is one of a number of really old works (in this case also 30 years old) that i have decided to finish, using the techniques which i have acquired in the meantime.

actually for this painting techniques came second. it was the image itself which was hard to realize. finally i decided to depict a theme which has been on my mind for many years. and which is also a theme which i discuss with my students.

namely this: any artist, in any field (music, painting, writing,...), always has to put so much of her/himself in his/her art, that it is similar to standing naked before an audience. any small hesitation/mistake/clumsiness/... in music/singing/drama/art/... is picked up immediately by the acute human ears and eyes of the audience. so let alone that one can keep one's personality covered, one's inner drive, one's demons and desires and also one's inner beauty of course.

the audience most frequently doesn't realize how hard this can be for artists, who are generally not the least sensitive of people. still, i tell my students that it goes with the job, and that they should find ways to cope, preferably NOT by trying to keep themselves covered...since that is a strategy which will hamper them to develop their own truly unique talent.

Sunday, February 5, 2012

african drummer (finishing really old work 1)

From a marketing point, my Career Manager has advised me to start writing using Proper Punctuation, you know, capitals...;-)

however, my brand manager has firmly opposed this, saying that a sudden shift in punctuational behaviour might project an unstable brand image, something a commercially-aware artist should always avoid like the plague. (should artists avoid the plague? one notorious dutch artist whom i do not admire recently repeated his belief that artists should try everything in life...)

they are now fighting it out in the bahamas, where i've sent them mainly to be able to work in peace and quiet ;-)

african drummer ~ frank waaldijk
african drummer (own work, 1982-2012, 30 x 20 x 20 cm, click on the image for an enlargement)

this sculpture is one of a number of really old works (in this case 30 years old) that i have decided to finish, using the painting techniques which i have acquired in the meantime.

these techniques are certainly not spectacular in any sense, or innovative in a grand fashion. but they are fulfilling to me personally. and i have got to the point where i am confident that i can put in the appropriate finishing touches or radical changes to old work. touches or changes which were elusive to me before.

for this sculpture, the finishing touches were a 'simple' 6 layers of translucent acrylic paint on top of a transparent layer of acrylic medium (for restoration and protection purpose of the cracked clay underneath). building up colours in a glaze is of course an age-old technique, but it has taken me years to develop it for myself. and it's not so easy to actually perform, as one needs to work smoothly, without hesitation, consistently across a 3D surface with nooks and crannies and other difficulties.

Friday, February 3, 2012

open access, elsevier boycott

On his blog Tim Gowers recently petitioned for a general boycott by scientists of Elsevier´s scientific journals.

His reasons I find excellent, as do many others, which has resulted in over 3,000 scientists now signing the petition on

Let´s hope this initiative really takes off. I wrote on this subject on my visual arts blog earlier, and I find it truly heartening to see people taking a stand. Open access and open source can be (in my not so humble opinion) a way to reduce the poverty and the technology gap between rich and poor in this world.

Since society most often has already paid well for the research, it is extremely unfair that important knowledge should not be available to the public unless they can pay exorbitant prices.

We might think that mathematics is an important example (ok, I think so too, a little biasedly...) but consider important medical research, which can directly save lives...!

So open access is the first step, really. And money should not be a dominating force in the dissemination of human knowledge.

the open access logo

Friday, October 7, 2011

france bans fracking in shale gas development, netherlands gives permits

in an earlier post i wrote about shale gas protesting in france (protest song by my brother here).

this week the french government has banned the use of fracking in shale gas exploration/development.

this is extremely good news, and shows that protest can be effective.

sadly, at the same time my own government has given exploration permits to a number of companies to look for shale gas even in the area where i live. so i just signed a protest petition on (in dutch). i hope that many people will sign, and protest in other ways as well.