not posted because of Halloween 🙂
There was a long period in which I painted a lot of portraits. I also painted men, a task that was generally easy for me. Men usually have very distinctive faces, especially older ones. Much more exciting, however, was always the topic of women, and especially girls.
For outsiders, it might sound easier to portray pretty girls because they are inherently “beautiful”. But it is more difficult for a painter – there are no wrinkles, no concise facial features, etc. and there is also the risk that the work will be too sweet, too pleasing.
The following portraits can be found among the very early works:
Some of my early oil paintings – sorry for the poor quality of images – scans after old photos.
So I mostly tried not to focus on the visual beauty, but on aspects such as charisma, the hidden, the mysterious …
Two or three times it happened to me that the person portrayed was not so satisfied because they did not think they were portrayed pretty enough. One time I was a little embarrassed because it was a commissioned work that I was quite happy with myself. But, many years later I had 2 ladies who assured me how happy they were now with the work and how much I had succeeded in capturing their essence.
Over time, I have tried several different techniques, but through my intensive involvement with Chinese painting, Asian thoughts flowed more and more into my work.
This discrepancy (view as an artist versus view as a portrayed girl) is particularly true of life drawing, of course. I then hired models with 2 other friends, also to save costs, and to gain distance from the personal aspect. And later on, I painted almost exclusively from memory anyway, with my ex unmistakably popping up again and again.
Personally, I have a series of around 30 nude drawings on my heart, which I should probably explain. What was it about? If you’ve devoted yourself to life drawing long enough, if you’re generally familiar with anatomy, you don’t need a model when you represent a figure in general.
I did the following. In a completely dark room, with my eyes closed, I began to draw the figure, mostly with a charcoal pencil set in wood. So you start, for example, with the face and trace the features – presented in the mind – very precisely. Now it is the case that you can create the details well, but you hardly know where you are on the sheet with your pen. This means that the figure is clearly disfigured when you open your eyes. To create a halfway compact representation, I then, with my eyes open, emphasized a few accents with colored pencils and thus kept the sheet from falling apart.
Of course, the whole thing has nothing to do with life drawing in the classic sense, the thing has become a matter of part pour part. As with me mostly when painting, music also played an important role here.
It seems to me that portraits, figure painting, and nude drawings no longer have a special meaning in our time and that is perhaps one of the reasons why I no longer devote myself to the topic. And yet, when I go through my work, I feel a great urge to try the thing again from a new perspective.