painting of window with shutters

simple painting with some ideas

window with shutters

I recently presented a few drafts and sketches, ideas that should flow into my next exhibition on the subject of Covid-19. They were largely abstract. (The earlier designs also have windows as their main subject, but in a more self-centered way). I was very pleased with the feedback, as it helped me to reflect on the topic better. Thank you!

The abstract moment will certainly be the focus of the exhibition, but it made sense to me to start with a more realistic approach. Because that seems more difficult to me. Why? Presenting a latent danger, threat, isolation, and withdrawal …… in a realistic context as far as possible, without going into superficial aspects such as buying hamsters or hypodermic needles is an exciting challenge.

painting of window with shutters
Window with Shutters – Covid-19 series

The design that I am presenting today is the second attempt with the same motif: a small detail of a basically idyllic scene, essentially just a window of an older house in the country – “where the world is still all right”. Solid stone masonry implies the strength, and robust window shutters hold out threats and offer additional protection. Like a beam from a flashlight, a light from nowhere points to this window.

Outside the (still) protected world, there is a lot of activity. Indefinable forces on the right-hand side and imaginative structures in the left half of the picture seduce the imagination, lure with a floral touch, and at the same time have a subliminal frightening effect.

Originally, I wanted to focus more on the microscopic representations of the Covid-19 viruses. We have all imprinted them in our consciousness, those fascinating structures presented in beautiful colors, but that struck me as too banal. The same goes for the original idea of ​​positioning a human silhouette behind the window.

Certainly, the picture has flaws and I’ll probably make one or two corrections when I’ve gained a little distance from the work, but the basic idea seems to me to be quite good because it allows the viewer to generalize about our society, to reflect on the situation, a pattern that goes beyond the phenomenon of Covid-19: We hide behind solid walls in the hope of protecting ourselves from the new challenges or not having to face them. Politicians who promise protection are gaining popularity and companies specializing in security issues are booming like never before.

Another aspect may have helped shape the idea for this picture: I recently read in a report that, for example, children in the USA spend 94% of their time indoors (including time spent in cars). And in other western countries, the numbers are similar…..

Earlier drafts for Covid-19 series: COVID-19 Series


21 responses to “simple painting with some ideas”

  1. bersinink avatar

    Really beautiful and meaningful! Thank you for sharing!

    1. Zettl avatar

      Thank you very much indeed! I am happy to hear you like it.

  2. Ana Hernandez avatar

    Hello, I very much like your first painting for the Covid series. While the window seems to offer protection as well as a view of the world outside, the growths on the wall seem to me to be encroaching. They could nnot be easily (or at all) seen from a viewer within. That, I think is what gives them a threatening aspect in spite of their lovely colors. It chimes well with your words about the painting.

    1. Zettl avatar

      Thank you for your effort and insightful point of view, Ana Hernandez! Yes, it is essentially it. At first I thought to stage it in such a way that a neighbor takes a look at this from his window. But the effect would have been different.

  3. notestowomen avatar

    These are amazing. Love the colors.

    1. Zettl avatar

      Thank you very much! I am so happy to hear!

  4. swabby429 avatar

    My first impression was that of a home exterior display of Christmas lights.

  5. Zettl avatar

    Ha Ha! Well, Christmas is near 🙂

  6. Martha Kennedy avatar

    I’ve been thinking about this painting for a day or so trying to reconcile your words with the effect of the image on me. The image doesn’t seem threatening to me. The menacing shapes look like clumps of snow hit by Christmas lights or neon. I guess my Covid life is the one depicted here, as I live in a small town surrounded by countryside, and Covid has never been an enormous threat — though it is a threat. It’s out there and I was very glad to get vaccinated. Out here I think the challenge for people has been believing there was anything to worry about — but, of course, there has been notably that our hospitals are small and not the highest technology on the planet. Many people who got sick were airlifted to big cities. Perhaps my one useful comment might be that the painting seems to split in half and might be more menacing if the window were pushed to one side. But, I don’t know. This is a very particular and personal vision.

    1. Zettl avatar

      Thank you, Martha, for your comment! Yes, the picture consists of 2 halves and that is part of the idea – but maybe I didn’t implement it well ….. If you draw a vertical line in the middle of the picture and cover one side at a time, you can barely move imagine that there are 2 halves of a picture. And yet the picture fits together. I painted a 2nd version in which the right part is almost the same, but the left part has a different character. Maybe I think too much and go to complicated ideas. At the moment it is mainly the construction of my pictures that concerns me the most. As you have probably noticed, the Chinese part has recently been taking a back seat, but that is probably only temporary.

      I hadn’t actually thought of Christmas lights, but you’ll be the second to see them.

      Yes, the whole Covid-19 thing is different for most of us – the effects, the handling of them, the changes in our lives … I just try to make aspects that seem important to me visible – but sure , it will always be a personal point of view …

      1. Martha Kennedy avatar

        In a way Covid never was complicated, but so simple that people have had a hard time conceptualizing it maybe because it isn’t a concept. Like you we’ve all be (ultimately) left with wrestling with it individually. I listened to Queen’s “Keep Yourself Alive” a LOT last year. The song summed it up for me. This year I seem to be a different person and the past seems to have retreated far far far far far into the distance, like when you’re driving fast and look in the rearview mirror for the place you left behind and can’t see it anymore. I’m tired easily and get easily overwhelmed by people. It’s done a number on everyone even those of us fortunate enough not to have gotten sick (so far). It’s amazing you’re painting it.

        (this might post twice… WordPress is hiccuping…)

      2. Zettl avatar

        Yes I agree with you. And yet I think it will take a few years for us to understand what this situation has done to us.
        Why I chose an “idyll” as a topic is partly due to the fact that we like idylls, ideal worlds. But we understand more and more that this idyll can no longer be kept stable for a long time.
        As I said, the picture consists of 2 parts, and as I said, it should also offer the opportunity to reflect on our other aspects of our society.
        And so I will also think and try to get better – at least when it comes to painting 😊

      3. Martha Kennedy avatar

        It’s a good painting. That it’s not obvious is a good thing.

      4. Martha Kennedy avatar

        … we’ve all been, not we’ve all be… sigh

      5. Zettl avatar

        Modern version of “to be or not to be” 🙂

      6. Martha Kennedy avatar

        I wanted to share this with you. It’s the story of my piano teacher when I was a girl. He was one of the German Jewish refugees who lived in Shanghai for a time. He had a big effect on me. It happened that I wrote about him on my blog, the researcher in Berlin found the blog, emailed me for any information I had (not much) then in 2019, when she’d finished her project, she wrote me.

      7. Zettl avatar

        Thanks for sharing! As said before we would have a lot to talk about….

      8. Martha Kennedy avatar

        We would!

      9. Martha Kennedy avatar

        If you are interested, you can learn about the whole project here.

  7. DIYwithkrish avatar

    Your blog are amazing, i am and artist too pls go to my blog and if like don’t forget to follow

    1. Zettl Friedrich avatar

      Thank you very much for your kind words! And most of all, I’m always happy to hear from other artists. All the best!

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