landscape painting

watching the night

winter depressions

Don’t worry, this won’t be a new series about depression. But since this topic has been with me for decades, I would like to present a few examples that have emerged over the years. In the past, it was often very stressful, but in recent years I have been able to deal better and better with this phase, which extends to January and February. A tool for this is the artistic processing with these phases.

Here are a few typical examples, with the most recent ones listed first:

samples from 2022

winter depression painting

landscape painting

the wolves got me

the wolves got me

samples from 2021

white black red gestural art

gestural abstraction with angry demon
winter demon

Anyone who has ever suffered from depression knows that these phases can be very challenging. Basically, I can handle it relatively well without chemicals. But what I still suffer from today is the fact that my work is technically less appealing in these phases. However, another force comes into play.

samples from the 1980-the 90s

one more death ink on rice paper

toad - art work by friedrich zettl

portrait of another death

in the night by friedrich zettl

girl in the dark by friedrich zettl

goat art work by friedrich zettl

More at portfolio






15 responses to “watching the night”


    Art is therapeutic – and those wolves communicate more than words ever could. Thank you for sharing.

  2. Zettl Friedrich avatar

    Thank you very much! Yes, art can be so much! Only now have I remembered that I once sat for hours in front of a great Monet painting during such a phase when I was young. And afterwards my depression was gone….

  3. mic avatar


  4. Zettl Friedrich avatar

    Thank you very much!

  5. Martha Kennedy avatar

    Depression… I’ve never consciously represented it in any of my art except maybe some bad poetry. Visual art has always been a rope ladder out of a hole. I think part of me doesn’t want to give depression that power, to affect my pictures. It’s, “No. You can’t have THIS, you fuck.”

    So far I’ve only had ONE major depressive crisis. It taught me a lot. Since I survived it, I am beyond grateful for the experience. It was a wonderful teacher.

    Your blind, lost, pink figure is a very fine depiction.

    Here’s my depression post. The image is what I did through that moment. My roommate — who was Swiss — asked me what we say on the 4th of July (Independence Day). I said, “Happy Fourth of July.” He said, “Huh? Hippy Fords of July?” So, there it is…

    1. Zettl Friedrich avatar

      Whether it makes sense to address your own mental state is a question that you have to ask yourself. Above all, whether it corresponds at all with our zeitgeist or is not a matter that is more likely to be assigned to late romanticism. The fine thing about us, who are no longer quite so young, is that we have already experienced and seen so much and that means that a certain filter is programmed into it. In any case, I think it’s not a bad idea to take on challenges and see what positives they have to offer for me. With painting you have a good tool at hand.

      I read your great post. “Trying to find oneself….” Now some already started to find themselves in the metaverse. A second chance, a second life. Go end get ist! Find yourself through your avatar by consuming as much as you can…..

      1. Martha Kennedy avatar

        For me the lesson was that I was the greatest risk to my own life. That is a pretty intense realization. It made me fierce and ferocity was what I needed. I think “finding oneself” was a thing of our generation, in the US anyway.

      2. Zettl Friedrich avatar

        Yes, we ourselves are often our greatest threat and opportunity at the same time. But as far as self-discovery goes, at least from a Buddhist point of view, one can only find oneself within oneself.

  6. Chinaman Creek avatar

    Dear Friedrich: Your paintings certainly gave a lot to the viewer, even if they give you pain to create. That seems very paradoxical. I thought you might like this article on Ma Desheng by Zolima Citymag:
    Take care! Simon

    1. Zettl Friedrich avatar

      Dear Simon, many thanks! How funny you mention Ma Desheng! He is an old friend of mine. Here is a photo of us both when we were young and innocent 🙂

  7. swabby429 avatar

    All of the images captured something I feel inside. The most striking one is the pack of canines–they touched something primordial.

    1. Zettl Friedrich avatar

      Thank you! I know from one of your previous posts that such periods are nothing new for you. Yes, I often try to reduce brushwork so just the essence, especially the feeling is left as main message.

  8. Nancy Richy avatar

    The dreary, depressing doldrums of winter. February is the worst; it’s the shortest month but for me it feels like the longest. Will it ever be spring? Lovely art here and some wonderful thoughts. ❄️

  9. Zettl Friedrich avatar

    Thank you very much! Yes, February is a drag….But anyway spring is on the way. All the best for the rest of the winter!

  10. peter robinson avatar

    Good post!

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