etudes

painting spring autumn details

étude versus study

If one looks up the English-language equivalent of the French term étude in conventional dictionaries, the result is generally “study”. Translated into other languages, it goes in the same direction.
Only when you translate it from a music-theoretical point of view do you come up with “études”.


For me, études also exist in painting and mean something fundamentally different from “studies”. When I do studies, I do them with a relatively clear idea of what the finished painting should look like: what the composition should be, what colors, what technique…


With my études, however, it is the same as with the études of some music composers. An official translation of ètude in classical music would be:

1 : a piece of music for the practice of a point of technique.

2 : a composition built on a technical motive but played for its artistic value.

It is in the nature of things that études are not about perfection in the sense of a work that is composed down to the last detail. Instead there are other aspects that flow into my études. I would like to present a few today.

As already mentioned before, this aspect IS::IS-NOT plays a role in many of my pictures. The term relating “opposites” (in the Chinese sense in painting) is particularly close to my heart in many ways. e.g. The viewer is pushed into a certain direction of seeing and at the same time this perspective is called into question.

I’ll try to illustrate this with the first picture. This sheet can be seen as a simple, contemplative study of a landscape. At the moment when I give the picture this title: “Be careful little girl when the calm takes shape” I trigger images in the viewer that overlay the original one. Suddenly the soulful girl on the right becomes visible and the idyll is raised to another level as a poetic touch comes into play.

1 Be careful little girl when the calm takes shape
painting girl and mood

The triggers for these études are mostly, as in this case, of a personal nature. But also observations in nature, and often reflections on earlier work with the attempt to improve weak points in it.

2 seascape

I had prepared a text for the next two works, but I think that would only create confusion. I also think the pictures speak for themselves.

painting seascape red
painting seascape red details
3 springautumn

This game of opposites comes into play in a different way in the final sheet “springautumn”.

As always with these works, and most of all my words, nothing should be taken too seriously. Moreover, they are only studies.

painting spring autumn details

More such works: PORTFOLIO

Zettl Friedrich

alive and well and having fun

8 comments on “etudes

I’ve never really thought of etudes in non musical nor poetic terms. Your expanded exploration is appealing. I will be looking for other examples of etudes, from now on.

Thanks! Since classical music plays a big role in my life, this thought came to mind earlier. However, I hesitate to show these etudes as they often touch on areas that I often find difficult to communicate.

Very nice works, or études shall I say, composition. colors and movement are very appealing and nice to look at. and yes often we do hesitate to show our more ‘exploratory’ work.

Thank you very much! In fact it’s mainly about “exploring”. I always liked to see those works of artists when they were looking for something rather than when they found it.

It’s the process that matters in the end. The quest for the perfect masterpiece. It’s lovely.

Thank you very much! I am glad you like them.

Excellent works.
The colours and forms work so well together.

Thank you very much for your kind words! They mean a lot to me.:

Leave a Reply

%d bloggers like this: