way out (II)

Between Here and There

and the Fever-night-creeper

between here and there: The topic of this post first came about in reflection on dreams and waking up. One could consider “Here” as the normal state and “There” as the dream world. When we awaken, we are still surrounded by fragments of dreams, and we are between “There” and “Here.” Where does “There” begin and where does “Here” end? This post is related to these questions and more.

In my last post, I presented an image titled “Come Back into the Light.” It was actually from a series entitled “Exit”. I have added a new work to this series that I would like to show first. However, I won’t write much about it.

Exit – leaving Here for There

way out (IV)

Not Here – Not There

As an artist, I worry that I paint too pleasingly. The idea of creating images in the hope of fulfilling other people’s expectations has always been anathema to me. But in art, there are certain criteria that are of great importance. The extent to which an artist is able to not only ignore the criteria but also to overcome them and thus reach a different level of perception and representation has always fascinated me. Hence my deep admiration for painters like Van Gogh, Picasso, Basquiat, and Gerhard Richter. However, whether I have the quality to achieve that myself is another matter. But we need goals that we want to move towards.

between here and there (II)

Still Here – soon There

The following sheet is also a new addition and is part of “The Magic Sea” project. The scene is set in the area where the water first washes around the land mass and finally swallows it whole. This area would be a very central topic in the project because it is highly dramatic. The choice of colors is intended to underline the impending danger.

forces of nature


At an advanced age, trying to see through a child's eyes, and even more so to paint with them, presents its own unique challenge. Of course, there is no point in trying to imitate children or studying pictures of children. The image I'm sharing today, which shouldn't be taken too seriously, is a good example of how I approach this topic.

The small child, who has had to stay in bed for a few days, wakes up in the morning feeling distraught. It was frightened by the fever-night creeper. And even hours later, when the child is still talking about it, the mother/father suggests that the child should paint the fever-night creeper. Painting and drawing are excellent ways to make trauma disappear. That's how I painted this creeper with a child's eyes from the neck.

the fever night creeper


51 responses to “Between Here and There”

  1. satyam rastogi avatar

    Nice post 🖊️

    1. Zettl Fine Arts avatar

      Thank you very much!

      1. satyam rastogi avatar

        Welcome 🙏 freinds

  2. Mike U. avatar

    It’s always fascinating to get inside your head and learn of your thought processes and your approach to painting and art in general. These images are compelling and creative and surreal. Wonderful work as always, Friedrich. 🙂

    1. Zettl Fine Arts avatar

      You are very kind, Mike! I’m not always sure if my babbling makes any sense. Some topics are too comprehensive to be covered here in just a few sentences.

  3. swabby429 avatar

    In so far as we experience life as an internal set of subjective concepts, the boundary between here and there is likewise conceptual. Isn’t this something that the Tao contemplates?

    1. Zettl Fine Arts avatar

      Thanks! You are absolutely right, playing with this idea was also my intention. Even though my works may often look quite different visually, they always deal with the same topics. “Old wine in new bottles” 🙂

  4. luisa zambrotta avatar

    I love your posts, your wonderful works and your excellent explanations

    1. Zettl Fine Arts avatar

      How kind you are, Luisa! You saved my Saturday 😉

      1. luisa zambrotta avatar

        It was a great pleasure to enjoy your article

  5. J M Negi avatar

    Here and there, nice theme and even nicer logic behind it. Lovely paintings to the theme, beautiful. Thanks.

    1. Zettl Fine Arts avatar

      Many thanks! I’m glad that you can do something with the mind game.

  6. Spira avatar

    Fragments was my initial thought upon seeing today’s art… and a subtle 3D definition of the space. Also Utopia comes in mind but with its etymology Ου – Τόπος = no place; neither here, nor there.
    👏 Friedrich.

    1. Zettl Fine Arts avatar

      Thank you, Nick! I also thought about Ου – Τόπος in passing. Just as, of course, a number of other philosophical considerations of Daosim can be found in Western philosophy.

  7. Stacey C. Johnson avatar
    Stacey C. Johnson

    Deep respect for this: “As an artist, I worry that I paint too pleasingly . . . The choice of colors is intended to underline the impending danger.”

    1. Zettl Fine Arts avatar

      Thank you very much, Stacey 🙏

  8. Ashley avatar

    A fascinating post, Friedrich. I’m fascinated by anything “in between” or “here & there” or even on the “edges”.
    There are certain festivals in the pagan calendar, like Samhain, which I have just posted, where the usual description is of “a veil” being lifted; that sets my imagination going! Of course, the veil is never lifted completely & we only ever glimpse what is behind it. Is that the purpose of meditation, perhaps?
    You last painting is amazing; the blues with touches of yellow & the oh so white background are gorgeous & you’ve added those little clusters of red with your stamp/signature (is there a proper name for those marks?) two lighter ones on the left, one stronger on the right & their positions balance the whole painting. All very personal to me, the colours & their arrangement on the canvas!

    1. Zettl Fine Arts avatar

      Thank you so much, Ashley! I’ve been wanting to write about the “veil” aspect and I hope to do so this year 🙂

      As for the red seals: When I became interested in Asian art 50 years ago, I came across a book in which… It was stated that Japanese calligraphers often only need a few minutes to write, but 20 minutes to find the right place for their seal. If you keep this in mind, you’ll notice that the placement of my seals always helps to enhance the composition.

      1. Ashley avatar

        Placement! That was the word my brain couldn’t find! 🤔 Thank, Friedrich. 🙏

      2. Zettl Fine Arts avatar

        Don’t worry – just misplaced 🙂

  9. pk🌏 I GROW TOGETHER ❤️ avatar
  10. babsje avatar

    Fascinating and thought-provoking post, commentary and paintings. I appreciate what you have said about trying to rise above the instinct to make art that is “pleasing” to the viewer. (That said, as a viewer I like each of the paintings today, especially the one done through the eyes of a child.) And I think this passage of yours is excellent advice “…the mother/father suggests that the child should paint the fever-night creeper. Painting and drawing are excellent ways to make trauma disappear.” Changing the subject back to dreams. Are you familiar with “lucid dreaming?” I had a lucid dream a few nights ago. The details of the dream content are less than interesting, but it was quite clear at the time that I knew I was asleep and having a dream that felt very real at the time. And I sat up immediately and turned on the lamp to make sure. Dreams are great fodder for art. Wonderful post today.

    1. Zettl Fine Arts avatar

      Thank you very much for your kind words! I’m particularly pleased that you like the “children’s picture”. I almost didn’t want to show it. (Obviously I tend to underestimate the level of my readers) 🙂

      Yes, I know lucid dreams – like some other dreams. In my youth I dealt extensively with the Surrealists. And of course, as Viennese, with Sigmund Freud. Back then, I learned from Andre Breton how you can influence your dreams. Have a nice weekend!

      1. babsje avatar

        Fascinating how we can sometimes influence our dreams. Years ago I put effort into doing so, but now I just go with the flow and whatever surprises arise. And yes I am pleased by your children’s painting. I wonder – do you suppose that seeing with a child’s brain uses one hemisphere more than the other, in terms of left-brain vs right-brain? Also I read years ago that there are supposed gender differences in left- vs right-brain use, but I’m derailing things aren’t i?

  11. Mike and Kellye Hefner avatar

    All are brilliant, Fred! “Exit” must be a portal into another dimension – love it!

    1. Zettl Fine Arts avatar

      Thank you very much for your kind words 🙏 I’m busy heading in the direction “Exit” 😎

  12. Martha Kennedy avatar

    I’ve been thinking about painting to please other people or not. It’s never my goal in a painting (unless someone’s asked for something in particular) but I’m happy when it happens. My little painting which is alleged to be Monument Valley is NOT Monument Valley in real life. It’s “Oh my god, I really made oil paint! I have to try it out!” and then it was a beautiful color and strange texture so I went at it with an image from my mind evoked by the color. It was nothing but a kind of joyful test of something I’d worked very hard on. The painting took about 15 minutes. I tried out my paint with others I thought I would be likely to use with it in the future and painted the sky with the lapis lazuli ultramarine I love most. That was it.

    Everyone who sees it wants to buy it. Is it the image? Is it the joy I felt in the moments of painting it? Is it that it evokes memories of Monument Valley for the people looking at it? Is it that many people knew about my project to make paint from that raw pigment? Maybe all of it. I’ll never sell it, but seeing the reaction was wonderful.

    A few times in shows I’ve seen a painting hit someone exactly right. It’s wonderful to see. It’s as if that terribly elusive aspiration we all have of communicating with another person has been achieved. Of course, maybe not since, in a way, no one ever sees what we are painting, but a few times I’ve seen a painting of mine deeply touch another person. I love painting so much that it’s hard to believe that isn’t transmitted in the image. I don’t know.

    1. Zettl Fine Arts avatar

      Thank you, Martha! If you didn’t live so far away, I would stop by: we would certainly have a lot to chat about painting 🙂

      What you write is a good example of how artists and viewers communicate on a level that goes beyond the image. This comparison always comes to mind: You pick up a musical instrument and play. There is another instrument in the corner of your room – and suddenly a string on that instrument also vibrates. In order for something to vibrate, the other person must of course also be in tune or have strings at all 🙂

      1. Martha Kennedy avatar

        That’s a very lovely analogy. There is a moment with one of my paintings I’d hung in a local show. A man I knew who had Alzheimer’s was looking at it. The painting said something to him — I don’t know what — but he finally reached out and touched it lightly with his finger tips. He had been a painter. Something about it moved him deeply. He came back to it over and over. His wife bought it for him and later she told me he would sit in his recliner and look at the painting. If anyone asks me “What’s the point of painting?” I just think of that moment. Usually, I don’t answer them. It’s too bad we can’t just drop in and have a conversation. 🙂

      2. Zettl Fine Arts avatar

        What a beautiful story! This is what we live for 🙂 I have already given up thinking about what the point of painting is. What is the meaning of music? What’s the point of poems? I am content to paint what seems meaningful to me and that is primarily the processing of philosophical ideas in the broadest sense. And so I think that I primarily appeal to people who “think and reflect”. AI images or cat portraits appeal to a completely different group. Which is ok for me too. Just not my world.

      3. Martha Kennedy avatar

        I think of those cave painters. We have no idea what was going on with those guys beyond “Wow! I can do this! This is what I’ve seen! It meant enough to me that I’m putting it up here on this cave wall!” Part of the eternal human echo of wonderment and I love it. It’s like Whitman’s poem…

        O Me! O Life!
        By Walt Whitman

        Oh me! Oh life! of the questions of these recurring,
        Of the endless trains of the faithless, of cities fill’d with the foolish,
        Of myself forever reproaching myself, (for who more foolish than I, and who more faithless?)
        Of eyes that vainly crave the light, of the objects mean, of the struggle ever renew’d,
        Of the poor results of all, of the plodding and sordid crowds I see around me,
        Of the empty and useless years of the rest, with the rest me intertwined,
        The question, O me! so sad, recurring—What good amid these, O me, O life?

        That you are here—that life exists and identity,
        That the powerful play goes on, and you may contribute a verse.

        Even if Alex is the only person ever to read my verse it’s enough. It’s everything. It resonate. The painting still hangs though Alex is gone and the story is part of his family. Wow. One beautiful walk with my dog that I tried to paint because it was difficult. That’s what it was for me at the beginning — much more as I got into it — and a world for an old man with a broken brain. Wow.

      4. Zettl Fine Arts avatar

        Thank you, Martha! Really very fine! Yes, whether it’s cave painting or Picasso – the “sense” lies in giving meaning to what you do. In Daoism the painter is the creator. What would he create if he did not infuse it with spirit? Skill is secondary, but occurs automatically when the creator identifies with his work and is absorbed in it.

      5. Martha Kennedy avatar

        That’s what I believe. ❤️

  13. Rosaliene Bacchus avatar

    Recently, my dreams have been dark and distressing. Much like the first painting, but without the light. I love the painting that’s part of “The Magic Sea” for its explosion of colors: green, yellow, and reddish-brown. I happily ignore the warning of “impending danger” to delve deeper 🙂

    1. Zettl Fine Arts avatar

      Thank you, Rosaliene, for your kind lines! We live in challenging times. War, economy, politics, culture of lies…hardly anything runs in feel-good mode. It is quite natural that the quality of our dreams suffers as a result. These influences are also quite clear in some of my recent work (not just in last video clip) and I have to be careful not to get carried away.

      1. Rosaliene Bacchus avatar

        These days, I find it difficult not to get carried away by our inhumanity towards each other 🙁

  14. Edith avatar

    Lieber Friedrich, ich bin gern eine Biografie-Leserin von Künstlern, da öffnen sich Welten. Die meisten wollen Künstlern nacheifern und doch ergibt sich dann immer Eigenes, nicht Vergleichbares. Und das ist gut so. DU musst in keine Fußstapfen treten, deine Kunst hat nun nach so vielen Jahren ihr eigenes Gesicht. Klar wird jeder sich in den Farben eines anderen verlieren können, dann selbst mischen usw., aber letztendlich entspringt alles deinem Kopf, deinem Herzen, deinem Willen. Menschliche Bedürfnisse in den Werken zu erfüllen, bleibt unerfüllt, dann gäbe es mittlerweile ja tausend Richters, abertausend Van Goghs usw. Man wird nie jedem Menschen gerecht, auch in der Kunst nicht. Jedes Werk steht für den Künstler, der es gemalt hat. Also ich möchte in deinen Werken nichts anderes sehen können als dich – kein anderes künstlerisches Werk hat darin Platz. Ziele zu haben ist gut, strebe sie weiterhin an, ein Künstler erreicht wohl nie seinen Zenit, viel zu viel wandert durch seine Gedanken, oftmals verändert sich gar die Richtung, in die es gehen soll. Egal, am Schluss ist immer ein Werk entstanden, was das EIGENE ist.
    Ach herje, ein kleiner Roman wieder, der dich aber aufbauen soll in deinem Wirken. Ich schätze deine Gemälde sehr, finde immer neue Gedanken dazu – Ihre Vielfältigkeit ist mir sehr recht.
    Dir nur Gutes mit lieben Gedanken von mir zu dir.

    1. Edith avatar

      … und schnell noch so meine Gedanken dazu…

      Es ist schon irgendwie eigenartig.
      Hier schreibe ich meine Gedanken nieder.
      Keine spannende Art. Einfach nur das Innere
      uas meiner reifen Gedankenlese heraus.
      Dann, irgendwann, wenn ich schon mehrfach
      lang mit anderen Dingen beschäftigt bin,
      werden sie gelesen.
      Damit hebe ich die Zeit auf.
      Jetzt ist dann einfach dann.
      Ja. so einfach ist das und gar nicht schwer.

      1. Zettl Fine Arts avatar

        Das ist ein feiner Ansatz 🙂 Vielleicht ist es ja mit einigen Bildern ähnlich 🙂 Und in beiden Fällen braucht es ja gelegentlich eine gewisse Zeit, bis sich das Bouquet entfalten kann. In diesem Sinne: Prost! (Kräutertee natuerlich).

      2. Edith avatar


    2. Zettl Fine Arts avatar

      Danke, liebe Edith, für Deine immer aufbauenden Worte, über die ich mich nicht nur sehr freue – sie sind auch Kraftspender! Natuerlich dachte ich nicht daran, irgendwen zu kritisieren, nur weil er/sie versucht, durch Kunst sein Leben zu finanzieren. Und das wird fuer viele immer schwieriger. Außerdem finde es ohnehin unhygienisch, “alte Schuhe anderer” zu tragen. Wir sehen es ja ähnlich: gute Kunst muss authentisch sein. Aber es gibt einige Sichtweisen zudem Thema und ich bin froh, mich damit nicht auseinandersetzen zu müssen. Schoenen Sonntag noch und herzliche Gruesse aus Wien!

      1. Edith avatar

        Ich freue mich, dass du es so siehst. Deine Schuhe stinken nicht – ich sag doch, deine Kunst bist DU.
        Herzlichst, natürlich mit Kräutertee zurück ein Prost, von mir <3

  15. christinenovalarue avatar


    1. Zettl Fine Arts avatar

      Danke vielmals 🙏

  16. rabirius avatar

    Excellent collection of pictures. I really like them!

    1. Zettl Fine Arts avatar

      Thank you very much for your kind words! Enjoy a great weekend!

  17. Pkmundo pk 🌎 avatar

    NICE POST 💚💯

    👋 Greetings from Spain 🇪🇸

    1. Zettl Fine Arts avatar

      Thank you so much. 🙏 Greetings from Austria ☀️🍸🎶

  18. muz4now avatar

    I notice that the creative process (including wondering about how others will respond) is so similar in the different arts. I’ve had similar ponderings while creating music. (And I know you’ve done some of that as well…)

    1. Zettl Fine Arts avatar

      Thanks! Yes, this is a complicated topic, not just in music and painting! On the one hand, we want/need or interact with our “audience”, but on the other hand, we are often one step further in our considerations.

  19. […] life again. I’ve already posted some work about my dreams, but after my last article, “Between Here and There,” I reflected on them even more. Because the time of awakening is the perfect example of a […]

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