A new piece of art

Last week, I created a new piece of art, I painted a garage door.

Well, it’s a different kind of art, the art lies more in the paint itself.

The newly built wooden garage door needed to be protected and I wanted to have it open-pored to let the wood breath and keep it natural touch. The challenge here is the sun, which lets every artificial colour chip off after a relatively short period. I did a bit of a research and found the old recipes for the famous Swedish paint “Swedish red”. This paint has been created about 250 years ago and it’s still used, especially for restoration of old buildings and furniture.
I felt like a witch in her kitchen when I cooked the paint 😉

The recipe for about 16 :

175 g flour (with gluten!)
2 l water
50 g ferrous sulfate
500 g pigments
0,25 l linseed oil
25 cl savon noir

Heat half of the water. Pour the flour into 0,5 l of cold water and mix it to get a paste without any lumps. Slowly stir the paste into the warm water, add the pigments and the sulfate. Stir it for about 15 min until the mix gets creamy. Pour gradually the linseed oil in, when all is mixed together (after about 15 min), add the savon to stabilize the mixture. Stir everything for another 15 min.
The paint is ready when it has a creamy consistency, as if you prepare the mix for a crêpe.
I recommend to soak the pigments into water before pouring them into the flour soup.Let it cool down.

The paint is ready when cold and it needs to be stirred from time to time during application. It’s a non-dropping paint.

I applied it three times on new wood, which I washed with savon noir emulsion a day before.
The base recipe can be coloured any many shades and I wanted to create a grey tone to match the already painted shutters and windows of the house.

The result is a very natural paint, looking velvety and I think it is perfect for an old house.

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Structures and Surfaces

So far, I intensively worked with colours, their production and application, and I learned a lot about the interaction of various binders, and produced some really cool effects 🙂
For example, I got the idea for my paintings After the Fire and Ashes when cleaning the fireplace after a nice and cosy evening in front of it. The picture above is a montage created from a detail of my painting After the Fire and charred wood.
The surface of these paintings is relatively flat, it gets depth through the application of different thick layers of colour and raw pigments.

Now I would like to work more plastically and for this reason I want to learn more about surfaces and structures in abstract painting.
It seems to be a vast field of experimentation! I watched countless tutorials on YouTube and it’s partly very adventurous what some artists create;-)
I would like to focus on using natural materials, f.e. on marble powder, sand, wood chips, ashes, plants and what I find along my way.
Right now I am collecting ideas and immerse myself in my Painter’s Handbook to learn more about the interaction between supports and applied materials.

Supports, Pretreatments and Materials

So far, I produced most of my colors by myself, only the primer and the varnish for Passion vs. Ratio I bought.
Doing everything by myself is like a huge field of experimentation and  a lot of fun. When tinkering I learn a lot about the successive reactions of the materials and of course, I discover also my limits. I realize, that I do not have enough knowledge about the use and reactions to various substrates and materials and so far I did not really think a lot about the long-term durability of the result.
So I researched to learn more about supports, to learn their properties and necessary pretreatments. Until now I have almost exclusively painted on canvas, one exception is Focus, here I have worked on wood.
The canvasses I’ve bought ready, were already impregnated and provided with several layers of primer. Following advice of a grown artist, I applied another layer of primer. Canvas is a relatively flexible support and must be treated differently than a rigid, such as wood (or walls). A primer serves to make the surface smooth and receptive to the colors, without these being too absorbed and not to be rejected. A common primer is gesso, a mixture of lime, gypsum, rabbit skin glue and white pigments. Quite complicate to produce, since the mixing ratio of the ingredients decides if it adheres well on the support and the paints on it.
That is the traditional mixture, but bought gesso has not always something to do with that and it differs in its quality properties to the price 😉
For the longevity of a painting, a well-prepared support is at least as important as the application of the colours.
As I soon would like to work more on wood, I shall deal more with this subject.

Your tips are very welcome.

Blue

After Red, I made Blue.

Here again, I used different shades of one colour: grated Lapislazuli, which gives the ultramarine, indigo and Bleu Ercolano, a synthetic pigment.
Applied in layers with different binders, it creates wonderful colour effects.

As described in one of my previous posts, the color blue as said to have a calming effect, but it stands also for people who are cool analyst, for people, who are living their life after strong principles and facts. “Blue people” tend to think and analyze before they decide and could be that they never do anything as the need to understand all facts is more important than doing something. Such people are introvert, but good planners, strategists and often academics.
They get along well with “red people”.
I learned about color psychology and of course, had to test myself. Without knowing anything about the theory at the beginning, I chose instinctive my place between red and blue, but worked later on in the red group as the blue group was discussing too much 🙂
Probably, I am red-violet 🙂

Red

So far, I have always worked with several colours, with Red I limited myself to one colour, but in different shades: ochre rouge, Rouge de Venise, vermilion. Again, I have worked with different layers and binders, such as marble powder, linseed oil and acrylic.
Ocre Rouge or iron oxide, is a pigment obtained by calcination of yellow ochre. The Venetian red is also based on iron oxide and has been used since antiquity for painting. Vermilion has been derived from mercury sulfide but here I used a synthetic pigment, which reacts a bit differently than the other two mineral pigments.

There are a lot of theories about the meaning of colours and the related personality types, and although some are very controversial, there are quite coincident assignments.
Roughly speaking, personality types differ according to their type of temperament (extrovert, introvert) and further regarding sensory perception, intuition, thinking and feeling.
The colour red is associated with extroverted, analytical thinking people. Allocated to red are such attributes like decisive, strong-willed, demanding, task & goal focused, powerful and positive thinking. “Red people” are full of energy and take immediately chances and challenges, tackle problems, and think later, maybe.
It could be that they do not pay much attention on the feelings of others.
No person is only red, just as the picture that I painted. It has different shades of red, which will be probably not perceived by many as red in the traditional sense. The middle part consists of several layers of ochre rouge, which is mixed with various binders and thus the layers are fairly discolored. The lower part consists of Venetian red, a deep, warm shade of red. The upper part is painted in several layers of vermilion on Venetian red. Depending on the source and intensity of light, the colours change.

When thinking about painting with one colour tone, red and blue came into my mind first. Seems, that I am not one hundred percent red 😉

Numbers in Colours

For some people, behind each number stands a colour, some connect feelings, music, text or even rooms with colours. This is called synesthesia and it means the mixing of sensations.
The colours are different for each person, but always the same per person.

During my further professional education as a transactional analyst, I’ve noticed that I often describe feelings in colours.
For Hagen each number has one colour, some numbers / colours he likes, some not. Some colours he can exactly describe, for others he has just a diffuse notion of a certain green or blue.

I asked him about the colours for 0-9 and checked his assignments at longer intervals: it was always the same. I got the idea to paint these numbers. So far so good.
It was not easy to create the exact colours he has in his mind.
I was trying for a fairly long time to mix his green, blue and red-blacks until the colours matched with his imaginations. Challenging was also that I produced the paint by myself, trying old techniques to produce paint. In this case I mixed pigments, water and eggs! Our egg consumption was enormous 🙂
Currently, I am still working on number 1, 3 and 5,
all pictures will be ready to the vernissage next Friday.

Meanings

The paintings I create arise in my mind and I do not always exactly how it turns out on the canvas.
It just happens. Of course, I have an idea, a thought, a memory, but how I then express it with colours is a more or less unconscious process. The picture becomes it’s meaning during the process of painting.
It is my meaning, because it is how I see the world from my subjective point of view.

I give my pictures titles that express something of what I have thought and felt while painting. I’m not sure if that’s a good idea, since I thus possibly predetermine also a certain interpretation.
Sometimes, people ask me what the image means and before I tell what it means to me, I try to figure out what the viewer sees, what emotions it evokes. And that’s mostly something quite different from the meaning I gave to the image.
For instance, in my image “Sad Memories” I have given sad memories of my life a colour. The person who bought the picture was smitten immediately with it, as for her, the painting radiates optimism and she went home with happy feelings.

Experiences have, depending on the frame of reference, a completely different meaning and are always the result of a personal, interpretive process.
Cognition is something subjective, something “Private” because we select from a set of infinitely  possible meanings one, just sufficient for ourselves. Our private view of the world is one perspective besides of an infinite number of perspectives that are not perceived.
Of course, we permanently change the meanings in our world, because the world itself changes permanently.
So it may be, that when I look in a few weeks, months or years at my pictures, I give them a completely different meaning.