Initially, my official art training began with drawing for commercial art purposes, learning to capture the forms of objects as I see them and committing them to paper within the rules of perspective, light and shadow. For the most part this meant I worked in black-and-white. The importance of a museum visit to an obsessive painter proved itself to me in 1994. Our short visit to Den Haag for the exceptional showing of almost every painting of Vermeer in the Mauritshuis reignited my slumbering but ever present wish to understand the world of color and painting with oil. How does an artist transfer his or her mental image onto a canvas, creating such wonderful paintings as Vermeer’s Girl with the Pearl Earring? The artist’s mental image is one thing and, certainly, not easy to convey - but the mechanical and chemical procedure to be employed must follow specific rules that one can learn.
Pure coincidence led me directly thereafter to a summer workshop here near Cologne where a course in the traditional oil-painting technique of the Old Masters was being offered. And so color and oil entered my further artistic endeavors.
Oil painting entails everything that can fill an artist with enthusiasm. Three things I find most important:
Drawing skill are the backbone of all my works. This work is my point of departure when I start to paint. The necessary visual information for a painting begins with many drawings and compositions whether based on a live sitting, on photo shootings, film or memory.
Painting skills are usually developed over time (depending on how fast you are or how intensely you work). In my case, the color forms grow out of the underlying drawing information and in the end there are more or less three-dimensional forms in color and plasticity.
Physical and chemical know-how is something you simply have to learn about. There are necessary rules and regulations that govern whether or not a painting will adhere to the chosen painting surface durably over time. How to combine which chemicals has endless variations…….you can look into many works or visit good workshops to get an idea of how to deal with these "recipes". You must choose for yourself the one(s) that suit your taste.
The various stages in the development of a painting in the traditional manner are shown in the Estelle series. It starts with the primed (gessoed) canvas or board. The board, in this case, receives a transparent color, the so-called imprimatur. Then, the outlines of the image to be painted (Estelle) are sketched onto this surface. What follows is a black-and-white underpainting (the grisaille) giving the impression of a b/w photo. From here on many, many steps are required applying layer after layer, patch after patch of oil colors before the final rendition of the color portrait is achieved.