Archives for posts with tag: painting


This is a sneak preview of the base plate for my reflections on Europe (the photo was taken with a macro lens to show the detail).  Once again, it is acrylic on MDF board. But this time the texture is not entirely built up by paint. I tried an alternative technique using a modelling compound from the art shop. I guess it is some sort of polymer. To achieve the right texture I added wood shavings to the paste. Once it dried I painted layers of colour. Surprisingly, this time it didn’t take too long before I was satisfied with the result. The red in the valleys and the virgin white on the mountains are perfect. The rest of the plate is a blueish black. At this stage the work will have to sit for a while because I haven’t decided which way is up. I am also worried I will stuff it up when I hammer in the nails. This can absolutely ruin it. Therefore it will have to rest until I feel confident enough to continue. In the meantime, I will coat it with a clear gloss coat, so that Europe becomes nice and shiny!

This painting The conspirators I have done a few years back, when I’ve just started painting in acrylic. This was well before the puppets, but looking at it now I think it is very foreboding, they were already in there.

I am reading this book about Popular Theatre at the moment (Schlechter, J. (ed), Popular Theatre, Routledge 2003). The subtitle is A source book and gee it really is. As a visual artist I never looked at the history of theatre and certainly not at popular theatre. I never really thought about, how important and wide-spread puppetry was in history. Puppets were always part of the common entertainment but their stories were passed on orally. Our (European) cultural inheritance is based on written works by playwrights who had to please their financiers, the small, aristocratic elite. I read somewhere that even Goethe, the great German writer was originally inspired by a puppet show to write his most famous work “Faust”.

Popular Theatre  had to earn their living by attracting the masses. Authorities were unable to control or manipulate it for their own ends and therefore it was often censored or dismissed by governments and academia.  But of course this didn’t work too well, quite to the contrary. As the performers weren’t financially dependent on one particular source, they didn’t need to conform to externally imposed standards. They basically could say what they wanted. Often the more they made fun of the establishment, the bigger audiences they attracted.

Peter Schumann, the great contemporary puppeteer and founder of the Bread and Puppet Theatre said: [puppet theatre is] by definition of its most persuasive characteristics, an anarchic art, subversive and untameable by nature, an art which is easier researched in police records than in theatre chronicles, an art which by fate and spirit does not aspire to represent governments or civilisations, but prefers its own secret and demeaning stature in society, representing, more or less, the demons of that society and definitely not its institutions. [p41]

Today I am struggling to come up with a coherent thought. When this happens one shouldn’t attempt to write a blog. It’s just a waste of time: Of my own time as I struggle (while I could do something more productive) and of my followers as there is nothing to be gained by reading a piece of ramblings. So I am giving it a miss and just putting up one of my paintings instead. This one is called No! Fullstop. It is a picture I really love for it’s texture and of course the reproduction as a digital image doesn’t do it justice.

I am reluctant to put my paintings on this blog as they can be pretty scary. Painting is an amazing leveller of moods for me.

It’s not so much the outcome, but rather the process I am enjoying. I go through all possible emotions while painting. When I am reasonably happy, I have to hide the work for a while – otherwise it will get painted over the next day.

Last week was frantic and I am so looking forward to finishing one of my puppets today. The Sad Puppy.  It only needs its skin.