MotivationsThoughts on my themes and series
Duvenstedter Brook / flowing senses and wildlife
Moods, impressions in the landscape have always touched me. This relaxation in nature deepens my feelings. I chose the theme "forest" to reflect these deep experiences. The Duvenstedter Brook, a nature reserve near me, gave me the inspiration for this entry. In addition, I gained strength and confidence from observing the forest, because nature renews itself again and again, despite the influence of man.
I really wanted to let this energy flow into my pictures. Nature and forest impressions as everyone knows them, but with colour changes so that the landscape is placed in a different context. The forest as an expression of the soul, as a constantly renewing system, in a different light. In a hopeful light of renewal!
My landscapes, however, are more than an examination of the nature that surrounds me and that gives me strength.
They go beyond the visible, are reflections on that which lies beyond our existence. They are universal themes such as freedom, farewell and new beginnings.
The animals came into it after I found their traces in the forest. Animals here also stand for feelings such as grief, vulnerability and suffering, among others. But they also have an expression such as self-will, power and strength. Animals have always played a big role in mythology. I also wanted to include this in my pictures.
Just like the landscape and forest impressions, the animals are also protagonists in an idea, in a story.
What happens in the forest!
I playfully stage the two protagonists. I try to reinterpret the familiar and tell it somewhat further.
Land of the Fire Mountains
Lava and primeval landscapes have held their grip on me since the time we were in Iceland. It is a return to the forces of nature, sensing its elemental powers; feeling how nature develops its own forces and is sensitive, all in one. I was fascinated by the lava fields and chunks of volcanic stone. It also suits my painting, this primal, direct, immediate quality.
I have used this description for pictures from Normandy, Brittany, the island Sylt, Crete, and Poland. It is a bouquet of many different blossoms; a deep impression that induces me to capture it as a picture, even if it is "only" a Northern German avenue of trees. I wish to penetrate the motif and give the picture my inner mood.
This was especially the case for the picture "Am Frischen Haff mit den Gedanken an 45" (At the Vistula Lagoon, with thoughts of 45): Standing at the Vistula Lagoon – on our journey to Poland – moved me deeply. All of us standing there were quiet with thoughts of the events that took place in the year '45. What happened there at that spot, on the ground there! How the people fled across the Lagoon in winter, attacked by Russian bombers... the suffering, the hardship was almost tangible. This deep impression spurred me – as soon as I was back at home – to draw up a large canvas, and to paint it in tones of terracotta. The painting flowed out of me until I realized it was done.
We are here
In 2015, when so many refugees came to us, I wanted to help, and I taught German for two years. As I tried to go beyond merely conveying the language, I saw how great a challenge it was to explain life situations, including difficult ones, in a simple way. It was always interesting and exciting. During my two-year period of teaching, I also dealt with different refugee situations in a painterly way. After those two years, I asked my students if I could paint them. They immediately agreed, which is how these large portraits came about. I wanted to make them big, to give them a face.
Christopher Street Day (CSD)
During a visit to Cologne, I had the opportunity to experience the lush, colourful, exuberant CSD parade. This moved me to capture these sequences – colourful and sometimes even screeching. I wanted to capture not only the exuberant quality, but also that which was sometimes weird and grotesque, as well. I am still enthusiastic about the high-spiritedness, the sense of "celebrating each other". I experience something so special in this energy, which may also embrace the grotesque, because it demonstrates vitality and courage to live.
Portraits have always interested me. To bring people's faces so close that you can sense their individuality, their otherness, and their distinctiveness.
I have painted myself over and over again at different stages of my life. Here is a series in oil (I especially love this medium!) from 2020, the year which stands for Corona. I think everyone else also went within themselves during the lockdown.
A landscape theme, in which the painting reconciliates external, experienced landscapes with inner ones that are sensed.
With the view from my studio window, you see a stretch of cropland, a field. I have interpreted the impressions that are "at my door."
On dry land
On a trip to Greece, I found old boats that were "on dry land" to be weird in a way, not made for that situation. Boats are built for the water – that is their element. The way they lay there, so out of place, brought me to depict the strangeness of boats in a foreign element.
Country counters city
Addressing this theme was not only prompted by my decision to move away from the big city and to find my sense of home in the countryside. In addition, I have always been impressed with a beautiful old farm that friends of ours have on the heath, with about a dozen different buildings, sheds, barns, silos, and so on. This beautiful ensemble of interrelated buildings, which have been cared for and preserved over the years and decades, prompted me to dedicate myself to this project.
I was particularly fascinated with the "honey house", which very visibly defines the atmosphere on the farm. I not only drew and painted it several times, but also transformed it into a three-dimensional object with different materials such as wood, cardboard, modelling clay, and wire.
Afterwards, I exhibited my pictures in the bull pen on the farm.
After our trips to India, one of the things that remained in my memory were the big trucks. They are usually dressed up fancily with everything on full display. With the individual design, the gorgeous colours, and the exuberance, I just had to capture these monsters in my pictures.
When you travel a lot, you have to wait a lot! So, I took advantage of this time of waiting, and watched other people waiting.
Our trip to Iceland and Greenland left deep traces and impressions on me. Iceland is a country of lava with many craters and primeval surfaces overgrown with moss and small plants. But Iceland is also a place of sulphur holes, geysers, and waterfalls. I primed all the pictures red beforehand, because you can sense the fire under the soles of your feet.
The Inuit houses of Greenland have a special energy – you can feel the toughness of survival and the cold in the dark season. Yet in the summer they sometimes seem colourful and cheerful, the way they are set on the rocks.
Throughout the years, I rescued my teddy bear which was over a hundred years old, and which my mother had played with as a child. It deserves to be presented and to show its "expression" in ever new surroundings.
Not only the bright colours of the saris and the hard work of the people left picturesque impressions on me, but also going on outings and the waiting en route.
One of our first trips to Asia took us to Burma/Burma/Myanmar. We were confronted with primal, mysterious situations. Some situations were also tricky and a little dangerous. When we wanted to board a boat, for example, we had to take our luggage and balance our way across a wooden board without a railing. We really liked the friendly, approachable people. At dawn and dusk, atmospheres that were sometimes almost unreal left an impression of something very peculiar.
Pursuit of happiness
St. Pauli and the Reeperbahn, with all their bright advertisements and reflections, are a quintessential part of Hamburg. The Hamburger Dom fair, which is in the immediate vicinity, complements my theme, and is also ideal for distraction, diversion, immersion, and the pursuit of brief moments of happiness. This can be found both in gambling and in the rush of the rides, in bliss.
This theme covers my nude drawings, which I have both drawn and painted over the years. I prime the white paper with coloured ink beforehand. Then, with coloured pens or pastels, I set the linear part of the picture. The coloured primer is always a good stimulus. It induces me to think about which coloured drawing materials to use in responding to it.