Tuesday 30 April 2019

Untitled 5. 2019

Untitled 5. 2019

exploring strength and sensitivity
 a brief encounter in space
less is more

watercolour 20 x 30cm.


Wednesday 24 April 2019

Tableaux Musicaux 1971

Tableaux Musicaux 1971

Yehudi opened my exhibition with kind words in fluent German and French. He had grown a beard that summer, so I felt in good company.

Nearly fifty years ago Yehudi Menuhin (1916-1999) invited me to exhibit some of my "musical paintings" at his legendary summer festival in Gstaad/Saanen, Switzerland. From the time we met in 1963, I showed up regularly at rehearsals with sketchbook in hand, trying to capture the magic of the music he made with his friends. Those friends included many of the greatest names in music, such as Wilhelm Kempff (piano), Eleanor Schaffer, (flute) Ravi Shankar (sitar), Louis Kentner (piano), Maurice Gendron and Paul Tortelier (cello) and the fabulous viola and piano/harpsichord duo Ernst and Lory Wallfisch.

You get a glimpse of Ernst in my 1969 impression (above) of a summer rehearsal of the Brahms Clarinet Quintet. Searching for alternative viewpoints, I would often sneak up into the balcony of that tiny church at Saanen so that I could look down onto the stage. In my early works I was looking for ways to make a composition of the shapes of such ensembles, but I had not yet learned to visually "fly" with their music. The Menuhin Festival and Yehudi's support became a major influence in that later development.

The music produced by the Wallfisch Duo was equal to their striking personal beauty. Of Romanian/German origins, their rich sound seemed to come from the deepest cultural heart of Europe.

           Ernst (1920-1979) & Lory Wallfisch (1922-2011)      

They were personally so modest and kind, musicians who played with such wisdom and love for every detail. It was a privilege to have known them. My deep sadness that those mentioned above and whom I painted are no longer with us is only alleviated by their recordings. But recordings of the Wallfisch Duo are relatively few. I only recently discovered this priceless video interview of Lory Wallfisch, in which she speaks of precious memories, such as how they played for the great Romanian composer/violinist George Enescu in 1944. As I heard the tones of their Schumann's Märchenbilder (Fairytale pictures) in D major, the last movement to be played "slowly, with melancholic expressivity", I couldn't hold back my tears. Probably made not long before Lory's death, this 6 min. video is an historical treasure. Watch it here:

Afterwards Lory plays the first movement of Enescu's First Piano Sonata.

I could find no credits for this beautifully made video, but I'm grateful to Bruce Stanberry for posting it.

Wednesday 17 April 2019

Untitled 4. 2019

Untitled 4. 2019

This series of abstract watercolours
 offers me the freedom to enjoy making marks and to 
experiment with colour and forms, floating in space. 
You can enjoy it as just that, 
but it may also trigger your imagination. 
What could this be, I hear you asking? 
Ah, it reminds me of um..... a flock of birds, an approaching rain-shower, manna from heaven, an eye, a rainbow, the jackpot, a comet about to hit our planet, a message from outer space, etc. etc. Well, have fun with all that if you like, but don't let me put associations in your head, 
because there weren't any in mine.

After years of mainly figurative painting, it comes as a relief to paint something that doesn't have to look like anything.

Yes, I did a spontaneous rough sketch of an arrangement that pleased me, but after then I tried not to think about anything and just see what would happen. 

It's a watercolour without a title (32 x 47 cm).


Friday 12 April 2019

Untitled 3.2019

Untitled 3. 2019

It's still in there.
I wasn't even thinking of dance, but my hands and brushes took over. Those years of painting dance in the nineteen-eighties, inspired by choreographer Jiri Kylián and his Netherlands Dance Theatre, 
left an indelible impression 
on my inner self. 
That visceral sensation, as clouds of watercolour from my brushes seem to float across the paper, soaring into the air. My bamboo pens still jump for joy, as they create
 graphic rhythms to celebrate 
the use of space. 

And following my habit of sharing with you the first sketch of an idea, here's my scribble on the back of a piece of paper that happened to be lying there.

Wednesday 10 April 2019

Untitled 2.2019

Untitled 2. 2019

I've just been enjoying a little conversation between watercolour, bamboo pen, pencil and brushes, playful, determined, slightly humorous and gentle. Finally painting what I feel like doing, but also intuitively allowing the paint to have a life of its own. 
Watercolour is my best friend.
What is it? I have no idea. I don't feel the need to "make a statement" any more. It doesn't have to look like something or someone. It doesn't have to be marketable. It's not a commission. No worries.
It's just come from somewhere inside. 
The cliché is "an inner necessity". 
The painting is 50 x 45cm., but it started 
as a scribble on a scrap of paper.
I'm letting you into all my secrets.

Wednesday 3 April 2019

Floating in Time and Space

Floating in time and space

Just a pencil-scribble on the back of a page, searching for something. Some private notes, without thinking.
How would this look in watercolour, I wonder? Let's see what happens. No need to make an exact copy. 

Watercolour, approx. 40 x 30, 2019

These pools of colour look so fragile. Are they tentatively reaching out to each other, floating in space and time? Or are they memories? They've grown into something else than the pencil sketch. It was perhaps a search for peace, yet there seems to be so much energy.
Thanks for sharing my search. There's more to come.