Art of Living

I had never an education in art – as you can see. But I heard that students of art have to copy the great artists to become familiar with their styles, colors and techniques to learn from them. Later they have to find their own styles, colors and techniques to express themselves. They were influenced by different artists but they also have to become free of the tradition. At that point it shows who is a “real” artist.

Let me tell you something about these paintings of mine. When you click on one of them you can see them as a slight show. I’ve painted them between 2014 and 2017. When you click the tag “art” you will see more of my art.

Well, for me the best picture at that moment is “Raskolnikov”, the most embarassing one is “One World”. But actually I hadn’t paint “Raskolnikov” at all. It was an accident, that it came into existence. The linen was an old piece of rag, which I used to clean my brushes. At that time I painted in oil. Oil colors dry very slowly. When I sorted my painting stuff a half year later, I found this rag in a plastic bag. The linen was glued together and I unwrinkled it to see if I could use it for something else. You can imagine my surprise, when I noticed that this rag had become a painting. A painting that had painted itself. The only act of creativity, when you really want to name it was finding a name for it. I named it “Raskolnikov” according to the main character in Fyodor Dostoyevsky’s novel “Crime and Punishment”. It’s about a student who lives in poverty and kills a female money lender. It seemed to me that I could recognize a dark person and a face in the middle of the rag. The painting gets with that name quite a lot of seriousness and it could maybe hang in some art gallery.

“One World”, my “most embarrassing” painting, shows the connection between heaven and earth. I imagined that heaven is not a separated world 1000’s of kilometers up in the earth, but is as invisible world right besides us humans. It was painted by my own child. I have no children but it was painted so to speak by the little boy, who has been living – and hopefully will always live – in me. This painting contains more of “me” than “Raskolnikov”.

But how can I actually speak about “best” and “embarrassing” at all? Isn’t it because I imagine, what a real artist is and how he has to paint? That I have created a role, an image of an artist? Isn’t it funny, that you can distinguish an artist, a singer of a rockband, an attorney and a banker at first sight? Why do we often limit us to our roles, how somebody has to be? Aren’t we aware, that we are not only much more than our roles and how we pretend to be, but that we don’t need to be something? That we are free beyond our roles, beyond our status in society? We don’t need to limit us to particular standards. We are who we are. And if I understand this, that is, if you absolutely want to give it a name, what I call the art of living: to be yourself.

Transformation

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Me in my 13thfloor studio

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Praying

First I thought “nicely done” and “that’s it” but half an hour later the painting seemed to me to be too figurative and not abstract enough. I felt that my feelings, which I wanted to express, were still in me and that I was still nervous and not satisfied with the result. Sometimes when I paint I’m somehow in a rush or in a thrill of ecstasy until the painting is done. And here I felt that the painting wasn’t completed. Fortunately the paint was still wet. So what to do? Adding a different color? No the colors were perfect: Black symbolizing death and red symbolizing love. I added a little bit more of these two colors and folded the canvas. As long until I was satisfied with the result. By the way I made a big mess in my flat because I accidentally stepped in the color and spread it through my whole apartment. But it was worth it.

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Mystic Heart

I like this painting very much. Especially the round part in the midst. It is so vivid and organic like a pulsating heart.  The transformation of the painting became to me to an awesome symbol of our spiritual journey. Let me put it this way:

Praying transforms a normal heart into a mystic heart.

 

Dear Sigrid!

liebe Sigrid

Life gives, life takes, goes its way as God determines, he leads in happiness, he leads through suffering, but everything lasts its time. Keep always still, often it’s unclear, as ever it may come, he loves you! Never be disheartened and ponder and dare!
Already tomorrow comes a day of sun!

With hearty blessing for your future on the day of your confirmation, written for you, dear Sigrid, by your Gretel.

Rabenau, 04.10.1949

A few days ago I found a little notebook in a box with old books standing in front of a house. Only this dedication was in it, the rest of the pages were empty. At first glimpse these lines maybe don’t belong to the higher literature, but seem to be like words in a poetry album, maybe they sound a little bit corny, but they touched me very deeply. The deepness of the meaning finally are emphasized by the date: written at 04.10.1949 – that means written 4 years after World War II.

Gretel, who is close to Sigrid because she maybe is her sister or friend, survived the war. Like Sigrid who was born in the terror regime of the Nazis and who nearly lived during her whole childhood – until she was 10 years – in World War II. Both women experienced the horror.

Germany lays in ruins. Its people are traumatized through the war. How can you assimilate these inner wounds? The experiences of loss of dear humans? By going along with the fate (“hold always still”), because what else can you do?

But behind that stands the experience, every suffering passes by. Suffering and happiness are in God’s hand. “He loves you!”

How childlike and innocent sound this words. There you can’t find any bitterness in her words because of the experienced. No, don’t stand still and look back, Sigrid, you have a future. Therefore don’t be disheartened.

Ponder and dare” means ponder what you are going to do well, think carefully about your next step. But don’t be paralyzed, but dare to go into your future. Hope for tomorrow. It doesn’t remain as bad as today, “already tomorrow comes a day of sun!” God’s blessing may be with you in your future.