Monday, March 28, 2016

final Week 10 at Watt´s

wrapping up the Watt´s winter term

The journey at Watt´s is over and I´m wrapping up everything here, preparing to move back. It´s been a fantastic time, one that I can not regard any higher. The learning among such great teachers and fellow students has been phenomenal to say the least and many friendships have been formed. I will miss everybody and look forward to see how everyone will craft their own path towards reaching their goals as artists. There will be another term at Watt´s for me, for sure!
I´m thinking about making a more comprehensive post about the time and what it has done to my improvement personally and with a direct comparison of week 1 to 10. In hindsight, actually quiet a short period of time but the effect was great. The most important aspect to me is how it changed my way of seeing and the quality of finish I now regard as my standard, or at least what I should be striving for in my paintings. 
So, here are some portraits from the last week, I hope to finish one more during the week. Last painting until moving back and then probably for a while until I can paint again. 

Tuesday, March 22, 2016

Week 9

Last week of the winter term at Watts, WOW!
I made some progress during last week and experiment more with my brushwork. Especially the portrait gesture class is amazing for this kind of playful approach, the lightning fast 40 minutes you have as a corset force absolute efficiency onto you. Now the trick is to transfer this looseness into larger portraits and paintings in general. It´s so easy to tighten up and forget about juicy strokes and the big picture and the aesthetic of mark making.
This said, here are some of the paintings from last week.

9" x 12"
9" x 12"

9" x 12"

5" x 7" gesture

5" x 7" gesture

5" x 7" gesture

Thursday, March 10, 2016

Roadtrip Intermezzo #2

Southern California as dry as a bone

Finally, the last episode of our trip before my memory gets too fuzzy. 
We spend most of the time in the car driving through a totally serene and abandoned landscape that could easily be the set of a movie playing on the moon. Strange and alien, amazing rock formations and cacti all around. Death Valley is the most arid and hottest place on earth, next to the Atacama desert in Chile in South America. the Badwater Basin is also the point of lowest elevation, 86 meter below sea level. In the distance you could see Mount Whitney, the highest mountain in the United States. They have rain, if at all, once a year.
It's fascinating to imagine the earliest settlers trying to cross the surrounding mountains and then having to pass through this unfriendly territory. Survival of the fittest at its best, but the only way to get to the coastline of California.

We didn't want to miss Las Vegas, as it was very close by, but in the end the experience there was so bad and overwhelming that we couldn't stand staying there for more than 30 minutes. It's a real freak show, a lot of half naked people dressed in shrill costumes and everything screams at you and wants to suck your money in. At least I got a tasty yet overpriced milkshake before we took flight. I guess the contrast of the quiet landscape all around and then this island of consumerism was a stark contrast which you have to mentally be prepared for.

A short section of the drive through the desert was on the historic Route 66, and it certainly didn't disappoint. It looks very haunted and lost in time, which is what you also see in the movies and documentaries about the period when new interstates were build and the people living there found themselves forgotten and without any possibility to earn a living. The world found ways to turn faster and didn't care about those outside the fast lane.
We stopped at the only gas station around for a coffee, owned by a very nice guy who, to the question how many people lived in the town, responded wholeheartedly: "7 people, 6 too many."
When you have nothing else to do, you resort to quiet particular activities, like shooting signs. As a result, every traffic sign or ad you see along the Route 66 is perforated with bullet holes.

Yoshua Tree National Park, last day in the car and I had to put on new sun blocker every 20 minutes to not get roasted. The Mojave Desert with it's characteristic trees was the most beautiful so far. Fun fact: the rock formations are actually more than 100 million years old and were formed by magma cooling off underneath the surface. 
What a trip! I hope you enjoyed the pictures (the last two in this post were shot by my dad, he has a great eye for beautiful details) and the journey, it was fun to relive the experience while writing about it.
See you next time.


Tuesday, March 8, 2016

Week 7

7th week at Watts Atelier

Small update with a couple results I´m very happy with from the last week. 3 more weeks to go and a lot of canvases to fill, let´s see how they turn out. 

This drawing was from the 20 minute lay-in class, I worked more tonal and painterly on this one and I´m very satisfied with the drawing and the process. The goal was to vary edges a lot and try to capture the general impression more than specific features.

Thursday, March 3, 2016


week 6

Finally I´m able to post the recent fruits of labor. I´m becoming very critical of my own work, as I have always been. When you are surrounded by great talent as you are in the atelier progress is inevitable. Everybody´s efforts in return inspire to deliver always your best, as it should be naturally. The interesting twist is, and that´s a development I´m most curious about watching myself introspectively, I´m less and less concerned with technical aspects about producing pictures and try to strive for a result that is aimed at actual picture-making. Basically, what does the picture, or canvas, need in order to be successful? Even in a small study or short session, this makes all the difference and lifts the process to a much more creative effort.
Just for this mental change I´m grateful to have taken the journey here and for all the great feedback I receive. I guess this is only a small step in a life long endeavour, there is so much more to discover.
Let´s get on with it!


Monday, February 22, 2016

Roadtrip Intermezzo #1

Conquering Southern California

Inbetween my studies I had a great 5 days of taking a roadtrip with my father who was visiting California. I will release the whole trip in segmented posts because choosing the right pictures from the giant stack of 1500+ photos takes quite some time and I imagine reading a giant wall of text is not very inviting.
I started from San Diego and took a flight to San Francisco where we began our ride with a great and enjoyable car, the Camaro convertible. Driving top down all the way was a great experience, you feel very close to the blur that is the passing landscape, no boundaries at all. Sunblocker is a must have, for everyone who wants to try it. We drove via the famous Golden Gate Bridge to Muir National Park, our first encounter with the redwood trees the area is so famous for. In Muir the trees are taller than in Yosemite, but no so wide in diameter.
Driving on we entered Yosemite. This place is just pictoresque in every aspect. Waterfalls, great mountain peaks who form a specacular silhouette all around, forests, you name it. Basically you can find a picture book example of how you imagine the wild America to be at every turn. 

After Yosemite we continued towards Sequoia National Park, which has some of the greatest trees, the largest specimen stand as tall as 90m and muscular 12m wide. General Sherman is the biggest of all, but unfortunately we couln´t make it there because of snowy weather conditions and blocked roads. It was quiete a range of very diverse climate zones we passed during the short period of time. Everything from burning 90 degrees to 32 degrees Fahrenheit, desert and snow, 150 feet below ocean level and more than 6000 feet above. 

It was a fantastic place, really impressive to witness all the towering giants who grow there for almost 2000 years after they reach their final size. The root I´m standing next to in the picture above is in the same exact condition for 100 years now, despite the fact that it´s dead. It was used by settlers and gold diggers during that time period who found shelter and warmth in the hollow tree which a historical photo nearby illustrated very well. It´s easy to imagine the mountain lions and bears they tried to hide from. Hard times.

That´s it for the first part, next enroute is a contrary landscape type: desert. Thanks for your time and I hope you follow along and enjoy the ride.

Wednesday, February 17, 2016


New portraits for today, one 3h oil portrait of Christa and a chalk drawing. Both pieces were a great learning experience, I would do them differently right now. Oh well, that´s the way it is. See you soon!