People often ask me: “Why do you paint in a realistic manner?” – My answer is clear: “A realistic way of painting is like a language, that everybody understands, in the whole world, at any time, independent from the viewer´s intellect!”
Since I was a child I asked myself: “Why does a painting always look like a painting, an ‘artwork’, and not like a photo or even like reality?” – When I first saw photorealistic artworks hanging on the walls in the long corridors at the Cologne Art School and in museum exhibitions at the beginning of last seventies, I was totally fascinated. - It didn´t last long when I tried to paint the same way and I happily realized that I succeeded. [Show early paintings!]
But when I began there was a great difference between the so called Photorealism and the kind of realism I created. This is because of the fact that the constellations shown in my pictures normally are inventions. Despite of the fact that they are constructed, artificial, the constellations are usually realistic. – Every day´s objects like trees, houses, factory buildings, power plants and mobile elements like cars, buses, etc. are placed like pawns on a chess-board, united to a new reality, an artificial one, which is not free from some kind of strangeness, from magic. Time seems to stand still and human beings are shown very rarely, and if yes, one can only realize them as a part of the background scenery ore as if frozen to statues. On the other side you mostly can see the traces of human activities, of human culture. - When regarding my paintings one will discover transcending landscapes with a large overwhelming sky, which normally takes ¾ or even more of the whole composition. – Within such endless seeming landscapes you often have the feeling of a déjà-vu because the elements, the mood, the atmosphere seen in my paintings seem to be familiar with similar situations, experienced by yourself.
Power-Plant, 50 x 60 cm, oil/tempera on canvas Transmitting-Station, 85 x 100 cm, oil/temp. on canv.
I grew up in a suburb of Cologne and I´m still living in the Western German region, near the Rhine-river and the Dutch border. – Things depicted mostly have been experienced by myself previously. In my paintings they form a new quality of message and the viewer is invited to have a mental walk to come to new conclusions and a personal point of view.
Skye I, 100 x 120 cm, oil/tempera on canvas Jamaica Shop, 70 x 80 cm, oil/tempera on canvas
Finally, not only impressions of my native region have been picked up, also those obtained during my travels to more distant regions and foreign countries. – Not to be misunderstood: I do not regard myself as a landscape-portraitist and I do not paint landscapes to show landscapes! – I create new spaces with landscape-features. The elements realized may stand for something different. – So every painting consists of several layers of interpretation and mostly allows you to discover a lot of ambivalent aspects. – A power-plant for example can simply be a power-plant, but it can also be a construction for human benefit or even an object which pollutes the environment. – It´s you to find out your personal perspective!
Whereas most of my paintings are products of my own fantasy – often created spontaneously – some pictures have their origins in photos, taken accidentally, when seen an unexpected and interesting natural constellation. In such cases it´s me to come to a new kind of interpretation which is worth portraying.
Houverather Straße, 50 x 60 cm, oil/temp. on canvas On The Eve, 70 x 60 cm, oil/temp. on cvs.
All these facts are typical for the so called Magic Realism, which became important in the USA in the 20s of 20th century. – However, in Germany and other European countries Magic Realism has never reached the some state of significance as in America. Especially in Germany this kind of realism is nearly unknown and only a handful of contemporary artists can be considered as Magic Realists. – Often people do not know the difference between Magic Realism, Surrealism and Phantastic Realism. The explanation is simple: Magic Realism normally shows realistic constellations, in contrast to both other kinds.
A photorealistic artwork for example shows a landscape like seen in a photo or in reality. A magic realistic picture tends to make evident some strangeness within the composition including the question for coincidence. – In Surrealism the landscape can include elements which usually are not possible or really do not belong to it, for example “The Burning Giraffe” in Dali´s famous painting or Magritte´s hovering pieces of rock. – Phantastic Realism however, presents a landscape including fantasy-features like aliens, u.f.o.s, magicians, elfins, etc.
Passage, 50 x 60 cm, oil/tempera on canvas Statue, 90 x 100 cm, oil/tempera on canvas
Despite of these differences the invisible borderlines between the various kinds of Realism are often overstepped by the artists and sometimes it is difficult to define clearly to what kind of realism a picture really belongs!
Last but not least, let me say something about my technique of painting! – Sky, water and distant landscape-parts are always in oil-colour which allows to create very atmospherical color-gradations. – Other, more concrete parts, such as trees, buildings, etc. are painted in a so called mixed technique which unites oil- and tempera-colour. Tempera is an emulsion which consists of fresh egg and linseed-varnish or resin-varnish, sometimes both, eventually some gum arabic and a small quantity of preservative. – This emulsion has to be mixed with the colour-pigments using a spade and the freshly prepared tempera-colour has to be applicated with water. – After about five minutes of drying, the tempera-layer has to be covered with a synthetic resin-varnish which creates more transparency and gives water-resistance to the underpainting. – After that, I continue my work with tempera-colour, painting some details, etc. – Finally, after another layer of varnish I add a transparent layer of oil-colour which gives depth, structure and more atmosphere to my paintings. – Sometimes you can find ten or even more very thin layers one upon the other! – The advantage of tempera-colour is the problem-free adherence to oil-colour; furthermore the compound-structure of different colour-layers will last for centuries. We see that, when regarding ancient paintings from 16th or 17th century.
Preparing tempera-colour Traditional colour-pigments
More infos about artist´s materials and colour-pigments at: http://www.kremer-pigmente.de