A Painters Log: michellevision
These small panels of Larissa and Lena I began way back when, they were intended for the exhibition at Gallery Labusch in December. I'm rather late. I won't apologize as some paintings need more time than others. Some paintings need the right time. It took a while to rekindle dreamy innocence. Romance drifted once again into my world as I devoured Henry Millers 'Big Sur and the Oranges of Hieronymus Bosch'. His oranges refer to my redwood forest Nymphs and how they glisten in the golden coastal sunset. And so since I began this rich book I decided many things. Two are almost certain. One is to witness the Garden of Earthly Delights at the Museo del Prado and the other is to visit Salvadore Dali's home in Figueres during the Nocturne. Both are excellent ideas.
In the meantime I am back to huge bountiful abstractions using up all the materials I have in my studio in a new series titled 'Recalentado'.
Solitude is keeping me focused. Today I received my first three phone calls since Friday, which gives an impression of my conditions. These past three weeks were prolific and I've rounded off my first seven panels which appear more vivid and less intense as previous works. I feel very much in the present with exception to the occasional bout of nostalgia.
There is no reason any longer to use solvents, except of course to use up the oils which I already have. Sure the paints are different in feel however change is learning.
Portrait no 61 Title: Amai! Stars!
Another work in progress, still using water mixable oils. Perhaps the first really content self portrait. Self portraits are a great tool for introspection and a serious matter. Self examination helps clarify what has been and what is. I am happily astounded by the all that has come to be and that which lies in the future.
Doing without doing is hard when you're a doer. Still some things must be done. Coordinating the logistics for my next exhibition at the ZKB Zürcher Kantonal Bank in Winterthur from a distance poses certain challenges. All the while challenges make life super interesting and require action. The bank was rebuilt in the 1970's and maintings a retro feeling associated with the post modern era. It's wood paneled interior offers a warm and elegant backdrop for a variety of works from over the past 10 years which will be on display.
7. March -31. May 2012: Zürcher Kantonalbank
Untertor 30, 8400 Winterthur - opening 7. March
For guided tours during this 3 month exhibition please contact me directly for an appointment to view works from Monday through Friday 9 - 16:30.
Above: an unsuccessful attempt to do without doing
I decided to wait it out and see what happens. To do without doing. To not take on new projects that may lead me astray from my path - Lao Tse (the way). To finish what I have begun. Savoring the solitude in below freezing temperatures, I'm pleased to find discipline in painting and daily walks through the streets of Antwerp.
My exploration continues undaunted. I like the newness of water mixable oils and paint for longer intervals without being influence by troublesome mind altering solvents. Clean up is efficient and I need not be concerned any longer with spontaneous combustion due to rags drenched in mediums. These paintings which are in their first phase of completion are intended for this falls exhibition together with my daughter Gretchen at the Kulturschiene in Herliberg. My theme is 'abundance' and is expressed in color, texture and movement.
13. - 31 September 2012: Kulturschiene
General Wille-Strasse, 8704 Herliberg Feldmeilen
oil on linen 100cm x 70 cm
I'm battling the icy cold temperature of my studio in snow boots and a ski jumper while adapting to the new circumstances which have resulted in an involuntary Vipassana. As you may already know, I recently established a second painting studio in the 16th century 'Suyker Huis', once upon a time Antwerp's largest sugar refinery. Smack dab between the Royal Academy of Fine arts and the Literary Museum in the old city center, this gem was frequented by nobility and well known painters...so they say.
Here in my Antwerp studio I'm experimenting with environmentally friendlier oil paints from Cobra which are mixed with water. The consistency is somewhat different. Comparing these paints with standard oils would be like comparing almond flavored rice milk with full cream. Both are yummy however I prefer rice milk on a daily basis. So who knows this may be just my thing. I like the faster drying time and i'm curious to see if the pigments maintain their brilliance over time. So far so good. In the meantime, thanks to Paulo and Stefan I had a carbon filter installed in the Winterthur studio which filters the solvents produced by the quick drying painting mediums I use.
Left: Studio in Antwerp, Right: Carbon Filter in Winterthur
Diary excerpt 31. January, 2012
Facing the back of the train she sees the landscape disappear into the horizon in front of her. She contemplates time as it seems to fade into the snow dusted farmland and rolling hills. Facing the front of the train she's bombarded with images that her eyes try to grasp within nanoseconds. She notices that her head leads her body forward at approximately 15 degrees while examining her reflection in a shop window. Travelling in a train allows this difference of 15 degrees to equalize itself.
Her train takes her to the solitude of a sixteenth century sugar factory haunted by whispers of lovers and duels, where she will work through the night uninterrupted and focused.
traveling old paths anew,
staying in a room with views of chariots and decapitated heroes
while ice hearts melt in the pastures and we wait for what life shows
Double selfportrait in the same crazy room that Diana Ross and Herman Brood lodged at. How did I get here?
This expression was coined by Antonio/Michelle in a quaint Parisian apartment with light from three sides, on satiated bellies from Suzannes christmahannukwanzadan Delights. We're plorking (work-play) productively and silently together, with pleasing thoughtful interruptions. Antonio edits and reviews his filmed workshops and me I'm making a SWOT analysis for my next project. Antonio elaborates on Jungs individuation which is the subject matter of his workshop and is so totally relevant.
Expressions are telling. Her resolute and determined stare is confronting and demands full attention, she is resilient and seeks integrity.
This is my process of painting a self portrait.
integrity: undivided completeness nothing wanting/ a concept of being congruent
Recently a shrewd businessman suggested I attend a marketing workshop, inspired by Lady Gaga’s success, to discover tools to achieve greater financial prosperity. Although this did appeal to my marketing sensibilities powered by generations of Chinese and American genes, in all honesty the wind flew out of my sails. I was pigeon holed and surprised by the lack of understanding of what makes art - art, all the while confronted with my own survival instincts. Yikes.
What is art and what is not. A short interview with Milton Glaser
Luckily Hansje, an inspiring friend and creator of the Polliniferous Project - A World In A Shell, read my mind and sent this Email, "maybe this gives you some impulses" with a link to Contemporary Art Daily's article about Robert Filiou's vision:
All art is life is play, and all are part of everything in the world all the time.
This brought a big smile to my face.
Never the less this was a wake up call. Once again I reevaluated my artistic motives. Inspiring deeper feelings by creating worlds which engage participation of the viewers imagination is what seems to be the root of my calling.
Whatever you do do something else...
As a result of this slight provocation I discovered that I did not want to spend my time doing the same things I once did. Was someone else actually telling me to think big? If art-being-life is intergalactic then my journey has only just begun!
Title: Meisje niet zo snel weg rennen, het is gewoon een beetje roest op het hart - dat kan je weg poetsen.
I won't bore you with the mundane existence of a painter. Instead on this marvelous day I'll share my wish list. Not just because I'm an Eddie Vedder fan. I don't wish I was anything other than what I am.
I see now that it took seven wishes to come to the heart of my wish.
7. Receive the Baer Art Center summer residency
6. Go to Burning Man
5. Live in a city where people are happy
4. Experience intense creative exchange
3. Give more workshops on intuitive painting
2. Learn to listen
1. Follow my heart
This year I decided to really love myself and do what makes me happy.
What I love about painting is the blank canvass. The not knowing aspect of life. My approach to painting has so much to do with feeling colors, finding balance, maintaining the aliveness of the materials with tension and harmony. Recognizing the integrity-intention of each brush stroke without judgment. The gift of focus and trans like qualities experienced when drawing and painting most of us have experienced as children. Talents are gifts, and according to Lewis Hyde's book The Gift, a gift remains a gift only if it continues to be gifted.
Once again I find myself in front of the blank canvass of life ready to paint my richest dream and I will include all the colors of life and the wisdom I have learned through painting.
This piece is inspired by the British Philosopher Alan Watts, who lived much of his life in my stomping grounds Marin County. It's a small part of a larger group series based on my concept of Utopia. Patterns and polarity are fundamental aspects of the painting process. Watt describes beautifully how we are the Big Bang! We are omnipotent. And if we examine our lives we will see that patterns are the essence of our behaviour and how life is not a conflict between opposites, it is a polarity. His most important message is how our ideas shape the world we live in. And stresses the urgency of finding an adequate satisfying image of the world.
From the deck of 78 Tarot cards I drew the Prince of swords. The advice paired with this archetype was to release myself from everything which limits the freedom of my spirit. Yet give my ideas and plans an expression that others will understand. Make a list of all my inner and outer limitations and decide which ones I will finally separate from. It seemed I had completed these tasks all within the last seven weeks. My final realization was that no boundaries are set to my creative possibilities - except those, in which I believe. So I took the cards I drew from the deck and began to sketch a new outcome.
Freude, Prins der Schwerter, Prinzessin der Schwerter
She had many talents and one in specific was a magical ability to recognize that the prisons in her mind were self created. So she painted her visions, with the realization that she could once again change her future with a single brush stroke.
Dreaming, changing, thinking, hoping, working, painting, organizing, contemplating, appreciating, imagining, focusing, balancing, writing, reflecting, processing, enjoying, befriending, caring, clarifying, feeling, discovering, sympathizing, laughing, crying, and renewing.
Love remains it is merely the understanding of oneself which changes. Under the cold blue LED light and microscope the shards of reality awoke Juliette from her beautiful dream.Juliette 2 panels in oil 15cm x 30cm
once again in the cycle of Campbell's Hero's Journey. During this transitional time I have had the opportunity to question every aspect of my life from a distance. I have used my time wisely with deep introspection and contemplated my future on this planet. I am in the midst of my initiation and shall face my dragons. With this clarity I will enter the next phase of my life. As a result I now know that when the time is right I will complete the circle by returning home.
Concepts of Love: Love is dialogue
160 cm x 230 cm oil on jute
Larissa Bretscher & Lena Schmidt in gold leaf 180 x 180 cm
2. December Vernissage: Labüsch Bar & Gallery
hrs 18-19:30, Sulzer Areal Lagerplatz 8, zur Kesselschmiede 27, 8400 Winterthur
www.labuesch.com New collaborative works from Mike Albrow and Michelle Bird on Exhibition for 2 weeks.
Typing with bandaged fingers and considering the topic of death and rites of passage. Have not quite come to terms with the severe drop in temperature and how we proceed with the next filming session at dusk in the forrest.
He who dies before he dies, does not die when he dies.
-Abraham of Santa Clara.