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Friday, 28 February 2014


 Whenever I travel back home to Germany, I am trying to fit in as much time as possible to see some of the great museums and galleries, while I am there. Having been to Munich many times before, I visited the "Pinakothek der Moderne" as well as the "Neue Pinakothek". This time around it was time to see the old masters. I put this down to my recent interest in learning all the "old skills" on how to draw the figure, as well as observing nature, learning from life. It seems without this foundation, my work lacks a certain structure base.  The more I am learning to see and structure a painting the " traditional way", the more it seems to flow and carries with it a stability, that would otherwise be hard to achieve.

For a long, long time I resisted the notion of trying to paint and draw " realistically", which was mainly due to the fact, that I thought I could not do it and that one has to be born with a " gift" to draw, which in hindsight is utter bullshitt..:-), but go tell that to a young child. The myth of the "special talent" in regard to drawing and painting has stopped so many people from realizing their dreams. In the end, no one cares if you have talent or not, what counts is to show up to work every day in the studio. No talent will help you with your work, if you don't have the right work ethic. In this regard it was extremely reassuring for me to walk amongst the great masters at the ""Alte Pinakothek", because as soon as I stepped foot in the first room of paintings, I was awestruck.

It felt like I arrived at the " inner space", that I belonged to. To be with and look at these old paintings, that are hundreds of years old is a very special experience. It is like they hold the energy of their time within them. I feel a great surge of awe, wonder and respect for the painters, that created these works and it felt like a homecoming to me. There were many times in museums, where I was close to tears because I feel so moved by the experience. I think part of this is also my European soul, who connects with all the forces/ energies and history of my homeland, and feels so glad to have been " clicked backed into place" for a while. Living on the other side of the world, is in that regard a very unique experience.

The other very important insight was, that in order to really " get " masterpieces you actually have to stand in front of them. I was never really able to appreciate Raphael until I stood in front the  "Canigiani-Holy Family", the same with Rembrandt and Rubens...there is no other way to feel their presence, see the technique, glazing and composition...
 A copy can never, ever do a masterpiece justice. My advice would be to visit and see as much museums, galleries etc. as possible, in order to develop the skill of seeing and sensing great works of art.

Another encouraging moment was to see a couple of oils sketches by Rubens, which showed his process,  failed attempts and mistakes, which otherwise we often don't get to see. For any artist, this is a great opportunity to demystify the work of many great artists and it brings back a sense of reality to the doubtful aspiring artist. Knowing, that one is in good company and that many more before us have grappled with the problems of composition, light and form is a very reassuring confirmation. I certainly felt very inspired and ready to tackle new works, after having been to the "" Alte Pinakothek" in Munich. It also taught me to have a lot more patience and diligence, when approaching new works. Watch this space for a new focus on painting!