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The Trapani Project

Studio Logs

Hanjo Schmidt
The Trapani Project

It's time now to contemplate on the Trapani project isn't it.


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Studio Logs

2006-11-02

For contemplating on the Trapani project I better sit on my Vespa for to get the right Italian feeling. So let's wait and see what comes out of this.

Comments
JP Delaney
2013-01-17 11:33

I was recently looking through the studio logs and remarking on how few are actually interesting - where the artist has put some thought and time into presenting what's happening in the studio. Hanjo, in the past, did some great entries, the set of images in this SLOG is a good example - where he can be both tongue-in-cheek, and serious, and lead us through a narrative of an artist's activity.


2006-11-02

And of course a good cappuccino ... that will help a lot.

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2006-11-03

Well, to do a creative job means that at the beginning you do everything but being creative. For example the studio suddenly urgently needs to be cleaned up.

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2006-11-03

Yes and while doing so ... there are these old casts. What to do with them? I’ve always loved the forms of hands and feet ... um ... does that mean it is a tip from the muse? Well, the Trapani project should make sense shouldn’t it. And for making sense in Germany we say that something should have hand and foot.

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2006-11-04

Of course there are many many ways to depict hands and feet. In my Friday Afternoon Series I had often given hands or feet a prominent treatment so maybe I should give it another try ... perhaps like this?

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2006-11-04

No better to concentrate on the theme and for example showing the grip of the hands like this ...

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2006-11-04

... or a bit more concentrated, strong and dramatic ...

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2006-11-04

Well, to explain things I have to make an insert. Elaine once told me how the memories of the concentration camps (her father was in one of them) still infect her everyday life. The story went like this:
Once I bought a strawberry tart as a desert for my guests. The tart was in a cardboard box , the box fell but I did'nt look inside and put it in the fridge. At the end of the meal I came with the box and opened it. All of the strawberries was stacked in one corner of the box and I started to cry silently. People around were wondering what was going on in my mind, crying for such a little drama! To me, those strawberries reminded me of the pictures of people found in the gaz chambers, who always stack in a pile, in one corner of the room.
And Elaine told me that she was considering on doing painting with this theme. As you know she did all her paintings she had on this site in black and white or just grey. And I told her:

The idea is good but you shouldn’t do that in grey. Don’t make it look like all those grey and sad memorials. Don’t make it look like all these memorial events, where people gathering with a solemn face, not knowing where to let their hands so they finally put them together in front of their genitals and try to look as grey as possible. Everyone seeing this will think: Aha, Memorial Day ... umm can we please turn the page? The point is that those people in the gas chambers weren’t grey or black and white. They came out of their normal life. They looked just like you and me. They had colours, they still had those imprints of their underwear on their hips. They were made to live and lough and love. They had talents and thoughts and plans. They were made to give joy to each other. But then one sunny day they were cought and crammed in those cattle waggons and selected and undressed and only a few minutes later send into these fatal showers. And it were all those rosy people that were found later in that corners, still rosy but suffocated and poisoned.
So paint those strawberries red and delicious, made to please and taste good. Well they are stuck into the corner of the box, that looks strange ... and then you read the title: After the gas or just gas chamber. Eeeck what’s that? It’s so macabre so weird. And that’s exactly what it is. Killing people is weird and macabre and killing them this way is absolutely monstrous and incomprehensible. So this can be a very true painting, a courageous one.

Well, afterwards I wasn’t quite sure if my advise was correct, so I had to do such a painting for myself to find out.

So now this painting is hanging in our living room and yesterday I had a close look at it what led to a certain idea regarding my Trapani project.

Comments

2006-11-04

The idea is something like this: The beautiful forms of hands and feet together with the bright colours of delicious red fruits with an underlying drama everyone has to find out by him- or herself.

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2006-11-04

So I tried to find the right lay-out by experimenting with my own hands and feet.
Well, now is the time to call in my models which will be the most difficult part of the project for they are very very busy people. Maybe it will take weeks until I can start to do the final photos. So let’s have another cup of cappuccino ...

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2006-11-10

Waiting for the models ... well, I should have learned it in all those years but still I’m not good at it. Actually I hate waiting. But what shall I do? So I use the time to finish the commissioned portrait (money is needed as usual) ...

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2006-11-10

... and stretch the new canvas. It should be 180 to 120 cm I think ...

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2006-11-10

... do the undercoating. I always work from black to white or in other words from dark to light ...

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2006-11-10

... and ... yes another cappuccino!

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2006-11-15

A painting doesn’t come into being while thinking of it. Painting isn’t just printing ones idea on a canvas. It’s an act of finding out. It’s a kind of communication, a dialog with the emerging painting. I put paint on the canvas and it says „well, go on“ or it says „no way, are you kidding?“ So while still waiting for the models i’ll have a try. One can always paint it over so what.

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2006-11-15

One of the irritations is that a painting sometimes looks awfully good while in process. But one cannot just leave it unfinished ... or better I cannot. For in the end you have to be the master, not the painting.

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2006-11-15

So there is a lot of contemplating on what you have done so far. De Koning says it takes 90% of the time. And from my experience I can agree with him. Sometimes you have to lay down and have a short nap to loosen the knots in your brain. So sleep can be work too.


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2006-11-15

Well, next step. Oh oh that seems to get difficult ... but come on just do it. One has to go on and on for until you have done the whole thing you cannot judge it properly. This is what Patricia calls sweating in the studio, am I right?

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2006-11-15

I work with acrylics not with oil. I need to work quick for I have a tendency of being to accurate. I don’t want to come into photo realism. And acrylics dry fast as you know so I have to hurry to do my painting while the paint is still wet. This sometimes really is a sweat job. But I like it.

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2006-11-15

Normally I use cheap brushes approximately 4 cm wide. They are flat like a baking brush so I can handle them as a spatula. Maybe that comes from having been a sculptor for a very long time. But in some parts I need to take a smaller brush even if I try to do everything with that wider brush ... but ... you know ...

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2006-11-15

Well it’s a sort of still life but I’m still in motion for being so nervous. At the moment I am not quite satisfied with the result but of course there is much left to do. Tomorrow I will work it over. Maybe some parts have to be darker or more coloured. At the moment I don’t know. I’m curious what the green of the leaves and stalks will add.

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2006-11-15

And now the cleaning up! I’m used to have a mess in my head but not in my studio. And well, what comes next to that? Yeah, right, another cappuccino!!!

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2006-11-16

Well, that’s it so far. The green does good I think. I hope no one will mistake the fruits for apples now. So we have the first try for the Trapani painting and the problem of how to call it.

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2006-11-16

Here we have some details. I’m always astonished anew that one can produce such a degree of reality with such few and raw brushstrokes.

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2006-11-16

The brightness of the colours doesn’t come from the paint alone but from kontrast as well. One can use the brightest paint without having it shine on the canvas. That’s what the right lights do. Bright and dark close together.

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2006-11-16

Another test is to hang the painting at a different place. Without all the stains at the painting wall. A new surrounding shows what’s good and what’s wrong more clearly. Like to watch it on a photograph. Having been in front of the painting for such a long time sometimes makes you kind of blind.

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2006-11-16

Well, a lot of paint is wasted on the table ... my palette ... would be interesting how much Euros have gone into these layers. Maybe I should take them off sometimes and sell it as an abstract painting hehe.

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2006-11-16

Now I’m drunk from all these cappuccinos ... or has it been grappa instead ...

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2006-11-17

Oh, not to forget: the varnish! Acrylics aren’t very hardwearing. So better protect them. Meanwhile I am experienced of how much to splash on the canvas. Now I have to spread it over the canvas with a wide brush ...

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2006-11-17

... well when it’s fresh it shines like a mirror but later on silky-matt. Then one can even scratch with a fingernail on the surface ... but of course only I am allowed to do so hehe. For all the other people there will be a sign „Don’t touch the artwork!“ So please keep your fingers away. Well, no cappuccino for today!

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2006-11-24

Well the title of the painting ... I call it „Brueghel’s Method“.
Some of you may ask „Umm why that?“ Well it’s to difficult to explain in a few lines. So who wants to know has to read Michael Frayn’s exiting novel „Headlong“ to find out what Brueghel’s method might have been. Besides a funny story it’s a very impressing and serious compilation of the Dutch history of the 16th and 17th century and for I love the Dutch I love this book.

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