Early Years

When I was a kid the world around me exploded in bright, vibrant colours.

Green and Orange, Yellow and any colour you can name could be found on tapestry, leather pockets, furniture and did not stop in fabric for men’s shirt and female dresses.

I loved this vibrancy and vividness all around me.

Raised in a fascinating town, extensively developed in the Gründerzeit (years of rapid industrial expansion in Germany at the end of the nineteenth century)  a  town, which ranks right after Vienna, Austria  in having the most houses build in that Gründerzeit style,  I remember a visit in one of these buildings, which had a drugstore in the basement: The room looked ancient, but the stuff they sold was ranging from house painting, over makeup colours to artist colours. I was impressed from that overwhelming offer of colours; the room was packed up to the ceiling; and the old-fashioned room which was pillared by two metal, fluted columns, looked just phenomenal.  A rack with little tiny tubes caught my attention right away. Begging my mom buying me these oil colours, (I was not even in elementary school) I was lucky enough, my mom bought me felt tip pens, which I was using intensely throughout my early years.

 

It was about the same timeframe, when my parents visited one of the largest baroque castles in Germany with me:  Ludwigsburg Residential Palace

Build between 1704 and 1733 in the baroque style this castle is a witness of the past and allows us to imagine life conditions of this very privileged royal society.

 

On this day I had my first rendezvous with portrait paintings.

Interestingly enough I more remember the female portrait paintings.

I do not know was it because of their rose cheeks and mouths, simulating a makeup, which could have been created by a contemporary makeup artist or was it their giant, dramatic hairstyle.

Their vividness and liveness astonished me and I remember asking myself: if these portraits are showing ladies from 200 years ago, how in the world does a painter know, how they have looked back then. I could not believe that these paintings were really old. Even though at that young age I was looking closely, how the portraits, especially the eyes were painted.  And those paint strokes did not look to complicated to me.

It is impossible to prove today, but I insist on it: This was the moment I decided to learn how to paint portraits, not knowing that this is a lifetime challenge.