In this series I am inspired by artists from Renaissance Italy. A period of time when painters flourished within religious and mythological themes. It is not the religious or mythological that I want to recall or represent, but the literal beauty of a composition or detail from an artwork from the past. I work in a contemporary technique yet with material that is used in the past a lot: 24-karat gold leaf.
Gold when used in art of the past mostly referred to something divine or celestial. In my works I use gold as a ground layer to emphazise the beauty of the images.
In this age of easy acces to imagery, I want to revalue painted images, which are carefully build up in layers and made by hand. The paintings on gold are in a way related to jewellery too. Like in gemstones the reflection of light generates the main beauty of the object, gold generates a warm energy and colours on gold brighten up.
The women of da Vinci I have chosen as my inspiration reflect an intimate and introspective atmosphere, very serene and in a way even sad. The paintings of Botticelli I have chosen show the abundance of detail in hair and decoration. My paintings are a tribute to the mastership of painters, their way of depiction. And by taking these images as an example, I learn to watch, think and act as a painter.
Since 2016 I started painting with oil paint on 24 karat gold leaf on panel. I decided to start working on gold for the reasons that I wanted to explore the effect of the use of gold as a ground color. Would it have an effect on the reflection of light on and of the surface? Would it have an effect on the illusion of depth or relief of the depicted scene on an observer?
I painted subjects as feathers, mandalas, landscape and details of paintings from old masters. I tried different techniques: painted from mind, after a photograph and from reality. In this way I evolved my own skills of painting on gold. – Painting on gold is a very concentrated work because one paints on metal. On top of that the gold is damaged as soon as it is touched by the paint (and terpentine), removing causes mat spots. Which means that everything has to be done in one time good -.
I found out that the reflections of light on the panels can be strikingly different: when the light changes the painting changes. Next to that I found out that my way of painting – very thin layers of paint – radiates the light in a beautiful translucent way. Also I found out that depth or an illusion of depth (in the whole scene, not only the figures) is created in a total different way then in traditional Western painting techniques. This brought me to the Eastern ways of using gold in paintings.