The Gathering from the pigeons series is finished. Today it received its final touch and was mounted on a stretcher frame for scanning.

The models were Emma and her first two babies: Willy and Joey. Both lived on our balcony for some time and then decided to start their own life somewhere else. The details you can read in my Pigeon Tales, a diary/blog about the adventure of our feral pigeon family.

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this is Willy

 

this is Emma

 

this is Joey

 

Emma is still living with her mate Pete on our balcony – it’s the 4rth year now…

After a long time being busy with other stuff and painting different things I went finally back to my pigeon series. It is inspiring to do something completely different in between – at least I feel I can continue better with ongoing themes when you can switch in the meanwhile.

Today I worked on The Gathering, an acrylic painting with Emma, Willy and Joey as models:

and here is a detail from the plumage of Emma and Joey’s face:

And if you would like to read about our feral pigeon family and what’s going on with them please check my diary/blog, the Pigeon Tales.

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I am really sorry that I have not posted lately but I am very busy with marketing my work. My attitude is that I cannot go on and create one after another if I don’t sell anything. I have heard/read from other painters who rather burn their paintings that do not sell for whatever reason than stocking them in the basement. What’s your point of view about this?

For me it’s simply a practical point of view: I just don’t have the space to stock all these works especially not the biggies and I hate producing waste and this would be exactly it if I would burn my works. I am still standing behind every single piece. Works which do not come up how I want them to be are being re-used if possible.

Now I have a little wish for you. You know I love pigeons and care very much for them. I have often talked about my pigeon diary the Pigeon Tales, documenting everything I learn about pigeons, their behaviour and during the past years I have deeply fallen in love with these amazing birds which are completely different from those awful prejudices they are beaten with.

I have also started a painting series about them, using members of our pigeon family as models. One of those paintings I have now submitted to the Saatchi online competition. Wouldn’t it be a wonderful hommage to these wonderful birds if a painting would make it into the first places?

So I am asking for your help. If you like this painting (see below) would you vote for it on the Saatchi website? Here is the link. If you don’t want to register with Saatchi you can use your facebook account instead. The voting is going til Feb 07 for the first round.

Thank you so much!

Voting Link

I have indeed finished the second piece of the Sari pieces. I used different print blocks from my collection and did some shadow printing which came out quite nicely.

On the photos the painting even looks like fabric which I find very funny because this is exactly the result I wanted to achieve. Now to the next ones….

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“Sari II”
20″ x 15″, acrylic on paper
©Petra Voegtle

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Doesn’t this make a great difference when mounted in a  sophisticated frame? There are so many different possiblities to frame this piece and each will look a bit different…

 

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This is so much fun at the moment for me. I can paint and do stuff without the need to get into research and delving knee-deep in documentary and meaning and stuff like that. Just pure fun. I can let something out – my passion for intricate ornaments and patterns.

What could be more seductive than the textiles and fabrics from southeast Asia, India, Thailand etc. Their intricate and filigree patterns are pure paradise and it is a challenge for me to imitate this as a painting. Surely I could cut out a piece of a beautiful silk sari, put it on a frame and hang it on the wall – but this wouldn’t be the same – right? And who on earth would cut a beautiful silk sari into pieces? Arrrrgh…

I love to imitate things in different materials than the original in order to make them look like the original from afar but the point is they aren’t. It is a play with colours and textures and patterns and I hope you’ll like it:

“Sari I”
20″ x 15″, acrylic on paper
©Petra Voegtle

 

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Btw – this also has been painted on heavy watercolour paper first in various hues of red and then block printed with one of my ancient Indian hand carved wooden block prints which I collected over the time. The intricate patterns are just too beautiful not to be used again.

So be sure that you will see more of these pieces…

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Finished another faux marble piece: this one is called Grey Marble.

These decorative pieces start to become real fun as I do never know how the result will be. And thus it happened that I could not do what I originally intented – similar to the Green Marble piece I wanted to do another faux marble painting with different colours, glazed the whole piece heavily and then realized to my horror that the block prints took the colours for the graphical design BUT the pattern would not “stick” to the glazed surface. Bummer!!! What now?

Although you can easily paint over heavy glazing with acrylics without any problems – block printing apparently is a whole different world. I decided to try it with stenciling. To be honest – since my childhood I have not done any stenciling at all so I had to find a way how I could apply filigree patterns (because this was the main requirement) to my marble painting?

So I started to work out a pattern which could be cut from a foil (I used simply overhead projector foils) with an exacto knife. Finally I had this finished – was a hell-uva-work – and I could apply the stencil pattern to the painting using acrylic paint very sparsely. This time it worked perfectly.

Tip

For lack of spray glue I used double-sided photo tape in order to attach the stencil to the painting.

And this is how the painting looks  now (framed in a virtual frame):

“Grey Marble”
20″ x 15″, acrylic on paper
©Petra Voegtle
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A few days ago I saw a great documentary on TV about the ancient city of Machu Picchu. It was fascinating but at the same time shocking to hear that this spiritual place has become an object of mass tourism.

While I fully understand that a poor country such as Peru needs the income from tourism badly it is again frustrating to hear how this is achieved. It is the same problem as everywhere in the world where survival of people clashes with the requirements for protecting the assets of a country as its natural environment and cultural heritage.

Machu Picchu was inscribed to the status of Worlds Heritage by the UNESCO in 1983. Being in danger to be trampelled down by tourists the UNESCO org now requires now that the daily visitors should be constraint to 500 people. The ministry of tourism in Peru though plans to admit a number of 10.000 people per day which would be even a higher risk to the sacred place than currently, where the culmination is 4.000 visitors per day – as you can imagine. A huge dilemma.

From the website of the World Heritage Center:

“To be included on the World Heritage List, sites must be of outstanding universal value and meet at least one out of ten selection criteria. These criteria are explained in the Operational Guidelines for the Implementation of the World Heritage Convention which, besides the text of the Convention, is the main working tool on World Heritage.”

One of these criteria currently says and which may apply to Machu Picchu:

“to bear a unique or at least exceptional testimony to a cultural tradition or to a civilization which is living or which has disappeared” (read more)

The tragedy is that the income from tourism probably will not make any difference on the poverty of the people in general, only a few will have jobs and benefit from this income. And additionally there is a huge cultural discrimination between the visitors and the native people: it was mentioned in an interview with the locals that the indigenous people may visit their sacred places only once a month for free – paying the entry fees would be unattainable for them.

It will probably not be likely for myself to see Machu Picchu in reality for various reasons although I wished I could. So for me the only alternative is to look at pictures and videos about this magical place. And I have something other people might not have – the urge to paint this place as I see it in my dreams and talk about it. This at least will not add to the damage of this ancient site. The first result was a silk painting – Machu Picchu as part of the Magical Symbols series.

I painted this in warm colours – just the right thing to warm up your room when the temperatures start to go down again at this time of the year.
Machu Picchu is truly a magical place, an archeological site which still holds many secrets. Although the trip may not be as exhausting as 20 years ago it is still not easy to reach this place as it is hidden high in the mountains of the Andes which is good for the place. The plans of the Peruvian government though may change this dramatically. As I already said above the site is in danger to be simply trampelled down by thousands of tourists.

“Most archaeologists believe that Machu Picchu was built as an estate for the Inca emperor Pachacuti (1438–1472). Often referred to as “The Lost City of the Incas”, it is perhaps the most familiar icon of the Inca World.
The Incas started building the estate around AD 1400 but it was abandoned as an official site for the Inca rulers a century later at the time of the Spanish conquest of the Inca Empire. Although known locally, it was unknown to the outside world before being brought to international attention in 1911 by the American historian Hiram Bingham. Since then, Machu Picchu has become an important tourist attraction.
Machu Picchu was declared a Peruvian Historical Sanctuary in 1981 and a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1983. Since it was not plundered by the Spanish when they conquered the Incas, it is especially important as a cultural site and is considered a sacred place.” (from wikipedia)”

Whatever might turn out to be the real purpose of Machu Picchu – there is no doubt that this is a place full of magic and an incredible aura. Until today artefacts are found at this site and may lead to new discoveries.

“Machu Picchu”
(from the Magic Symbols Series)
40″ x 13″, silk
©Petra Voegtle

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The golden ornaments that I included in this painting/Collage certainly add a special touch to the historical city and the dreams about the lost treasures of the Inca people. And although much has been written about Machu Picchu the spell and mystic aura of this place is not lost yet and the cultural objects and symbols, the textile art and ceramics that have been found are a huge treasure and inspiration for our dreams and fantasies.
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