It’s nothing short of lovely to be painting again…I did a few acrylic paintings this week…funny ones with horrible backgrounds. I promise I’ll show them later this week! But right now I am elbow deep into watercolour again…my first and deepest love…

Today I chose to study an illustration by the magnificent illustrator Lisbeth Zwerger from the book Der Rattenfänger von Hameln (The Pied Piper of Hamelin), after a fairy tale by the Grimm brothers. Although it’s not really a fairy tale but more of a saga. Because, as the book says, the story starts with an actual date. You see, chronicles do record children moving outside the city in medieval times. Historians have just never been able to find out exactly when and why. Well, the Grimm brothers have of course told us exactly what happened…there was a Pied Piper…see? He’s right in this picture…

I love studying other artist’s work. It’s never about creating a perfect copy…it’s about trying to handle the paint as the artists do…about finding the right colours…about finding the right light… It never ever gets perfect and it doesn’t have to be. It’s about gently moving outside your own ways…and, if you can, you can accept the challenge to still incorporate your own style into your study.

I chose this particular illustration because I feel it comes close to those of myself in atmosphere, colour and light. What is totally new to me here, though, is the space Zwerger has created. I tend to paint stills, portrait-like poses. And I try to capture all the emotion and meaning in that one still moment. This illustration is more of an action, of movement…there’s a story in it and it’s moving somewhere…into the direction of the little village at the foot of the hill. I really like that and it makes me think about the person in my image in a different way. I’m not just the photographer spending just that little time with that person…I’m getting to know them a little bit better because I’m getting a hunch of what could have been before they ‘came to me’ and a strong hint at what will come after.And that gives more body to work with. It’s a totally different way of approaching a painting. A lovely way!