Friday, August 31, 2012

Turning colors into gold

Elements come together to make worlds. Isn't that strange? The conditions for life on this planet are perfect, because it was the conditions themselves that summoned life from the soil and waters.

Colors, in the hands of man, turn into art, and art then turns into? Conflict? Self-knowledge? Another level of consciousness? Its uses are many, of course. Provoke a new order into being, or question yourself into nihilism? Entertain us into stupidity, or enthrall us with the wizardry of beauty?

Whom or what do you make these colors serve? Are you perhaps serving them? As simple organisms evolve into more complex ones through mutation, do colors and art transform too? Is art perhaps a mere, inevitable out-breath? Must it be more than that?

Many questions today obviously. Those of you who have read a bit about alchemy, know that the physical work and ambitions of the laboratory, also had a parallel spiritual counterpart. Seeking the the quintessense (also known as the fifth element, or the philosopher's stone), was not just the material matter of turning things into gold, but also a deeper mental or spiritual mystery. The single-minded laborious work and concentration on the enigma of all things, could bring about results apart from the chemical ones, and these seemed to be equally valued by the alchemists.

So too, I find the work on the canvas to be but a reflection of what goes on in the studio. Artistry is not mainly about making paintings (or songs etc), and even if that is what we initially set out to do, the potentials of staring at artwork in progress are far more interesting.

This one is called 'New Era Alchemy'.

'New Era Alchemy' - Acrylics on Canvas - 60 x 40 cm - Niklas J Brandow
'New Era Alchemy' - Acrylics on Canvas - 60 x 40 cm - Niklas J Brandow (Sold)

Wednesday, August 29, 2012

The Destiny of Color

Occasionally, as I give myself over to the brush and the canvas, something remarkable happens. From stroke one it feels as if the brush (Sorry God, no credit this time) knows what is about to happen. It feels as if it has a plan that I'm completely unaware of. I just allow it to move about, and do my best to keep up with where it is going. Be it some unconscious idea of mine, or other more mysterious powers involved.... I have no clue. What I can tell you for sure, is that I feel disconnected to what takes place before my eyes.

It is not like some spirit is forcing my hand about, but as I allow it to move freely, it surprises me at every turn. From stroke one, it seems to set its plan in motion. Yes, I realise this may sound big-time crazy, but I don't really mind. I'm just very fascinated by it, and it is also a way of introducing this next painting, which painted itself, all the way to the last stroke. It is simpler and not as dense as much of my other work. Perhaps even a bit sketchy. Still, I'm sure it is finished.

Sadly, I didn't here no voice telling me what to name the piece, so I had to settle with 'Where Sunlight Gathers'. I hope it will suffice.

'Where Sunlight Gathers' - Acrylics on Canvas' - 100 x 81 cm - Niklas J Brandow
'Where Sunlight Gathers' - Acrylics on Canvas' - 100 x 81 cm - Niklas J Brandow

I have heard the Surrealists experimented with automatic writing and so forth, and I'm sure most experienced artist have had some hightly intuitive or automatic moments, in their crafts. One can guess that, when the conscious awareness and thinking processes take a break, the subconscious and/or fully unconscious mind takes over (fully or partly). We're all great artists while we dream at night.

If this piece is better than my other paintings, is up to the beholder. For me, it is one of the more mysterious pictures "I" have made. I hope you enjoy it. As always, click to enlarge.

Tuesday, August 28, 2012

The Inner Fun Palace

When we hear the word fun, I suppose we tend to think primarily about things like parties, roller-coasters, and silly faces. There are however a lot of other things and activities around, which may be regarded as great fun. Though painting rarely bring about hysterical laughter, it can be seriously enjoyable and truly fun work. It can also cause pleasant bodily sensations of well-being and happiness.

Of course, painting can also be very frustrating and stressful at times. It all depends on how one approaches the work at hand, and what kind of hopes and ambitions we bring into it. When it comes to my personal results - the finished paintings - I rarely find them amusing to behold. They might be entertaining, or in other ways stimulating to look at, but I don't intentionally work with humor.

Some pieces however, like the one below, hold a somewhat lighter air, and seem more playful than others - at least to my eyes. Perhaps they even make me a little happy to watch? If you labelled them childish I wouldn't disagree... at least not entirely.

So welcome now to my inner Fun Palace. Let's play for a while, shall we?

Inner Fun Palace - Acrylics on Canvas - 100 x 81 cm - Niklas J Brandow
Inner Fun Palace - Acrylics on Canvas - 100 x 81 cm - Niklas J Brandow (Sold)

Monday, August 27, 2012

Druids at Rackstadmuseet?

Good news! Two of my paintings were selected to be shown at Höstalongen (Autumn Art Salon) at Rackstadmuseet in Arvika, beginning the 29th of September. Lots of other artists from Värmland will have their work on display, so I'm sure it will be worth a visit. More on that later, I suppose.

For now, I'm posting another new painting, which I call the Druid's Dream. Not that I see any druids in there, but the many greens and browns suggested this romantic sort of title. Something is happening again, and it might as well be some spirits of nature swirling something else, don't you think?

Druid's Dream - Acrylics on Canvas - 46 x 61 cm - Niklas J Brandow
Druid's Dream - Acrylics on Canvas - 46 x 61 cm - Niklas J Brandow (Sold)

Yes, I know it is just fields of paint, but the mind is persistent with trying to make sense of the information. That is one of the great aspects of non-figurative art, I think; That the mind is free to play with what it gets. In this uncertainty of forms and colours, it might even surrender and quiet down for a while, to just look for a few moments. Don't let the title limit your perception. Who knows what druids dream of anyway?

Friday, August 24, 2012

Bread from the mountains

When I behold my images I see events. I rarely know what kind of events they are, but something is happening here, and it is taking place in the mountains. Forces come together and... what? Perhaps nature is happening? Elemental forces merging and crashing against each other to create a world, just like the many colors combine to make a painting - or even a work of art on a good day.

'In the Mountains' - Acrylics on Canvas - 61 x 50 cm - Niklas J Brandow
'In the Mountains' - Acrylics on Canvas - 61 x 50 cm - Niklas J Brandow

When the forms and colors interact they aim for a kind of balance, and when that balance draws near, I feel a deepened sense of presence, and the beauty which is born resounds inside of me. It is almost like a tone becoming distinct from a previous mess of vibrations.

Aesthetics, or art, holds the strange power to alter our moods, and to some level even our mode of consciousness. I don't know how it works, and can only pay witness to it as I make my paintings. To what extent, I wonder, can this fruitful moment of purity (if I may call it that) be communicated to the audience? Do these forms and colors do anything to you?

Thursday, August 23, 2012

The world in color

Here is the first image of my new work, which I intend to update this blog with, as long as I keep painting. I will not share everything, but a good deal of what I produce will be published here. For the rest of it, you shall have to visit future exhibition, or come take a look for yourself in my studio.

As Worlds Swam By - Painting by Niklas J Brandow
'As Worlds Swam By' - Acrylics on canvas - 100 x 81 cm - Niklas J Brandow

I like the motion in this one, and for some reason I think it has an ancient kind of mood to it, despite the playful forms. Perhaps it is the many ochre fields reminding me of old paintings and the mountains of historical Greece.

Feel free to leave a comment about what you see or think! Make sure to click the pic for a larger view, and please share, if you like... and dare.
(last part added for the sake of the rhyme...)

Monday, August 20, 2012

The Birth of an Artist

Where does artistry begin? Did it ever? Do all children who are given a box of crayons enjoy using them? Do we continue any action for long without encouragement?

Impressions must lead to expressions. It is like breathing, in and out. All human beings who are physically able to, make sounds, and use their bodies to convey emotions, except perhaps those who are overcome by true apathy. Isn't it strange to limit our ways of expressing ourselves to words, when there are such amazing channels as painting, sculpturing, music-making, and dancing about?
It is likely that creativity and artistry is inherit in all of us - as a potential anyway. Our children spend a lot of time learning how to speak and write, but fewer spend any serious time, seriously learning how to paint (for example).... and only those who do, ever realize the full wealth of a new "language" - a new means of expression, interaction, and if one wishes - power. It is also, and entirely new way of thinking.

This painting (the last in this series of black and whites that I intend to post here) is like all my other work, a mystery to myself. As I initially watched it I saw white figures, or spirits moving about in the lower middle and right section. Seeing them I started to imagine a place where spirits (or souls) were created. Be it a hatchery or a factory, or something entirly mysterious, I don't know, but I ended up naming the piece “The Cradle of Souls”. Perhaps then, it is not where souls are made, but where they are raised and prepared for individuality. Maybe this is where the gift (or curse?) of artistry is bestowed? ; )

'The Cradle of Souls' - Acrylics on Canvas - 273 x 100 cm - Niklas J Brandow

I have ordered a new camera, to more simply and more efficiently make better reproductions of my artwork. When it arrives I will start shooting my new color work. Until then - paint something!
(You can click the images for a larger display...)

Thursday, August 16, 2012

Worlds collide, and I sign paintings

I have just framed, signed, and titled three paintings for a juried exhibition coming up soon, and hope to have at least one of them accepted for the exhibition. I took some photos as well, so in either case I will display them here eventually (must get a better camera... ).

Framing and signing paintings is not very rewarding, nor can it be classified as very important work. Of course, the impression of the artwork is greatly improved by the frames, and if watching art has any value at all, I dare say it has now been increased.

Producing art is a truly weird thing, and I suspect most artist regularly question the value and meaning of it. The thing is that once the basic needs have been taken care of we are supposed to aim for things like creativity, fulfillment etc - at least according to Maslow's Hierarchy of Needs.
I believe that's the problem for most people. The invisibility of inner growth, and inner fulfillment simply can't be displayed or measured very well. If we build a sun porch, or add an extra floor to our house, the achievement is clearly visible to all. And if we eat more expensive food, wear more expensive clothes and so on, we also experience a verifiable change. The thing is, we are then only expanding the basic needs.

Worlds Collide - Acrylics on Canvas - 55 x 38 cm - Niklas J Brandow

Inner transformation, happiness, love, harmony, and similar aims are not achieved as easily, and should we attain them, our neighbors will not see them (as clearly). An uncertain path, with an uncertain destination, await those who wish to climb further up Maslow's pyramid.
So, does adding paint to a canvas really lead anywhere? There are real problems out there in the world, and you stand here smearing paint? Get a job! Inner and outer worlds - don't they all collide?

Tuesday, August 14, 2012

One Man's Dance

Here is another black and white painting from 2009. I see a man dancing. No, he's not dancing yet. He is standing in the middle of a storm, throwing him here and there to its chaotic rythms. Then, perhaps, he gives in and stops fighting the winds of the four directions. Thus he dances at last, harmonious amongst the high energy forms, now unable to harm him. He has become the storm at last. Yes, he really is dancing.

Or, it could simply be some strokes of acrylics...

'One Man's Dance' - Acrylics on canvas - 65 x 81 cm - Niklas J Brandow

Monday, August 13, 2012

A New Bloggish Dawn

From now on this will be the prime online presence of my paintings and other fine art projects. The old site will stay up for quite some time to come, but this is the blog to bookmark if you wish to keep updated on my present and future art activities.

To get this blog rolling, I thought I'd post some paintings from a black and white series in acrylics, which I made a few years back. Some of these have been on display on a couple of locations in Denmark, at Kristenehamn Art Museum, Sweden, and in my home. Let's begin with a painting I call 'Entering as Two'.

'Entering as Two' - Acrylics on Canvas - 46 x 38 cm - Niklas J Brandow

As always, you shouldn't care much about my titles, which merely reflect my personal initial reaction to a piece, yet looking at this one I saw a couple coming together into (or leaving) a cave of some importance. Perhaps it is about personal development, or inner transformation, achieved through relationship, benefiting both parties.

I'll post some more of these black and whites, while I let my new (colorful) paintings hang for a while. If they hold up, you should see a couple of them here in a few weeks. Welcome!

(I appreciate all help to get some audience over this way in the initial stages. If you enjoy what you see you can like or tweet, below. Thanks!)