Hiking for Inspiration

Inspiration is an exciting phenomenon because we never know when it will strike us. We can’t force it, we can’t just wait for it, but we can go many ways to stumble over it.

In my next painting series I wanted to tell a story, a story of the past to be exact. As a result of the preparations for the Second World War, there are still hundreds of kilometers of border fortifications here in the Czech Republic and while living very close to the Polish borders, I can see 3 bunkers just from my bedroom. Since I started painting I wanted to paint them and I did but without success. It is a year or more since my last attempt, so I thought I could put the odds in my favour and finally get it right.

I planned 3 trips along this fortification line from my home town all the way northwest to the foot of the mountains. A lot of hiking as a form of excercise but mainly to see as much as possible and to take photos, a lot of photos. Around 80 km in total was travelled. 60km was along the bunkers, this meant that these trips had it all. Joy, thrill, exhaustion, frustration, bright blue sky, snowstorm, frozen fields and a lot of exploration. Something disappeared during the last trip though… the interest for painting bunkers. While in the bus on my way home, instead of feeling bad about it, I was wondering how I could use these hundreds of photos and it soon became clear.

A lot of areas in the Czech Republic are suffering from bark beetle calamity and the ones I travelled through are no exception. Huge wide-open spaces, remains after tree felling and a lonely spruce here and there. An amazing theme to paint and show others how wide the consequences are in our landscape.

There is definitely a lesson learned. I was so focused on picturing one topic, where I overlooked the potential of another that was in front of me the whole time. At this point I am sketching a lot and figuring a way to portray these landscapes so they hold the same mood and yet are different from each other. Composition is key and in my opinion the most important thing in a painting, because contrast and color can’t do the work by themselves. Bright and vibrant colors, bold strokes and overall clean painting is what I am working towards in my work. Alongside with uArt paper, Unison pastels are helping me achieve this. Using the 72 starter and 36 landscape set, I have a TON of rich and soft pastels to choose from. I would love to share with you the first painting of the upcoming series.

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One Response

  1. What an inspiring post. It was interesting to see how your original concept changed over time and with experience. I love the first painting in what I think will be an interesting series.

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