In­ter­na­tional Prize Win­ners

Skåne, Swe­den, Spring Beech, acrylic on can­vas, 116 x 89 cm (46 x 35")

International Artist - - Contents -

All the Prize Win­ners in In­ter­na­tional Artist mag­a­zine Chal­lenge No. 108, Land­scapes

Paint­ing with Pre­ci­sion

Troels Kirk, born in Den­mark in 1956 and set­tled in Swe­den 10 years ago, is a self-taught artist who started by study­ing his grand­fa­ther’s paint­ings as a child. “He died when I was a baby, but his land­scapes were great teach­ers when stud­ied closely,” says the artist, who sold his first paint­ing at age 13.

He de­scribes his style as re­al­is­tic and rich in de­tails, but not pho­to­re­al­is­tic or im­pres­sion­is­tic. Rather, the art­work is a rep­re­sen­ta­tion of how he per­ceives the sur­round­ing world. “I be­gan paint­ing at 6, so there has been a very long devel­op­ment,” he shares. “Still I have al­ways painted re­al­is­ti­cally, but tend to spend a longer and longer time on each paint­ing the older I get, not nec­es­sar­ily be­cause of more de­tails, but rather be­cause of be­ing more care­ful and pre­cise through­out the process. My col­ors have be­come more sub­dued and nat­u­ral with age too.”

Na­ture is Kirk’s con­stant source of in­spi­ra­tion, and when the light is just right—usu­ally the early morn­ing is his pre­ferred time of day—he leaves his stu­dio to hunt for sub­ject mat­ter. “These out­ings are es­sen­tial for keep­ing the fo­cus and re­new­ing the in­spi­ra­tion. I re­visit many ar­eas at dif­fer­ent times of the year, build­ing a rich source of me­mories and ref­er­ences for fu­ture use. What I later choose to paint de­pends on my mood at the time...of­ten I paint what I miss or long for, snow in sum­mer, greens in win­ter. If I feel stuck in a par­tic­u­lar theme, I change sub­jects.” His land­scapes are de­rived from a num­ber of ref­er­ences: sketch­ing from mem­ory, other times fic­tional scenes and some­times pho­to­graphs. Once in the stu­dio, Kirk makes sketches where he re­ar­ranges and ed­its the land­scapes into har­mo­nious com­po­si­tions.

For the past decade, Kirk has ex­hib­ited his work in his large stu­dio gallery that is lo­cated in a for­mer vil­lage movie the­ater hall that is also his home with his wife, Anne. His main ex­hi­bi­tion each year is the Eastern Art Tour where art pa­trons can visit open stu­dios and gal­leries through­out the south of Swe­den.

My In­spi­ra­tion

Af­ter a long, snowy, Swedish win­ter, noth­ing in­spires me more than the ar­rival of spring, the longer days, the reap­pear­ing mi­grat­ing birds and best of all: the re­turn of green leaves. Down by the coast, near where I live, there is a lovely for­est full of old oaks and beeches. This an­cient, multi-stemmed beech tree greeted me on a light, misty morn­ing, sim­ply beg­ging to be por­trayed. Sur­rounded by younger beeches in the morn­ing mist, and soft, moss-cov­ered stones, I spent a won­der­ful time sketch­ing and pho­tograph­ing the tree from var­i­ous an­gles. A great re­ward for en­dur­ing the long win­ter...i be­gan the paint­ing later the same day.

My De­sign Strat­egy

Back in my stu­dio I de­cided on the fi­nal an­gle, com­po­si­tion and crop, in or­der to dis­play the tree in all its glory. The larger ver­ti­cal stems are in­ter­cut by V-shapes of the smaller branches. The cen­ter of the great tree trunk tree was off­set a bit to the right, bal­anced by a large mossy stone and a group of smaller beeches to the left. The dark­est shadow area is bal­anced against the soft sun­light stream­ing in from the left. The greens are warm and light to the up­per left, slightly cooler and darker to the lower right. A few beech saplings at the foot of the huge trunk il­lus­trate the con­ti­nu­ity of life.

Grand Prize is a four-page ed­i­to­rial fea­ture in Amer­i­can Art Col­lec­tor mag­a­zine

My Work­ing Process

A stretched Bel­gian linen can­vas re­ceived a few very light nickel ti­ta­nium yel­low washes all over, fol­lowed by light, soft cerulean blue ar­eas blended wet-in-wet to sim­u­late patches of vis­i­ble blue sky. A cool grey-green was sponged on to al­lude to dis­tant fo­liage. A few dis­tant trunks were painted and later scum­bled over with more light yel­low. A row of young beeches was brushed in and given a slight mist. Burnt um­ber and Mars vi­o­let were used for the for­est floor. The big tree was painted in a very lim­ited pal­ette, reusing the back­ground col­ors plus Payne’s grey and the moss greens. Fi­nally, the fresh green leaves were added sparsely with a de­tail brush, leav­ing the cen­tral branches and trunk ex­posed.

Con­tact De­tails

Email: [email protected]­skirk.com Web­site: www.troel­skirk.com

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