In the semi-dark

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In the semi-dark, 21×18cm, Gouache on AquaBoard, 2020 Astrid Volquardsen

I love this atmosphere in the semi-darkness, when the lights go on everywhere. In North Frisian that is called Hualewjonken.

The moon accompanied by stars

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I have received a poem from a dear reader that I am unfortunately not allowed to publish for copyright reasons. (Mascha Kaléko).

It is about the night in which one is haunted by fears, but which is also home to the moon and the stars.

The poem immediately triggered a thousand feelings in me. The nights when I woke up in a sweat and (literally) full of fear of death. Now I only look at the stars and the moon and they are promising. Say I am really well and it is hard to believe that almost two years have passed since my brain surgery.

Astrid Volquardsen - Der Mond in Begleitung von Sternen
Astrid Volquardsen – The moon accompanied by stars

 

It should also be a glimmer of hope in Corona times. In the next days there should be clear nights again and just look up into the night sky and consciously perceive this infinite beauty.

 

Values

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Gouache

In my simplified tonal value scale I mix the grey values and place them from top to bottom. Black is the starting point and I mix in more and more white. Now I compare which of the mixed colours correspond to the respective tonal value. The trick is that when I pinch my eyes together, everything blurs to one tonal value. (Note: I do not use black to darken the colors)

Detail: The Reader

Detail: Pastel picture

The whole principle also works with pastel, without having to use black for darkening. That depends on the manufacturer. Very dark colours are offered by Sennlier, Unison and Terry Ludwig, for example.

The reader

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Die Vorleserin
The reader, Guoache, 15×21 cm, Astrid Volquardsen, 2020

This is a preliminary study from the play about the Bronté sisters. In a small hall my optical synapses immediately sparkled with enthusiasm when I saw the minimalist stage design: 1 table, 2 chairs, 2 people in front of a dark background. I could hardly concentrate on the play, so much I was taken by the optics. Actually, I only wanted to accompany a friend of mine. Later in the evening I actually met Viktoria ( the one who played one of the Brontè sisters) and that’s where this wonderful friendship comes from.

Thank you very much for this Viktoria.

Market Woman

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In 2016, the Elbe Festival to celebrate the existence of Hamburg’s Sandtorhafen took place for the first time. How quickly time flies!

There I met the crew members, who proudly told me about the new construction of their Ewers. (Uns Ewer) Typical for the ship type of the Ewers is a so-called flat bottom, exactly right to transport vegetables in the river deltas of the Elbe. This was and is cultivated in the Vierlanden, just outside Hamburg. Only today it is transported by truck and then by motorway.

The members presented themselves in historical clothes and so I came to pictures of the market woman.

Market Woman, Gouache, 18×18cm, 2020, Astrid Volquardsen

 

The paper I use (Toned Tan by Strahmore) works best the less I paint on it: That means: put shapes in gouache, leave them alone. If I use fewer brushstrokes, the better the painting will be. Richard Schmidt once said so beautifully: Don’t fiddle around.

What was just meant to be a trial and error now turns out to be my new artistic direction.

Madame S.

On a last warm summer day 2 years ago, she suddenly stood in front of me: Madame S. – as if she had emerged from a painting by Manet. She told me that she and her husband liked to dress in 19th-century style. They did so in the context of »lived history« (The Emperor is coming) and as on this day, in their free time. Madame S. told me with pride that she had sewn this dress herself.

Madame S.
Madame S., Gouache, 15c15cm, 2020, Astrid Volquardsen
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