Mountain World Collection: climb a mountain without leaving your sofa!
I'm delighted to present my new Mountain World collection on my website - now you can enjoy a view from 2100m above sea level without leaving the comfort of your home. You can travel to the Swiss alp, enjoy the interplay of clouds and mountain, dream your dreams as you decide which is moving more, the sky of the earth. This is definitely a cost effective way of travelling, broadening horizons and enjoying vistas you have not seen before. Read how it all came about below.
How did the mountain come to me, or how did I come to the mountain?
Like the virgin to the child, actually. A few years ago I was looking for a summer project. It wasn't easy, then the director and organic farmer Arthur Bühler said he had his mother cows on Safienalp and maybe I could paint there. I thought: as a Swiss artist I should also have mountains in my repertoire...so let's go!
I was completely unprepared for what awaited me! The first time, I had brought a sleeping bag that was too thin - it was quite cold at night! The hut is the last one on Safienalp, 2100m above sea level, after which it goes down to Walsertal. There are no hiking trails, no other buildings. Only a farm with dairy cows a nice walk downhill - from there we get the best fresh milk! Simon Walter, the herdsman, puts up with my visits for the fourth time this summer. Sometimes his girlfriend Nadja comes to visit. I am very grateful that I am allowed to be there.
How do you have to imagine it?
I can drive to the end of the road - that's near Talkirch. Then Simon comes down the hill in his old car and picks me up. The precarious road was built by Polish prisoners after the Second World War. We drive at walking pace to the hut.
Why can't I hike up?
How I have all sorts of things with me: easel, paints - acrylic and oil, portfolio with paper and canvas, brushes, side table, hiking boots, something to eat....
What does the day look like?
We usually get up at 7am, then we have breakfast together. Simon then takes his rucksack and rifle and goes to the cows. They are usually no longer near the hut, but already higher up on the alp. It depends on the weather and when I'm there in the summer.
At 8.30 a.m. I sit in front of the hut and paint the first small pictures - the light is quite different in the morning than in the evening. After this small-scale confrontation, I have a short coffee break (Nescafe) and then set to work on a painted picture. I set up the easel and start. At one o'clock I have a simple lunch. After that I continue painting. And towards evening, I'm back to painting on a small scale. Sometimes I paint in the hut - like Nadja does Capuns or the view out of the window in the evening - then with a torch because I can hardly see anything. Most of the time I stop painting at 8.30 pm. I read a bit and then go to bed.
To keep in touch with the outside world, I listen to the radio. With my boombox and the mobile phone I have reception on the alp. Last summer, my Australian friend Jodi sent me links to podcasts from an Australian radio station. So I'm standing on an alp, surrounded by pure nature, in Switzerland, listening to, for example, "Ruth Rendell interviewed by Margaret Throsby" with Ruth Rendell's classical music requests. I can only listen to classical music while painting. Pop is too distracting and harder to block out when I'm fully in the painting.
For me, mountain painting is an immersion in painting without interruptions from the outside world. I can focus my senses completely on the panorama and my reaction to it in the painting. Of course, I could sit in the sun all day and read an exciting book. But I realise what an honour it is to be able to do this and to be there, so I want to take full advantage of it.
After day 2 I often experience a slump. The view is still the same. I don't move many meters from the house, my painting materials are too heavy to carry around on uneven terrain. What do I do now?
Then something happens again and I think, wow, I haven't explored that yet. One summer I played with the horizon, another with the clouds. And I'm ooff painting again. The possibilities are endless. Just like art. And art must show more than what is, otherwise it is only copying. It must show what is possible, increase nature to what it could be. Create a new world with colour, form and movement. That is what I always try to do. It is a challenge that gives me a lot of pleasure.
To descend into everyday life: you can also make your friends happy by gifting them a work of art! The small paintings are framed and ready to hang or place on a shelf. They make great gifts for mountain lovers and hikers!