Several of you have asked me to explain more about my artistic process. It will take several blog posts as I have so much to say about it. At the same time, it is true that, if I paint, it is because it is difficult to put these things into words!
As described in the Process page, my artistic approach is, above all, the search for inspiration from the Divine. I receive a word, an impression, an atmosphere, colors, an emotion, an image… sometimes nothing. I do not necessarily begin with a sketch in my head or a ready-made image. Sometimes I draw a sketch, other times I begin with nothing more than a blank canvas. I choose the colors first, which defines an atmosphere and then I apply the different techniques. I let "things" rise up inside, as I say. I try to stay connected to the Divine. Ideas come as the tableau progresses. I am very slow in my work, in the way I compose my paintings. I let myself be inspired quietly. I also play a lot with the different elements before gluing them; I move them, I observe what pleases me, what comes out, the atmosphere that emerges. Everything I am going to describe to you now, I only saw and understood retrospectively, looking back at my finished paintings. I was not at all aware of it when I created them. It is by dint of seeing repetitions, gestures that come again and again naturally, shapes that seem to carry a symbolism - which belongs only to me! - that I began to ponder about it. My paintings reflect a certain conception of life and of its meaning and, without any doubt, of my own spiritual quest and my inner representations.
- The atmosphere, the light
Light is often found at the top of my paintings, as God and Heaven are commonly placed high up in the collective Western imagination (which is only a partial reflection of reality). It is accentuated by the contrast with the darker, lower part, that represents the earth, with its vicissitudes or, in any case, the daily realities in which humans struggle, we struggle. The light seeks to make its way through this opacity and to bring the Hope that it carries within it.
As a child psychiatrist, I cannot help but be interested in human beings! My paintings are therefore frequently populated by characters who, in most cases, are engaged in conversation together. Dialogue has a particularly important part. The God I know is an eminently relational God. This vertical relationship between Him and humans is symbolized in my creations by the characters' ascension upwards, becoming clearer as they approach and expose themselves to the Light. The horizontal dimension of the relationship between humans is symbolized by the fact that my characters are often in twos or threes, and that they discuss together, sometimes even help each other.
The “decryption” of watches and other shapes, cracks and collected objects will follow in a future post. This description should enable you to understand my creations with an even richer light. Of course, I remain convinced that the real richness lies in what each individual, you, what you see with your inner imagination and your own specific sensitivity!
See you soon!
Valerie Ziehli is a contemporary artist who works in Sion (Valais), Switzerland.