“I paint these pictures because I love these landscapes and houses. Roaming through Switzerland on small tracks is a relief to the eye and the soul.”
I find my subjects during long rambles and journeys across the Swiss countryside.
I take detailed photographs of these houses, which then serve as a basis for my paintings. I do not paint my pictures in the open air, but in a quiet working place in familiar surroundings at home.
More often that not I can visualise the finished painting, including sometimes in seasons other than those shown in the photographs. My aim is then to accurately produce the pictures in my mind. This is a long, drawn-out process requiring a great deal of craftsmanship.
The surroundings of the farmhouses sometimes undergo slight changes. The seasons and all of the details, such as animals and people, originate from my respective emotions.”
I use diluted oil paints and fine hairbrushes to paint my pictures. The oil paints enable me to blend the different shades of colour, but the disadvantage of this technique is the poor coverage of the diluted paints, which means that a picture has to be painted in several layers.
Around the farmhouses you always find several cats, and also on my picture. The little black cat behind my signature I once painted just for fun because it matched and by that time we had a little black cat at home to. A client once wanted to buy a picture, but the cat was missing. He insisted to have this little cat, otherwise he would not buy the picture. Since then, the cat is never missing behind my signature.
For more than 25 years the farmhouses of Switzerland, as well as their surroundings with people and animals, have formed the subject of my pictures. But why farmhouses?
Switzerland boasts an extraordinary scenic and cultural diversity and also houses a wealth of various types of houses. This old and very diverse farmhouse culture is worth preserving and merits closer observation.
However, these farmhouses are not only evidence of Switzerland’s architectural past. The farmhouses with their animal stalls, storehouses, Stöckli (ancillary buildings), bake-houses and washhouses tell us how our ancestors lived. Their lives were shaped by having to satisfy their basic needs such as food, clothing and protection for man and beast. Wood-carvings, decorative paintings, ornaments and inscriptions on the houses bear witness to the fact that leisure and pleasure in beautiful things also had a place in their lives.
This is probably why looking at these houses awakens homely and romantic feelings in us. I think that it is by looking back at these old values and habits that we are able to look at our modern and totally mechanised way of living rather more critically and purposefully.
Today’s changed way of life justifiably give rise to fears that the typical characteristics of farmhouses will gradually disappear.
In producing my pictures I would like to play some small part in ensuring that people pay more attention to these farmhouses, and to help to inspire people to roam through our country, in order to marvel at the houses from up close.