Ludwig Irgens-Jensen symphony in d minor 1942 herem.youtube.com/watch?v=Q-8cc5l3cH8
As for tools to work out a picture there are many that Odd employs. I gett the impression that hes of the mind to use damn near anything under the sun if it can help him reveal a masterpiece. to begin with there are a number of. Brushes but none that look the way they look in the art store, his favorites look like sturdy bristle brushes as old as time. Cleaning brushes with soap is ridiculous and terrible practice so he stores them all laying in a puddle of oil in a paint tray, sometimes for a very long time. Otherwise they sit pleasantly in turpentine. Theres a practice among landscape painters of destroying brushes, even with scissors to achieve more random brushstrokes. This is extreme but i think Odd does appreciate a well seasoned brush. As for palette knives there are many as well as any scraping tool thatll release the beauty. Sandpaper is used to abrade the top layer of dried paint and scrub out elements he will repaint, but also perhaps to redraw with, or to describe forms, or the create depth, or atmosphere, or you name it. That said his paints are not harmful and basically edible. He does not use lead or cadmium or mercury or any of the severely toxic pigments. There are of course rags and fingertips that play a role in painting as well and like i said do what it takes to make it great.
of course there are too many people obsessed with this element in the process but its quite simple and if you see odds work, not surprising. Odd relies on the most classical palette of pigments, he calls the Apelles palette. They consist of titanium white, brilliant yellow, mars yellow, chinese vermillion, deep ochre, and mars black. He seems to prefer Old Holland for all except the vermillion (not real vermillion) which is sennelier. From these he premixes and tubes a number of secondary colors. The white is muted with the brilliant yellow and ochre to make something similar to a "buff titanium". The yellow and red for an orange. The yellow and black for a green. The white and black for a blue. The red and black for a purple not unlike alizarin crimson. And a mixture of everything to make a nice warm grey. On rare occasion he may adopt other pigments but this covers the majority of his canvases. And the palette itself is cut from a piece of foam core board.
working enormous with lifesized figures in a vast landscape odd takes the preliminary sketch and transfers it using an eight by eight box grid everytime regardless of the format. He leaves space around the original dimensions so that he can adjust the final composition as he is painting, something that occurs several times throughout the process. Perhaps I've already mentioned the studio stretcher bars which will be replaced with nicer ones when the final dimensions have been decided. This also leaves a large number of unfinished pieces rolled up an stored.
as you can tell from the previous photo the linen is prepared with a number of layers of a ground mixture that can preservethe substrate from diligent scraping and sanding. I was also informed that should the integrity of the fabric one day deteriorate one could with great skill remove the painting and reapply it to a new canvas or what have you, something not unfamiliar among conservationists. The ground is simply a mixture of boiled linseed oil and chalk dust (blanc de meudon), and some yellow ochre, black mars, and english red for some color. The mix i used also included an alkyd oil finish for wood furniture in order for it to dry quicker.
this sticky paste, at a heavy consistency, is spread and worked into the fabric weave and then scraped back to reveal a thin coat. This is set aside till dry, perhaps a day or two, then repeated until at least three coats or you are satisfied with the surface.
Regarding process preparation and materials...
To begin with odd prefers a heavy herring-bone weaved linen which is then coated with a rabbit skin glue or some kind of sizing onto the raw linen. I think he recommended a variety of claessens that was available presized. This is stretched onto what he calls studio stretchers or working stretchers or essentially temporary so that he has the liberty to shuffle around his composition formate. And most often enormous.
as the evening draws near and with the last musings dancing in our heads we tend to a wine and relax before a small fire that sizzles with the days paint towels. Often this is a time for reflection and discussion of culture history and politics and hailing the fighters that battle against a heartless bureaucracy. Whether its a man who wants to build a castle reflecting the tenants of classical architecture, an avid reader of ancient history that defies pompous nay-sayers to reveal the blessings of incredible archeological discoveries, or a painter that suffers the slings and arrows of outrageous misfortune to uphold the craft and skill of legendary predecessors and embolden those who aspire for something superficially deep rather than deeply superficial. As we talk or view russian film clips odd will jot down an idea. It is these rudimentary sketches scribbles and notations where odd nerdrums epic paintings are born.
when i arrived there were very few paintings in his studio and only other classic masters. He was undergoing a screenprinting endeavor and drawing with charcoal on sanded plexiglass. It was a few days later when i was to see him paint on a "small picture" that was about halfway. Two by two and a half meters or so. It was a vision right out of his dream like so many others, mythic and legendary characters at the beginning of a new world. A place where life is based on basic needs and themes that are so fundamentally human and almost nothing else but the rawest of nature. Peaceful in its craziness.
Of my first drawings odd said they were very beautiful and the word sensative would continue to come up regarding my work. A characteristic that maybe a common result of tedious hours of observation during ones atelier training nonetheless odd is highly skeptical of lifeless looking work that comes from the ateliers and academies. He told me that he cant stand slick paintings and that there are too many castles with this sort of stuff hanging all over the world. His great inspirations like rembrandt and titian were loose and rough as hell in their greatest years.
Soon I will travel to Scandinavia to continue my practice with painting master Odd Nerdrum. I am honored and pleased with the great amount of people who purchased my work and helped me raise the funds in order to go, not altogether haphazardly, into this new chapter. thank you deeply to all. I hope that this journal will be as good or maybe better than my presence for all of you who are reading this far away.