Someone once said that you should paint what you know. Thus, for many years one of my sources of inspiration has been my family’s rural house in the ancient Liiv village of Vaide. I can safely say that contact with nature, with the sea, children and friends has become a means of ascertaining my true calling in the occasionally crazy world of today.
Wintertime spent counting the footprints of wild animals and skiing through a forest laden with snow or a sea glade blown into unimaginable forms by the wind. Long and colourful autumns, picking berries or mushrooms, or simply succumbing to thoughts on the porch warmed by the winter sun. Springtime. As yet minus mosquitoes, but replete with juices and bursting buds. Summertime. Midsummer’s Night (now to boot with mosquitoes), a bonfire on the ocean shore, celebrating until dawn. And, of course – the sauna. Throughout the year. An opportunity to try out ancient wisdoms regarding the healing power of plants, besoms and rituals. Pull your cap on, toss on some water, wrap yourself in steam, and jump into the pond. Or, in summer, wind your way through the forest to the sea.
With painting it’s similar. The very process of being in the studio is akin meditation and divorce from daily life. At first, you think - what and how. Then you order the sub-frame, stretching the canvas, priming it, drawing and layering… Layer after layer, until you’re in a cloud created by paints and the painting... I started learning at the Rozentāls’ School; I loved drawing and, most of all, portraits. And this pleasure has not yet passed. Also constant is the influence of the Old Masters through the centuries. For example, one of the first major museums which I happened to visit in the late 1980s was the National Gallery in London. There, it was the brilliant Dutchman Vermeer who really spoke to me. His paintings seemed like a miracle. So much so that I stopped and froze. Later, I also visited Florence in Italy. It’s hard to describe the feeling of waiting in the early morning for the Uffizi Gallery to open. This moment put me in mind with the most sincere gratitude of my first teachers at both “Rozīši” and the academy. Without their efforts and those of my parents, it’s most unlikely that it would ever have occurred to me to get up so early to gaze, for example, at a Botticelli.
It’s all one’s path to discovering oneself. Succumbing to what some refer to as nature’s clock, and others as the rhythm of the soul. From Midsummer’s to Midsummer’s, from season to season, and from painting to painting. Definitely not from Monday to Monday.