In the woods stands a statue of an angelic figure.
There is some light entering there.
The whole setting looks somewhat mysterious and pops up several
questions to the mind …

Title: Elise
On wooden panel
2,10m x 2,10m
Created may 2023
Price: send mail
Provenance: Original painting created in Elst. Under management and in depot of ARTspot.online
Exhibition info: this work has been shown at Park Lingegezen in Elst.

Title: Elise

About the painting:

In the woods stands a statue of an angelic figure.
There is some light entering there.
The whole setting looks somewhat mysterious and pops up several
questions to the mind like,

  • how did the sculpture get there?
  • all this surrounding of nature, like it has overtaken the place because statues like
    these are normally to be found in cities…
  • has it been dump there?
  • if nature has overgrown everything, what was this place before?

Those are the thoughts that arise at first. Focussing further on the painted character tells
a story which adds to the mysterie. The statue is a female figure who is being vieuwed from the back.
As if she turns her back towards something.
And it looks like she stands inbetween the darkness of the forest and the light outside.
She has her head turned sideways so her young beautiful face is visible. Her right wing is broken and she
holds a broken piece of that wing in her hand.

The first emotion that may come up is a feeling of sadness because of the broken wing. Sadness because of the physical pain that
she must be in. Not to forget the mental stress of not being able to fly anymore.

However, when looking longer at the image shows more of the story. Because when you focus more on her face and posture
then it becomes clear that she herself is everything but sad nor in pain. On the contrary she even has a sense of pride over her.
This new perspective point opens up so many more questions, like how is the wing broken?
Did she maybe brake it by herself? What is really going on if she did?

A beam of heavenly light strikes her feet. As if the heaven itself now is begging.
Begging for her to come back….

No preparation beforehand
The Colorfield Performance is a land art project consisting of 500 paintings displayed outdoors. The 500 panels are painted by individual artists following guidelines associated with the project. While many artists carefully prepare their paintings in advance, there are others who simply stand in front of the large blank panel and come up with something on the spot. That includes myself. I let the surroundings influence me on the morning of the first day of the project. And then I think of my angel and realize that I’ve only drawn her in pencil and ink so far. This is an opportunity to paint her for the first time, and I seize that chance by placing her in a wooded environment. In a setting that, as the observer looks at it longer, becomes increasingly laden with questions.

What a character
Just a bit more about Elise. Elise is a character I created at the beginning of the year in pencil and ink sketches. Elise is always seen from the back, and she always looks over her right shoulder. Her arms are slightly bent, and her legs are standing upright. Elise is a statue of an angel. On her back, her left wing is clearly visible. However, her right wing is broken off. In her hands, she holds fragments of her broken wing.

The title of this work is initially: “broken.” After standing in the field for a month, a small addition is made, and the title becomes: “broken, so what!” Several more months later, as I continue tinkering with sketches in my studio, I realize that the character I created doesn’t have a name yet. This is when the angel with the broken wing is named Elise. Consequently, the title of the painting changes once again and henceforth now bears her name.

Restrictions and Conditions
To participate in the Colorfield Performance project, certain restrictions and conditions must be met. The restriction is that working with black is not allowed, and the condition is that the painting must be completed in one day. For me, this condition means that I have to adapt my illustrative comic art style. Typically, I work with a lot of details, hatching, and realism. However, that level of realism is not achievable in a day, so I have to make concessions and ensure that I create a painting rather than an illustration. It means not coloring within the lines but letting the paint do the work and working in a suggestive manner. Above all, it involves giving the observer the mental space to contemplate and not filling in all the details.

A real tearjerker
Elise doesn’t get much attention and somewhat blends into the vast field, primarily because no bright, striking colours have been used.

However, for those who manage to spot her, a surprise awaits, as Elise turns out to genuinely evoke emotions in people. It appears that several visitors have shed tears in front of the painting. I’m taken aback when one day a volunteer from the project approaches me and showers me with compliments.

Anita: “I just heard that you painted the angel. I want to tell you that I cried a lot looking at your painting!”

I am completely surprised by this revelation and express how honored I feel. We then walk together to the painting, and she shares her story, almost tearing up again.

Later, when I speak to the organization and recount this story, they are not surprised. They mention that there have been more visitors who have cried upon seeing Elise!

When I created her at the beginning of the year, I already felt a strong presence in her, and now it turns out what that strength can stir.

With appropriate pride and humility, I conclude this message, dreaming of my Elise, my broken angel…

– Rames