Issue: The Faroese Colours
Values: 18.00 and 24.00 DKK
Author: Eli Smith
Technique: Offset and gloss coating with 30 micron powder
Printer: Southern Colour Print, New Zealand
A natureza sempre ocupou um lugar especial no coração do artista Eli-Smith (1955), que começou a pintar com pigmentos obtidos a partir de localidades das ilhas Faroé, em 2003. Originando uma uma série de quadros pintados com materiais naturais puros, como o óxido de ferro, areia, conchas de mexilhões, turfa e carvão. A grande experiência e inspiração derivados das antigas pinturas das tumbas egípcias e pinturas rupestres em Espanha, convenceu-o da beleza do trabalho desta forma. Para mais informações sobre Eli Smith e suas obras, consulte o endereço Eli Smith on YouTube
Nature has always occupied a special place in the heart of all-round artist Eli Smith (1955) who began painting with pigments obtained from Faroese localities in 2003. This became a series of pictures painted with pure natural materials such as iron oxide, sand, mussel shells, turf and charcoal. A great deal of experience and inspiration derived from ancient Egyptian tomb paintings and cave paintings in Spain convinced him of the beauty of working in this manner. For more information about Eli Smith and his works please see www.eli.fo.
I taught drawing and painting at the Faroes Folk High School from January to June 2003. On one of the rambles we took in Suðuroy, we were walking along a rock wall that had a reddish stripe in it when a teacher asked, "Couldn't you make paint of that?"
We had Danish visitors the same summer and they were naturally interested in seeing something of our wonderful country. We sailed out to the island of Nólsoy and close in to the west side of the island where we enjoyed the sight of the cliffs and the birds. Then we sailed south along the coast and passed a place called 'Hósmøl' where the beach was filled with pebbles when I once again saw the attractive reddish belt in between the layers of basalt. The red shade is called 'royðugrót' in Faroese and the material is solidified volcanic ash (iron oxide). I was fascinated by the sight of it and thought that it must be possible to use it for painting. It had been there for thousands of years in all kinds of weather and its colour remained unchanged.
When I had put my visitors on shore at the southern tip of the island and begun to sail back to the village where I would collect them later, the motor broke down just opposite the previously mentioned Hósmøl. There I was again in the place with the beautiful colours and, as I couldn't repair the motor on the spot, I grabbed an oar and paddled to the stony beach. I let down the anchor, went ashore and called for help on my mobile phone. I now had an opportunity to look at the red stone more closely and became so filled with physical well-being at standing alone there and enjoying the peace and all the beauty around me that I said to my God in heaven, "A thousand thanks dear God, you are fantastic."
I got hold of some cloths and plastic bags, anything I could put the iron oxide into and climbed the cliff face up to the red belt. On my way up an eider flew out of its nest in panic, clearly indicating that it was not accustomed to having visitors.
When I saw that it was not only the red shade, but also shades of brown, green and ochre I had to think about which colours I would take home with me. In the end we all got home in good shape.
I gradually began to pulverise the stones and made both oil paint and watercolour paint, painted them on paper and hung the colour samples up so that I could experience them, walk by them and touch them. I took more frequent trips into the country and as time passed I accumulated a small range of pigments, but I still had many unanswered questions.
One of my sources of inspiration was my dear mother and she brought me a reproduction of some Egyptian tomb paintings one day and to my great surprise the colours they had used bore a striking resemblance to the pigments I had found in the Faroese localities. This gave me the confidence to continue with my experiments. I began to paint what can only be seen outside the towns and villages such as mountain landscapes, sheep, birds and stones. In fact, the places where I found my painting materials.
Several years have gone by since I began painting with the Faroes materials and it has been an incredibly exciting time for me. I have no plans to stop painting with these materials as "they keep my feet on the ground". I am forced to use the modest colour range to the optimum and have to think in new ways with regard to colours and style. So I have moved to a different world with the Faroes pigments where colours and the choice of colours is completely different. Herein lies the challenge that opens new paths.