I’ve recently been admiring the artwork of Conrad Jon Godly, a contemporary Swiss painter. I had seen some of his pieces years ago and loved them then, but after seeing more of them recently, I find myself with a new appreciation for the mastery he possesses over his medium. I think the primary reason for this appreciation comes from my own experience of creating art over the past few years. However satisfied or dissatisfied I’ve been with my pieces, I’ve come to realize that appreciating the process itself is an integral part of being an artist, regardless of the result achieved.
Godly’s process requires a thorough understanding of the nature of oil paints. Rather than working in the traditional manner with a brush and palette, Godly chooses a different method that allows the paints themselves to have a greater role in the process of painting. His vividly three-dimensional pieces are brought about by piling paint upon his canvases and using a palette knife to create shapes, colors, depth and texture. The sheer volume of paint used means that the oils move and spread across the canvas according to their consistency, which makes them a kind of agent in the piece’s creation.
I love this approach for a number of reasons. I see these paintings as a reminder of the living, breathing nature of art and the wideness of the human experience. Although oil paints are thought to have existed since 650 A.D., Godly’s work shows us that artists’ techniques are ever evolving and allow for endless diversity. The fact that there is such variation contained within the same framework of paint laid upon a canvas is a real testament to the wholly unique being of every person.
Below are a few favorites of mine. I’m astounded by how real and evocative these mountains seem; I can so easily imagine the feeling of the sun on my face in such bitter cold, standing in the brightness of the snow against the open sky.
Explore more of Conrad Jon Godly’s work on his official website.