Here is the second in the series of interviews given by local artist Stephanie Fonteyn (see first interview here). In this article Stephanie speaks to Uli Van Neyghem, a German painter living in Céligny.
Note: Uli will be holding an “apéro” in her art studio on Friday the 4th of November from 17:00 to 20:00 Address: Route de Trelex 8, in Duillier. This event is a shared event with Uli, Stephanie and artist Simone Monney. Stephanie helps to run these collaborative art workshops between artists. The apéro is an opportunity to have a drink, soak up an arty atmosphère in an artists studio et in a bohemian style loft!
Over to Stephanie.
Capturing atmospheric scenes – Uli Van Neyghem
Uli van Neyghem is a charming German painter who lives in a converted farmhouse in Céligny beautifully decorated with her paintings. Her art studio is a luminous bohemian loft based in Duillier. Her father and aunt are both painters and she grew up surrounded by her father’s paintings. Uli is a self-taught artist, with a passion for interior decoration and creating ambiances. Her paintings capture calming and atmospheric scenes that would look beautiful in both traditional and modern homes.
Living in Nyon: “When did you first discover your artistic talents?”
Uli: “ I was always creative and painting. When I was fifteen, I produced my first real painting on canvas to decorate my bedroom. It was inspired by Gauguin”.
LIN: “When did you decide to become an artist?”
UvN: “It happened gradually. After university, I was working for an international company for 15 years. When my children were born I had my own translation business for six years based in Germany and Switzerland. I had always painted for my own walls. When I was living in Luxembourg, a neighbour asked if I could paint something for their home. After that, it was a snow ball effect; neighbours, friends and expats in the area were buying and commissioning still life’s and scenes from Luxembourg as a special souvenir of their time in the country.”
LIN: “Describe a real life situation that inspired you?”
UvN: “I am very much inspired by the beauty in the little things. The beauty that can be found in everyday life, like the light catching on the lemons on the kitchen counter when I get home from shopping, or the light reflecting on the water when the boats are moored for winter. It’s like the promise of the summer to come.
I love to learn and research Swiss customs and reflect them in my art. It is a way for me to paint my new home country (Switzerland) and make me feel at home, since I did not grow up here. My paintings inspired by Switzerland help me to get to know and feel close to the place. We are very happy to be based here permanently.
I am also inspired when I travel on vacation and have painted typical French scenes such as the “Boulanger”, “Kiss in Paris” and “Jeu de boules”.
LIN: “I hear you paint a lot of commissions, can you tell me about this process?”
UvN: “I work with customers who like my style and like the idea to have a personalized painting that matches their tastes in colour, size and topic. Using my passion for interior decoration, I can help guide my clients through the creative process of creating a personalised painting for their home.”
LIN: “Can you give me some examples of commissioned paintings you have created?”
UvN: “Yes. There was a couple that asked for a painting of Venice because he proposed to her there. The painting is a visual memento of this special event.
Other customers are enthusiastic about the lake and sailing and ask me to reflect their passion in their in paintings.
Sometimes people leaving Geneva ask for a special memento of their time living here and have commissioned paintings of the “Jet d’’eau”.
LIN: “Can you explain your technique?”
UvN: “If I am creating an atmosphere painting or interior decoration, I always look for harmony and peacefulness. To achieve this, I use a carefully chosen palette of colours for each project.
I started using acrylics because it was practical when I had small children in the house. Now I appreciate them because I love their versatility, easiness to blend subtle nuances, matte effect and they dry quickly.
Since 2010, I have been using collage in combination with acrylic (a mixed media approach). I start out with acrylic, and then I partially collage the painting. I love this technique, as it obliges the observer to take a step close, so that their eye passes slowly over the canvas to see all the details. It also gives me the opportunity to hide small messages and creates interesting structures. I use any material I find from special paper, tissue paper, music sheets, poetry book pages, magazines, sewing thread, hand made paper, bitumen, pastes and structure gels. After the collage is finished, I blend in more acrylic to unify all the elements.
(Photo 3 Air et lumiere in collage)
LIN: “What would be your dream project?”
UvN: “Obtain and offer to create art work for a hotel and restaurant near the lake or mountains.
Create a poster for one of the Reine des Alpes fights or Bol d’Or event. Create a wine label for a great bottle of regional wine; Dole, Gamay or Pinot Noir. Permanent exhibition in a castle. Walk a client through the interior decoration process including some of my paintings for the family home.”
LIN: “You have exhibited at fairs such as UniCrea and Comptoir Suisse, what is that like?”
UvN: “What I like is the compassion between the artists. The beauty of these events is getting to know the people, sharing the passion about creating no matter which field (painting, jewellery, and sculpture). It also encourages encounters with people who would not necessarily enter an art gallery and we have interesting discussions about art and what speaks to them, and how my artwork has touched them.
I often perform live demonstrations, which enables the visitors to watch the creative process instead of just seeing the end result being exhibited. This is a great opportunity for the public ask questions which are triggered public to ask questions that are triggered by viewing the demonstration. This exchange opens up relationships with people in a way that they visit our art studio in Duillier for private aperitifs which usually leads to them commissioning or buying a piece of art.”