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Paintings from the beginning

I bought a slide scanner recently so now I can convert my old coloured slides to digital images.

What a nostalgia trip for an artist to go back 40 plus years to the beginning of his career in art creation.

In the early seventies I worked as an Architect full time during the day whilst at nights I painted obsessively and feverishly, sometimes well into the night.

  Unfortunately, having had two jobs this way, I did not have any time to exhibit or promote my artworks, enter art prizes or show my work to gallery owners.  Hence my sales were sporadic and mainly limited to friends and acquaintances.

Here are a few examples of my work at that time.  The images are not perfect, my photography was relatively casual and not to my current standard.

Still most of these works are strikingly original, vital, and not really amateurish.

blue abstract painting blue moon

Blue moon


painting nature inspired colourful



minimalist painting black and white

Black and white


painting abstract banana boat

Banana boat


abstract yellow painting brighten up

Brighten up


painting abstract purple red blue

Whats below


abstract painting red blue

from the archives, painting from the seventies NFS

Abstract landscape paintings

This short essay is not an academic treatise but my subjective opinion.  I believe landscape paintings are inspired by Nature, the natural environment in its many manifestations. 

Many different kind of landscapes can provide the source for inspiration: wilderness areas, mountain ranges, forests, deserts, open plains and fields, seashores and also waterways and the ocean are my favourites.

Landscape paintings can either be traditional or contemporary.  Traditional landscape paintings are usually depictive, photorealistic or stylised to some extent.

Contemporary landscapes are in some aspects different from what the eye sees, they are modified by the individual creative process applied by the artist.  The visual image produced may be simplified, exaggerated, reorganised or abstracted to some degree in comparison to the actual landscape.  The artist would modify the observed subject by introducing a subjective element of his own.  For example, the painter may only use the colours of the landscape but reassemble them in a different free-form pattern.

As I see it, the inspiration drawn from the landscape is always important as a starting point, and even when the creative modifications are carried out to the extreme degree, it is still important that at least the “feeling of being there” should be apparent.  The memory, the ghost, the jolting recollection of the place should be felt.


Every landscape has a dominant characteristic, a certain mood and an ambience.  The challenge for the artist is to capture this essence.  This can be achieved in many ways, I prefer the following approaches, loosely based on historical art movements:

  • impressionist - by focusing on the colour mix, the fine details and the decorative aspects

  • expressionist - by boldly capturing the dominant forms and shapes and utilise the life-force energy residing in the place by intuitive action-painting

  • minimalist - by reducing the landscape to its basic essential elements and omitting all unnecessary and distracting details

  • pattern making - by focusing on the rhythm, patterns and texture of a place, for example, by focusing on the minutia of close up details

  • applying fantasy - creating imaginary landscapes which express the artist’s mindset as opposed to the reality of the visible world

I am sure there are also many other ways to come up with original solutions.  Landscapes have a generative power and presence which inspire the mind and soul of visually sensitive artists.  It is not unusual to be carried away by the visual stimulation provided by exciting landscapes and seascapes and take off on a journey of exploration.

For me, the adventure of Nature inspired new discoveries, the stretching of the imagination and producing original artistic delights is the most satisfying aspect of art making.

On tv

ABC TV broadcast a most interesting program late last night: Herb and Dorothy - The Vogel Collection. It was about a New York couple who started collecting modern "new" art more than 50 years ago and amassed a quality collection.

Not being rich, they restricted their collection to affordable art pieces. They nearly always selected prominent artists or upcoming and emerging ones who invariably became famous as time went by.  They focused on the latest trends in art and bought the most progressive paintings, sculptures and  installation pieces. They focused on abstract, minimalist and conceptual art without limiting their interest to any one movement.

They had a few rules for collecting: they had to like the piece, they should be able to take it with them on public transport or taxi and it should be able to fit into their apartment. Usually they met the artists face to face and following a friendly discussion they ended up buying something relatively modestly priced.  They had an unusually sharp eye to pick out the best art pieces available at the time.


They followed current trends by visiting progressive art galleries, attending museum exhibitions and such.  The wife's income was spent on rent, food and necessities, whilst the husband's earning was devoted to purchasing art. When they did not have enough money to buy a piece they loved, they payed instalments, or when they could not afford a Christo  installation, they ended up baby-sitting Christo's cats in return for a drawing.

Their small flat was crowded with artworks, all walls were covered with drawings, paintings and bas-reliefs and sculptures.  The whole flat resembled a hoarder's abode, except every available space was filled with artworks not junk.

Their collection, which they exhibited in various galleries time to time, was eventually donated to the National Gallery of Art in Washington USA.  It worth many millions today, in fact, it is considered priceless.

Driven by their obsessive love of art, it is amazing how much they managed to achieve on a limited budget.  It is also amazing how much pleasure they got out of this passion for art.

See Herbert and Dorothy Vogel Collection

Featured abstract geometric painting

yellow geometric abstract artwork painting with multi-coloured lines

Yellow spectrum shift
51x76cm / 20x30in, acrylic on canvas, self-framed

© Ernie Gerzabek 1999-2016

Blog about art related matters

Abstract Landscape Paintings Gallery

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