Most of these small panel paintings were made without thinking they would ever be shown. They came together from different sources of inspiration - my children, our home in rural Southern Germany, as well as several artist's residencies since 2018 in Norway, Denmark and the Isle of Lewis in Scotland. The long hours of dusk and dawn, the mellow colours and light casting long shadows, the wild untouched nature keeps drawing me to northern countries but also to the alps, the dark woodlands and moonlit nights at home.

Nearly all of my paintings grow out of drawings. My sketchbooks form an ongoing collection of experiences - my daily epiphanies. A drawing can hold the memory of a place, the light the scent and, however briefly scribbled, it forms a rich source for a painting.

While painting I try to connect deeply to the particular moment. An artist friend once said, "Be as specific as you possibly can be". It became one of my guiding sentences scribbled
to the wood above my painting table. By being specific I don't mean literal but true to the feeling of a moment.

I paint in egg tempera, a medium I always prefered to oil painting for its glowing colours
and shorter drying time. It allows me to work in layers. The small lime wood panels are cut to the size of my sketchbooks, primed in several layers of gesso then sanded to an ivory-like surface. I paint holding the panels in my hand as I like feeling the object itself. There are always several paintings on the go. This helps me see what a painting needs and gives me courage to make more radical changes without ever getting too precious about its parts. I feel my paintings have to be in flux, in constant danger of getting ruined, reworked, re-found until they eventually stop and maybe take on their own life.

Heidrun Rathgeb, 2022


Heidrun Rathgeb was born in 1967 in southern Germany. She studied painting in London at the Slade School of Fine Art (1996-99) and the Byam Shaw School of Art (1993-96). Since 2001 she has lived with her family in a remote farmhouse close to Lake Constance and the Alps. 

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