I recently discovered a present day Dutch master, Wouter Dolk, who is the creator of these beautiful paintings. Except that they are on walls.
Born and studied in Amsterdam, Mr. Dolk now works and resides in Cologne, Germany. While his creations could technically be called wallpaper, it is quite an understatement. They are actually "egg tempera paintings on paper made for walls."*
The process begins with his drawings projected onto heavy, acid-free sheets of four foot wide paper. The outlines are redrawn with charcoal, followed by brushing on coat after coat of translucent gesso and tempera. Some of his compositions require up to 30 layers of gesso and pigment. The numerous layers give his paintings their extraordinary depth of color.
Before the paper is ever prepared, Mr. Dolk often builds a scale model of the room and draws his sketches accordingly. Working all over the world, his high end clients know that their project will take many months to complete.
After the painting is completed, his technical skills are really challenged.
Each sheet of paper is mounted onto a textile backing, using a process he learned from a group of painting restorers. "He sprays a coat of glue on the back of the paper and lets it dry. Then he slides each sheet faceup onto a length of nonflammable polyester cloth stretched out on an industrial-size steel table. Over and around the paper and cloth goes heavy-duty plastic wrap, while heating elements in the table remelt the dried glue. At the same time a vacuum pump under the table evenly sucks down both the paper and plastic wrap, bonding paper to cloth."* The paintings are them mounted onto wood frames for the final installation in the room. As one can imagine, rarely does one find a room's walls to be totally square, so many adjustments need to be made on location to accommodate the wood frames so that they fit seamlessly.
Wouter Dolk was also commissioned by Royal Copenhagen to design porcelain specialty items, including the Hortensia vase.
Often I am most fascinated by an artist's studio. Here is a peak at the prep work that goes into a project's conception. You can visit Mr. Dolk's website here and admire!