Texte von René Böll  

René Böll
Exhibition on Achill Island"

In 1955 I came to Achill for the first time at the age of six, and during the next ten to twelve years I spent many weeks and even months annually on the island. We arrived from Cologne, from a city which was completely destroyed, and then experienced a countryside, which was impressive and memorable.

Achill Island became an important part of my childhood and youth; it was a second home. As children we had lots to do. We spent our days outdoors, on the water and ocean, even when it rained. For months we didn´t go to school. I never missed the city, because it was always exciting here. Later we had our own boat and were very often alone on the water. Even today I very much enjoy riding around in a boat. Viewing the island from the sea is a totally different experience from viewing it from the land.

I believe that the countryside of Achill, the lakes in the swamps, the mountains, the cliffs, the sea, were very important in my development as an artist. As a child I painted here, and later, during my first months as a freelance painter and even today I visit the same places for short periods in order to make sketches. These sketches are not a reproduction of the countryside but rather a concentration. In order to do this I make colornotes, mostly three sounds, or four or five sounds, like in music. I have hundreds of notes.

During that time I painted more often outdoors; today I need distance and prefer to paint in an atelier. What I paint is not a copy of the countryside, but rather its essence, my emotional impressions.

The Slievemore was the first mountain I remember as a child. Certainly I had seen others before, but for me a "mountain" is like "Slievemore."

HAP Grieshaber once said, a painter looks at the world with the eyes of a child. I believe that there is a lot of truth in what he said. The landscapes I painted earlier are not so different from the ones I paint today. I have simply returned to my former style of painting.

It is often the seemingly simple lines, a mountain ridge, a cliff, which make the face of the countryside stand out, the "Achill signatures," and I try to transform these into printed illustrations.

The colors in the countryside change continuously, and that is exactly what fascinates and inspires me as an artist ­ namely to render the colors of nature and not the manmade world of the large city.

Such a combination of water, mountains and sea, is very rare, with high mountains hugging the sea and also a diversified countryside with lowland, marsh landscapes, and swamps, where violet lakes lie a few meters above the green sea water.

I find such places extremely interesting. And the power of the elements ­ water, wind, storm, coldness, darkness- everything is more elementary than at home. One sees a truly dark heaven. This happens very rarely in Germany. Many people find darkness threatening. In its presence I feel secure and at home. Dark colors are strongly disapproved of in art, without a good reason.

For years I have tried to paint a certain lake on Achill, but I have failed. At some point I will succeed - an almost oval lake in a ravine which drops off steeply to the sea, a very simple motif. But just because it appears so simple it is difficult. This spot has an uncanny power. The lake is often very dark, sometimes violet. But it can also be green ­ it depends completely on the light. I wanted to experience the lake at night and also at daybreak. I was there alone in fog. I could not see anything artificial. I liked that very much. One senses in a very contemplative mood that nature is alive, also a stone, a lake, and a mountain are alive. These are living things for me. But in order to experience this intensively one must be alone.

The countryside on Achill Island has strongly influenced my painting, also with Chinese ink, until today, and it still inspires me.

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