Since early childhood I have been painting and drawing. Art has been an integral part of my family. My father Theo Strutz is a passionate professional artist. Most of my works are water color paintings. Additionally, I showcase other techniques used, such as oil painting (only one though), drawings, linocuts, etching and graphical design.
From early childhood on, I learned the art of water color painting in front of the object. It is a wonderful way to travel quite different from rapid shooting of photos. The object of the painting and angle need to be well chosen. Then some time is needed to have full concentration on the object.
Whilst sitting in front of the object of my studies, concentration on the object is obviously necessary -- the forms and colors need to be grasped with the eye, the perspective and proportions correctly estimated, and everything should be brought on the paper.
After a while of sitting, most of the surrounding is unconsciously absorbed and brought as impression on the paper. The more one succeeds to do that without measuring forms and colors mechanically, the more impressionistic the painting will be.
Watercolor as a technique is very powerful for the expression of light -- the early morning light, the strong light when the sun is standing high, the mild afternoon light, or even the evening light. One becomes very conscious of something simple as the color of the sky -- no clouds, obviously a blue, but which blue? And then colors depend so much on the intensity of the sun and the angle of the sun to the object. The colors are so much different in a view facing the sun from a view with the sun in the back.
After having sat at one spot, I so often noticed the time only after one or two hours when the body began hurting for the lack of movement. Obviously I got completely absorbed into the painting; all thoughts not related to the painting must have faded. Concentration will be replaced by some almost unconscious movement of the brush on the paper, almost without thinking. Sitting, only sitting without chasing thoughts, this is like Zen.
Sometimes my Aikido master and Zen priest Shimamoto Shihan described an Aikido technique where one pins down the practice partner by just sitting straight into his/her arms: “sitting, only sitting, that must be Zen.” In this sense I thought about water color painting. If one does impressionist paintings in nature, if one paints without judgment, if one looses oneself in the colors, then one looses the preoccupation with oneself during painting as during Zen. One merges into the quietness of the moment in time and space and experiences unconsciously to be part of the whole world.
I am very thankful to my father, Theo Strutz, a passionate professional artist, from whom I have been learning and I am still learning about the beauty of arts and the technique of paintings since my early childhood. Since then, I had many occasions to work side by side or next to my father, learning the art of water color painting first hand from a master. I remember painting in the dunes of Denmark as a kid, in the lavender fields of Provence or in the middle of temple ruins in Greece.
I am also thankful to my sister, Maria, and my sister in law, Hildegard, who are also active as artists. Please visit their respective web sites and their actual exhibitions (in real space). When Maria, my sister, visited me in Japan in 2005, it motivated me after a long time to take up the brush and do water color paintings again. We were sitting together in front of the Saikouji Temple during the cherry blossom season, feeling the magic of this very short time when all Japan is covered in white and pink.
Since early summer of 2005, I joined my parents on several trips where I painted again side by side with my father. It gives me the feeling of sharing wonderful moments and doing something passionate together.