The thing I love the most about painting is the process itself. In the beginning, it’s a very analytical approach that requires a lot of thinking, re-checking things, and discipline. But once the foundation is built, I can gradually switch off this left-brain approach more and more and tap into a more intuitive way of painting. That’s the point where I get into a flow that I hardly ever achieve in anything else. The hours fly by and there is no ‘individual me’ any longer. All that’s left is the brush, the color, the paper. It’s a very peaceful state to be in.
My name is Klaus Gasser and I work as Software Developer at Dynatrace in Austria. I originally used to work as a Physical Design Engineer. I did integrated-chip layouts for smartphones in that job back then. But that eventually became too boring, so I decided to attend University part-time next to my job and become a software engineer.
There is no definite point in time where I could say that I became interested in painting. I always loved to draw and paint as a kid. As time passed by, I gravitated more and more towards painting people, so this developed quite naturally in my teenage years I would say. The first painting that I took really seriously, in the sense that I tried to produce a presentable work of art, was in the spring of 2017. My favourite things to paint are people, animals, and generally figurative things. I don’t know if this will always be this way, but that’s what I enjoy the most currently.
Style-wise, there are a lot of great artists I draw inspiration from. There are too many to name, but I especially love the works of Stan Miller, Dylan Scott Pierce, and Cesar Santos. I always come back to their work – I appreciate so much that Stan Miller and Cesar Santos in particular openly share their knowledge via social media; I learned a lot from these two artists. But recently, I noticed it becomes important to also give myself a break from other artists work, as it subconsciously influences me too much and is more of a hurdle in developing my own unique style. So I now try to limit the time where I actively consume the art of other people.
When it comes to painting, I need to have a solid foundation established that I can build upon. For most of my paintings, I do some small composition sketches and value studies in my sketchbook or digitally on my iPad. If I’m happy with an idea, I try to work it out a bit more in detail. Only if I feel that it’s working do I start the actual painting. Depending if it’s a watercolor, oil painting, or a charcoal drawing, the process looks a bit different of course. But the main principles are always the same: first comes the correctness of the drawing or the forms, then the correctness of the values, and then I deal with colour. I want my paintings to have a beauty that transcends analytical thinking. I try to aim for interesting light and atmosphere. I also try to capture a certain mood that I feel when looking at the subject of my painting and light and color are my tools to accomplish that.
There are a lot of factors that go into the length of time it takes to do a painting – the medium I work in, the size of the painting, and the amount of detail I’m aiming for. Depending on the combination of these factors, it usually takes me somewhere between 10-40 hours to completely finish a piece.
The painting I am most proud of was the first painting I did after years of not painting at all in spring 2017. It was the painting of an old homeless woman I did in watercolor. I love to look at that painting until this day. I think this is actually the painting that I would never want to sell since it’s the one that lit the spark in me that made me want to take my art more seriously and explore this side of myself.
I prefer working traditionally with painting, but I just recently got myself an iPad because I wanted to play around with digital painting as well. I’m not really sure what will come out of that in the long run, but it’s a lot of fun to explore a very different way of drawing and painting. I can already tell that it’s definitely a very useful tool for the preparatory stages of a painting because it’s easy to do quick composition and light studies and change things around after you laid them down. If I ever do actual art with it, that might result in some fine art prints, but I do not know yet. Let’s see what the future brings!
I have a few personal art career goals that I am trying to achieve within the next couple of years. For a while now, I’ve been evaluating different ideas for some painting series that I would love to show in an exhibition. I would also love to work together with a gallery, but it’s hard because I’m currently not really connected in the art community since I taught myself everything at home with the help of books and online resources. I’m not sure how different galleries react to people like me, with no “formal” education, although I actually take my work very seriously and spend quite a large amount of time studying books and different material on things like anatomy, color, light, and composition from various well-renowned artists.
Painting has definitely been a benefit to my technological career. It provides the perfect balance for my mind to a very logical (and at times a bit dry) activity. And it made me reduce working hours in my job as an engineer so that I am able to spend more time painting! Maybe that’s not a real benefit for my job, but it didn’t hurt my productivity in my job either. More than anything else, this was a huge boost in life quality.
My advice to any aspiring painters is to have a vision of what you want to achieve. That’s actually tougher than it sounds. I’m pretty sure that any goals worth having will require some sort of skill to reach them. Do not take any shortcuts in developing them. You do not need to attend an (expensive) art school if you have the determination to learn the craft yourself. These days, there is this a huge amount of information out there waiting for everybody that is willing to be consumed. Be it modern platforms like YouTube or a regular book that is centuries old. You can learn from anything. And the most important thing of all (and I have to improve in that area as well): paint, paint, paint! Being an artist is not something you achieve by reading about or watching YouTube videos. These things provide you with the help to go your own way, yes, but you have to DO IT yourself.
I feel that sharing the artistic passions of technologists is of the highest importance. I’d say technology is obviously an integral part of our daily lives and will only rise in importance. But as human beings, we should never forget that, ultimately, we are not machines. Although artistic mediums may change over the centuries, we should never abandon the part of ourselves that recognises and longs for beauty, aesthetics, and fun. Scientists can try to explain as much as they want and try to rationalise what happens in our brain when we hear a piece of music that touches us in our deepest core, or why we shed a tear when we see a work of art or read a poem. These things will ultimately always be very individual emotional impressions and the ability to experience them is our heritage as human beings, and therefore of the highest value.
To see Klaus’s online gallery, be sure to check out the following link: