Excursion of the Visual Art Students to Switzerland
Landscape and Art
The third term started in April 2016 with an exceptional opportunity for us visual art students: thanks to Rudolf Kaesbach's initiative we had the chance to spend four weeks in Switzerland.
The first three weeks in the Rudolf-Steiner-House (owned by Eurythmist Anne-marie Baeschlin) in Ringoldingen (Simmental) and the fourth in and around the Goetheanum in Dornach. The focus of these four weeks was the dialogue and influence between landscape observation and artistic work. In this we were supported and guided not only by Rudolf but by Martin Gutjahr for ten days of sketching and painting and by Andrea Donadoni in sculpting with clay.
For several of the students it was the first visit to Switzerland but the surrounding landscape left a deep impression with all of us. The beautiful long-stretched valley of the Simmental with its meadows and cows as well as the green hills and rocky mountains on the left and right of the valley. The days were divided, according to the weather, into observation and sketching of a certain view (e.g. to the rock behind the house or the sunrise-side of the valley) and transferring the impression into a figurative or abstract painting or a clay sculpture. Being outside, observing, sketching or walking was an important part of getting in contact with the landscape and the weather even allowed us a few times to take our easels outside to paint. One of the highlights for sure was our visit to Isenfluh where we went uphill to Sulwald (1520 m) with a small cable car stuffed with easels, boards, paints… to spend the day taking in the impressive view to the famous mountains of Eiger, Moench and Jungfrau.
During our stay the weather changed considerably from ‘warm and sunny’ to ‘misty with low-hanging clouds’ to even three days of waking up to snowfall outside and it felt somehow magical to be in this surrounding more than once. Misty and snowy days gave us the opportunity to spend more time inside, going deeper into painting or clay modelling. We had been looking at the mountain range on the south side of the Simmental discovering a sequence of development within four mountains from left to right. Using this sequence as an example we transferred the qualities of each mountain into a sequence of clay sculptures. As always it was impressive to see how different the results from each student were.
Together with a sculpture expressing our individual image of the valley they found their place in a little exhibition next to our paintings and sketches of the weeks before. With this exhibition our stay in Ringoldingen came to an end and we were more than happy to show our host Annemarie Baeschlin the different impressions her beautiful Simmental surrounding had evoked.
Because of her invitation we had the opportunity to go into deep contact with nature but during our stay we also grew together as a group and this experience felt very precious to all of us. Therefore, again a very big ‘thank you’ to everyone who made this exceptional experience possible.