Category Archives: Art

Expressive narrative in gouache

How to turn an emotional sensing, an idea into a narrative pictorial form? And how than to keep the imagination of the viewer further alert and open?

© Stefan J Schaffeld - Gouache on paper - 5 x 70x100cm (27.5 x 39.4")
© Stefan J Schaffeld – Gouache on paper – 5 x 70x100cm (27.5 x 39.4″)

With an experimental approach in gouache on paper, mostly executed with my naked fingers, the idea came across my mind during a visit of a swimming pool in Switzerland at the ‘Lake of Lucerne’.

Swimming is an free flowing act like the water you are in or the soul that moves around. It does not hold you back, only when you reach the boarder of the pool to turn or to climp out after finishing your turns in water.

Water, free flowing inside the pool and coming out from the shower.

Where am I in this? There is a story perhaps to tell. Perhaps it is just as free flowing without a limit. Or I am just about to leave the picture plane myself for find other images…

You are welcome to find your own story here, with your own experiences, with your own emotions. The flatness although representational form of my paintings should not keep you too long in a story.

Drawing in layers for deeper expression

How can one overcome the hurdle of flatness in a drawing? Isn’t the surface, mostly a kind of paper, pushing somehow to flatness?
There are the skills of an artist to mimic a three dimensional perception, based on what and how we learned to see the outer world: by shadows and light and by distorted shapes were our brain already learned from experience to see more than for example just a rectangle with two distorted rectangles alongside it: we see a cube!

EPSON MFP image And further our cognition skills see beyond the flatness. But only if this reflects our experienced and learned objects. A young child is more free here as it it doesn’t need to adhere to those learned patterns. For example the table with all legs stretching out at right angle into all four directions. An adult wants to see the table legs all going into one direction – downwards.

EPSON MFP imageSo far the theory.

What can a contemporary artist do to stretch the patterns and find new expressions of non-flatness?
Coming from the exhibition about Egon Schiele and Jenny Saville the in Kunsthaus Zurich , Switzerland, I found other ways to give the perception of non-flatness. One could overlap multiple drawings on top of each other, assuming that those layers are transparent or translucent.
Another way is done by Jenny Saville in her work ‘Oxyrhynchus – Untitled 2014’:

Overlaying images, oil and charcoal, intermitting, movement. All this together gives a multidimensional picture of even more than one object solely. Intriguing in its mere perception.

I think I will consider this in my own and further works.



‘Traces’ – an art story to tell

During my ongoing painting works and experiences I leave traces behind. As all people leave small traces behind, often not even recognized as such. But we also take traces on our way. Small traces that forensics love when investigating a crime scene. Our shoes picking up traces from the ground we walk on. Our clothes taken up traces when they are touched.

This is a continuous theme that I am thinking about how to express it in artistic way.  I started with what I leave behind in my studio. Spatters on surfaces, dots of paint, or just structures that leave traces behind.

Here is one other work I recently captured in my studio:

©Stefan J Schaffeld - Traces #6
© Stefan J Schaffeld – Traces #6 – 70x50cm (28×20″)

You can see more about ‘Traces’ at my portfolio page:

Emotional expressive abstract paintings – Silhouettes

I went deeper into the hidden spaces of undisclosed feelings. Deep emotional characteristics of human beings behind a wall of not knowing and not be seen. What can come up if you look behind? Perhaps you can not really look behind and thus it stays hidden. I went into theme of ‘Silhouettes’ deeper, to discover for myself the underlying emotions. With my drawings I exposed myself to it. With expressive layering of color and broad brushstrokes, sometimes rather splashing, I slowly uncovered the expression being. Here you can see two from the ongoing serie.


©Stefan J Schaffeld – gouache on paper – 70x50cm (28x20”)
©Stefan J Schaffeld – gouache on paper – 70x50cm (28×20”)



©Stefan J Schaffeld – gouache on paper – 70x50cm (28x20”)
©Stefan J Schaffeld – gouache on paper – 70x50cm (28×20”)

Juried exhibition – Silhouettes

I participated this month to the ‘Silhouettes’ show

with Linues Galleries.Art Contest Call for Entries Silhouettes




As described:

 ‘Silhouettes create a striking contrast between the subject and its environment.  They can be very informative, reveal a teasing amount of detail or communicate complete anonymity; in all cases, leaving the viewer intrigued.’

Here is one of the paintings I submitted:

©Stefan J Schaffeld – gouache on paper – 70x50cm (28x20”)
©Stefan J Schaffeld – gouache on paper – 70x50cm (28×20”)

Color expressive abstracts juried exhibition

You can see 5 of my works at the current  juried exhibition with the Contemporary Art Gallery.  The theme of the exhibition is Color

© Stefan J Schaffeld, Soulscape #248, gouache on paper, 70x50cm
© Stefan J Schaffeld, Soulscape #248 – Gouache on pape – 70x50cm


Inspiration from A. Jawlensky exhibition in Emden

This weekend we went to the exhibition “Jawlensky Horizon” in Emden, Germany. As it was Sunday and the last day for the exhibition, so it was pretty crowded.

According to the Kunsthalle Emden the exhibition was marking 150th birthday of the Russian artist Alexej Jawlensky (13 March 1864 – 15 March 1941) and honoring the leading protagonist of Classical Modern Art.

Works exhibited were mainly from the years 1900-1914. They were shown with other influencing artists like Vincent van Gogh, Edvard Munch, Kees van Dongen, Maurice Vlaminck, Henri Matisse and others. Jawlensky got influenced and inspired by those artist who broke out from the mainstream realism and impressionist world.

It is quite impressive how the painter moves through time and discovering continuously new directions and expressions, to eventually finding his own unique style as a mature artist in his late 50s and 60s.

The essence for me is the transformation of images and the insight of the artist that he eventually found for himself: It is not the external reality of an object but rather the artist’s own soul that gets expressed through the pictures to the viewer’s world.

Unfortunately his later pictures were not shown, where Alexej Jawlensky went even further into abstraction and color expressions, e.g. Variations, his abstract head series (Mystic Heads, Faces of Saints), and Meditations.

As Always after visiting an exhibition I translate my experience into my own pictures and expressions. So here you can find the picture I did after my return home.

expressive figurative art by Stefan J Schaffeld, 70x50cm, gouache on paper
© Stefan J Schaffeld, gouache on paper, 70x50cm



For more insight the Kunsthalle published also video on their webpage ( – it is in german, but many images are shown.


There is another video on Jawlensky’s art (Young Girl in a Flowered Hat, 1910) that I would like to share here:

Expressive abstract paintings juried exhibition

Just to let you guys know that you can find some of my works in the Contemporary Art Gallery exhibition of Abstract Art. You can find the current exhibition (competition) under:

When you click on the picture you will redirected to the exhibtion of my 5 shown works:

Stefan J  Schaffeld - Soulscape #69 - Gouache on paper 50x70cm - Expressive abstract painting
©Stefan J Schaffeld – Soulscape #69 – Gouache on paper 50x70cm



Portfolio update Expressive Abstracts

Dear friends,

this is to let you know that I completely updated my art portfoio. Please visit and comment and share.

You can access my portfolio either by the link ‘My Portfolio’ on the left side bar, or directly from here: My Portfolio

I attach here one my most recent pictures for your enjoyment:

©Stefan J Schaffeld -
©Stefan J Schaffeld – Gouache on paper – 50x70cm

Expressive painting in colorful garden spirit

Taken the time in the garden and enjoying the various lives that exists there. I can feel the vibrant flow of the movements of the butterflies, and the colorful  joy of the flowers.  This all gives an impression and touches the soul.

I can take this with me, it is already a way of healing.  But there is more and so it gets out on the paper in creation of the art that heals further. Hopefully, it will inspire others to feel the spirit once again.

Gouache on paper 70x50cm by Stefan J Schaffeld
Gouache on paper 70x50cm by Stefan J Schaffeld