Mårtens give magpies their restitution
March, 2010, Galleri Blå, Linköping

We have tremendous bird and nature painters in our area of Sweden (Östergötland) in Gebbe Björkman and Morgan Johansson. The one a little more formal and the other a bit freer in their interpretations.

However, I believe no one surpasses the “bird character” that Karl Mårtens captures in his water colour paintings and lithographs. Even though he isolates the birds from their surroundings. This is explained by the fact that he has been inspired by the Japanese masters’ sensitive natural portrayal of nature. It’s all about broad, flowing brush strokes in the spirit technique of calligraphy.

Here the birds are formed as true personalities. with all their modest beauty and “shaggyness” as they meet their inexplicable existence. Even though they carry and express their soul as birds of pray or small warbling beings.

Karl Mårtens treats us to a fantastic scenery from this bird world.

Among my favourites are without a doubt the Magpies. Despite their reputation of steeling and causing trouble, they get their restitution by their “black tie” beauty. These birds are of course perfect in the world of black and white calligraphy.

Karl Mårtens shows great craftsmanship, and can also be an inspiration to nature painters to create their images, not by formal depiction, but by flowing, forming colours.

Lars-Ola Johansson
Östgöta Correspondenten

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