Q & A – Tell us about one of your favourite paintings

I very much love The Dessert: Harmony in Red (The Red Room) by Matisse

I first saw this at the Hermitage Museum in Amsterdam. The exhibition was called ‘Matisse to Malevich’: subtitled ‘Pioneers of Modern Art from the Hermitage’: 6 March – 17 September 2010

The exhibition included 75 paintings selected from the Hermitage – St Petersburg, which is home to an extraordinary collection of early twentieth century French paintings. Alongside artworks by Matisse the magnificent display included contemporaries of his such as Van Dongen, Derain, De Vlaminck and Picasso

‘Matisse spent a considerable time on his paintings. The red room underwent a particularly rigorous transformation during its production. Matisse had initially started the canvas in blue, the colour best suited to Shchukin’s dining room for which the work was intended. Shortly before the picture was to be exhibited, however, Matisse painted it over in blue, without consulting his patron, as he thought it ‘not decorative enough’. You can still see traces of blue paint around the edges. The picture is the first work of art to be so emphatically dominated by red and represents an important step in Matisse’s exploration of painting’s decorative capabilities. It is to Shchukin’s credit that he immediately recognized its significance’

I knew the painting already from my text books at art school, the art history books, and I had seen reproductions of the painting, but until then I never saw the real thing. I knew it was a big painting but when I actually saw it and was standing in front of it, I was surprised by how big it actually was, the grandeur of it, how overwhelming, how red it was, a very powerful red.

And that was in a museum. Imagine how it would look in a house. Imagine how shocking it would be to see it in a house in those times. I read about the history of paintings, of course, and I enjoy that and find it interesting but I can’t really imagine what it would have been like to see such a painting in a house all those years ago, what it would have felt like then, so I really I value the experiencing of a painting, with my modern sensibility, experiencing it through modern eyes

Also I experienced it as such a benign and happy painting, and the greatness of it, the impressiveness of the size, bigger than human size, overwhelming. And the roughness of the painted surface. In reproductions in art books one doesn’t necessarily see this quality, the painted surface seems smooth, but actually when one stands in front of it,  one sees that it is rough, raw and unpolished. The brush strokes are quite coarse, not dainty, and I love that about this painting, how primitive it is.

Q & A – How do you know when a painting is finished?

How do you know when a painting is finished?

Sometimes, many times I don’t know for a while. The process unfolds itself until a resolution comes. It can take twists and turns. Sometimes people are surprised by how many times a painting changes until I stop working on it. Under the final painting there may be layers of four or five other very different paintings, like buried archaeological artifacts.

Some people that visit my atelier tell me to stop working on a piece, that they like it as it is. ‘It is finished’ they say. The thing is I can’t promise to not change it. The only way to ensure that I don’t paint over it is to take it away from me.

I take one step at a time, occasionally two. I can’t see around the corner. What is ahead is your guess as good as mine. I don’t have an end in mind, only a beginning, and a continuation. I cannot tune in or conform to someone else’s expectation or vision. I work with my own inner guidance.

Q & A – What is your prefered medium to work with?

What is your prefered medium to work with?
Currently I work a lot with paint and canvas. Sometimes I am experimenting with other materials like polystyrene, wood, fabric or found objects to making sculptures. Now and then I paint shoes. I also enjoy making digital work.

When I went to art school, at the end of the first year, we had to choose our favourite medium to work with, a choice of three categories – two dimensional, three dimensional or new media. I remember very consciously making the choice of ‘new media’.

I knew that the mediums of sculpture and paint would wait for me, that I would be permitted to explore them later, but that the medium of digital art would not wait. It was such a happening event, the new media, and I knew that there was going to be a very fast journey of expansion and innovation. If I didn’t sit behind a computer and start educating myself, experimenting and creating, I would be left behind.

So in art school I focused on making digital work. I love digital work. I love the freedom of photoshop and the myriad potential avenues of creative possibilities for my imagination. There were challenges and frustrations. I had the urge to take the art out of the digital space into the physical space. Many times the work did not come out right, it came out flat, and with a look of mass-produced shine on it. It looked better on my screen than when it occupied physical space. Also a drive was developing to create large artworks, and this seemed especially challenging to bring to fruition using the digital medium. I am very happy that quality and possibilities for producing digital work became so much better over the year. I really enjoy producing digital creations on perspex.

I love to work with paint because it is so direct and unforgiving.

Paint compels me to work with my mistakes and to forgive myself. It also asks me to be brave in the changes I make, to take risks. There is no way back with painting. It is a path of no return. There is no undo button. I love that. It reminds me of the fleetingness of every moment in life. In an age of such safety, security and convenience, where we can pause the television, undo our photoshop changes and correct our spelling mistakes with a press of a button or slide of a finger, there is this realm of painting where one has no safety net, where one is ‘out on one’s own’, out in the wild, left to fend for oneself. There is danger, the potential for failure. Hours, days, weeks, months of work can be canceled, possibly wasted in a moment. The paint is irreversible. There may be an illusion of control but one walks on a razor edge. There is always the possibility to fall.

At the same time of course there is no real danger. This stimulates my nervous system. I am triggered by the vulnerability of the situation, and the risks, but this is a safe environment in which to experiment. I find this healing. Painting for me is a kind of sanctuary, a protected place, a zone where my heart has protection, where I can love, where I can release, where I can appear to succeed or fail, where I can explore, where I can come to rest, or start to move. In this situation, this ‘place,’ my imagination gets to wander and play, and travel into the unknown, but however far I go, I am never far from home. I won’t get lost. I may peer over the edge of a precipice, or even fall, but still I am always on safe land. Nothing is going to die in the act of painting that I can’t afford to lose.

Q & A – Who Are Your Teachers?

Who are your teachers?

I have many teachers.

My Father Arno: My father taught me the power of discrimination, to use the mind as a sword or a shield, and to be like smoke, to vanish beliefs. Because of him I know how to disappear, lost without trace just to find myself again, and always in a new, fresh, way, to survive in the wild, with a spring in my step, and a laugh and a smile. He teaches me to go beyond myself and to be fearless. The picture above is one I made on one of our roadtrips in Europe.

My Mother Marleen: She is the geatest woman I know. When I was young I had dyslexia. My mother believed in me more than she believed in herself. She supported the highest vision of my highest version of myself while others crossed their eyes. She is my strength. Her unconditional love surrounds me wherever I go. Because of her I learned to listen to everything my heart is saying.

My Sister Rachna: My sister taught me how not to be lonely. She is a great teacher, I always listen to her. Sometimes more then she knows or wants me to. I admire her for all she is and I thank her for making me aunt Floor.

The Colour Blue: I love the color blue.It’s taught me many things, and it still teaches me.
Kandinsky wrote that blue was the most spiritual colour. The deeper it is, he said, ‘the more it awakens human desire for the eternal.’

Since I was a young girl I loved to contemplate and daydream while focused on the blue of the sky or the blue, blue sea or concentrated in a blue feeling, embracing it, becoming one with the sadness until it lifts away like a bird in the sky

Blue teaches me to wait and be patient, like the sky waits for the sun or the moon or a cloud or the absence of clouds. When I paint I must wait for the muse, or for colours to dry, or for someone to buy, or for a new idea to form. The paintings, they grow, the climb, they morph, they dissolve to nothing, they resurrect in brightness, and many times i must wait, wait and look, wait amnd see, wait and feel, and blue is the colour that comes to my aid. It is the calm, it is the indefinable, it is the depth, it is the space, it is the glory in our world, it is eternal, infinite peace, and that is what my heart longs for. Maybe it is what everyon’s heart longs for. Way to blue.

Picasso: Picasso teaches me to not be afraid to be afraid, to paint spontaneous and free like a wild, running child, who is untamed by the world, untainted by the cynicism of every age.

It seems to me Picasso painted for himself, but only for himself, but himself is the world, and the world floats in an ocean of Divine, sublime feeling, that all children know, when they wake on the weekend, and no school to go, and the freedom of feeling that runs through their veins, like horses that leap over rivers of sound, and who will take me home when I’m old and birth me as a child again? That man is Picasso.

Jackson Pollock: and what does Jackson teach me?

He teaches me to be absorbed, to drop out of the world, renounce the day, renounce the night, and paint to my heart, to my heart’s delight

She paints pictures that sing

She paints pictures that sing. Her melody is the colour, her rhythm is the shape, the paintings rise and fall like delicate birds.
She paints beyond the boundaries. She stretches the imagination. You begin to see things in the deep of her paintings that never did exist. She paints not that her paintings be understood but that the viewer should better understand himself or herself. She reveals her mind, which contains all space, which is space.
There are no private thoughts. All minds are connected. She connects minds, connects hearts. Her paintings are the mirrors of our minds. She is crouched on all fours, or sometimes kneeling, sometimes standing up and observing, watching, thinking, waiting, planning, analysing, dreaming.
Like Jackson Pollock she paints the canvasses laid flat out horizontal. She agrees with Pollock that this gives her the feeling of being ‘in’ the painting, not just working ‘on’ it. She is crouched on all fours, or sometimes kneeling, sometimes standing up and observing, watching, thinking, waiting, planning, analysing, dreaming. Floor uses colour, form, line and space to create transcendental paintings that are timeless, contemplative, unearthly and otherworldly.
Very often she paints over the abstract image she has created using cut-out shapes of paper and card, to conceal and protect segments of pattern underneath. When she peels off the cut out shape the contrast between the rescued pattern and the space between the patterns, communicates the interdependence of form and space, the interplay of matter and light, The patterns form interzones that focus our perception into a tight squeeze, signalling the being to relax the mind, to let go of our search for meaning and certainty, and instead to dissolve thinking in the ignorance and infinity of mindless, transcendent awareness, to contemplate the painting as a whole, without seeking, just being.
Mark Rothko, a principal influence on Floor said ‘I paint big to be intimate’, and this we feel applies to Floor’s work. We are pulled into the painting, and invited to be engulfed in its size, captivated by its beauty and then maybe to escape by wandering the pathways of colour or by losing ourselves in the space between.
Rothko also said: ‘A painting is not a picture of an experience; it is an experience’. To contemplate Floor’s paintings is akin to meditation. Like a Buddhist Thangka Floor’s paintings convey elegance, profundity, clarity and beauty. As we gaze into her abstracted universe of dynamic, shifting shape of colour, form and direction we are initiated into the Mystery of life, of death, the luxury of dissolution in the Indefinable. Our contemplation is beginningless and endless.
We are refreshed, made new, wounded by certainty of death, the dying forms, yet raised up, inspired and made whole by Floor’s intoxicating vision of a universe in perfect balance, in which there are no questions to be answered, because everything just is, perfect in its beingness, the tranquillity of untroubled existence, and thoughtless bliss.
Simon Pritchard 2015