Elga Grīnvalde

“At one point, I realised – there are no borders, they exist only inasmuch as we sense them!”

As a painter, I have a longstanding interest in the border between light and shadow. In my work, I look for this invisible line and often manage to find it. This pursuit is exciting and inspirational. It is easy to paint a border where the horizon meets the sky or where land meets sea; but I am more into painting subtler borders, such as nightfall, twilight, or a summer night sky. The edge of light and dark can be definite and sharp or soft and fluid. This line can be hard to draw. The more I look for it, the more I realise that nothing is as certain as it sometimes seems.

Once I was halfway up a hill, when a mist began to fall, shrouding everything in a milky haze, and I felt as though I had entered a huge void. There and then, I experienced a massive rush of power – the Power of Nothingness.

One fears emptiness, much like one dreads solitude. But perceiving the beauty of nothingness, learning to love it and trying to approach it with a broad tonal range is where I see my painter’s task and challenge as a painter. Sometimes three tones are enough, another time ten seems too little, and then, all at once, there is a depth and a sense of completion.

For this exhibition, I have sorted my paintings into groups. In the first one I’ve put pictures of urban landscapes, architecture and detail, evening skylines, and structures – they’re painted in Rīga and Florence. In the second group, there are nominal landscapes, sea horizons, mountain passes and Tuscan cypresses. The third group represents the Force of Emptiness, human emotions and memories.

I work in the classical way, with oil on canvas. I prefer the oils and accessories such as broad brushes and spatulas produced by Italian company Maimeri, which I use to apply several layers of paint and achieve translucent coatings. I also use oil paints with a metallic sheen.