Art of Devaud

Work with hand-made paper

Since 1997 the artist has made his paper by hand using a fiber selected for the length and strength of its strands.

The artist calls his paper Hanakami, from Hana, the Japanese term for flower and Kami, the term for paper, but also for God.

Fred Siegenthaler, founder of the international paper artist association IAPMA and H. J. Drissler (formerly JAPICO) technical adviser for paper processing, drew the track to Asia.

From Chinese and Thai mulberry tree he creates an age-resisting, acid-free and non glue paper, in accordance to his artistic expression. After soaking for weeks, boiling for several days and extensive washing he strikes the fiber with a wooden spoon up to 10 hours so only the fibrils remains.

With a large quantity of water and in enormous, swimming sieves the Hanakami paper is drawn. The freely poured format develops directly in the water and is not torn after it has dried. Pieces found in nature become part of the more or less relief-like search for form during the first years. Lately pieces dominate, where lightfast pigments are bound to the fiber by an electrolytic procedure.

Then the sheet rests – the water extracts itself, making each sheet unique.

By beating the fiber, hydrogen bonds are formed while the cellulose is drying. The more hydrogen bonds exist, the more tear-resistant and long-lasting the paper becomes.

Scanning electron microscope photo of the Hanakami paper by Prof. Dr. rer. nat. Stefan Trapp (Institut für Mikroverfahrenstechnik und Partikeltechnologie at Umwelt-Campus Birkenfeld)

On to the easel with long-handled watercolor brushes from Russian squirrel hair, pallete and mahlstick develop with hand-mixed lightfast pigments and without draft, often only with supplementary painting.

With the very expensive and exclusive bladder of the Russian caviar sturgeon from Volga, the pigment and Hanakami paper are conserved in an elaborate process.

Between material representation and fanciful individuality, creations of fine sensitivity, exciting spontaneity and the expression of strong artistic passion are born.

Work on canvas

Philippe Devaud consciously chose apprenticeship as a restorer as the foundation for his artistic work. He began making the paints used in his techniques from his own recipes in 1972, and since 1983 has used only raw materials from Dr. Georg F. Kremer, master chemical engineer.

Structure of the oil technique: The foundation is traditional or acrylic gesso. A detailed drawing is made with silverpoint, sanguine or charcoal, and occasionally with crayons handmade from raw pigments.

The imprimatur layer can be partially wiped out in the lights and drawn over in the shadows. Light and shade are modelled in with resin-oil medium, building the lights with lead white, titanium white, zinc white or lead-yellow opaque to semi-opaque. In shadows semi-opaque to glazing with an additive of pigments to accelerate the drying process.

After drying: A glazing or semi-opaque layer is applied with a chemically bonding medium and an additive of pigments that accelerate the drying process. He then returns to modelling light and shade as above. In several processing steps there are up to 14 layers in the “Inkarnat” (skin colour). Proximity and depth are achieved by applying complementing pigments in a particular order, as well as by careful control of the “Sfumato” (ital.: smoky).

Media: Five different oils (four of them self thickened in the sun and ten years old) as well as five different resins are used over the entire painting process. Until 1994, he worked with doubly-rectified turpentine, thereafter using a coal hydrogen solvent of the group of the cyclo-aliphates.

Brush: Five different types of long-handled brushes using five different kinds of hair – Kolinsky sable, black sable, badger, pig and a nylon blend, especially made by the da Vinci artist brush factory Defet GmbH. He works on the easel with pallete and mahlstick. His brush techniques vary and can be partially traced to old letter painting, to marbling techniques or to ceramic painting. The result is the enamel-like glow in the paint surface.

Simlar to the Dutch master, Vermeer van Delft (1632-1675) (with whose works Marc Lacroix, one of the photographers of Salvador Dali, compared the order of colour of Devaud as early as 1989), Philippe Devaud develops his pieces to a large extent out of non mixed, layered paint films. Thus the spectrum of the light comes to its full potential.

What the viewer experiences are the soul of the piece, its expressive strength and its internal fire, everything achieving a quality in which old-masterly painting techniques experience their reincarnation.

Watercolour and drawing on paper

As a three year old, Philippe Devaud saw the sanguine self-portrait of his paternal grandfather. The aircraft mechanic, who had lived and worked in Paris during the 1920s, as well as the maternal grandfather, who painted in oil as a sideline and drew with a quill at lake Thun, in the Berner Oberland in Switzerland, both influenced him, just as his parents did.

At an early age he drew wherever he had the opportunity – as a 16 year old he painted in watercolour in Olympia, mixing the paint, due to a lack of water with saliva.

From 1981 he drew with sanguine almost like a painter would. Today he draws partly with handmade crayon made from pigments, upright on the easel with or without a mahlstick.

Paper: ZANDERS STERN, smooth 300 g/m2.

Drawing is the basis of all painting. The solvent of mankind is water!

From 1992 – 1997 watercolours were mainly created on ARCHES handmade watercolour paper. 300 g/m2 Torchon coarse grain with hand-deckled edges (sizes up to 7 feet)

He works at the easel with mahlstick and long handled, long haired Kolinsky sable brush. Using lightfast pigments thickened and mixed in Gum Arabic, the paint is applied “alla prima” directly onto wet paper. Sections of flesh are depicted using multiple layers, similar to the oil technique. Lamination of painted works of art by a special procedure to preserve and protect them.

“Sometimes I think of his works and I learn to hear them with my eyes. They create echoes, if I let them. If I admire also the commanding mastery of the artist, I am closer to understanding him.” Prof. G. Liebetrau

Art in architecture

For the past 20 years Devaud has completed commissions for the layout of interiors, facades and Trompe l’Oeil painting.

Techniques: The German made Keim – mineral paints, acrylic dispersion, two component varnish system and gilding.

His work was installed in such venues as swimming pools and entrance halls, also in combination with handmade paper, of monumental or moderate size, the artist always fulfilling the longing of the people for whom he worked.

From 2001 cooperation with Glaströsch Design of Switzerland: Glass objects within insulated and laminated glass, in which he incorporated his hand made paper, together with his self-developed watery paper painting technique.

In addition to the utilisation of exclusively non-fading pigments the foil has an absorption of 99%. Safety test of the safety glass and temperature tests at -20 °C gave the best results.

He has created glass partitions, doors, paravents, shower cabins, glass tables among other things in many different sizes and shapes, colour or types of fibres, with extremely thinly laminated Hanakami paper, a unique eye-catcher.

The design integrates itself especially well in architecture. Depending on the way the light falls, natural or artificial light, the delicate paper in the glass becomes iridescent.

Since 2003 successful work with artificial fog with four times filtered tap water.

Since 1988 private and group tutoring in all techniques.