Science fiction novel about a quest through the universe for a perfect world, by Stefan Stenudd. Click the image to see the book at Amazon.
The Greek philosophers and what they thought about cosmology, myth, and the gods, by Stefan Stenudd. Click the image to see the book at Amazon.
Thoughts on life, death, and the meaning of it all, by Stefan Stenudd. Click the image to see the book at Amazon.
The Taoism of Lao Tzu Explained. The great Chinese classic, translated and extensively commented by Stefan Stenudd. Click the image to see the book at Amazon.
by Stefan Stenudd. Qi, prana, spirit, and other life forces around the world explained and compared. Click the image to see the book at Amazon.
by Stefan Stenudd
Brush and canvas
I started painting in oil when I was thirteen, and drowned in it. I don't know how much the substances involved had to do with it, but it was intoxicating to the extent that I frequently forgot about sleeping. And the oil colors, with their rich nuances, made my eyes awaken to something much more complex than three dot RGB color TV or four color CMYK prints.
The structure of the oil colors was also something way apart from watercolor or crayons, a three dimensional thing, already when exiting the tube. It was sculpture and painting in one. And the brush, the canvas, the magic of the varnish... There was no end to it.
Still lifeOil on panel, 1967
This is my very first oil painting, made at the age of 13 - not on canvas but panel. I still remember clearly how the scents of the material and the very intriguing complexity of the colors got me spellbound. I have no idea of how many hours it took to complete, this simple still life (certainly without the wine implied), but I could not stop even a minute, before its completion.
Three figuresOil on canvas, 1975
Now we have jumped a few years, to 1975 when I got serious about painting. This short period will be richly represented in the following. I went to art school for a few months, before getting tired of it, and spent a lot of the money I did not have on artists material. There were a few exhibitions, even one or two paintings sold, but mainly this was business as usual in the field of art: the artist being the major sponsor of the art. Well, I certainly did not complain, I was richly rewarded.
EmbraceOil on canvas, 1975
This would be a global kind of lovemaking, where the uniting of the two lovers is sort of turning them into one body, one flesh, and - alas - their heads weigh ever so lightly in comparison with what their hips have engaged in. The meeting of these colors also involved me for a few more paintings.
Seated personOil on canvas, 1975
There is a dream world, a kind of foggy concept of reality, that I observe in this and other paintings of the period. This seated person, contemplating, while his face seems to signal a soul breaking into two, reappeared more or less in many of my pictures. The face being a dramatic landscape, where the two halves of it are lovers wrestling, joining or struggling against each other, just as much as ever in a scene of the type in the former painting - in that I still firmly believe.
Portrait landscapeOil on canvas, 1975
Here the dynamics between the two halves of the face are quite clear. Just as clearly visible is that one half is in the foreground, and the other is sort of luring behind. Surely, they can shift their positions from time to time, but rarely do I see a face where they are equals - and never upon scrutiny. This painting, by the way, was stolen that same year - shortly after completion. There was a burglary in the studio I shared with brilliant artist Mikael Eriksson. They took this painting of mine, and his stereo. That's how I remember it, but he might recollect differently. Beauty is in the eyes of the prowler.
John the BaptistOil on canvas, 1975
At the time (and probably still) my main inspirations were Picasso and Leonardo - a strange mix, to some, but not impossible to see in my paintings. I cannot be unique in this. Here is a playful copy of Leonardo's painting, to be his last. I also made a version of another of his grand paintings, and enjoyed it just as much - but then that was it. I had my own pictures to investigate. Still, the relations between John's finger to the sky, the ambiguous expression in his face, and the powerful beyond - that's good food for thought.
An Adam and an EveOil on canvas, 1975
I don't think that was on my mind when I painted it, but now the canvas immediately strikes me as portraying maybe not Adam and Eve, but an Adam and an Eve. There are, certainly, lots of them. It amazed me to see how two persons on the same canvas would bring so much more to the scene, even if they were not exactly relating to one another. Like in the arithmetics of procreation: one and one become three, but the third here being that figure or story or adventure or novel, which is the relation between them. Well, I guess that could really be said about procreation too.
CrucifixOil on canvas, 1975
Themes from the Bible attracted me, not only for thereby allowing me to sort of speak with the artists of centuries past, but also for the simple reason that biblical and religious questions were constantly on my mind (again, probably still). Christ is, of course, at the very core of all that. If that were not enough of a reason for trying this motif, it could also be added that there are not many poses as intriguing for the human body, as the one adopted when crucified. All the agony of existence, and all the beauty of tragedy. This was to me a moment where the very flesh, the body, the temple, is in absolute focus, wherefore I sought to portray the scene in a bodily way. That might be slightly sacrilegious (especially the erection, though plausible in such a moment), strangely enough.
PietaOil on canvas, 1975
Again a classic motif from the Bible, the virgin Mary with the dead Jesus after he has been brought down from the cross. The grief and sadness of this moment is of a magnitude that makes it as holy as the roles involved. That could very well be a basic ground for practically all things sacred: they are symbols of how we experience, or would like to experience, our own lives. The mother grieving over her son's death - a terrible crime against the order of things - makes it all but insignificant who the father might be. A mother, a son. I could relate to that, though preferably not to this outcome. That too, is true about life itself: we are not immune, we really cannot take it in as it is - that would make us combust, one way or other. So we have to move away a bit, step to the side and look at it from a distance. much like an observer. Well... like an artist.
I'm a Swedish writer, artist, and historian of ideas, writing fiction and non-fiction books in both Swedish and English. I've also published books about ancient Chinese and Japanese traditions. Google Profile
Creation stories from around the world, and the ancient cosmology they reveal. Click the image to visit.