Alethea Eriksson is a South African-Swiss abstract artist living in Baden, Switzerland. Her paintings are evocative inner landscapes inspired by emotions, memories, yearnings and nature. These are distilled in an intuitive process-oriented painting process which invites experimentation and a dash of serendipity.
“I see my painting as visual poems which express what I can’t put into words."
My artwork typically evokes an atmosphere or feeling, which may be both quiet and contemplative, but invigorating. A limited palette of subtle, often subdued, colours contributes to this effect, while the often strong surface texture lends the works a contrasting materiality and inner life.
I paint on canvas, wood panels or paper using either acrylics, oil pastels, inks, sand, ash, bitumen, various papers and tapes or oil colour mixed with a cold wax medium. The process starts energetically. I rapidly put down layers of colours, work wet-in-wet using large brushes or a brayer or spatula. I work on multiple canvases simultaneously, both to insure energy and flow and to avoid any piece becoming stiff or overworked. The process moves from what is free, vigorous and intuitive to something more deliberate and slow. A given painting may take anything from a day to forever, until such time as I feel satisfied with it. I often paint over a work, adding more history and mystery, add an energetic expressive mark or sand down parts to recover what was below and to invite chance into the process.
My inspiration comes from what I find beautiful, both in nature and the urban landscape. I believe that such beauty has its own healing and soothing power. It nourishes our psyche, offers us quiet and and depth in our otherwise noisy and over-stimulated world. As such, the natural elements—especially the sea and sky—are a major focus of my work, and movement and patterns in the natural world fascinate me as well. I fall in love with the colours of autumn every year, and often return to something I call, the mystery of geometry.
I find painting both meditative and invigorating, qualities that are reflected in the works themselves.
I was was born in South Africa where I did Bachelor and Honours degrees in History of Art. We immigrated to Switzerland in 1986. Here I worked in foreign language training for 25 years. Since 2012 I have dedicated my time to my artistic development and practice. This has included doing intensive self-study, a year at the Zurich School of Art and Design, plus numerous classes and workshops with local and international artists. In 2019 I was selected for a residency in Iceland. In 2020 I did the intensive on-line course, CVP or Creative Visionary Program with Art2Life. This year I'm working on finding a more intuitive expressive visual langauge with the help of abstract expressionist Nancy Hillis.
My paintings have been shown in group and solo shows in Switzerland and are in collections on three continents.
I am a member of the various artists’ groups: the international private Creative Artists’ Club, and two local groups.