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Because my grandfather was a painter from Switzerland (see Andrew Hartmann's website here) it was a special pleasure for me to get some invitations to participate in science projects and occasional meetings in Switzerland. Most of these have centered at the International Space Science Institute, a unique facility in Bern. I've lived briefly in several different apartments in Bern, and been able to squeeze in painting time in and around the city, and in other parts of the country. Switzerland is a wonderful country in which to paint. The zoning laws such that local villages have a say in the disposition of private property around the community. This has prevented urban sprawl, and it is easy to take a half hour train ride from the city (on the marvelous Swiss train system), get off at a village station, and stroll in 15 minutes to rural settings such as shown in several of these paintings.

779 SWITZERLAND Bern Olde Clock Tower 2015 703 - Old Town sidewalk, Bern

779 -- The Medieval Clock Tower In Bern, Switzerland.  The tower was first built for defense in the 1200s. After the “great fire of 1405,” it was repaired. Several clocks were added in the 1400 including the large clock with its bell and the smaller “astronomical clock” which shows moon phases, days of the week, etc. The workings have been repaired but retain the original mechanisms. Tourists gather at noon when mechanical men appear and strike small bells. I have a special fondness for the clock because my parents took me to see it during their first trip to Europe, in 1954.   (Are we the couple and child in the picture?) Bern is the Swiss capital, and often has a festive look with display of the flags of the various Swiss cantons.   Bern’s flag features a bear (source of the name).   I painted the picture during numerous invited visits to work at the International Space Science Institute (ISSI) in Bern, I painted the picture on site and in various apartments provided by ISSI.  Acrylic, painted on 11 x 14 inch 4-ply acid free board. (2005)  (Copyright William K. Hartmann).

703 --  Old Town Sidewalk, Bern. The buildings of the central "Old Town" district of Bern date from the 1600s and 1700s. The medieval style cleverly included sidewalks inclosed by open arches and covered by a 2nd-floor extension. A pedestrian can walk across much of the town in rain or snow without getting wet, and on hot summer afternoons, the recessed stone sidewalks remain cool and shady. We should be so smart today! (2009.) (Copyright William K. Hartmann).

702 - Near Reichenbach Falls, Meiringen692 - October in Bern.

702 --  Near Reichenbach Falls, Meiringen. The painting shows a meadow within earshot of the falls, above and behind the viewer. Quiz: Why are Reichenbach Falls famous? Answer: Sherlock Holmes's saga ended when he went over the falls with his arch enemy, Professor Moriarty, and disappeared. The nearby town of Meiringen is crazy about Holmes, and has a museum and statue in the town park, dedicated to him. I spent a beautiful spring afternoon painting among the blossoming fruit trees. (2009.) (Copyright William K. Hartmann).

692 -- October in Bern. This is a view from the balcony of an apartment that I rented on several occasions, in the "Old Town" part of the city (see lower left quadrant of painting 565). The view shows fall color and the river Aare. (2008.) (Copyright William K. Hartmann).

688 - The castle at Spietz653 - Tuesday on the Rhein.

688 -- The castle at Spietz. The "castle" is a large medieval hall in the town of Speitz, viewed here from a hillside vineyard above the town. I finished the painting in a light rain, and escaped to the nearby train station, a short walk away. (2008.) (Copyright William K. Hartmann).

653 --Tuesday on the Rhine. An artist friend, Arthur Woods, organized a picnic ride on his small boat, near his house at Stein am Rhein. People were out lazily rowing on the river. The painting was made on site. (2006.) (Copyright William K. Hartmann).

641 - Countryside near Bern.640 - View of Old Town Bern across the Aare River.

641 -- Counntryside near Bern. This hilltop view looks down into farm fields in the countryside about half an hour by train from downtown Bern. I painted the scene when one of our science teams from the International Space Institute made a Saturday outing for a walkabout and picnic in the countryside. (2006.) (Copyright William K. Hartmann).

640 -- View of Old Town Bern across the Aare River. One cold weekend I walked down the street from my apartment, across the bridge, and down the footpath that runs along the Aare. (The footpath is visible in the views from the apartment window, #692 and #565. My apartment window is one of the upper ones just to the right of the cathedral.) I picked a spot and worked on this view of the Old Town until my hands were shaking from the cold. As I left, I discovered a sign that the Bern artist, Paul Klee, had picked a spot only tens of meters away to make a famous sketch of Bern, sold now on post cards. (2006.) (Copyright William K. Hartmann).

565 - Evening in Bern.





564 - View of Davos

565 -- Evening in Bern. This is a view from my apartment window and balcony, wider-angle than the view in #692. This is a great example of a case where the view in reality is spectacular at various times of day -- the sky, the clouds, the river, the building -- but very hard to compose into a good painting. The reason, in my mind, is that this wide angle view has many elements but no center, while a tighter view like #692 makes a better-composed painting, but misses the spectacular setting. I had short-term living in this apartment for several years before I attempted a painting, and I still have no answer to the problem. (2002.) (Copyright William K. Hartmann). 564 -- View of Davos. This is the famous site of ski holidays, G-8 economic summits, and other such earth-shaking affairs. Our geophysical conference was shoehorned in, for cheap, during the off-season in 2002. Among the mountains, we talked about Mars. Off season in Davos is still spectacular, and the scene was especially meaningful to me because my grandfather, the painter Andreas (Andrew) Hartmann (see webpage) came from a village in the mountains near here. I painted from a terrace outside a museum devoted to the Swiss artist, Ernst Kirchner. (2002.) (Copyright William K. Hartmann).

<-- Back to Bill Hartmann's Painting Page   Page last updated January 1, 2018 by Kelly Rehm



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