of the
School of Spiritual Science

Bettina Muller

Artist and Lazure Painter.
Please see below for an article published in the AS in GB Newsletter Summer 2017.

Bettina Muller

After attending school at Marburg followed by studies in painting and sculpture at the Goetheanistische Studienstätte in Vienna, I was involved for two years with the building project of the Salzburg Rudolf Steiner House. This was followed by three years teaching art and crafts at the Vienna-Poetzleinsdorf Rudolf Steiner School.

In 1993 I moved to Switzerland where I became a co-worker in the Art Section, gave courses for pupils, students and anyone interested, organised exhibitions, had commissions for lazure and mural paintings in Switzerland and abroad, and worked on painting the ceiling of the Great Hall at the Goetheanum. Since 2011 I have lived as a freelance artist in Berlin and Switzerland.

Already as a student it was a special experience to become familiar with Goethe’s and Rudolf Steiner’s theories of colour and to deepen my understanding of these through painting. Colour shows itself dynamically as an in- and out-breathing ‘being’. Relationships arise in connection with the happenings in the course of the year, with the plants’ growing, fading, producing fruit, and the movements of the sun and moon. The archetypal image of the colour circle is always present as a formative principle in natural processes, although often more or less veiled or modified. This archetypal character is made clearer through studying and practising Wilhelm Reichert’s theory of form (the transformation between convex and concave through the double curved surface) which he developed - in parallel with the theory of colour - for the language of form. One and the same being becomes manifest on the one hand in colour and on the other in form.

Even though the colour circle is not always obvious in my paintings, this kind of sensing of the colours is always present as a dynamic influence in the background. The motif of the painting often arises in modified form out of such an experience of colour.

In addition to the painting of pictures, mural painting is also very close to my heart as a way of creating colour-spaces. Instead of limiting the view, it enables the enveloping colours to be experienced as an atmosphere and mood.

A mural painting individualises the space. We owe it to Rudolf Steiner’s painting impulse that murals are once again to be found, both in public and private buildings. The painting of murals, which became increasingly rare after the end of the Renaissance, has been brought back to life.

Likewise, the technique of lazuring has gained new relevance through Rudolf Steiner’s research. In the past, painters already used this technique of applying paint to walls in layers.

Today, bill boarding techniques and sensationalist, abstract and symbolic design have become a much more popular means of expression. When you experiment with the difference between layers of colour, as in lazuring, and a single coat of thick, covering paint, you will have some telling experiences.

Again and again it is like a developmental process when I begin to paint a picture. I usually have an idea or theme, often from the realm of spiritual science. Sometimes it is just a colour mood or colour movement that forms a motif. Through the method of applying layers, for which transparent watercolour paints are particularly suitable, a conversation begins with and between colours in the field of tension between light and dark.

(Many thanks to Johanna Collis for translating this piece into English. The Editor.)