From the licked
pencil to the oil paint

Libor Vojkůvka

It started when I was a little boy and we lived in Oskava.

My dad was a postman and he used to bring me purple pencils, I always licked them and then I was drawing and drawing with them. At the loft of the post office, there remained plenty of blank forms after the Germans. The ones that were printed on one side, I got for doodling.

At school, the teacher asked me to go of out the desk to draw a cylinder, a pyramid, or a rectangle on the blackboard because no one could do it like me.

I started painting at the age of 22, when I bought oil paint and created my first paintings.

I did not know absolutely anything about how to paint with oils, nothing about the thinnings, but I used to go rock climbing, and interesting people can be found among climbers.

I met a girl from Brno who was a restorer and a librarian. She noticed that after climbing I was painting bees and ants, and I was using the paint here and there. She promised to bring me a book by Bohuslav Slansky about the art of the restauration of paintings where the basics were. I got it in a week.

I had to read the book a few times to understand it because it was too professional for me.

In the footsteps of old masters

Thanks to this, and then to other books, I decided to start studying the honest work of old masters whose paintings still preserved. I will paint this style too, I said.

I began to visit places where were paintings that the painters had not finished and studied their technique. It was an incredible school for me. In 1990, right after the opening of the border, I went to the Spanish city of Prada, where is a large Salvador Dalí museum. Seeing his paintings, the unfinished paintings, was a great experience.

From gardener
to painter

I do everything by myself

Today, I use the technique of old masters from start to finish.

I drive to Vienna where I buy laths of different lengths. At home I then prepare the picture format I want to do and stretch the canvas. I always stretch the canvas by myself. No one can stretch the canvas, as Vojkuvka does in Šternberk! The cloth must then be filled with various solutions and chemicals to protect it from mold.

Before I start painting, I create a white blend and I soak the canvas three or four times to smooth out various inequalities and at the same time it serves as a podcast on which I can start to paint. It is not exactly white, that would be too perky, but it is more like a shade of ivory.

I paint a picture
for several months

The motive of the painting I want to paint I draw in pencil on onion skin paper in my bed first, and when it sits on the canvas, I start with tiny details. I will start with a beetle. A picture big like a pig, and I will start with a little beetle! Then I will add another one and another.

I first have to make the underlayer, then the scumbling and the glaze. One painting takes me long time to paint, it must have several layers to look good.

I am an aquarist and entomology is my big hobby. That is what I am trying to put into my paintings.

Painting is a great passion. I try to paint every day for 12 hours, but now it does not go so well. But when I cannot paint, I still think about painting.

In 1989 I left the profession of a gardener and since then I have been painting, painting and painting.

Libor Vojkůvka, February 2018