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Logo François Schlesser



Here, in pictures, we can whiteness the main stages of implementation of the painting titled "Bursts". The work is an oil on canvas - four layers of linen mounted on a wooden stretcher - measuring 92 x 65 cm. The elasticity of the taut canvas makes it easy to apply the base coatings. Pulling the brush to create the gradients that become my starry skies is a pleasant experience. The contact of the brush against the canvas is slightly damped by the elasticity of the whole, which allows to obtain interesting fading effects in between colors. Sometimes, from these extraordinary interlacings, forms emerge, which were not expected. When I notice them, I realize that something in me has allowed for a shape of unspeakable harmony to arise in my work. I love such extraordinary moments as I paint, because then, in total surrender, absolutely nothing is controlled, and I am filled with mystery and seized by great joy. The less I think of what is happening, the more such harmonies are likely to come about. I just need to work in complete confidence and keep certain that everything will be ok, without having any idea of ​​how the execution process will unfold.

The biggest challenge for the mind is definitely to surrender to silence. There lies the key to the awakening of consciousness in man, and the art of painting can sometimes lead to that state. 

See steps from start to completion of the canvas 

Choose one step by clicking on the icons 


Photo  1, planet drawing1

Photo  2, Galaxy drawing2


Photo  3, beginning from the bottom3

Photo  4, background of the canvas4

Photo  5, background of the canvas5


Photo  6, background of the canvas6

Photo  7, Coloring asteroids7

Photo  8, details clouds8

Photo  9, starlight9


Photo  10, filling the canvas10

Photo  11, Work on the light sources11

Photo  12, illuminance level12

Photo  13, details asteroids13


Photo  14, glaze light14

Photo  15, illumination of details15


Photo  16, complete canvas

Photo  17, presentation on the easel


Photo  18, creation of the digital reproduction



Before I start painting, I fully focus on the drawing, primarily because this allows to quickly fix first impressions. It is at this point that everything is decided. The drawing is the foundation from which the work will emerge, and so it is important to work carefully on this implementation phase, where we can grasp, through the definition of the main contours, areas of light and areas of darkness.

As long as the drawing is not fully put on the canvas, I do not start to paint. I progressively develop the design so as to sense the general harmony that will emerge from the picture. While drawing and positioning the different scenes, I remain tuned to my inner feelings, my feelings for the ongoing work, and I watch for signs that will signify that the implementation is complete. As long as the design is not entirely satisfactory, painting is useless; otherwise difficulties may arise when the time comes to apply color. It's easier to correct a drawing that is not quite it, rather than a painting. This is confirmed by experience.

Through contemplation, I can mentally superimpose colors in the drawing. I can then have a glimpse of the depth of the whole, which helps me to adjust the composition. Depending on the need for representation, I build my scenes in different ways, either by copying them from existing 2D or 3D models, by conceptualizing them mentally, or by tracing inner visions.

When I draw, I use a silverpoint and relatively soft color pencils to make my first markings on the canvas. To indicate the placement of a direct light source, such as a visible sun, I use colored pencils to define the template. In this case, light yellow concentric circles drawn with a compass. They are intended to guide the spreading of light through successive gradations. I therefore use a pencil that comes close to the color of the light to be painted, which allows to easily cover the lines once the painting is applied.


Photo  1, planet drawing
Photo 1, © François SCHLESSER
This image in black and white shows a detail of the drawing on canvas.
What seems to be black pencil is actually a template of the main objects drawn with light yellow colored pencils for the stars, orange colored pencils for the planet and the rings, and silverpoint for the stones (the image is processed to bring out black lines and make them visible on screen).

Photo  2, Galaxy drawing   Photos  2, Galaxy drawing

Photos 2, © François SCHLESSER
Here is another example of details drawn ​​with an orange colored pencil. They represent the outlines of two galaxies.


Then comes the moment when I notice the drawing is complete. The signal is manifested through characteristic shapes that I learned to recognize. I'm satisfied with what I have to put in place and cannot see what else to add. I really like the design and I vibrate with joy. A vacuum is felt in me, and I just know I have to move on to the coloring phase.

Before I start working with color, I get into a phase of contemplation of the drawing. I place myself in front of, sitting comfortably, and for an incredibly long time I go deep into an inner journey whose intensity is proportional to the harmony exuding from the composition of the sketch. In this way, I like to savor my work, when I truly appreciate it. If the drawing utterly enchants me, then I know that the canvas will be successful and I become absolutely certain of it, even when some portions may require to be painted with effects that I have never implemented before. What matters most is to be able to externalize an inner vision, and whether this will require the use technical knowledge that I do not posses is not an obstacle. If this is the case, I know that knowledge will manifest according to my needs. I trust that the universe will respond by providing assistance. I already know that it will provide me with whatever I may need during all the phases of materialization of the work. This creative process is natural and always functions. The universe appears to be made in this fashion. Awareness of this acts as a universal manifestation amplifier for the crystallization of thought into matter. In other words, the more one is aware of this creative principle, the more it manifests itself.



The materials I need to paint are typical: an easel, a wooden palette, paint brushes, with both semi-round and pointed tips, poppy seed oil and flax oil as binders, and extra fine oil paint tubes. I use very little paint and do mostly paint glazes on completely smooth surfaces.

I do not use airbrushes. I do not know how to handle such tools, they seem too complex for me. I prefer to remain as simple as possible. Reaching the canvas through the brush seems enough. However, sometimes I paint with fingers or with the palm of my hand, or even with a cloth, to achieve fog-like or shading effects.

First, I start by preparing mixtures of colors for the base of the sky. This is where I decide to start, because it is the background color of the picture that will determine the overall indirect light to be reflected in the shadows projected, in greater or lesser extent. So I prepare a color cocktail that will be of use until the painting is completed.

Then, I prepare the color of direct light, complete with the gradient of colors that comes with it. This light is emitted by the six biggest stars in the composition, positioned in a cluster. The two galaxies will be painted from the same light and will have no influence over the scene, which will appear on the painting as being quite distant. Again, the colors that make up the direct light from the six suns will remain the basic reference for the lighting of planets, clouds, mists and interplanetary debris.

At last, all is ready. The drawing is O.K. and paint mixes for the direct and indirect lights are prepared, so I begin to paint. Ah, I forgot something important: the music. I put my headphones on and enter the universe of my favorite musicians. It is a bit strange, but often, when I paint, I feel as if I were on a stage with them and I think this is wonderful. Some of the musicians manage to communicate something to me from their inspirations, and I can really get nourished through this. It is primarily a vibrational matter, and I am convinced that the sound dimensions that I enter when I paint enrich my painting.


Photo  3, commencement of oil background
Photo 3, © François SCHLESSER
I begin with the background. I spread the mixtures and the deep sky begins to emerge.
My basic mixtures are already prepared, and as the brush slides on the support I mix different shades of color to obtain the shadings of deep mists. The topography of the sky appears, as I stand fascinated by what I discover.


Difficulties arise as I approach the areas on the canvas where starlight is to be painted.  Actually, the more a painted light source is bright, the less we are able to see details above those areas, and these details take the color of the light, which subdue their own color, creating a dazzling effect. So, for now, I paint around the stars with my background paint mixes, reserving the treatment of light gradients for later. I take good care not to cover the outer edge of planet rings, because I need those drawing lines to apply colors later on.

What I love about this creative phase, when dealing with the background of the canvas, is that I often feel like I am penetrating a field of abstraction, as even though I am aware of the forms I created, which are intended to become a concrete representation, I see them emerge as abstract forms. Harmonies are assembled on their own in a successive mingling. Apparently they occur completely outside of the control of thought, and often their true meaning is only unveiled when the work is completely finished. This has often intrigued me and made me think. My reasoning could not grasp how this type of communication that seemed to emerge from the deepest strata of being could be manifested through painting (see picture 3 above).


Photo  4, background Oil
Photo 4, © François SCHLESSER
The topography of the sky becomes more and more visible and the first touches of warm colors are applied near a star.
The brush contours the planets and galaxy and follows its course on the white surface.

My true pleasure is to represent beauty through color and light. When I paint, I think only of the aesthetics of my work. I so love to contemplate sunsets, because they bring a lot of personal enrichment, amplify our sense of wonder and raise our awareness through their unique beauty. Sun light is nourishment for the mind, a real delight, and sunsets are a source of education of extraordinary richness, as the stellar core, that is to say the sun as a star, expresses its wisdom to the world.

Exchanges between stars and planets are of vibrational and particulate nature. The universe seems connected to an infinite and multidimensional energy network. The most intense energy area of concentration within a system is certainly the star that is in charge of raising and nurturing the worlds rotating around it. This stellar entity contains an unimaginable amount of information, collected through interactions between natural phenomena, for reasons beyond our comprehension but certainly not without meaning, intelligence and conscience. A mystery lies in the gigantic heart of a star, filled with the knowledge of light. The energy information sent by the sun to Earth and elsewhere is visible as light is visible, but is also invisible and subtle, through its multiple forms of radiation. All these data transfers stem from a central heart and spread in all directions and undoubtedly in all dimensions, even in those we don’t know anything about. It would be logical to think that the radiation takes place in time and space and beyond.

It is because I know that stars are important entities in the universe that I love painting them and placing them all over my paintings.


Photo  5, background Oil
Photo 5, © François SCHLESSER

The interstellar medium materializes, the contours of objects appear and the color of the light of three stars is applied.

The idea is to implement circular gradients with the different colors of light that will materialize on the canvas as the main stars. This phase is a delicate one because of the need to blend warm colors with cool colors, and, most importantly, paint circular gradients as regularly as possible by mixing, strip by strip, the dark colors with the light colors. The achieved process must give the impression of a light source effect. These sources that will determine the overall light effect on the whole piece.
The drying time of oil paints is also a parameter to be taken into account when working with that medium. Some colors must be mixed as they are applied on the canvas while they are still fresh, others when they are almost dry (see picture 5 above).


Photo  6, background Oil
Photo 6, © François SCHLESSER
The first layer of bluish shades now reveals an outline that announces the overall tone of the scene. 
The yellowish orange color of stars at the foreground brings heat to the blue tones that gradually turn into lightened gas. Here, the gradients of two stars are almost completed. The central planet floats in the light of a sun that emerges just above its atmospheric limb. Contours bordering the star are subdued by the intensity of light. But some white areas remain. When color is applied, each object will begin to take part in the scene, as many depths gradually appear.

The white coating applied directly to the fabric can be used as reference for light, which can be  very interesting when creating strong contrasts. The whiteness of the coating is intense and will be used in the sources of stellar lights. I thus decide not to paint the centers of the large stars so as to intensify the dazzling effect that will occur when contrasts will be balanced (see photo 6 above).

When conceiving a painting, it is important to mentally maintain the vision of the completed composition as it unfolds. This is where the imagination and the capacity to develop mental models play an important role. The more the vision is clear, the better it can be reproduced. Therefore, different means can be useful at this time, as the mental image makes it to the canvas: texts, photos, film, sounds, music, digital data, etc. 

To me, the overall vision is a kind of mental construct produced after one or more inner flashes take place, which I integrate into a panorama whose structure sometimes remains quite mobile as the work develops. Indeed, each canvas requires, aside from a visionary force, an important phase of automatic painting of a totally unconscious nature, that is fully integrated as part of the "vision/ imagination" process.


Photo  7, Oil and background starlight
Photo 7, © François SCHLESSER
While applying translucent glazes on the blue background, other star lights are positioned, planets are set in their own colors, two galaxies are born and the largest asteroids are positioned.
Gases emerge as the brush adds layers of translucent glaze. The background of the painting is important, because its color will be projected on the shadows of objects appearing in the foreground of the painting. I love it when unexpected effects just happen. Sometimes the landscapes that emerge are sublime. They inspire me to paint other paintings, or induce other visions. I know then that creative action really opens a door to infinity, and I am amazed by such universal dynamics. Just by getting to work, by taking the first step, by moving toward what appears to be necessary to us, the universe responds by unveiling the next steps in the creative process, revealing, one by one, its secret guidelines, inspiring those who willingly accept to play the game of creation (see photo 7 above).

Again, this shows that we must first give if we wish to receive. This principle is universal. It applies to all types of creation in the universe. Even reality seems to be determined by this principle : it is as if a first step on our part immediately induced dynamic responses from a series of possible results stored in a future time. Without taking the first step, no response can be received, and he who does not first want to give cannot receive.

What if the universal dynamic process of creation could convey information to the past and into the future in order to organize the present?


Photo  8, details clouds
Photo 8, © François SCHLESSER

On this detail, fine brush strokes reveal countless stars in the deep sky.
Nearest gases materialize, giving the impression of peculiar interstellar clouds.


Then it is time for the mists to get light from the stellar sources represented in the scene. I use very fine-tipped brushes. Some of them feature two types of bristles that allow to paint very delicate strokes. Their long, fine tips are held by a structure that is also a reservoir. Thanks to this reservoir, the frequency of refilling is delayed, which allows me to focus even more on creating.

Through mingling lights, I make gaseous forms emerge, whose presence becomes more and more consistent. From the first abstract jets that have been set by the brush, and which revealed the first background, I gradually switch to the concrete representation of cloud masses of gas, that the stars, far from achieved, begin to illuminate. This way, the overall scene fits into a field of coherence, coyly suggesting a new dimension: depth.

Further in depth, billions of stars are dancing in the infinite light, cradled by gravitational forces. Again, the landscape that reveals is sometimes grandiose, as stars appear one by one at the tip of my brush, as if guided by an infinite force whose will is to determine the composition through my intervention. A cosmic template appears over time. There, I really love what I get to discover (see photo 8 above).

Most of these micro-stellar landscapes, which in fact evoke gigantic territories established in the sky for billions of years, bring me to my own depth, my own infinity, to my immense, eternal state of being.  


Photo  9, Coloring asteroids
Photo 9, © François SCHLESSER
The background becomes more and more detailed. Distant stars, galaxies, planets, gas and asteroids suggest more depth.
The tones are enriched as the layers of transparent colors are applied following my inspiration.


Glazing techniques allow to superimpose very thin color layers on the canvas. One can apply as many as desired. For example, a planet will be painted with five layers while three layers will be enough to bring mist to a desired shade. Glazing means superimposing a number of layers, composed of paint mixes that contain different percentages of transparency. The magic of colors occurs when light passes through all these layers, hits the acrylic white coating of the canvas, then travels back to the eye, enriched by all the more or less transparent tints (see photo below 9 above).

Sometimes, as I work, I notice that remarkable connections between layers simply occur somewhere in the painting. Something extraordinarily harmonious manifests without my mind intervening. A higher, uncontrolled harmony may surge at some point. As I tried to understand how these phenomena could logically happen, I realized one day that they arose most of the time when I hardly thought about anything, in moments when I worked in a particularly peaceful state of consciousness, sometimes reaching ecstatic heights, as if the secret of the emergence of these unspeakable harmonies was directly related to the inactivity of the mind.

While continuing to paint, I sometimes think of these special connections through which information is conveyed, whose origin seems to be directly linked to a certain quality of energy. The right attitude could trigger, sometimes for only fractions of a second, an inner reconnection to more subtle dimensions. As a result, an unusual harmony occurs, and exceptional testimonies to these moments are registered in the painting.


Photo  10, bottom and colored objects
Photo 10, © François SCHLESSER

To the left, the dominant hues of two satellites appear. Verdant continents and oceans are visible. Later on, cloud layers will cover them partially.
The rings of the central planet are just beginning to unfold, as are its ocean, its hurricanes and clouds.
The background of the sky is continuously enriched by multiple colors. 


Photo  11, light clouds and objects
Photo 11, © François SCHLESSER

Starlight begins to light up the surface of planetary rings as well as the stellar gas.
The dazzling effect dampens the clouds that are close to the limb of the planet.
The top star reveals a gigantic spiral vortex that gradually sucks up everything around it.


Photo  12, illumination of planetary rings
Photo 12, © François SCHLESSER

The depth is reinforced by the gradient of star lights that appear over almost all gas, clouds, rings and planetary limbs.
At the same time, I start to balance depths. Transparent glazes are applied on areas that are too contrasting.
The entire scene is properly positioned gradually, and the overall perception of the composition changes.


Photo  13, details asteroids
Photo 13, © François SCHLESSER

Hundreds of small asteroids are added up into infinity. They form a corridor that leads towards the rings.
Color gradients materialize them by giving them each a direction that I sometimes discover, amazed by the magic that is revealed.
Later, direct starlight is applied to them.  


Photo  14, glaze and depth adjustment
Photo 14, © François SCHLESSER

Gradients of stellar light are softened through the application of other transparent layers. Orange-yellow lights are desaturated.
Atmospheric clouds are applied to vegetal planets, positioning them properly in terms of depth.
Projected shadows and direct lighting balance the planetary rings.


Photo  15, illumination asteroids
Photo 15, © François SCHLESSER

Asteroids are illuminated by direct light from the stars. Tiny cracks appear on their surfaces.
Because they are at the forefront, the painting is very detailed and contrasted.


Photo  16, complete canvas

Photo 16, © François SCHLESSER

See this canvas in the gallery


Photo  17, presentation of the painting on the easel


Photo  18, creation of the digital reproduction
Photo 18, © François SCHLESSER

© François SCHLESSER

Translated from the original French text by Leticia Delboy