Creative Approach

To entirely appreciate Menno’s paintings, it is essential to understand why he has such an immense passion for art - like many other artists, he claims to use "the blank canvas as a medium to express experiences and emotions".

The themes he uses are surreal, based on dreams, visions, experiences and emotions. 

He writes: "My paintings can be characterised by a focus on light. I regard colour, shape and balance as playing an essential role. I enjoy vibrant colours, imperfect forms and shapes, and achieving a balance in a non-symmetrical manner."

There is an intended lack of precision in the forms and shapes within Menno’s paintings. Menno’s style can be contrasted with the perfect forms that are generated by computers in their graphics. Symmetry and exactness are prominent in many artists’ work, but not for Menno. Rather than producing standard paintings, his innovation is visible in the imperfection, vitality and creativity of his work. For Menno, the benchmark for analysing art is that the viewer of the painting be able to continually discover a new facet to the creation. Menno’s art fulfils this criterion through his use of symbolism, saturated colour and abundant energy.

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Media

A painter of light, Menno's preferred medium has been dye on silk. 

Silk is a very difficult surface on which to work because it fails to absorb the colour in the way that conventional canvasses do. As a result, Menno has mastered this difficulty by using a variety of additives to change the texture of the surface to avoid the running of the dye. Menno also uses a variety of painting utensils to give a different effect to his strokes. For example, he uses Japanese as well as conventional brushes and any other tools required to achieve a particular effect.

Menno begins by roughly reproducing the sketches with outline pencils on the blank silk canvas and then adds colours one by one. He uses unconventional colour combinations, although they may look natural to the viewer, to create depth and dimension. Black dye often highlights the shapes in his paintings.

The dyes are then left to dry overnight, when they will consolidate and collide. This complete, the canvas can be stretched and framed.

Menno has also worked in oils, on tiles, in clay and with stained glass. He is now experimenting new ideas and techniques.