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The Simplicity of Silence

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By arminmersmann   |   Watch
Published: September 4, 2012
“The Simplicity of Silence” Pencil on Board, 45” x 80”

Normally one puts their work on a gallery wall and the work needs to carry the power to speak to the viewer, if it’s successful the work will ignite the viewer’s imagination and art is made. The only hint the artist gives is the title in this case “The Simplicity of Silence”.

Yet at DA we learn, we teach, we read, and art is discussed, and this having been a wip I’ll try and go over what has turned from a perceived 500 hour project to more than 1800 hours and why it was worth it.
Ever since getting out of art school years ago, I suspected that talent was a farce, sure there exceptions Mozart, Picasso, Joe Bonamassa and a few others but these are prodigies more so than “talented” people. For the rest of us “talent” is more an unstoppable interest and drive, a work ethic that at times seem almost obsessive. Once this practice gives you a foundation to work on, ideas and concepts make up the rest and none of this comes easy. When my students complain about their art assignments all have to say is; “suck it up, art is hard, get it done”. Yet time put into an individual project doesn’t mean 1800 hours-that alone has nothing to do with the success of a work. Kathe Kollwitz could do with a line in a very short time what 99% of people could never do but it took years of observation and repetitive technical study to get there. Personally I have to spend a lot of time on my work to say it in my way; in a nut-shell my fascination is with the complexities of nature, of the human face of a broken light bulb and so on. Simplification is not an interest nor do I feel that I have to avoid it when see a need for it. I go about my work in a simple formula, composition, concept, technique… success is never guaranteed for the viewer has to be moved to fill the artistic circle, after all art is still a form of communication.

“The Simplicity of Silence” was at times horrendously repetitive, I would sit at the drawing board almost on the verge of hanging it up, but I know at these time I have to rise to the occasion and work thought it. I took no short cuts, I stuck to every branch if they heighted the vision and left out only the ones that took away from the flow. I have experienced every snow flake every twig and branch every shadow and highlight this is a journey that taking a photo could never give me. Because of this hyper-involvement I hope to share my visions with the viewer in a way that a photo cannot do. This obsessive act translates to the viewer in a complete different manner. I’m not interested so much in any particular “ism”, photorealism or hyper-realism per say, but I am interested to show the viewer just how I see my world. Technicality I used about one hundred photos as references, I used real branches and twigs that I had in my studio and went to the original place many time although that changes daily, winter turned to spring, to summer to fall and so on. What I do not want to do is just copy a photo but translate and reinvent it with my knowledge, imagination and artistic language, the photo is only a map, finding the treasure is within me.

I want to thank all who have commented on this long wip, I thank you for the question and keeping the discussion going. My hope is that it inspired people the way you all inspire me.

“The Simplicity of Silence” is dedicated to my dad Fritz Mersmann who passed away during this project, he was my only teacher.
To get an idea of how large this is here is a link


This is quite and honor for me, the Grand Rapids Art Museum has chosen this work to show for a year in an exhibit “ArtPrize Encore” I am one of thirteen artists chosen.


Sold as of 12,12,12

Armin Mersmann
Image size
3192x1752px 1.95 MB
Shutter Speed
5/100 second
Focal Length
135 mm
Date Taken
Sep 3, 2012, 6:07:52 PM
Adobe Photoshop CS4 Windows
anonymous's avatar
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pumsmajer's avatar
pumsmajerHobbyist Artist
oooooooooooooooooooooooooOOOOOOOOooooO M G! 
ZIDO15's avatar
poor twigs :D
nice drawing.
guukee's avatar
guukeeStudent Interface Designer
Sargent-Slaughter's avatar
Sargent-SlaughterHobbyist Traditional Artist
ClownCarnage's avatar
ClownCarnageStudent General Artist
But of a late comment on this, but I couldn't hold back

Along with your work, your words are very inspirational. I agree completely with your view on 'talent', and I wish more artists could read this. 
I am still young and have little experience, however reading what you have said seems to re-ensure me that im on the right track. 

Your wisdom is something this site needs much more of. 

If I were a student of yours, I would never question nor complain the exercise and practices you gave me lol. If the end results would be a fourth of what you've achieved, both in wisdom and skill, I'd trust you completely 
FabioKeiner's avatar
FabioKeinerHobbyist General Artist
breathtaking - in all possible dimensions
LiamSharp's avatar
LiamSharpProfessional General Artist
Perhaps my favourite of all. I will never tire of looking at your stunning art.
arminmersmann's avatar
arminmersmannProfessional Traditional Artist
thank you so much!
LiamSharp's avatar
LiamSharpProfessional General Artist
You're very welcome. I have a deviantART feature going out next week to the community, and I was asked to pick 5 of my favourite artists on the site. I chose you as one of them - I hope you don't mind. You should get a bit of a bump in your traffic.
Really extraordinary, inspiring work.
arminmersmann's avatar
arminmersmannProfessional Traditional Artist
dont mind at all thank you im honored
chocogirl10's avatar
chocogirl10Student Traditional Artist
WOW! :jawdrop: I have never seen such detailed landscape before this one. It is very realistic & detailed. It requires very high skills to create such drawing. You are my inspiration! :clap: :)
touchofthesoul's avatar
touchofthesoulHobbyist Traditional Artist
ClauDraws's avatar
ClauDrawsHobbyist Traditional Artist
I won't say "wow!" or "unbelievable". I'll say Thank you for sharing this, cause you inspired me.
arminmersmann's avatar
arminmersmannProfessional Traditional Artist
you are very welcome and thank you!
RebekahKroeplin's avatar
RebekahKroeplinStudent Filmographer
This can't possibly be a drawing!  My goodness, this is incredible!  WOW.
HirokazuTomimasu's avatar
HirokazuTomimasuProfessional Traditional Artist
I know trees are really difficult to be drawn.
All the more so with vast forest.
However, you completely conquered them!
Titan of drawing!!

Then, I am astonished also by your art philosophy.
That is because I also think I do not want to merely copy a photo.
arminmersmann's avatar
arminmersmannProfessional Traditional Artist
Photos are part of our life, we look at life with and iPhone in hand, we see the world on a monitor and are "friends" with people we never meet ...but how can the artist use this stuff but still be "real"
FabioKeiner's avatar
FabioKeinerHobbyist General Artist
almost like an religious exercise... like tibetan monks drawing their mandalas (with colored sand:)... !
arminmersmann's avatar
arminmersmannProfessional Traditional Artist
other then  certain people in my life this was my most intense relationship, this drawing and the year and a half becoming one with it.  Now i regret selling it so fast  but the money was good and now its gone (both money and drawing) luckily the experience will always be part of me thanks Fabio!
FabioKeiner's avatar
FabioKeinerHobbyist General Artist
well, the monks let the wind blow away their mandalas :))
arminmersmann's avatar
arminmersmannProfessional Traditional Artist
i guess thats why they made wine as well, it blew them away as well :)
SDA-MessengersOracle's avatar
SDA-MessengersOracleHobbyist General Artist
Humbling inspiration and encouragement. That's what's felt and what's seen when beholding this piece. :heart: It's more than simplicity, but beauty of silence. Wow. :rose:
arminmersmann's avatar
arminmersmannProfessional Traditional Artist
thanks you so much
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