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Hans Dillesse - craftsmanship, time and wood

Hans Dillesse lives in Utrecht, Holland. For nearly 15 years ago he was mainly a portraitpainter and then a few years ago he strated doing landscapes, initially in Ireland.
When he first came to Scotland he was already a whisky lover and keen to learn about whisky production and the industry’s history.
Perhaps it is not surprising then, that he became captivated by the visual impact of some aspects of distilleries. In particular, he was attracted to the visual quality of the colour, sheen and shape of pot stills, and to pagodas, those stunning architectural relics of a (mostly) bygone whisky process that seem to pepper the landscape of Scotland. Hans works in various painting mediums, including oils and pastels and even ink he made from soot, but it is perhaps for his woodcuts that he is becoming best known. The craftsmanship and time taken to produce colour woodcuts as well as the use of wood itself reflect the craftsmanship, time and maturation in the whisky making process.
This may well explain both why Hans chose it as a way of representing distilleries and also why it is proving popular.
From an outline sketch, a colour scheme is worked out and the drawing transferred to wood, which is then carved to create a relief. The first colour is then applied to the wood with printing ink and then pressed on to paper by hand. This gives the first colour of the work.
To achieve the second and third colours the process, including more carving, has to be painstakingly repeated and the final picture is built up in layers. After the required number of pictures is achieved (say 20 prints) the woodcut is destroyed. In this way it becomes a limited edition run.
Hans enjoys painting distilleries like Edradour and Tormore, which have something special to offer visually, but the people who buy his work tend to go for their own favourite distilleries, and Ardbeg is very popular.
Hans likes Islay whiskies but is also developing a fascination for Longmorn. His work can be seen at the whisky festivals and fairs in Holland and in Germany. He has also brought work to the Speyside Whisky Festival and shows some samples on his website www.hansdillesse.net

Whiskymagazine. Issue 45

   
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