KRIZEVCI AS AN INSPIRATION
It is not easy to start a text about the art historian Vladimir Srimsek, a painter from Krizevci and a painter of Krizevci, an artist who has been a friend with colours for over five decades, a person who has left a profound effect in the artistic life of the town, an author who has inspired numerous young artists (not only in the art circle of Krizevci) and who has offered solutions on how to cope with certain themes and tasks. We have before us an artist that will, in the future, be as significant for young artists as Detoni or Renaric already are today. Srimsek, Renaric and Detoni have all found motives for their best paintings in Krizevci and its neighbourhood. Srimsek's thematic interest has three dominating motives: Krizevci with its panoramas, vine-dresser's huts below Kalnik and Kalnik landscapes.
While painting the town, Srimsek knew how to pick out the scenes that would in the best way represent the spirit of the town, reminding us of the beauties we almost do not notice anymore because of our everyday lives. We can see Nikola the Bagman or some of our elder townsmen gathered around the "pensioner's park bench" on Nemcic Square, we can feel the cold of a winter afternoon on the main street in Krizevci, or the night peace around St. Ann's church that looks as if it disturbs someones window light that stayed on late at night. The last of these paintings, called "St. Ann's by night" shows a different Srimsek, who used the "handwriting" of Stancic to create an art piece of the highest artistic level.
Vine-dresser's huts below Kalnik are very common among Srimsek's motives. This inexhaustible theme drew attention of artists who wanted to show scenes of old wooden vine-dressers huts in a different light. Among them, the most famous ones are The Obrez Huts, also known as The Ilica street. It seems like Srimsek "stopped" the time in those paintings, bringing to us the idyllic picture of past times, a picture that is being ruined today by disproportional interventions in this old, unique traditional architecture.
When we speak about Kalnik as the theme of Srimsek's paintings, we talk about Kalnik as a mountain, Kalnik as a village and The Old Fort in Kalnik, together with all the scenes captured by the mountain creek, the wood and the old vineyards. It's an ode to a magnificent beauty and harmony of nature that has always been an irreplaceable inspiration to any true artist. But, the author's interest doesn't end with landscapes. Srimsek is also an artist when it comes to placing a human figure into the landscape. Without too much hard work, using impeccable proportions made with only a few brush moves, he paints just as good a man walking, a peasant by his team wagon, as he does a bicycle rider, putting an emphasis on the movement and the most characteristic gesture and using only a few very well arranged colour stains. He perfected the skill of painting a human figure while he was still a student. He drew comic books to earn money for his schooling in Ljubljana.
Srimsek's basic techniques are oil and pastel. When working in oil, he rarely uses a brush. He prefers a palette knife because it leaves a more vibrant line and a thicker layer of paint. That is why people say that he has an impressionistic way of building a painting without abandoning a realistic form at the same time. When painting in pastel, Srimsek is a true master. Restless moves, the unsharp edges and the softness of the coloured powder on paper are proof of a good connection between his chosen technique and his style, that simply couldn't fail.
More then 600 paintings found their place on house walls throughout the world. Thanks to Srimsek, they represent the ambassadors that speak to the whole world of the beauty of this town and its landscapes, uniting in themselves the gift of our Maker as a motive and a skill of one artist to create a permanent legacy.