There is Something Special About Cows
On the southern fringe of Nordby, you are greeted by two cows on a sign. And by Gurli Hansen who loves colours, lines, guests, high spirits and, especially, cows.
From Engine Noise to Paint Brush
For most of her life, Gurli has helped her husband keep Samsø’s engines run¬ning and you can still hear the sound of wrenches and compressors from the garage where Sven-Erik – or the “car retiree”, as he calls himself – is working.
By the end of the 1980s, Gurli signed up for a watercolour painting course with local artist Ulla Fredsøe. “There were a lot of great people on that course including a couple of talented ceramists, and we stayed together as a team for many years. It quickly became clear to me that colours and shapes come easy to me making me never want to stop”, says Gurli.
She later added to her technical competences by attending Aarhus Art Academy where her watercolour techniques were supplemented with acrylics and portrait drawing. “Most amateurs – which inclu¬ded me at this time – can only get so far before everything stops. To get beyond this, you need to add theory to your creativity”, says Gurli.
Independence and Conversation
Gurli had vast experience in business management from her times helping her husband run his business, and being the petrol station attendant, so when she had the chance to start her own business around 10 years ago she took the leap. “When we closed the petrol station and were approaching retirement, it made sense to make my artwork a business. I loved and still love to paint but it is not enough for me to isolate myself in contemplation. I need to talk to people”, says Gurli.
Once Gurli had picked up a lot of experience she became a part of the artist milieu on Samsø. “It was a pat on the back when I was admitted to the artists’ asso-ciation “Mårup Gruppen” in 1992 and I am happy and humbled by all the joy that my paintings give me on a daily basis and all the great people that I have gotten to know because of them”, says Gurli.
The Tranquillity of Cows
As an artist, Gurli explains, she lets herself do all kinds of things: “I like to move from markers to watercolours to oil painting. And my motives range from still lifes to landscape to portraits of people and animals.” Animals in particular are something that Gurli returns to time and time again.
“As a kid, we had cows on our farm in Stauns, but I wasn’t brave enough to en¬ter the cowshed. Although I still do not have the courage to do this, I feel closely connected to them nevertheless. Cows are calm and curious animals and often approach you to have a chat. The cows often find their way into my marker/wa¬tercolour paintings and it has become my signature motif”, says Gurli.
The Guest’s Very Own Animal
The gallery in Nordby is almost al¬ways open and people are very welcome whether they want to look at the art on display, have a chat or try painting them¬selves: “I do not have opening hours but the door is normally open when I am at home – which is most of the time. If I am not home, you can always call me. Everyone is welcome here – children, families, grown ups and the elderly”, says Gurli.
In addition to her exhibition, Gurli also offers private lessons for 400 DKK per hour. The lessons include an introduction to techniques and colouring and you get to take your own art work home. Typically, this artwork will be a depiction of an animal painted with markers or watercolours. “Both children and adults think that it is exciting and fun, especially as it allows kids to express themselves without their parents’ input. Everyone also loves bringing home their own souvenir sheep, chicken or cow from their holiday on Samsø.”