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Wooden Aquarelle is a coloring method for wood that has been around for quite some time. In a nutshell, it is a technique in which pigmented water is poured over bare wood and allowed to seep in, dry out, and evaporate to create a myriad of patterns—swirls, twirls, flowing lines, gradients, and smudges. Sounds simple, right? It is not a complex technique to understand, but there is a profound artistic philosophy at the root. German artist Meike Harde uses the Wooden Aquarelle method to create breezily colorful wooden blocks and panels that she then fashions into quirky pieces of furniture.


Meike Harde’s Wooden Aquarelle Technique

Meike Harde was inspired by German Expressionist painters August Macke and Emil Nolde to adopt the Wooden Aquarelle technique for her works. Harde fixes birch wood sheets to waterproof frames. She then washes the wood with colored water and lets it soak through. As the pigmented water dries and evaporates, it leaves behind intriguing blotches and streaks. Colors mix to create newer and richer hues. One color flows into another to create delightful but random gradients. The result is a colorful wooden board that comes alive with a myriad of formless but intriguing shapes and patterns that tell a different story every time you look at them.


Harde finishes off with a coating of transparent sealant. The final piece of board hardly resembles the bare wood that it started off as; it is more like an abstract watercolor painting. Harde, however, describes the effect as that of “translucent ink.” She then works with the painted panels to create nested tables, dining tables, room divider screens, floor tiles, and wall panels. Each piece is unique, but Harde asserts that the panels can be produced en masse.

The Artistic Philosophy of Meike Harde’s Creations

Meike Harde believes in the freedom of creative expression. As an artist, she believes that ideas should not be forced upon individuals. Rather, she is all for leaving around cues and suggestions and then letting the imagination run wild with fantastic stories and ideas. As an imaginative person, Harde has the ability to see beyond what is obvious and discover novelty in the mundane. She has discovered endless possibilities in a block of wood and countless shapes in a patch of color. She wants us to be able to do the same.


Harde dares us to look beyond what is predictable and imagine what is not there. She has busted all notions of what wood or wooden furniture should like or how colors should interplay with one another to create fixed and predictable shapes. Her wooden panels are unlike any wooden surface you may have come across while her colors defy all attempts at generalization.

The Boldness of the Artist

It takes courage to accept and see beauty in randomness.

As an artist, Meike Harde is a bold individual who is not afraid to speak out her mind. She is also a free soul who demands freedom of expression. Because she honors freedom, she is willing to grant it to others as well. So she relinquishes all control over the canvas and lets the colors take charge. She is happy for the colors to flow uninterrupted over the wooden boards and take shapes and create forms. She is unafraid to give up control and waits patiently and enthusiastically to discover how the wooden board turns out to be after the paint has dried out.