White Sheep in the Right Bottom Corner: an Artist Ove Büttner Paints in the Third Floor Flat at Mustamägi Residential District in Tallinn and Grows Dahlias on the Balcony

"The title? There is not yet one. But we are going to give one right away," announces an artist Ove Büttner, peering at one of his newest pictures, and shouts out: "The Day of Glory!" Well, if the day of glory, then the day of glory. Everyone understands in one's own way. "And what is the matter with those sheep all the time?" mutters Ove, when the title to the next picture is requested. Tiina, Ove's wife whispers that, initially, there should have been one black sheep on the canvas. It indeed appeared, but not black. And not one, but plenty of them.
""The Creatures go to the Holy Top" might be its name," the artist hereupon expresses his opinion. "This is a translation of an ancient phrase. I was once presented the book as a birthday present, I even studied ten pages by heart. Then, I borrowed the book to someone and it has not been returned to me since. Perhaps now this somebody reads these words and brings my book back," is Ove full of hope.

Life, work and residency at Mustamägi
Ove lives with his mate at the corner of Vilde Street and Sõpruse Avenue in a five-storeyed house. He lives, works (that is, paints) and generally resides there. The third floor, a proper lock downstairs. The wife comes to meet us and opens the door. "I am afraid of the forth, that is the top floor," says Ove. This is not clear, why. Just like this.
"This is a corner flat," Ove specifies. Therefore, the sun shines through every widow during a day. Without curtains, there is even more sunlight. Painting is indeed possible. "Here is a woodwork shop, too." Ove produces all his picture frames at home. All the paintings are constantly transported from one room to another.
The house was built in 1967 and Ove moved to it together with his parents from Nõmme. "The opposite blocks of flats originate from 1965. A nearby restaurant Kännu Kukk was completed in 1969," says Ove. He knows everything that happened in the neighbourhood in those years. "I have seen the Shah of Iran with my own eyes. We were knocking about the roofs. On the Kännu Kukk roof we looked down, and saw militia. We cannot get down, it is already dark. Long cars drive in. Later we get to know from television that the Shah of Iran paid a visit to this and that spot, but we are seen nowhere," laughs Büttner.
"These here are old farmsteads. Look out of the window: where the lines of trees cross, there are the corner borders of former farm plots. Those lindens might have been planted around 1939. There is the end of Mooni Street, where a maisonette was located. When an armoury Arsenal was robbed in 1971, a real riot took place beneath our windows. Somebody hid the gun under the tree, somebody chased him, somebody later snitched where there piece was," talks the artist about his youth. "Look, strawberries grew there once. Quite large in size and tasted good, not at all run wild," he also points out.

Gorgeous stuffed bear as a pet
Ove's renovation works are still in progress, but he takes his time. There is no more a proper kitchen - it has been turned into a dressing-room. There is an old refrigerator, marked Saratov, that devours a lot of electricity and floods the neighbours below, while cleaned. "I do not have heart to give it up. In her time, my grandmother managed to go on tick of fifty roubles to the Estonian energy company due to this monster," says Ove, laughing. "I offered my wife to bye a super fridge for her. She answered: why does a family of two people need such a thing? And this is true."

Instead of that, Ove bought her wife a computer. Tiina translates. So-far she hurried to work in the morning and home at night; now she runs her office at home. Perfectly rational. And both of them can communicate, making use of technological progress.
I do not dear to ask, where the family sleeps. The eye anyway catches no bed. Perhaps they do not sleep at all? "We sleep among the paintings in this room or that. Of course, the odours of paint and other such things do not have good effect on our health," comments Ove.

On top of an antique armoire in the former kitchen sleeps a bear. A part of the bear. The head. With big teeth. A stuffed animal. There also was another pet. Not a cat, Ove is totally allergic to cats. A parrot. When several years ago Tiina and Ove had a bonfire on the Midsummer Night on their tiny balcony, it flew to it. Warmth and smoke and so on. Like generally at home should be. Made long and thorough speeches in Russian. A parrot. Stayed at Ove's residence. Today it is gone. Perhaps died? It was already old, too...

Statices and dahlias grow on the balcony
Ove and Tiina have a garden on that same tiny balcony. "We have indeed started to grow plants in pots. This already is the second year." Ove proudly shows plant boxes on the balcony and inside, on the window sill. "We, of course, do not lay a claim for the title of the most beautiful garden at Mustamägi, but I believe, we could," he smiles and introduces his garden. There are autumn asters, statices, dahlias of two kinds, and also pot herbs: thyme and basil.
Accordingly, Büttner does not have a separate studio. "It would be financially impossible to keep, and driving all the time between home and the studio would consume all my energy. Painting is an activity that exhausts the strenght to the utmost limit. So, the situation is not ideal, but it is nowhere," says the artist.
There is no use trying to classify Ove Büttner's art. Knowing that he paints what he sees is enough. So he said. He does not foam at his mouth, and does not stir the dust. He paints, because he does not know another way. "It is good, if I sometimes get paid for this, too," is the man happy. In May 2005 the next personal show of Ove Büttner will be displayed at the Lobby Gallery of the National Library of Estonia. The artist stresses several times: I would like to thank the Cultural Endowment of Estonia for allocating a grant for the exhibition. "The time has passed. I am 46 now and 50 years of age is not so far away. I have to prove, what I have done and also what I have left undone," he explains. "I will expose my large canvases. Two and a half metre high. According to my calculations, four paintings of my works, completed in the early spring of 2005, will be included. Three of the previous year will fit in, too. And, as to reveal the connections, a series of four paintings from the earlier years will also be exposed."