Strength and fragility

I paint and draw animals, people and sometimes landscapes. Animals interest me as painting objects, and I just love drawing them from life in the fields around me or painting them on a big scale in my studio, which is in a converted dairy farm just north of Amsterdam. You can't find me happier than when painting a life size giant bull with huge brushes and broad strokes.

On a deeper level, the long standing and sometimes uncomfortable relationship between kept animals and humans keeps coming back in the work, whether I paint horses, donkeys, cows or apes. The dependence of the beast upon us, and its trust, give us a huge responsibility. I'm not at all sure that we as humans always live up to our part of the deal. In most of my work this relationship between humans and animals plays a role, sometimes overt, sometimes more in the background.

Drawing and painting living creatures from life is challenging and exciting. Animals move around, and this means that speed is important. I like the thrill of trying to get it right in one go, but visible signs of searching for the right shapes are part of the work, too. The brushstroke is essential and I try to achieve the freshness of my life sketches in the larger studio paintings as well.

 

At the moment, I'm working on a new series - "Idyll", to be shown at Museum Jan Boon in the Netherlands in June 2023.

An idyll is a kind of Utopia, not really existing in the here and now, but only briefly passing, or perhaps only there in memories and romantic wish-thinking.

I find myself returning to this kind of memory, real or imagined. I use pictures of the children when they were little and we were smallholding more than we do now, growing vegetables and livestock, an abundance of young animals and homegrown food. One tends to forget all the hard work, the tiredness, the deaths of animals, the moment of slaughter. Only the frolicking lambs remain. Of course, it is escapism. But don’t we all wish to escape reality every now and then?

 

FRESH OFF THE EASEL

Heile Welt, oil on wood 50x35cm.
Heile Welt, oil on wood 50x35cm.

Current and upcoming exhibitions

November 23 - February 21 L_A_B 6 "Midwinter", vitrine Boterhal, Hoorn
April 22 - May "The female gaze II", Galerie Mokum, Amsterdam
June 2023 "Idylle", solo exhibition at Museum Jan Boon, De Rijp
June 6 - October 15 "Slag op de Zuiderzee", Waterlandsmuseum De Speeltoren
June 19 - 25 Schilderfestival Noordwijk