## Monday, December 3, 2012

### again drawings (6): pine valley in painstaking line strokes

pine valley (own work, 2007, 21 x 30 cm, click on the image for an enlargement)

pine valley (detail 6.7 x 9 cm, click on the image for an enlargement)

one reason for adding the detail: it might give an inkling how many lines this one drawing took to complete. i find it interesting to note that this level of detailing inevitably leads to image files which are significantly harder to compress than average photgraphs. in the case of this drawing, the compressed .jpeg file is about 10 times as large as when compressing a normal photograph...showing how much information is packed in such a drawing.

oh, and i should add that the file (around 1.2 Mb) still doesn't do the real drawing much justice.

## Sunday, December 2, 2012

### old and new worlds, experiment, picasso, african art, el greco

self-portrait exploring new worlds (own work, 1987-2012, 45 x 30 cm, click on the image for an enlargement)

[also see the previous post] technical, emotional and psychological experimenting, trying to get to the essence. this work i started when i was in art school (art academy utrecht). almost needless to say, my teachers often didn't quite get what i was driving at, although they thought my work of high quality.

for them, any work i made was to be seen as an exercise, something to repeat at least 10 times, so that they could comment on every stage, and understand where it came from and was headed. for me, i was doing what the title suggests, and for me this is not served by studious repetition.

therefore i still have unfinished works from that period, works that i spent quite some time and effort on then, but was unable to bring to any satisfactory conclusion. in the past 10 years, i've been finishing a number of these old' works, since nowadays my direction is clearer and my skills have improved.

this also reflects on how i see an artist's development: there is progress, but early periods have their own psychological merit and need not be discarded for lack of skills. on a different scale, i feel the same way about (art) history in general. modern art is all very fine, but... again like i wrote a few posts ago, perhaps george steiner was right in saying that our civilization is past its prime [in a 1989 dutch television series nauwgezet en wanhopig']

steiner illustrated this feeling with comments about picasso, saying that picasso in essence only commented on the great masters of the past. so let's take a look once more at picasso's inspiration sources. perhaps i mentioned african art earlier on this blog?:

but did i mention its influence on les demoiselles d'avignon, the famous painting that picasso worked feverishly on for months, with hundreds of prepatory sketches? (and which he would not show)

pablo picasso, les demoiselles d'avignon

but one also discerns the catalan-romanic art influences from medieval times.

another major inspiration for les demoiselles d'avignon was the following masterpiece of el greco:

el greco, the opening of the fifth seal of the apocalypse

a painting which could have been painted yesterday as far as modernity and experiment goes, but which stems from the beginning of the 17th century, in the last years of el greco's life.

## Saturday, December 1, 2012

### again drawings (5): experiment, new worlds

grief and comfort (own work, 2012-2013, 40 x 55 cm, click on the image for an enlargement)[updated sept 2013]

dance together, dance alone (own work, 2010, 20 x 30 cm, click on the image for an enlargement)

child abuse (own work, 2010, 40 x 50 cm, click on the image for an enlargement)

like i wrote in this earlier post on digital photopgraphy, i feel artists should explore new worlds. for this, i need constant experimenting. that doesn't only mean technical experimenting, but also a lot of emotional and psychological experimenting.

what is it that my inner' artist self wants to show? how can i, the holder of pen, brush, pencil,...help this inner source to express itself in a poignant, perhaps sometimes disturbing but hopefully moving way?

life is not about superficial esthetics, and so for me neither is art.

### again drawings (4): various subjects

i've been through the desert (own work, 2011, 40 x 55 cm, click on the image for an enlargement)

woman with anxiety disorder (own work, 2012, 30 x 21 cm, click on the image for an enlargement)

st francis in the woods (own work, 2011, 30 x 20 cm, click on the image for an enlargement)

### digital photography: composition with window

composition with window(2012, own work)

i commented a little on the digital photography revolution earlier on this blog (see the posts labeled digital photography). although it is still laborious enough, at least now i can achieve full-colour photos in much the way i want them to be. i'm not overly ambitious as a photographer, but the medium is rich and i love to take pictures and transform them into something more'.

some years ago i spent quite some time on a photographers' forum (now closed) and what surprised me was the general disdain for the use of photoshop. as a visual artist, i guess my perspective is a bit freer. i see photoshop as one of the many tools which i can use in achieving a certain image. and in my opinion, (photo)realism is vastly overrated.

we artists can (and therefore often should) explore new worlds. we don't all have to be revolutionaries, but why keep on producing same old same old imagery year after year after year? granted, new imagery takes time and effort. but new windows on our world is our business, as far as i can see...

in this work, abstract composition plays the central role of course. a cooperative tension between figuration and abstraction often meets what i'm searching for.

i quote from a digital photography revolution post:

Not only will this result in a massively larger quantity of good work being produced but, I suspect, a huge difference in the type of work produced. The idea that photography could finally enter the same century as painting in terms of philosophical outlook rather than lagging a hundred years behind excites me greatly. The influx of trained visual artists into photography can only be a good thing.

### again drawings (3): pregnancy, child wish

child wish ii (own work, 2011, 30 x 18 cm, click on the image for an enlargement)

sleeping expecting woman (own work, 2011, 40 x 50 cm, click on the image for an enlargement)

woman overwhelmed by pregnancy desire (own work, 2011, 20 x 30 cm, click on the image for an enlargement)

much of society's obsession with sex i understand through the simple fact that as a species we need to reproduce. this need does however in my eyes have many components that do not squarely fall into the category of sex. many of us have a psychologically deeply rooted child wish, i presume. and the (un)fulfilment  of that wish is a major issue for most of us.

## Thursday, November 29, 2012

### again drawings (2): notre dame des anges and hans holbein

notre dame des anges, hand on heart (own work, 2012, 30 x 21 cm, click on the image for an enlargement)

notre dame des anges in blue dress (own work, 2012, 30 x 21 cm, click on the image for an enlargement)

woman texting on the bed at night (own work, 2011, 30 x 21 cm, click on the image for an enlargement)

what could be an artist's motivation to draw, in such quantities too? being an artist used to be a living :-), which raises the possibility that drawing is a money scheme :-). there are those who like to demystify the great artists of the past in this way. one of those great artists in my eyes is hans holbein the younger. i have never seen any work of his which did not cause me to pause in my tracks. the drawing below was made in 1526, but looks as fresh and poignant as if made today.

the strikingly demure pose, the colouring, well everything really...goes to show that drawing is not a money scheme but a deep inner compulsion to express, to portray, to touch upon the world especially also in the non-visible layers, through visual means.

hans holbein the younger, portrait of anna meyer (1526)

and what about letting yourself be portrayed in this fashion? does that not show deep respect for the artist?

### again drawings (1)

woman in orange unrest (own work, 2010-2012, 21 x 30 cm, click on the image for an enlargement)

mother and child threatened by circumstances (own work, 2008-2010, 15 x 22 cm, click on the image for an enlargement)

dog on the road (own work, 2008-2011, 30 x 21 cm, click on the image for an enlargement)

this type of posting apparently does not add to an art blog's quality, in some people's eyes. the artist should put her/himself in the position of the audience, and then magically make it happen' for them, by being ever so interesting as a person etc.

oh well, fame is overrated anyway. but it would be nice to have some more links to this blog, so that the images will be better findable. that is one of the goals, i have to admit: i'd like the images posted here to be seen by interested people anywhere on the planet.

## Wednesday, November 28, 2012

### normal' violence

when i found the victim under a street lamp, there was little i could do (own work, 2012, 24 x 30 cm, click on the image for an enlargement)

the daily normal' violence in our society is something i find hard to bear. i remember reading some story by a russian writer (turgenev? chekhov? i really don't recall) in which the main character is shocked by seeing someone receive a fist blow on the street. in this modern day, in this 19th century, how could it be possible?´, the character thinks (or something similar).

reading this passage, i found it more shocking to see that actually we have become far more violent since then. today, i sometimes have to switch channels because some movie or tv series depicts horrible violence in a very graphic way. and what about the gaming industry?

but let alone the graphic visualisations, it seems we accept a disheartening level of violence in our day-to-day life. a fist blow on the street doesn't quite begin to cover it. is george steiner right, when he says our civilization is past its prime?

## Monday, November 26, 2012

### beautyberry

beautyberry (2012, own work, detail)

## Wednesday, October 17, 2012

### exhibition in galerie studiekunst

you are of course cordially invited! on show are recent paintings and sculptures, and over 250 drawings (1982-2012) in showcases. more info on my website.

## Tuesday, July 31, 2012

### why most artists' blogs do not fail

some time ago in march, i read a blog post on gapingvoid about why most artists´ blogs fail.

The gist of the post (please read it for better understanding) is that most artists’ blogs fail because they fail to unders­tand why people would want to rea­d an artist´s blog. which, the post claims, is not because of the art.

i replied to this post in the comments section, but haven't had a reply so far. i repeat my comment below:
well. i’m an artist and i blog about art as well. per­so­nally, i think wri­ting and crea­ting visual art are very dif­fe­rent forms of expres­sion. pri­ma­rily, a visual artist might be expec­ted to be a lea­der in the visual expres­sion forms, i’d say.

so pos­ting her or his ima­ges isn’t quite a fai­lure. not in itself. it’s what artists do, after all, put­ting ima­ges in the world.

the fai­lure starts when peo­ple don’t take the trou­ble to appre­ciate what a visual artist has to offer.

if someone would tell you: hey i’ve found this terri­fic band, you should read their blog…wouldn’t you scratch your head and say: why don’t you give me a you­tube link??

i’m serious here.

it’s sad to see the VISUAL aspect of art being rele­ga­ted to the back­seat by … artists themselves.

so, although i recog­nize the good inten­tion behind this post, i have to disa­gree as well. all this tal­king about art cer­tainly helps many peo­ple to appre­ciate the art and the artist more. but this doesn’t neces­sa­rily make the art itself any better.

if as an artist you are faced with the choice: to blog beau­ti­fully about your mediocre art or to write a mediocre blog about your beau­ti­ful art…i hope you make the right choice.

## Wednesday, April 11, 2012

### what is an outsider artist? am i outsider in any sense? 2 (intermezzo in the miscellaneous series)

nek chand saini, monkeys in the rock garden of chandigarh (photo giridhar appaji nag y)

(continued from the previous post) from wikipedia on outsider art:
The term outsider art was coined by art critic Roger Cardinal in 1972 as an English synonym for art brut (French: "raw art" or "rough art"), a label created by French artist Jean Dubuffet to describe art created outside the boundaries of official culture; Dubuffet focused particularly on art by insane-asylum inmates.

While Dubuffet's term is quite specific, the English term "outsider art" is often applied more broadly, to include certain self-taught or Naïve art makers who were never institutionalized. Typically, those labeled as outsider artists have little or no contact with the mainstream art world or art institutions. In many cases, their work is discovered only after their deaths. Often, outsider art illustrates extreme mental states, unconventional ideas, or elaborate fantasy worlds.

Outsider art has emerged as a successful art marketing category (an annual Outsider Art Fair has taken place in New York since 1993). The term is sometimes misapplied as a catch-all marketing label for art created by people outside the mainstream "art world," regardless of their circumstances or the content of their work.
well...it goes to show, i think, that noone really knows a workable definition of outsider art.

%%%%%

for me personally, there are many situations in which i feel an outsider. and this is linked to mental health issues too, specifically depression. the way i see art and create art is a reflection of how i see life, society, nature,... by which i mean to indicate that art most often has a spiritual meaning to me.

i think much in our society operates on unspiritual grounds, to put it mildly. homo homini lupus est, dog eat dog, you know the drill. these unspiritual mechanisms are just as prevalent in the art world. and i cannot really bear with them, as i have found to my detriment over the years.

therefore, my understanding has become that i am in quite some measure an outsider artist. like i stated in the previous post, this doesn't change the art one pixel, but it helps me to embrace the direction in which my explorations take me. i have however no inclination to use it as a marketing strategy, for various reasons.

%%%%

here an interesting fragment of a documentary interview with jean dubuffet on art brut (in french)

### what is an outsider artist? am i outsider in any sense? (miscellaneous 6)

well, those to me are valid questions, although it is once again simply a labeling issue (it doesn't change one pixel about the art...). the questions firstly have a psychological nature, for myself as an artist, to determine whether i would like to be part of mainstream' art or not. and secondly, perhaps more importantly, they could of course determine my marketing strategy as an artist. in my case however, i think that both outsider' and mainstream' apply, in equal measure. try marketing that ;-)

notre dame des anges as outsider ii (own work, 2012, 35 x 40 cm, click on the image for an enlargement)

(repeated from earlier: the woman portraits made in this series share the name notre dame des anges´. this is a reference to the medieval´ spirituality i mentioned above. but the portraits are of course not a depiction of maria. they are intended as portraits of contemporary women emanating this type of spirituality which i find hard to describe.)

self portrait with artist eyes (own work, 2011, 10 x 15 cm, click on the image for an enlargement)

i'm experimenting with paint and other materials, but not in the karel-appel large-canvas, heavy-layering-and-dripping way (maybe in the future?). still, it led me to the following self-portrait:

the green glob almost wiped me out, but the giant red amoebe helped me to redefine myself (own work, 2011, 30 x 40 cm, click on the image for an enlargement)

(to be continued)

### more icarus (miscellaneous 5)

more icarus, since i forgot to add this latest work to the previous post:

icarus sans wings ii (own work, 2012, 32 x 48 cm, click on the image for an enlargement)

## Sunday, March 25, 2012

### more greek mythology: icarus (miscellaneous 4)

more greek mythology (see icarus on wikipedia):

icarus sans wings (own work, 2011, 21 x 30 cm, click on the image for an enlargement)

from wikipedia:
Icarus's father, Daedalus, a talented and remarkable Athenian craftsman, attempted to escape from his exile in the palace of Knossos, Crete, where he and his son were imprisoned at the hands of King Minos, the king for whom he had built the Labyrinth to imprison the Minotaur (half man, half bull).
Daedalus, the superior craftsman, was exiled because he gave Minos' daughter, Ariadne, a clew[2] (or ball of string) in order to help Theseus, the enemy of Minos, to survive the Labyrinth and defeat the Minotaur with a sword which was used to stab the Minotaur in the neck.
Daedalus fashioned two pairs of wings out of wax and feathers for himself and his son.
Trying his wings first, Daedalus before taking off from the island,warns his son not to fly too close to the sun, nor too close to the sea, but to follow his path of flight.
Overcome by the giddiness that flying lent him, Icarus soared through the sky curiously, but in the process he came too close to the sun, which melted the wax.
Icarus kept flapping his wings but soon realized that he had no feathers left and that he was only flapping his bare arms.
And so, Icarus fell into the sea in the area which bears his name, the Icarian Sea near Icaria, an island southwest of Samos.

dream of icarus (own work, 2011, 40 x 41 cm, click on the image for an enlargement)

(you may notice some subconscious, surreal elements... also see the starting post of this miscellaneous´ thread)

the fall of icarus is usually associated with having too much hubris, being an irresponsible high-flyer etc. again there is an absolutely brilliant painting by pieter brueghel the elder depicting the fall of icarus. but, contrary to popular opinion under art historians, i think maybe brueghel´s intention was not to criticize icarus, but to criticize us, for not even noticing extraordinary events, for pretending not to see them, to not help people in distress, etc. (see my 2008 posts on brueghel´s painting)

pieter brueghel the elder, landscape and the fall of icarus (click on the image for an enlargement)

## Saturday, March 24, 2012

### charon awaits on the styx (miscellaneous 3)

continuing in this vein...connecting to greek mythology (see charon on wikipedia)

charon awaits on the styx (own work, 2011, 30 x 61 cm, click on the image for an enlargement)

(in original greek sources, the river acheron is the river across which charon ferries the dead, but the styx has taken that place in popular perception...and in mine...)

this is also a widely depicted theme in western art history. let me give an example of one of gustave doré's etchings which he made to illustrate dante's divina commedia:

gustave doré, charon herds the sinners onto his boat (click on the image for an enlargement)

gustave doré, charon on his boat (click on the image for an enlargement)

## Friday, March 23, 2012

### the slow triumph of death (miscellaneous 2, see way of working')

the triumph of death' is an old medieval/renaissance theme, mostly in painting and etching/drawing. the theme, also known as danse macabre, embodies that we are all mortal, and as such no earthly difference in status, riches, piety, conduct will help anyone to escape death.

i've made a small construction-sculpture on the same theme (with a sidewise reference to damien hirst's for the love of god' although lacking false modesty i really consider the below work to have more depth, irony and all):

the slow triumph of death (own work, 2010-2011, 30 x 15 x 30 cm, click on the image for an enlargement)

the sculpture contains various ways in which we meet our end...;-) (largely invisible, on the other side there is a pink cadillac-like car)

of course, a completely brilliant version of this theme by pieter brueghel the elder cannot be left out:

pieter brueghel the elder, the triumph of death (1567, click on the image for an enlargement)

this has to be one of the alltime masterpieces of western art, even though its subject is not so cheerful... which then explains why i added a large dollop of ironic humor to the sculpture above ;-)

## Thursday, March 22, 2012

### pink elephant (miscellaneous 1, see way of working')

pink elephant (own work, 2010-2012, 32 x 48 cm, click on the image for an enlargement)

so, as illustration of this way of working, i'm putting up a series of recent stuff, with a few comments. the above drawing serves to illustrate the power of the subconscious...since i have little conscious knowledge of what an elephant looks like. but i felt like drawing an elephant, and since i know it's better to let the hand lead...i stopped thinking about it and just drew.

then, finally, i added some photoshop touch to the background.

to me it seems that digital influence on hand-created works and vice versa, is a promising field. but usually i'm inclined to not use digital enhancements, or only very sparingly. however, there have been a number of designs where there was a cycle: drawing, photoshop, printing, drawing,... yielding very nice results.

so although i'm very traditional by most standards, i like to use digital techniques also (limited as my skills may be).

### way of working, paul klee

paul klee, embrace (click on the image for an enlargement)

so what does an artist do, when (s)he's working?

it's not so easy to describe, and very different for different artists too, i suppose.

for me, it consists of many different activities. mostly, there are multiple works waiting for further improvement. any of these works might call for my attention, and i start working on colour, image, composition,...

or i might start a new work, depending on some inner inspiration/drive which is hard to pin down. or i might decide to practice some technique or detail. or i might decide to experiment with some technique or detail. or i might decide to sit and think about what direction to take in the works to come.

i try to force myself to take breaks...but in my studio this can be a problem because everywhere there are questions waiting to be addressed.

one artist who i imagine worked like this also, judging by his diverse oeuvre, is paul klee. since he is one of my alltime favourite artists, i'm not inclined to change my way of working very radically.

from wikipedia:
Klee has been variously associated with Expressionism, Cubism, Futurism, Surrealism, and Abstraction, but his pictures are difficult to classify. He generally worked in isolation from his peers, and interpreted new art trends in his own way. He was inventive in his methods and technique. Klee worked in many different media—oil paint, watercolor, ink, pastel, etching, and others. He often combined them into one work. He used canvas, burlap, muslin, linen, gauze, cardboard, metal foils, fabric, wallpaper, and newsprint.[56] Klee employed spray paint, knife application, stamping, glazing, and impasto, and mixed media such as oil with watercolor, water color with pen and India ink, and oil with tempera.[57]

He was a natural draftsman, and through long experimentation developed a mastery of color and tonality. Many of his works combine these skills. He uses a great variety of color palettes from nearly monochromatic to highly polychromatic. His works often have a fragile child-like quality to them and are usually on a small scale. He often used geometric forms as well as letters, numbers, and arrows, and combined them with figures of animals and people. Some works were completely abstract. Many of his works and their titles reflect his dry humor and varying moods; some express political convictions. They frequently allude to poetry, music and dreams and sometimes include words or musical notation. The later works are distinguished by spidery hieroglyph-like symbols. Rainer Maria Rilke wrote about Klee in 1921, "Even if you hadn’t told me he plays the violin, I would have guessed that on many occasions his drawings were transcriptions of music."[14]

Pamela Kort observed: "Klee's 1933 drawings present their beholder with an unparalleled opportunity to glimpse a central aspect of his aesthetics that has remained largely unappreciated: his lifelong concern with the possibilities of parody and wit. Herein lies their real significance, particularly for an audience unaware that Klee's art has political dimensions."[58]

there are some striking similarities with my own approach to art...so there is hope yet ;-)

## Thursday, March 15, 2012

### of human relations 4: drawings from my sketchbooks

[repeated: as i said, i'm looking for new ways to visualize human relations, feelings, real-life struggle as well as uplifting moments. looking back on centuries of art, i find myself surprised that there is so little art which addresses this in a way that i find provoking, uplifting, inspiring.

this gives new motivation to continue my investigation. i feel sure enough of the emotive strength of the drawings which come up in this sense. and this translates into paintings as well. but enough words, the images themselves should be stronger.']

sleeping woman (own work, 2010, 10 x 15 cm, click on the image for an enlargement)

fighting in the street (own work, 2010, 10 x 15 cm, click on the image for an enlargement)

compassion (own work, 2010, 10 x 15 cm, click on the image for an enlargement)

grief and comfort iv (own work, 2012, 20 x 25 cm, click on the image for an enlargement)

## Saturday, March 10, 2012

### of human relations 3: drawings, drawings

[repeated: as i said, i'm looking for new ways to visualize human relations, feelings, real-life struggle as well as uplifting moments. looking back on centuries of art, i find myself surprised that there is so little art which addresses this in a way that i find provoking, uplifting, inspiring.

this gives new motivation to continue my investigation. i feel sure enough of the emotive strength of the drawings which come up in this sense. and this translates into paintings as well. but enough words, the images themselves should be stronger.']

self-portrait as a mother worried about her children (own work, 2012, 30 x 36 cm, click on the image for an enlargement)

rejection (own work, 2012, 21 x 20 cm, click on the image for an enlargement)

for the next image, also see the post on notre dame des anges:

seigneur notre retraite (in brown-red) (own work, 2011, 30 x 40 cm, click on the image for an enlargement)

another theme that crops up ever more frequently: the people who do not fit well into our wonderful' society. sure, they are the misfits, so to say. but who is the more crazy, he who accepts this crazy world, or he who does not fit in? if you have read my previous posts, you will know that i for one cannot simply answer that question. and my concern and sympathy are often with the misfits, and my anger is often directed at all the respected' institutions which together comprise the status quo in our society.

woman out of kilter (own work, 2011, 20 x 28 cm, click on the image for an enlargement)

i think emotive expressive power comes from the eyes, the face, the body language...and the materials and techniques used. this is what i study on, laboriously, and much unappreciatedly...but the time of appreciation will come, i suppose, once enough people see the works and enough time has passed for them to compare this avenue of art to other avenues. anyway, if you see any art touching on the same themes, please let me know, since it would be inspiring to me to know other artists with a similar outlook.

detail of woman out of kilter (own work, 2011, 20 x 28 cm, click on the image for an enlargement)

taking care of the psychiatric patient iii (own work, 2011, 21 x 30 cm, click on the image for an enlargement)

grief and comfort iii (own work, 2011, 21 x 30 cm, click on the image for an enlargement)

self-portrait in orange unrest (own work, 2011, 21 x 30 cm, click on the image for an enlargement)

man, lost in thoughts and orange background (own work, 2011, 30 x 36 cm, click on the image for an enlargement)

st. frances posing (own work, 2011, 30 x 35 cm, click on the image for an enlargement)

woman in white bra (own work, 2012, 30 x 40 cm, click on the image for an enlargement)