My way of painting.
The greatest theme in my work is the human body.
It remains an endless challenge for me to depict a person in a few lines and patches. In each and every person it is the psyche, the mind which gives expression and character to every movement, to each gesture.
Painting starts with observing life. This observing is not thinking or constructing but being completely present.
Pure observation is spiritualization. By completely indentifying you are connecting with this unique person. Seeing this person goes from eyes to hand through your heart. Because of this, what you see becomes very precious.
Associations, emotions, prejudices, eagerness and ambition are the reasons that you cannot look in an unbiased way. Only when you get rid of this lumber you can really see.
See without restrictions
See as if it is the first time that you see something.
See with wonder.
This freedom of being and seeing is not a fixed reality, but has to be captured again and again.
The actual painting starts with the loading of the brush. I see the model and feel if the tip of the brush is caressing the model. I keep my hand relaxed and caress the paper lightly and lovingly. Caressing, the tip of the brush reflects the contour(s. I follow the contours as they touch me and feel how the brush goes up and down over hills and through valleys. I paint with my eyes focussed on this unique person.
At the places where I perceive a strong contrast, I press harder. I work from heavy broad lines to thin lines by turning my brush. What’s there, is there. The ink is absorbed instantaneously. Nothing can be removed. It’s like writing in calligraphy. I write down the drawing. I work from polar contrasts: wet and dry, power and subtlety, full and empty, abstract and figurative.
In the seventies the foundation for my present work was laid at the Royal Academy for Art and Design in ‘s-Hertogenbosch.
Watching art has always been a great source of inspiration for me. The German expressionists from the thirties like Ernst Ludwig Kirchner, but also Egon Schiele, Gustav Klimt, and of course Toulouse Lautrec have always been important examples.
Also German expressionism from the eighties, with people like Rainer Fetting and Salomé: painters of human bodies.
But strongest of all has been my taste for the East: Japanese and Chinese art.
My thesis for my final examination (1976) was dedicated to Japanese woodcutting. Especially the emptiness and the lack of graphic design in favour of the independence of the lines, ( in Japanese they are called “singing lines”) were great discoveries.
Halfway through the nineties I came into contact with the philosophy of Zen Buddhism and Taoism. This became a way of life and at the same time this way of thinking opened new ways of painting which appeared to be very natural.