15 november 2014


As a small child I learned that art is a folly. And therefore it could not been taken seriously. Drawing was for kids. But... there is always a 'but'. When I got a bit the hang of it and my drawings became 'look like real' my family soon found out that I could make nice and cheep presents for birthdays and other hilarious occasions. So drawing became a folly for parties.

Later there always where people that told me I was to become 'a great artist'. And I liked to believe them. But... there opinion appeared to be based on the conception that an artist should 'copy reality'. So my drawings had to look 'like real'. They supposed not to be expressive, creative or to be an evidence of my fantasy.

Meanwhile I had no more materials available than some pencils and paper. In spite of my requests, nobody saw any reason to give me a birthday present that suited my creative needs. The possibility just did not exist. So I developed a pretty advanced technique with all kinds of hard and soft graphite.

At my 12 years, I met a painter that gave lessons to elder people at his studio. I saved my pocket money to go to him as frequent as I could. He taught me how to use oil paint. And I was shocked and amazed also, because I had to start all over again. All the things I taught myself so far, seemed worthless. It took some time to get used to all the possibilities, all the colors and to develop a satisfactory virtuoso brush stroke, in oil. Eventually the pencil and the brush became equal partners. Then I started to paint portraits... years later, in the seventies.

In that year of my 12th, I also got to know about the Cobra Group, with Appel and Corneille. They pretended to paint like kids, 'to return to the source of all innocence'. Appel then was a well-known hero when he said the winged words: 'I just mess around'. People where very exited about this 'turn in history of art' they said. But somehow it did not touch me like it supposed to. My drives to make a tribute to art where different...
At my 14th I went biking to the Kröller-Müller museum, in the middle of the forest in the center of Holland, where the works of Vincent van Gogh were exhibited... and Renoir and Monet ... And I sat there for hours... watching and learning. They where my real teachers.

When at last, I could tend art-school in the early seventies, I learned talking about art. And we talked about everything: Politics, society, provocation and revolt, to tare down old hierarchies and to implement new ones. Half of the student population was afraid and the other half was angry. I joined the angry part because of all the new things I heard. But was I that angry to join a revolt? It seemed so senseless to me. I felt like violence does not solve things. I hate to break and rather build. Although there is no building without breaking... I found out.

So eventually, it turned out that there was not so much artwork to be done at art-school. We spent our time talking while some of my fellow students stole my work, to make the teacher believe they made it. After all I considered it as an honor.

Then I decided to do model classes only, to be able to learn at least something to make this folly into a real profession. I still have some works from that time. They survived robbery, transports, removals and wet storage...

Model class with Ger Siks, oil pastel. (A1)
In the early seventies I married Hendrik. In the years after, our first two kids where born. We moved to a farm to make our dream come true. We bred a flock of goats and I started to make goat cheese.

Making cheese in the early morning, doing art-school in the afternoon, traveling between the farm and the school in the city, to come home late at night... and two small kids to care for... it became too much at the long-term.

One teacher at art school I remember though. Only one.
I remember what he said, when he said it and about what. You need only one such a teacher.
For me this was Ger Siks, who claims to be 'a craftsman instead of an artist'.

He said things like: "Only the result counts. What ever pain you suffer, whatever sweat or tears you shed, it is no excuse... The result is where you will be judged by. So, when it is no good, start over again and do not complain, but concentrate."

So I worked as a painter of portraits and did not complain. We still keep this portrait of Hendrik, with his beard and big glasses, that I made in oil on primed paper.

If I had ten lives to do everything I like to do, I would live them all.

Hendrik 1972. Print (which makes the vertical stripes) of oil on paper. (50 x 60 cm.)



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