Washed ink with pastel, charcoal and acrylic paintMixed media on paper, Pastelpaintings
In the same way as artists in the wake of Romanticism, I have a great affinity with nature. The inspiration for my landscapes is close to home: the beautiful dunescapes that border the Dutch coastline and the many natural flowers in my neighbourhood, by the wayside, along canals, in gardens and public parks. I make snapshots and use those to create a personal impression of this natural beauty, not a realistic image. For example, I like the photographic, interesting, abstract effects of the wind when it moves branches and stalks.
My 'painted drawings' are a mix of Eastern and Western techniques that yield picturesque effects. Ink wash drawing is originally from China, from where it spread to Japan. I start with a charcoal background drawing on a piece of chucked paper, to which I add a base layer of washed ink. In this layer, while it is still wet, I make scratchings in some places, simply by using my nails. In some places, I carefully dry some of the ink by pressing tissues against the surface. All this must be done comparatively quickly, before the ink has dried, to achieve dashes and line patterns that suggest movement. To some works, I add a thin layer of white acryl paint. As a last phase, I apply pastel. This technique features great density of colour because it uses pure pigments. In summary, the means I choose are minimal: ink, water, chalk. Except for the base layers, for which I use brushes, I draw as directly as possible with my hands, especially when I apply the last pastel layers where I must use my fingers to achieve a delicate blend of colours. The combination of this technique and the prepared background results in strong-bodied, colourful pastels with a picturesque effect.
As a rule I make very few preliminary studies because they would lessen the spontaneity of the moment. But I do actively use the many photos that I take myself of natural subjects and human models.
All the details are stored in my mind before I get to work. Lines and amorphous shapes stimulate my imagination as they appear. Since my time at art school, my affinity is with paper the specific characteristics of paper I cannot translate directly to other materials such as linen.
Quentin, selfportrait Rosalba, selfportrait
Famous Japanese ink wash masters from the 15th century like Toyo Sesshu, and at the beginning of the 16th century Hasegawa Tõhaku, continue to impress me, especially Hasegawas chamber screens with suggestive, grotesque landscapes that dwarf the human figure. Another strong influence on my work is famous female Italien pastelpainter Rosalba Carriera and the French pastel master Quentin de La Tour who both, in the 18th century, worked for the elite.
portrait by Carriera