The painting rises from the brushstrokes as a poem rises from the words.
The meaning comes later.
- Joan Miron Miro
Life is all about discovery. It's a journey which I navigate, and paint, with and without maps. As an artist I am continually exploring and developing my distinctive creative voice. I am always on my way towards something new and different. This makes painting so exciting. The complexity of the painting challenge, the endless possibilities for exploration and variation it provides, and the journey that is implicit, make a life in paint such a gift.
Life is layered. I have always been hungry for understanding life and the world at a deeper level, for grasping the connection between things, and expressing my findings and feelings about it. I love to search for and reveal the story behind the story, to unearth what is hidden beneath the surface. Painting allows me to do just that – not just metaphorically, but also literally.
Painting is food for my soul. It provides a channel to express what I experience and feel but cannot capture in words. Painting heals. It lights me up and energises me. It makes me happy - and even more so if my work inspires and nourishes other people too.
My focus is on creating abstract paintings that are compelling and authentic and convey a deep emotion or feeling. I want to move the viewer, and make him or her think. I aim to combine boldness and subtlety in my paintings, so that they are interesting when viewed from a distance and close by. I get my inspiration from nature and life’s experiences; t.his includes travel, especially Africa.
In my abstract paintings I use acrylic paint as the main medium, often combined with other materials and collage. Each of these ingredients gives something special to the creative process, and combined they produce surprising outcomes. They also lend themselves well for layering, scratching and sanding back, adding depth to a painting.
I also make realistic artwork, mostly with soft pastel. Here flora is my main inspiration: its beauty, the huge variety in shapes and lines, the colours. I am exploring water colour, with which I paint landscapes.
I usually work on series of several paintings at the same time. While the pieces in a series are related, each piece has its own marks of individuality. I usually start by painting intuitively, without a clear creative map or expected end result in mind, holding intentions lightly. As the layers build up and the paintings develop I increasingly pay attention to technical issues and to detail, alternating intuition with analysis. The paintings go through multiple rounds of transformation in a process of 'creative destruction'. The process of intuitive exploration, which involves going into the unknown, taking risks and letting go, is exhilarating and freeing. This is true even if it's a messy struggle to get there, which it almost always is. In fact, it is precisely this seemingly inevitable struggle that is the major challenge and fun of it all. And when I manage to overcome the obstacles the paintings put forth and create something new which appeals to me, it's pure bliss.
I am a Dutch citizen. A few years ago I moved from my place of birth Amsterdam to live in a smaller, quieter town a few miles out, where I have heather fields (Dutch 'moors') and woods on my doorstep. My home is my studio.
I lived and worked a long time abroad – mostly in Africa. This experience has had a defining and lasting impact on my life and art.
I didn't go through official art school, and instead was trained through the Creative Visionary Program (CVP), an intensive training program in art making principles and practices by Art2Life/Nicholas Wilton, USA; an elaborate intuitive painting program by Louise Fletcher, UK; as wel as various programs in the Netherlands focusing on particular aspects.
In a previous life I obtained Master's degrees in Health Policy and Financing from the London School of Economics (joint program with the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine) with distinction (2000), and in Economics from the University of Amsterdam (1989).
‘What I need most of all is colour, always, always!’
- Claude Monet
I wasn’t always a painter, although I always had an artistic streak. While painting came to me later in life, my painting journey started more than thirty years ago, even though I didn’t realise it then.
I vividly remember my first journey, in 1989 - still the pre-digital era, through the monumental landscape of the Great African Rift Valley, when in the distance I suddenly spotted a tiny bright red spot standing out on the vast, empty savanna. And it seemed to move. A red figure was striding alone across the barren expanse of the sunburnt yellow grass plains. My heart leapt. The figure looked so vulnerable, yet so determined.
Coming closer I became aware of a tall, slender black man, a red cloth swung loosely around his body, which was handsomely adorned with colourful jewelry. He was a Maasai, the first nomadic tribesman I encountered in the untamed Kenyan wilderness. I was awed and humbled and deeply moved by the experience. It was a defining moment that became etched in my memory. The experience of being in a primordial world, in a grand space, meeting someone from an ancient culture entirely different from my own was overwhelming and very exciting. My fascination for the East African landscape, and the nomads wandering in it, was born.
In my spare time I began to drive to remote areas, ‘off the map’, where the nomads could be found. I developed a true passion for them – their colourful beauty, authenticity, tenacity, and sheer otherness. Here they were, still living as they always had, largely unscathed by the so-called modern world, from which I came and which was raging all around them. I started to expressed my fascination through photography - painting the people with the lens and the beautiful African light. Traveling through the African landscape I built a collection of photo portraits of the men and women of the different nomadic tribes of East-Africa that were rapidly vanishing. It was only much later, after I returned to the Netherlands, that I realised that the experience of the small red figure alone in that immense space, of meeting and photographing these colourful people, combined with the beautiful earthen hues of the landscape, was the seed that sparked my painting journey.
Once back in the Netherlands someone introduced me to intuitive painting. What a life changing revelation that was: always new, adventurous, surprising, and so much fun – liberating! Many years later, after I had to abandon my career due to health issues, I decided to commit myself to painting. That was in 2019. I set myself to a program of study, consisting of serious course work, lots of reading, and studying other people’s art. I set up a studio at home, established an art practice, and connected with the art community at home and abroad. It immediately felt, and continues to feel, good!