MY DEVELOPMENT2018-11-07T20:08:41+00:00

MY DEVELOPMENT

By the time I was 26, I had taught myself how to paint photorealistically

My mother, somewhat disappointed, told me that my first drawings were a bit behind. While my peers were already drawing people, I only made “bird nests” (circles) and “snakes” (lines). But I had a lot of fun and continued to drawing animals. I copied nearly all of the animals in Rien Poortvliets’ art book and I spent many hours outside drawing frogs and cows from real life. At school, I received the highest marks in drawing class. But sometimes I would also draw during math class and my teacher would get angry.

1988 / 5 years old

Unfortunately, I cannot remember drawing this. But I find it funny that you really see a difference between the chick and the duck (bottom left). Chicks are indeed quite bulbous and ducks more elongated, and you cannot see the legs when ducks are sitting or swimming.

1989 / 6 years old

Drawing animals with only two legs is typical for six-year-olds. Also, a clear horizon instead of whirling all over the page is usual for this age. Source: tekenjewijs.nl

1990 / 7 years old

I can vaguely remember drawing this elephant. I wanted to draw it well, so I first looked at pictures of elephants. As you can see, I first drew the ear and body differently and later improved them. When I cleaned up my parents’ attic, I literally ran into mountains of drawings. On many of them, I had erased things several times and redrawn them until I was satisfied.

1992 / 9 years old

On the back of this drawing I wrote, “My dream world.” I drew this from my imagination. Before drawing this, I had been very impressed with a horse drawn by Liesbeth, the mother of my classmate Simon. The horse legs were not sticks, but had joints and muscles. I tried to copy that here.

1994 / 11 years old

I drew this in elementary school in Boskoop for my teacher Bert. Back then, the teachers had those little postcards with pictures of animals for when it was someone’s birthday. He asked everyone to choose a card and to draw it as well as possible. Bert had never given a higher grade than 8 out of 10, but he was so impressed that he gave me a 9!

1997 / 14 years old

This is the tree nursery of my Uncle Peter van Gemeren in Hazerswoude. Here, I experimented with soft pastel chalk and a wet brush.

2000 / 17 years old

I created this oil painting for my grandmother, Oma van Eldik, in The Hague. It is based on a photo she’d cut from the newspaper, and I remember she especially liked the “white gloves” of the hamster. On the frame, I also painted small pink flowers, a beetle, and a snail. My grandmother was very pleased with the painting and hung it above the fireplace between original artworks by artists from The Hague.

2009 / 26 years old

I created this oil painting for my mother, who now lives in France. With this work, I achieved my goal to be able to paint photorealistically.

2010 / 27 years old

This is perhaps the artwork I am most proud of to date, taking more than 100 hours to paint over a one-year period. It is inspired by the flow of magical realism and by the cycling trip I made every working day along the Amstel River. I painted more from my imagination than with the intention of photorealism, because I felt like, “Why not just take a photo if you want something photorealistic?”

2017 / 33 years old

After years of experimenting, I discovered my own style more or less by coincidence when I combined soft pastel chalk and watercolor paint. It is not my ambition to make art for fancy galleries, because the unwritten rule seems to be that “great art” cannot be happy or cute. Instead, my goal is to create beautiful, cute, accessible artworks that give people a smile and help animals to be seen as individuals.

CONCLUSION

Given that there are creatives on both sides of my family, I believe my artistic talent to be innate. However, I have also drawn for decades, and had I not done that, I might still be drawing as a talented nine-year-old. It makes me happy that I continued to draw over the years and made it my profession. Perhaps the pleasure of drawing is more important than the talent. After all, enjoyment ensures that you continue to develop.