About travelling

For more than one reason I have done a lot of travelling. Between 1971 and 1980 I walked along the coasts of Western Scotland and the Outer Hebrides, through the Yorkshire Dales and along both sides of the Berlin Wall. In 1981 I spent 2 months in Canada, in the Northern Territories mainly on the shores of the Hudson Bay.

In these intensive years I was working on the project "Borders/Transitions" , producing many drawings and paintings, as well as the artist’s book with this title, published by Atalanta Pers, Baarn in 1983.

Achterwaarts reizen 01-I, 2001 Woestijn en boot, 1999 The Australian landscape, first experienced in 1987, had a profound influence on my work and thoughts. The desert, as well as the coasts, the colours and the silence, the small, almost forgotten towns, as well as the rugged Kimberley region, occupied my thoughts for many years. Between 1988 and 2000 Australia was more or less my sole source of inspiration resulting in, amongst others, paintings, drawings, prints including the series "The earth here has silent power". In 1996 during our 7-month camping trip through the outback, I became fascinated by the explorations of Captain Charles Sturt, undertaken about 150 years ago. The book "Sturt" was the outcome of this fascination. In 1999, travelling slowly by train from Broken Hill to Sydney, I pondered on the concept of "travelling backwards" and this led to a large amount of work, including a leporello titled "Travelling Backwards" (2001).

Landschap Mongolie In 2002 the endless, rolling steppes of Mongolia revealed inspiring surprises amongst which unexpected river beddings and the beautiful Tsagan Nuur ( White Lake).

Het witte meer (2002)

China was the main destination in 2004, travelling west along the Yellow River and south to Guanzhou. In 2007 the Chinese provinces of Gansu and Xinjiang, with the Gobi and Taklamakan deserts, added new and powerful aspects to earlier Australian desert experiences.

Why all this travelling?

I do have thoughts on this matter, but don’t expect complete answers.

The confrontation with a different surrounding to your everyday one, is not only that what makes the new surroundings interesting. Just as positive is the fact that by comparison, the known landscape is experienced as new and totally different, too. This suspense keeps you alert and free.

Notitie Schetsboek A small sketch book always accompanies me on my travels. Not directly, but in the shortest possible time -relationship to what I have seen, somewhere in a small hotel room, I make sketches using a brush, sometimes a pencil. And I make notes in a small notebook – these I use when making bigger work back in my studio. Last, but not least, a small camera comes along – since the last trip a digital Canon replacing my faithful Leica.

Sand dunes near Dunhuang, China (2007) Once back in the studio drawing comes first, using brush, pencil and sometimes chalk, my photos within reach. Painting starts later but the drawing goes on. Since the last trip to China the brush drawings are done in Chinese ink using Chinese brushes. Somewhat other materials are an extra impulse.

Dunhuang 36 The advantage of travelling, as I mentioned before, is that the everyday surroundings can appear as if you are also travelling there. And as such, everything, whether near or far, is just as new.

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