I am regularly asked by art collectors what inspires and influences me when I paint a work of art. And how I get my inspiration.
It is important to realize in advance that I, as an abstract artist, do not strive to represent reality, by form or colour.
Instead, I shape my art by converting my feelings, mood, emotions or perceptions into an interplay of colours, shapes, lines and structures in my paintings.
When I make an abstract painting, I notice how my feelings and emotions of that moment have their effect on the artwork I am working on. For example, if I haven't been able to paint for a while and then I get back to my studio, it feels like I want to make up for the painting time lost. My work of art can then become a little livelier or busier than usual.
These are for me the most difficult paintings to make though, because there is already an expectation from the client, ... but often no clarity about what that expectation exactly is. Other than that it has to be a beautiful work of art of course, and sometimes that the painting has to fit into a certain interior or combine with certain other works of art that are present.
But for me, with the abstract art I make, it is undetermined what the final artwork will look like exactly, once finished. Because I strive to make every painting unique. This is of course very different if it were to be a painting of a portrait or still life.
I once read about a volcano on the Indonesian island of Java; the Kawah Ijen. This volcano has bright blue rivers flowing out from under the volcano. Although it looks like bright blue lava, the flows consist of molten sulfur, which gives off a neon-like light that looks fascinating at night.
Sulfur has a relatively low melting point of 115 degrees Celsius and the blue fires often appear during volcanic eruptions.
I find this fascinating and hope to one day see this natural phenomenon with my own eyes. For me it was the source of inspiration for a painting that I painted shortly afterwards, in the same blue color as the sulfur rivers of the volcano.
Another example is when I read about the planet Mercury.
If you look at it through a strong telescope, the surface of the planet looks brownish-grey. With spectral imaging equipment from NASA, for example, you can see how the surface of the planet reflects sunlight. This is then displayed in other different colors, including shades of blue.
The description in the article and the photo inspired me to create the abstract painting "Mercury blue". In doing so, I did not want to paint the surface of Mercury one-on-one, but to capture what I felt (my impression) while reading this article. In that sense it has become an impressionistic abstract painting.
When the sun shines, or autumn sets in, or when my nieces or nephews come to visit, it greatly affects my inspiration for a painting at that moment.
Music also can put me in a certain mood. The rhythm of the music translates into longer strokes of paint or shorter ones. The lengt and thickness of the strokes vary with to the rhythm of the music.
An important source of inspiration for my art are articles that I read, online or in books. I love to read scientific articles, about the medical world, fascinating findings in astrology, geography and natural phenomena. When reading, I often immediately get images of color and form in my head and a pleasurable urge arises to immortalize them on a canvas or panel.
A good example is the painting "Energetic feelings".
When I painted it I hadn't painted for 2 weeks because I was busy with administrative tasks.
Once I had time to paint again and I started this painting, the energy splashed off, resulting in an energetic painting.
I love this energetic painting and have a strong connection with it, because I still feel that creative energy discharge when I look at it.
Recently a couple, who already had some of my artwork in their home, asked me to make a work of art for them. It had to fit into their interior, taking into account the artworks that were already hanging in the same room.
I had 2 months to make it, as they went to Slovakia for 2 months to finish their holiday home, and to travel around in several countries in Eastern Europe.
The inspiration initially would not come during the first few weeks. I wanted to make something special for them, something that not only would fit with them, but a painting that would also tell something about them.
I followed their progress on the work on their holiday cottage and garden, and the journeys they took, through their posts on Instagram. They visited idyllic villages, beautiful cities with beautifully structured squares and buildings, stunning landscapes with flower meadows and mountains with a blue sky in the background.
Sometimes a photo came by of them enjoying a drink on a beautiful terrace under the golden sun. Then another photo of a visit to a mine deep underground where the tunnels were lit by the golden glow of incandescent bulbs.
And then suddenly, the inspiration came. The more personal it would be, if I abstracted all the impressions I got from their journey, their holiday home and their garden in a painting. A painting that in 1 view would represent 2 months of experiences from own their lives.
I've listed below some of their photos from their post on various social media. On the right next to it, you can see how I have abstacted the impression and emotions their photos gave me, and put them into the painting as an abstracted representation.
For privacy reasons, I have not used their original photos, but have used similar photos instead.
From the Netherlands to their holiday home in Slovakia, with stopover in Germany: the golden line from top right to bottom left;
The direct return journey back to the Netherlands: the gold line from bottom left to top left;
And the tour in Eastern Europe: The long golden line from top left to bottom right.
Their vacation home with garden that they finished while they were there.
Visits to beautiful cities such as Prague, with large imposing buildings and many streets and bridges.
The beautiful nature they have visited, with meadows full of flowers and in the background hills and mountains that reach into the blue.
Idyllic villages and beautiful castles they have visited. Sometimes enjoying a terrace under the golden sun. The feeling of enjoying life.
A visit to a mine, deep underground. Dark. Illuminated with incandescent bulbs with an almost fairytale like golden glow.
I named the painting Cosmopolitans, after how I see this couple, as world travelers who feel at home everywhere, and like to enjoy a Cosmopolitan (also the name of an alcoholic drink) on a terrace in the sun.
Whether you like an abstract painting depends on things like the dimensions, color composition and especially the emotion it brings up in you, or not. This also partly depends on your imagination, and whether you know the artist's inspiration. This can strengthen the click with a painting, but it can also weaken it if you do not share at all the emotions of the artist.
Obviously, you really don't have to see or feel the same as what I, as an artist, felt or thought when I made the painting, to like the artwork. But an abstract painting must appeal to you, give you a good feeling, … in your gut.
If that good feeling is there, then you will probably enjoy the painting for a long time.
My abstract art is the product of my creativity as an artist and the appreciation of my artworks is purely personal and very subjective. If you don't like something, that is totally fine. After all, it's a good thing we don't all have the same taste.
On the other hand, if you feel an abstract painting is beautiful, that it takes you and that it inspires you? Then enjoy it to the fullest.
I have abstracted their journey and presented it in 3 parts;
You can also watch this video where I explained how I got my inspiration in a little more detail, and how I created abstract art based on it.
I am always grateful and flattered when someone asks me to paint something specifically for him or her. An abstract painting for a new home, for a renovated living room or to replace old paintings or photos on the wall. Or a work of art for at the office to provide a pleasant working atmosphere and inspiration in the workplace.