The artist’s life / 5

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Notes from the studio / Gallery sale

I just received an email from one of my galleries in France (Galerie Eclat d’Art) that a painting of mine has been sold. After selling some 250+ paintings over de last 10 years you might think of this as an ordinary, almost commonplace experience. But to me, it still isn’t.

Every time a sale comes through, sometimes twice a week, sometimes not for a month, I open a bottle of wine or champagne and celebrate the fact that I, little me, created something out of nothing and somebody, somewhere on this planet thought it worth a couple of thousand euros to own it, to look at it and hopefully to cherish it for the rest of her/his life. That will be 20 bottles of Pommery each year, so be it…

Not that there is much of Me involved in the creative process, come to think of it. Material Me has to be present to handle the paint and the brushes. But the conscious, thinking Me, Ego Me, better keeps a low profile when the painting is in the making. I always have cherished the idea of being like an open window through which the great spirit of creation comes flying in and does its work. I am merely an instrument available to be used by something far greater.

One of the questions I often get asked at shows if it is hard to let go of a painting. The answer is no, I can let go of them easily. They are meant to be out there in the world, hopefully, make it a little bit of a better place if possible. And there is always a new one, waiting to materialize through me.

@work


Pictures can be enlarged by clicking. Words or sentences underlined contain links to more information. If you’re interested in my journeys through the wonderful landscape of lyrical abstract painting, click to follow this blog and receive notifications of new posts by email. (I have decided to write these blog posts in English, which is not my native language. So beforehand I want to apologize for any textual and/or grammar mistakes).


 


Exhibition Galerie Thyade

New lyrical abstract paintings by Eelco Maan on show at Galerie Thyade / Rotterdam / Netherlands / 11 december 2015 – 16 january 2016

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Want to have a look at my latest paintings? From december 11th 2015 until january 16th 2016, you are welcome in the beautiful new location of Gallery Thyade in De Hoogstraat / Rotterdam.

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Adres Hoogstraat 31-33
3011 PE Rotterdam
Telefoon 010-450 6362
E-mail info@thyade.nl
OPENINGSTIJDEN
Maandag gesloten
Dinsdag 11:00 – 17:00 uur
Woensdag 11:00 – 17:00 uur
Donderdag 11:00 – 17:00 uur
Vrijdag 11:00 – 17:00 uur
Zaterdag 10:00 – 17:00 uur
1e Zo v/d mnd 12:00 – 17:00 uur
ltste Zo v/d maand 12:00 – 17:00 uur

www.thyade.nl


 


The artist’s life / 4

Notes from the studio / Intuition & precision

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“The intuitive mind is a sacred gift and the rational mind is a faithful servant. We have created a society that honors the servant and has forgotten the gift”

– Albert Einstein –

To me, making art is not a hobby but I wouldn’t call it a job either. It is work that I have chosen to take upon myself and that has to be done. It is deeply personal and highly universal at the same time. To a certain extent, it is what defines me. It’s like keeping a diary without words. It is a way to get a grip on life that, at its core, seems to me as elusive as an abstract painting. It is a way to get access to what I don’t know, to what I have forgotten. It is a way to make meaning in a meaningless world. It is a pathway, both towards and from intuition. Making abstract art is like bringing a vision, laying dormant in the soul, to the light of day.

I never make sketches. I don’t sit around waiting for brilliant ideas. Everything happens in the process of painting. I just begin.

However, odd as it sounds, working on an abstract painting is a rather precise undertaking. There are certain Do’s and Don’t’s, so I’ve discovered through the years. There are technical issues that almost always work, (yet sometimes stunningly fail), there are technical issues that never work (but sometimes stunningly do) and there are techniques that might work but which I still have to discover. There are a thousand ways to start, a million ways to go on, and a zillion ways to finish an abstract painting. Without some sort of reference, you might easily get lost on the way.

The way to discover new ground, to keep on going and to improve, is by persistently keep on working from intuition while building your ever growing technical knowledge. That technical knowledge (or experience) has nothing to do with logic or mathematical knowledge. It doesn’t reside in your brain, but in your hands, your eyes, your whole body, your spirit. It is by that knowledge you bring precision into the process. Trust it. Intuition is what gets you on your way, precision is what gets you to the finish.

Abstract painting is not about ideas. It is about visions, dreams, misty archetypes, intuitive sensations, sorrow, joy and other poetic soul stuff we all share, but most of the time can’t express for the lack of words. In the contradictory combination of intuition and precision lies the painter’s best chance to silently whisper from the other side of the veil. Not to tell a story but to visualize our shared longing for all those elusive things like harmony, inner peace, beauty, rapture, and oneness.

There are no shortcuts to acquiring this combination of intuition and precision. But it will appear, sometime or later, during the process of painting. By starting afresh, again and again and again.

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Pictures can be enlarged by clicking. Words or sentences underlined contain links to more information. If you’re interested in my journeys through the wonderful landscape of lyrical abstract painting, click to follow this blog and receive notifications of new posts by email. (I have decided to write these blog posts in English, which is not my native language. So beforehand I want to apologize for any textual and/or grammar mistakes).



The artist’s life / 3

Notes from the studio / October

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October

“… Beguile us in the way you know. Release one leaf at break of day;

At noon release another leaf; One from our trees, one far away.

Retard the sun with gentle mist; Enchant the land with amethyst.

Slow, slow! …” – Robert Frost

Every year the month of October presents me with the most beautiful kind of celestial blue I can think of. Transferred to music, it would be the kind of Miles Davis “Kind of blue”, an in-between summer and winter sort of blue, a crispy, cobalt sort of deep blue that will be here for a day or two. Do you have it in your mind’s eye?

So every year it is a blessing to take the dogs for a walk under these October skies at the end of the day in the twilight, while we go over the harvested farm fields at the back of my house. Wondering, marveling… I love this season. Change is in the air while nature seems to hold its breath and slows down through misty mornings and starry nights.

So every year I’m trying to get this October Blue into one of my paintings. And every year I fail miserably. I don’t think it can be done. But I’ll try anyway. Because it is there.

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Pictures can be enlarged by clicking. Words or sentences underlined contain links to more information. If you’re interested in my journeys through the wonderful landscape of lyrical abstract painting, click to follow this blog and receive notifications of new posts by email. (I have decided to write these blog posts in English, which is not my native language. So beforehand I want to apologize for any textual and/or grammar mistakes).



The artist’s life / 2

Notes from the studio / The discovery of painting

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“The soul is dyed the color of its thoughts. Think only on those things that are in line with your principles and can bear the light of day. The content of your character is your choice. Day by day, what you do is who you become. Your integrity is your destiny – it is the light that guides your way.”
― Heraclitus

Deep down inside I have always known I would become an artist. At the age of thirteen I discovered the rapture and bliss of poetry, literature, painting and music all at once.

Art as a way out from the dread of puberty. I wrote horrible poems and did some clumsy drawing. I read Hesse, Kerouac, Sartre and Hemingway and marvelled at Dali, De Kooning and Rembrandt in the Boymans Museum in Rotterdam.

I listened to Debussy, Ravel and Satie but favoured The Beatles, Eagles and Stones. I started a band with my best friends and bought my first guitar. I still remember how it smelled like in the music shop of Servaas in The Haque, where I bought a second hand Ibanez Les Paul imitation. I loved that guitar. I thought it was the most beautiful thing in the world when I woke up the next morning and saw it standing beside my bed.

To become a Rock & Roll Star seemed the best of all options (boy + guitar = girls) so there I was on stage at shaky 17 before a massive crowd at the New Year party of my local school. Life was sweet and full of promise.

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At the age of 32 I hit a brick wall. My latest rock & roll band suddenly fell apart. I ended a five-year relationship with a girl I didn’t love. Just before that I’d quit my part-time job as a scan operator at a big newspaper company because it bored me to death. I had studied history at the Erasmus university of Rotterdam half-heartedly for one year when I decided to stop. I had tried photography but got tangled up with a friend in the filming business, making promotional videos like something called “Fishing in Sweden” (a six week trip through beautiful rough northern Scandinavian country, smoothed by lots of liquor and beautiful blond haired girls). The company lasted for a year until we got broke.

However, I made it to the end of the photography course, got my degree, did some work as a press photographer and even found a job in commercial photography. After 3 months I decided “commercial” wasn’t my thing.

By now, getting a bit desperate, trying to find out what I really wanted and what life was all about, I buried myself in philosophy and spirituality. I learned by Heraclitus I couldn’t step in the same river twice and discovered I had been in Plato’s Cave all along, merely looking at shadows on the wall. Damn. Plato’s Cave allegory may be one of the greatest metaphors about conscious life on earth, except it has one flaw; it doesn’t show you the way out…

Meanwhile, I had experienced that tending bar at Rotown/Rotterdam was not the best way to make a living. I finished writing a collection of poetry that almost got published. Almost… (18 years later it did get published). I got into yoga and meditation but failed to get enlightened overnight. In short, I surely was driven but I seemed to go everywhere and nowhere…

On my 32th birthday, I received from a friend as a gift some brushes and some paint. “You just try a bit of painting”, he said, “it will do you good”. So it did. It felt like coming home. Within nine months, I had a small gallery show in Amsterdam and sold six of my paintings. I was ready to follow my bliss. My voyage into painting had begun.

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Studio; the “Red Table”


Pictures can be enlarged by clicking. Words or sentences underlined contain links to more information. If you’re interested in my journeys through the wonderful landscape of lyrical abstract painting, click to follow this blog and receive notifications of new posts by email. (I have decided to write these blog posts in English, which is not my native language. So beforehand I want to apologize for any textual and/or grammar mistakes).



The artist’s life/1

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Notes from the studio

“Art is a kind of innate drive that seizes a human being and makes him its instrument. The artist is not a person endowed with free will who seeks his own ends, but one who allows art to realize its purpose through him. As a human being he may have moods and a will and personal aims, but as an artist he is “man” in a higher sense — he is “collective man”— one who carries and shapes the unconscious, psychic forms of mankind.”  – Carl Jung –

How does one become an artist? Is it a matter of choice? Or is it a matter of fate or luck or even bad luck for some? Or is it because of a desire or passion that emerges from deep within the soul, evoking a vague feeling of making meaning through art in a seemingly meaningless world?

James Allen wrote: “The dreamers are the saviours of the world. As the visible world is sustained by the invisible, so men, through all their trials and sins and sordid vocations, are nourished by the beautiful visions of their solitary dreamers. Humanity cannot forget its dreamers; it cannot let their ideals fade and die; it lives in them; it knows them as the realities which it shall one day see and know. Composer, sculptor, painter, poet, prophet, sage, these are the makers of the after- world, the architects of heaven. The world is beautiful because they have lived; without them, labouring humanity would perish.”

I’ve been making paintings for over twenty years. Lately, I am beginning to feel the need to write down and share some of my experiences as a visual artist along the slippery road to “Fame and Fortune” (note the quotation marks!).

First of all because the rational part of me likes to get a better understanding, if possible, how an abstract painting can convey sensations like meaning, purpose, harmony, rapture, beauty and joy to the spectator and how I “allow art to realise its purpose through me”. Secondly because I think it will shed some light on the backgrounds that drive me in my work, which might be of interest to the potential spectator and collector of my paintings. Thirdly because I think my experiences in the Art World might be of practical help for emerging artists. And finally because I just like to write about a subject so close to my heart; the visual arts.

If you’re interested in my voyages through the wonderful landscape of lyrical abstract painting, click to follow this blog and receive notifications of new posts by email. Pictures can be enlarged by clicking. Words or sentences underlined contain links to more information.


References:

Carl Jung – Psychology and Literature, (1930)

James Allen – As a Man Thinketh (1903)


(I have decided to write these blog posts in English which is not my native language. So beforehand I want to apologize for any textual and/or grammar mistakes).


Lulu Hayes SS15 Collection Launch

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Lucy Ann Hayes is a young London based designer who contacted me in march this year for having one of my paintings (Free flow, 250 x 120 cm) to be used in her next spring collection of prints on silk garments. Each garment style is individually tailored in the UK.

For those who missed the official launch party, or simply want to re-live the fabulous evening here is the official video and blog of the Lulu Hayes SS15 Collection Preview and Launch Party…

http://www.luluhayes.com/blog/4583676654

http://www.luluhayes.com/shop/4582491553

https://www.facebook.com/www.luluhayes.co.ukFeatured image

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My painting on a dress…!!!

Lucy Ann Hayes is a young London based designer who contacted me a while ago for having one of my paintings to be used in her next spring collection of prints on silk garments. Each garment style is individually tailored in the UK.

Some sneak peak pictures of the new designs will soon be published so stay tuned…

http://www.luluhayes.com/blog/4583676654
http://www.luluhayes.com/

Free-Flow-blue

 

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Abstractie in Nederland anno 2015 in het Zandvoorts Museum


Vrijdag 6 Maart 2015 om 16.00 uur, opent de tentoonstelling ‘ABSTRACTIE IN NEDERLAND ANNO 2015’  met een selectie van 10 van de meest innoverende, nog levende, kunstenaars binnen de (lyrisch) abstracte schilder – en beeldhouwkunst van de afgelopen 20 jaar in Nederland. Gevestigde kunstenaars die zich allen blijven innoveren en ontwikkelen en daarbij een duidelijk herkenbaar persoonlijk signatuur kennen binnen de abstractie.

In alfabetische volgorde zult u werk gaan zien van AD ARMA (schilderijen en geblazen glas), ARVEE (Schilderijen), HANS vanHorck (schilderijen en beelden in steen), JAN KEES LANTERMAN (Beelden in steen), JAN VAN LOKHORST (schilderijen), EELCO MAAN (schilderijen) , MIEKE PONTIER (objekten in geblazen glas met steengoed), WILLEM van SCHEIJNDEL (schilderijen), KAREL VREEBURG (beelden in steen) en RON v.d.WERF (schilderijen).

De gedachte achter deze unieke verkoop tentoonstelling is het publiek te laten zien dat er grote verschillen zijn binnen de abstracte schilder- en beeldhouwkunst.
De werken van de exposerende kunstenaars ‘bijten’ elkaar niet. Dit kan ook niet daar abstractie eigenlijk een vrije interpretatie is van de werkelijkheid onder invloed van de emoties en het vermogen van de kunstenaar om alle ingegeven dogma’s en ‘dwanghandelingen’ los te laten.Pas als dit proces zich in de geest van de kunstenaar voltrekt, kan de eigen interpretatie van de werkelijkheid naar buiten treden .

U bent van harte welkom!

ZANDVOORTS MUSEUM
Swaluëstraat 1
2042 KA Zandvoort
tel 023-5740280
http://www.zandvoortsmuseum.nl/

OPENINGSTIJDEN:
Maandag en dinsdag: gesloten.
Woensdag t/m zondag: 13:00-17:00 uur.


To walk with you by the pond in the twilight just one more time

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In hindsight my career as a professional artist truly started 10 years ago when I bought this incredible house in the Dutch countryside which allowed me to work in a studio the size I always dreamed of.
With the purchase of the house came three of the most extraordinary souls I have ever met in my life. They were called Dees, Reen and Lisa. They were feminine, black, full of joy and energy and equiped with an endless capacity to console; three crossbreed labrador dogs.
Through rain, fog and snow, sunny sprinkled mornings and dappled twilight evenings, through winter, spring, summer and autumn, they took me to the endless road and they accompanied me where ever I went; I must have had them by my side for a thousend miles, a million footfals through all the long years.

I had to let go of the last of them four weeks ago. While saying goodbye to Dees, all three of them seemed to be ultimately gone forever…
The single problem with dogs is that they are unable to live up to our human lifespan.

I couldn’t paint for weeks. When finally I started up again every brushstroke reminded me of what was irretrievably lost. In some sort of incomprehensable way they seem to walk through all my latest paintings, at least to me they do.

“To walk with you by the pond in the twilight for one last time…”

The title says it all. One evening while out walking, we found a special place, with a pond and great pine trees and wind and silence and rabbits and deer, a dog’s paradise…

If I could go back in time I would like to be there, just one more time, during that blessed summer evening in the forest with all three of them by my side.


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