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In February We Talk About ... Read on and find out.

"Abandoned" ©NLew 2021

"It is not so much where my motivation comes from but rather how it manages to survive." – Louise Bourgeois (French-American artist best known for her large-scale sculptures and installation art.)

The struggle to stay motivated through all the intricacies of life with all its ups and downs is real. It is so much easier to ignore that little voice telling me to get to work and blame my lack of "enthusiasm" on the lack of "inspiration." But the truth is that inspiration never really disappears if one actually takes the time to experience life in its fullness. Looking and seeing may seem to be simple mundane tasks, but they actually require a willingness to take the time to observe and see with the eyes of a newborn. Life and everything in and around it is like a spectrum of brilliant, dark, shady, groovy, moody, gray colors. Exploding and always evolving.

"The River" ©NLew 2021

"Every artist was first an amateur." – Ralph Waldo Emerson (American poet, essayist, and philosopher)

"Whether you succeed or not is irrelevant. There is no such thing. Making your unknown known is the important thing."

Georgia O'Keeffe (mother of American modernism most famous for her detailed depictions of a range of stunning flowers)

Many days, the struggle is real, and what helps me endure are the many other artists I admire and the ones that I discover on my daily virtual walks. It is no secret that Maurice de Vlaminck is one of my very favorite painters, and I can but acquiesce begrudgingly his quote that "Good painting is like good cooking; it can be tasted, but not explained." Why does one like this but doesn't like that? My preference seems to lie in the colors and the wild style often represented in fauvism and impressionism. I seem to be attracted to the likes of The Vlaminck and Van Gogh, Gauguin, Monet and Legrand, Cheifetz, and Feder, all of whom have very different styles. All of whom have an impressive and beautiful color palette.

Jannes de Vries self portrait with his spouse

Enter Jannes de Vries, a Dutch painter. Born in Meppel (The Netherlands) in 1901, de Vries is a member of the De Ploeg, an artist collective from Groningen in the Netherlands. In 1918 a group of young artists created the collective with as its main objective the creation of exhibitions and educate people about new art, architecture, and literature developments. Prominent art styles in De Ploeg include expressionism, constructivism, and impressionism. A drawing teacher at first, he left the Netherlands for Paris in 1923, where he enrolled in the École des Beaux-Arts to pursue a traditional classical education. Always fascinated with lines, he simultaneously enrolled at the Academie Colarossi to study handwriting techniques.

He spent time in Florence and Rome, where he spent time with other European artists. He was struck by the rich shades of color of the Italian landscapes, and the paintings he finished there are among his best. He writes about this (Siersma, 2004, 18): 'I am experiencing more and more that I have to hold a total movement-image and grow this 'seen' inside me. That is how my field of work moves from the outside in, even though I still come home with mountains of notes.'


Like many artists and team members in De Ploeg, Jannes was also involved in graphic design. Being a part-time drawing teacher and a part-time artist did not provide him enough financial support and led him to freelance illustration and advertising. He was so successful that he created "The Bureau J. De Vries Designer" and became well known and appreciated for his packaging tin designs. He also provided designs for book bands to several publishers. The design agency was active until the 1960s. Not much remains of the work. Jannes de Vries died in 1986.

As we are all experiencing the stress of the COVID19 restraints, we can finally see the light at the end of the tunnel. We are not there yet, but with the vaccinations starting to roll in regularly, life may be returning to normal in some not too distant future. Keep up the social distancing, wear masks (double-masking when you can), hand washing, and stay away from large crowds and large indoor gatherings. It may save your life, and it may save the life of someone else.

I will keep painting … as it seems to have taken over a big part of my time. I am continually learning and discovering. I realize more and more that: "There are no rules. That is how art is born, how breakthroughs happen. Go against the rules or ignore the rules. That is what invention is about." – Helen Frankenthaler." I am trying. I am trying just that.

TAE ©2020 NLew

Until next time, peoples of the page. Be kind, be safe, be healthy, and most of all, be happy. Namaste.

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Note from author: ALL IMAGES shown in this column are courtesy of NLew/Reflectionsandstuff. All artwork of NLew is ©2020NLew. All other images belong to the respective artists and/or the galleries/museums that own them and are used here under the creative commons license for instructional purposes/non-commercial use without modifications of which the sole purpose is the sharing of Art only. Please respect this and do not misuse them. Please note that if you want to copy/use any material/photo from this website you may need permission of the owner/s. Again, respect Artists' copyrights please. Never forget to mention the original source. As always, I am thankful for your patronage.

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