About my work
In my work I want to express visually my idea of beauty.
This is very personel and not something of which I know
in advance how this will be. It has to be discovered in
every new painting and can be found only when I listen
very carefully and honestly to my own feelings about it.
Geometric Abstract art.
My paintings are composed by flat coloured areas. Colour
is my pure starting point and leading point, not any concrete
objects in the visual world around me.
In the starting process of a new painting I work at pleasure,
put some paint on the linen cloth and work rather quickly.
Once, something becomes visible, I go on, looking, actually
it is more feeling, with my eye, with more care, changing
a colour, or the size of an area, then put the canvas away,
and go on with it only after some months or even after a year
Time is very important in the process of my work, the viewing-
time, I have to put it away, and look at it, put it away, and
look at it again.
Slowly that what is to be seen on the canvas starts to
resound with my soul, and gradually I begin to understand
what the painting is about, and I try to intensify this
contents. Then I work with great care and caution.
Colours do fascinate me tremendously. When I look at
something it can be difficult to distract me from it,
because the colour takes me away.
There are two ways to work with colour. From outside (so
that you know beforehand which colour you will apply,
orange here, blue there, and you know exactly which kind
of blue) and from inside. I work from inside out.
This last option starts with very good listening (with your
eye) and letting the colours flourish by their neighbour
colours, letting them arise.
For me, the most beautiful thing is when a colour looks
different on the linen as it does on the palette. This capacity
of colours to change by the relation with other colours, this
endless metamorphosis, I can not have enough of it.
Endless curiosity, what will happen if I make this colour
a little bit lighter or more intensive.
I work on a painting till I am totally satisfied with it. It is
finished then. It respires silence and quietness then. All
my works do. This silence arises from the connection
between different areas, by likeness in light/darkness or
in colour (same brightness, intensity).
It doesn't matter what I paint, only this is important that
the painting becomes a world of it's own, an organic unity.
A rithmical stream must be in the work.
If this stream is blockaded or something in the painting
does distract your attention, then the work is not ready.
And you have to make a choice for one thing and adjust
the other to it. This I certainly do, and without sadness too,
because my highest goal is to achieve strength and
unity in a painting. Which I can effect with carefully tuned
details, but these details may never rank above the whole.
In my paintings I strive for this, that you can take in a
painting at a glance, catched by one glimpse, so full of
simplicity and clearness it must be, and later on you can
jump with your eye throughout the painting without
loosing this unity.
It is a bringing together of loose parts to a union. Making
a connection. I also search for tenderness. Warmth, the
vibration that unites. The subtlety, the twinkling.
The coming forward from certain areas and the going
backward of others, together in a rythmical relation,
this is what occupies me a lot. My eye does not only
jump to the left or the right or up and down (two-
dimensional) on the surface of the canvas, but
especially backwards and forwards, to and fro, so
three-dimensional, as if I enter the canvas, or just keep
on hanging before it with my eye at a little distance.
This space in my work does not arise from the use of
perspective lines, or by the use of schade, but by
the different intensifity of the colours and the use of
This depth is sometimes small, but it is always there
in my work. Your eye feels that the areas in the
painting are not at the same distance, although it can
be difficult to define which area is closer to your eye
and which lies further away.
Unconscious your eye wants to discover the real distance
of the areas, but this will take some time. It is also not
possible to see all the used colors directly, by first
glance, although compared with my earlier dark paintings,
a lot seems to be very clear, because I now use more
contrasts in colour and light/darkness.
But still some colours are as if not existing, as if an illusion,
they arise before your eye, when you are looking, but
disappear as soon as you turn your head away. These
subtle colour differentiations, although not to be noticed
at once, cause a certain soft visual sensation.
Because 'keep on watching' will result in seeing more,
a greater attention and fascination will exist, longer
looking will be rewarded with a greater view.
So, for the viewer, it all arrives from watching, you
experience the painting like the way you listen to music,
it takes you away in an atmosphere, not using your
rational thinking, and so you go inwards in attentive
comtemplation. This retiring into oneself, this own
world of silence you thus enter, is meditative.
My work is an invitation to the viewer to look and become
conscious, by feeling unconscious.
It gives me such an satisfaction, and happiness to make
my work. Painting is for me a discovery journey.
Margreeth Oosterhof, february 2003
(I translated this in English as best as I could,
in august 2004)