I continue to discover fabulous new artists - to me - by the score. One I have been made aware of in recent months is the Dutch watercolour painter Gerard Hendriks. Gerard is very well-known in Europe and has an enormous following. Although I subscribe to magazines like The Artist, and previously Leisure Painter and International Artist, I've never seen him mentioned, or many of the others, let alone featured. Why is this? Is it a language barrier or does it have deeper implications? Fortunately some changes are taking place and Gerard is highlighted in two of Robin Berrys 2011 books, including the `Compedium of Watercolour Tecniques' which I reviewed recently. Originally he painted in a very `photorealistic' manner in other mediums but gradually moved towards watercolour and his present highly impressionistic and vivid colourist style.
I came across Gerard on Facebook, an incredible source of fabulous artists and their paintings. He is truly prolific with a wide range of subject matter that includes Sports, Flowers, Still Lifes, Birds, Wildlife and Landscapes. I have seen many examples of his work and his use of colour, together with a loose and adventurous approach appeals to me very much. We are friends on Facebook and when I contacted him with the idea for this post he was most helpful.
Poppies - Gerards most recent painting 57cm x 76cm although I'm sure this has now been superceded
Gerard at work.
He also paints in a more conventional position
What many artists are interested in are the materials that top artists use. In Gerards case he favours Hahnemuhle Leonardo 600gsm (300lb) rough. The only immediate UK source I knew for this paper was Ken Bromley but then found after some digging that Great Art, Jacksons, the SAA, Heaton Cooper and Artdiscount, all sell it although it isn't exactly prominent on their websites, nor does it appear in either the Great Art or Jacksons catalogues, despite them featuring several other Hahnemuhle papers. Viktoria Prischedko also favours Leonardo. The only reason I can think for this is that, being 300lb, it is expensive and not really a sensible buy for most amateurs so sales are in a niche market. Jacksons are apparently discontinuing this paper and are offering it at a cut price while stocks last.
Gerard only uses tube paints, a mixture of Rembrandt and Old Holland both well-known Dutch makes.
Rembrandt appears to be the main one with some specific colours from Old Holland. His palette is : Alazarin Crimson, Karmijn (Carmine), Perm Kraplak (Permanent Alazarin), Cadmium Red Dark, Cadmium Red Light, Cobalt Violet (Old Holland), Quinacridone Rose, Permanent Red Violet, Cadmium Yellow Dark, Cadmium Yellow Light, Lemon Yellow, Gamboge (Old Holland), Yellow Ochre, Burnt Sienna, Burnt Umber, Blue/Green, Turquoise Blue, Cerulean Blue, Cobalt Blue, Ultramarine Deep, Prussian Blue, Neutral Tint, Ivory Black, Chinese White. That makes 23 colours but he only uses a limited number in each painting, depending upon subject. His basic palette is Permanent Kraplak (Alazarin), Cadmium Red, Cadmium Yellow Dark, Yellow Ochre, Cerulean Blue, Cobalt Blue and Prussian Blue.
As for brushes they are long handled Chinese brushes, which he imports from China, together with cheap flat varnish brushes 2cm and 5cm, several others of which he doesn't know the English name however here we are.
Gerard does most of his watercolours in the studio but also paints plein air. He says he has no big stack of sketchbooks but draws directly on the board with pencil b4 and "lets all the lines, also the wrong lines, stand on the board". He then begins the painting process, the dry paper sometimes upright, sometimes flat, using lots of water and pigment, splashing paint on and letting it drip off and always retaining the beautiful parts (happy accidents?) that occur. If necessary he uses nails, credit card, the back of a paintbrush or a pencil to draw or scratch in the wet paint, everything to obtain a good result. He admits he does all sorts of things that are supposedly `not allowed' but doesn't worry about that as he considers only two things matter, painting in a way you enjoy and obtaining a good artistic result. His ethos is that painting is an exciting adventure, a kind of safari behind the easel.
Now for some of his paintings.
This painting of the cheetah is actually acrylic all others watercolour
The above selection gives a good coverage of most of the subjects that Gerard paints. I have read that he `specializes' in wildlife, but flowers, still lifes and landscapes appear almost as frequently. I think them stunning.
If you are as taken by the above as I am then you can follow this up by visiting his website www.gerardhendriks.net/ where many more paintings are displayed, and also Youtube to view three demonstration videos. Just search on there for `Gerard Hendriks' videos. If you Google `Gerard Hendriks' lots more comes up.