Masterclass with Cornelis Le Mair

Posted on Aug 10, 2017

Cornelis (Kees) Le Mair is a legend in his lifetime. I had read his book “Het edele ambacht, de lelijkheid aangeklaagd” (The noble craft, accusing ugliness) a few years ago and long admired him for his views on art as well as for his paintings. So when the opportunity arose to joining some other accomplished artists for a Masterclass at his studio, I did not need long to think. It turned out a great experience and good fun as well.

My style of painting involves applying three to five layers of paint, so my paintings take weeks and often more than a month each to finish. For this Masterclass I therefore wanted to practice something different: finishing a painting in a few days. Kees then put a classic composition in front of us (pears and a pewter jug) and then he and I sat next to each other, each a blank canvas in front of us, and we both undertook to paint visually in the style of Chardin, but practially to have it done in a day. It was very helpful to watch Kees at work from so close by, and to be able to interrupt at any time and ask questions. And I ended up having two paintings more or less finished.

Then a few days later Jos van de Ven, who lives in France and who started me off on traditional oil painting techniques all those years ago, stayed with us for a day or two. We were living in a house in the Netherlands early 2017 and it so happened that this house was located in the same village as where Cornelis Le Mair is living surrounded by his 17th century style interiors. So we went to visit Kees in his house and I stepped back in time. I mean literally. Isn’t it brilliant that some people still live without television and a driver’s license, and who are, like Kees, multi-facetted in art and knowledge.

  • Website of Cornelis Le Mair:
  • Website Jos van de Ven:
  • The book “Het edele ambacht, de lelijkheid aangeklaagd” is written in Dutch, and whoever can read that language and has an interest in the disappearing craft of traditional painting, I certainly recommend it: