I am Jolanda Matzken-van Belzen, born in a little old town in the Netherlands, and currently living in a small village near Perth, Scotland. I am a professional artist, specialising in still life paintings of objects that have a noticeable shape, texture or colour.
The character of my paintings is probably best captured by the word ‘fusion.’ In music, this term means ‘mixing different styles,’ and it aptly describes my work too, for mixing styles is precisely what I do. In particular, I aim to blend a traditional painting technique with a contemporary approach to composition:
1) Choosing objects which emphasise the timeless beauty of craftsmanship, I focus on a few objects rather than making elaborate arrangements.
2) Employing a traditional style of painting, following the great 17th Century Dutch and Flemish Masters, the 18th Century French Artistes, and the 19th Century Scottish Glasgow Boys.
My work method includes using oil paints with high pigments content; Belgium linen; mixing my own mediums; and applying consecutive layers of paint whilst ensuring that brushstrokes remain discernible.
Before returning to Scotland in 2016, we lived in Germany for a decade or so, near the town of Osnabrück and in the beautiful surroundings of the Teutoburger Wald in Germany.
About twenty-five years ago I met Robert, we married, and shortly afterwards made a mutual dream come true: we bought a Victorian Shooting Lodge on a hill-side in Scotland, overlooking St Mary’s Loch, and, after restoring the derelict building to its former glory, spent fantastic years far away from the clamour of confused capitalism.
In Scotland I found the peace and tranquillity to return to the passion of my youth: drawing and painting. By then I had also become interested in old prints – townscapes and botanicals, and the famous Punch caricatures – and I decided to pursue mastering the art and craft of hand colouring these illustrations of the past.
I took private tuition from Colin Robertson, a professional colourist from Dalkeith near Edinburgh, and received in solid grounding in all aspects of the art of watercolouring.
After a while I started selling hand-coloured caricatures and townscapes (of Edinburgh, mostly, and of assorted Dutch townscapes and seascapes) to private collectors from various countries, including Scotland, England, Netherlands, USA and India. Furthermore, my work was exhibited in some of the major venues of Golf: the MacDonalds in North Berwick, the Gleneagles Hotel in Auchterarder and The Roxburghe near Kelso.
On the Continent
After moving from Scotland to the Continent in 2004, I again took lessons in drawing. Then Jos van de Ven in France taught me the basics of layered painting, Henk Mulder in the Netherlands taught me not to be afraid to trying things out, and I changed from water-colours to painting in oil. During the years in Germany I started working full-time at composition and painting, and on this website I am presenting my paintings and some of my observations about the art of painting still life in oil.
Back in Scotland
Then we moved back to Scotland, and I am now again working in my favourite country. After all the influences and impressions derived from meeting various artists living in different countries, and enjoying the habit (or dicipline) of painting every day, I am now contently and confidently working on paintings that I love to make: contemporary compositions painted with traditional techniques; finding inspiration in placing flowers and fruits and vegetables next to hand-crafted objects of glass and clay. It is my desire to show how much beauty there is in the simple still life.
“Early Self Portrait”
Learning from others, from their mistakes and from their triumphs, is an inspiring and fulfilling activity. The painters I especially admire are the French masters Jean-Baptiste-Siméon Chardin, Henri Fantin-Latour and Bastien Lepage. From my native country Rembrandt and Vermeer, of course, and Frans Hals and Isaac Israels, and Vincent van Gogh (though not so much his paintings, but rather the seven hundred or so letters he wrote to his brother Theo).
And finally, from Scotland the Glasgow Boys, who produced a few remarkably impressive paintings.