Local artist Erik de Jong has flourished creatively during lockdown.
“All this extra time at home (and not wanting to watch too much news or TV) has made me still and reflective and allowed me to really get into my art on a daily basis. Painting is my form of mindfulness: I get so engaged with the process that time disappears and I’m completely unselfconscious. This state of flow is a joy and the creativity just happens” says Erik.
Erik have you always been a creative?
Yes always, but it was something for ‘by the side’. I’m now spending much more time with art and see it as part of my future and part of who I am. Art is very personal and there’s a thing around self-confidence that I need(ed?) to get around before I was willing to show my paintings to others.
Has the Covid-19 situation affected your art or subject matter?
It’s interesting that the fires last year directly came into my art and there was a lot of emotion. This Covid has just created a ‘stillness’, much more subtle, a ‘calm’ that I really like.
There appears to be a Dutch Masters influence in your still life paintings.
I am Dutch and I do think somehow that comes through in my colours and light and technique. I’ve been wanting to take a next step in my technical ability and really use the original Dutch/Flemish and also Venetian classical painting techniques. I’m right in the middle of that at the moment and my current work shows it: working with undercoats and underpaintings and often up to 10 different layers of transparent glazes on top of opaques: very traditional, very laborious, but very worthwile. Realism or traditionalism is not where I want to end up as an artist, but I would love to “master” the technique or at least be able to use it well!
You also have an obvious connection to the Australian landscape and a very close relationship with animals. Are these also influencing your art?
Nature and animals have the same effect on me as painting: they absorb me, make me present and calm. It’s quite natural to then want to paint nature. Last year I made many landscapes: straight off my verandah looking at Old Man Dreaming, or at our local beaches in Sawtell, Mylestom, Urunga and Hungry Head: Heaven!
Where to from here with your art?
For once in my life there is no master plan. I’m completely, blissfully present with my art. I’m evolving one painting at a time. I do have a lot of topics and approaches in Art I want to explore. I will see it when I’m there!
To view Erik’s work CLICK HERE
Erik’s next exhibition will be at the Federal Hotel Bellingen December 2020.