Bart van Zweeden
Other work

Portraits 2019-2021

This series was made in 2020 and 2021. After a few weeks of Classical Academy Groningen (Model and Portrait), there was some basis to perform some portraits in oil paint. My goal is the mastery of the human face, its proportions and the most difficult but also the most fun: the skin color.
Portraits are mounted on bare canvas in charcoal, fixed and covered with a transparent ground layer of Transparent Oxide Red and Brown. The final painting is placed over this.
Portrait painting does provide a very special experience that you notice while working. Over time, a person arises in front of you who suddenly looks at you. From that moment on it is almost no longer oil paint, but you work on someone's face.
I discovered that we humans are apparently very focused on the eyes; as soon as an image takes on its own individual character, you suddenly lose a piece of objectivity. Painting turns into a conversation. You make adjustments with the respect that someone else deserves. Very weird but real.
My brother Paul passed away in 2021. I painted him in oil a few months later. Although based on a photo, I suddenly looked at my father (1921-1985), who died much earlier. Family traits. small details that normally don't stand out; I suddenly saw them sharply in front of me. An amazing experience.
The canvas went to his wife in the USA.

While this has been a learning experience, it is also a finite one. The portraits are who they are. The resemblance suffices, And then I come to a point where the occasion is a bit lost; the greatest tension with the question of whether a portrait seems sufficient is then no longer such an issue. Actually, I want to be able to do more with the portraits. Maybe it will come later.
It is not the first time that I go back to earlier styles.


Other Portraits 2019-2021

I started this series with a portrait of Jaap van Zweden. Jaap, wellknown as a conductor and violin-player,  is a distant relative - we have to go back six generations to find a common ancestor.
Nevertheless, it was fun to paint him afterall.
The other three are works based on photographic material that has been adapted for the occasion in composition and color.


Portraits 2017-2019

This series precedes the series above. Ultimately, about 10-12 canvases were made in this way.
What I discovered is that by fixing the charcoal sketch, you can continue painting without the charcoal with paint becoming one big black-dirty mess. The series has the disadvantage that it is still too good. I am still looking for more expression and more power in my work.
This can keep you busy for a lifetime.

Project Renzenbrink

An assignment that took six months to complete in 1999.
The assignment was to produce a series of abstracts in oil on canvas. Large formats were required given the destination location. The largest works are 160x220 cm.
As a painter, it was an enormous experience for me to be able to create this kind of almost museum format for the first time. My experience is that this is not a simple enlargement of something small. Large formats get their own identity; just because of their size and regardless of what it says.
Older Etchwork (<1998)

Older Etchwork.

Some examples of etchings from 1987-1995.
After two years at the Free Academy The Hague, there was a certain basis to pick up the graphic work. This resulted in color etchings with a figurative character.
Sizes went up to 50 x 70 cm. There was no need for small etchings. I learned the etching from Wim Bettenhausen in those years. At the time, many people were working on small mini-etchings the size of a postcard. That didn't interest me; I wanted to go as big as possible. The limiting factor is the press width.
Themes are processes that take place in nature, fossilization and the transience of life. A trip to faraway places such as Indonesia was also a source of inspiration.
Trained as a biologist I have always been fascinated by natural processes; the origin of life forms; the almost model-like character of the way in which a body takes shape in embryology. That spatial process in itself is sufficient reason to make a series of images, if I could at least.
With life also comes its disappearance: death and, on a larger scale, the extinction of animal species. The stillness and freezing in time produces fantastic shapes