MUNTHE ART MONDAY: DANIËLLE VAN HERK
Please introduce yourself and tell us about what you do.
My name is Daniëlle van Herk and I work as an abstract painter. Together with my husband and three children I live in a small pittoresk village in the South of The Netherlands. As a former interior designer, I decided almost three years ago to change my career and finally spend all my working hours on my greatest passion; abstract painting!
Since then, I have been working on several collections. You can follow my artwork and life as an artist on social media (Instagram, Facebook, Linkedin and Pinterest), my newsletter and on my website. Most of my paintings are sold during online studio visits and online galleries.
The process in which the artwork is created feels magical every time. Layer after layer more or less structure and texture are applied, sometimes quite smoothly and powerfully, sometimes very subtle and transparent.
I like to research colors and the application of the paint can lead to different results; I then look at opaque or transparent, pasty or highly diluted. I apply the paint with palette knives, rulers, sponges, fingers, and cloths on large canvases or small panels.
Over time, my approach shifted from using saturated color to more transparent and rhythmic colors. The dynamic and powerful is very characteristic of my style. With experimental techniques I stimulate innovation and growth in my work.
Could you explain more about how being a woman has affected your career?
In my twenties I started my career as a Graphic Designer. When our first child was born, I became a full-time mother. 24 years ago, my life made a drastically change. Soon after that I gave birth to twins. I remember that time as very hectic, with three babies to take care off.
Because my husband had to travel a lot for his work at that time, I thought it was better to quit my job and became a full-time mum. So, I would be able to spend all my time home with the children and give them all the rest and attention they needed.
Soon I began to pick up painting in my spare free time in an empty room of our house. In the meantime, I worked for two days a week in my husband's company.
When the children grew older, I decided to study Interior Design and I started working as a Freelance Interior designer. But I continued to paint and sell my work.
Until our last relocation when it felt like I had to change course and go completely for the artist's existence. I was now just over 50 and I felt strongly that it was time to start devoting my time to what made me the happiest. It was the best decision for myself; I couldn’t feel more complete and happier. I had found my destination.
Looking back at first, I regretted that I had not made this choice much earlier in my life. But I realized that all the experiences and choices I made before make me express myself as an artist in this current way and that is something to be very grateful for.
Can you name some other female (artist) that inspires you and explain why they do so?
In fact, I admire every woman (artist or not) who under difficult circumstances and a counter-working environment, still chooses self-development and believes in her work and in herself. Especially women in non-western countries and from the past where circumstances and possibilities differ from the West.
I am currently reading the book about Jeanne Bieruma Oosting (author: J. Withuis), an artist who consciously presented herself in 1936 at a Paris exhibition as a painter. She came from a very wealthy Frisian family and working as a woman was out of the question. She had to get married and have children. A very fascinating story to read.
What has been the most challenging aspect of being a female artist?
The most challenging thing as a female artist is to conquer your place in the art world. It is still largely a man's world. I am very serious about my work and the time and energy I put into it. It's a business. And I'm working hard for that.
What would you like people to notice in your artwork?
At first, I make the paintings for myself. One of the best parts for me of being an artist is the possibility to create, to start again from scratch and then to create an image.
The joy lies in the process and the challenges I encounter when working with colors, tools, textures, various (residual) materials. Then I show the artwork to the outside world. Often through studio visits and online meetings, newsletters and social media.
I regularly show videos of the creation of a work of art or zoom in on the details. It is so rewarding and satisfying when people and collectors see the attention I put in each artwork. And the layers, colours and structures. Hopefully, they surprise the spectator day after day and he or she will discover new aspects all the time. The greatest compliment for me being an artist is when people decide to take an artwork of mine to their own home or office or company to enjoy it every day.
Each Monday we bring you a new interview with a contemporary female artist
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