How do you come up with these ideas?

8 July 2015

This question is the most asked and the most difficult to answer.
My reply is probably quite unsatisfying. Maybe people expect that I can give them one trick, a secret or a recipe. Some people may think an artist is suddenly frozen by a beam of light, called inspiration …
Well no, none of them all. My ideas are the results of my development and never thrown to me for free.
Getting a potential image in my mind is a different way of looking at the things around me. I think it is something anyone can learn.
cadmiumredmixedwithultramarineblue
When I started painting in my late twenties I noticed that my way of observing things was slowly changing. For example; I realised that while I saw a colour, I dissected the color at the same time. To be more clear; if I saw a particular kind of brown, than somewhere in my brain -almost at the same time and initially unconscious- I parted them in a certain amount blue and red … a pinch of white, and maybe some magenta.

“Ok, but colours are still not ideas, eh?”
You’re right.

Sometimes, during a milli-second, you think you see something that doesn’t match reality. Like seeing a sleeping black cat in the corner of your dusky room. But … you don’t have a cat! The second milli-second you know that it is your lost cardigan, fallen from the chair.
In the period I started painting, I hung on to that first milli-second. A sleeping cat is quite common, but sometimes a shadow may look like an airplane flying into your room. Or the garbage bags can look like a baby elephant sitting on the verge. My oldest paintings were called magic realism; Things that could be possible in reality, but are quite unlikely to happen.

Detail 1 Physalis Pecus, How do you come up with these ideasAfter that first period, I started to transform everyday materials in other materials. The folds and bumps in my duvet became a landscape of hills and the print of the fabric became a pattern of weirdly planted trees. The pins of a hairbrush became trees on a hill too. The papery husk with the tiny nerves of a gooseberry became a tree in itself. And there are my first series of landscapes, with their own fictional stories.

Times went by. In the meantime I learned some lessons in life. Experiences settled. And some stories stayed with me, meant to be told.
I still loved painting trees. But from then on the trees were no pieces of decoration any more. They got a role. They became the leading actors in what I wanted to say. And there … you get the second series of landscapes. This time with non-fictional stories. But the stories are not only my views on life … they are the views on life of millions out there. The stories are connections between your experience and mine. Different experiences of the same core.

The weird thing always has been, is that the image is there before I figure out the meaning. So, in thàt perspective you can say inspiration is coming from something I don’t have control about. But then, the stories are still coming from a source inside me.

After all, most of my ideas are more realistic than they look like at first sight. For example; On the way to Rotorua, there is a hill with trees at the left side of the road and one lonely tree at the right side. However, in reality that lonely tree is a different type, so probably driving on that road nobody sees the link like I created in a painting called ‘The brave one’. To transform the lonely tree in the same type of trees at the other side of the road, was just that image of the first milli-second.
The meaning became clear days and days later, while I was already painting the second or third layer.

  Oil on canvas, Patricia Van Lubeck

4 thoughts on “How do you come up with these ideas?

  1. helemaal geweldig! soms wil je niet weten wat een artiest heeft bezield, maar dit is toch wel een erg mooie verklaring.

  2. Mooi om te lezen. Ik snap je wel.

    Ik heb dat met mijn patronen. Ik zie overal patronen tegenwoordig. In natuur. In de lucht. In gebouwen.. zelfs in mensen. Allemaal inspiratie, maar soms heb je het pas lang nadat het werk af is (of tijdens) door waar het vandaan komt.

    Nouja.. iig top! ik vind je werken prachtig. Ze worden steeds beter en beter.

    • Thanks 😀
      Zelfs in mensen, hahaha.
      Ja, maf is dat, die vertraging. Kennelijk sla je het toch allemaal op in je hoofd.

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