Tag Archive | FAQ

Did you do art school?

Over the years a lot of people have asked me what art school I did.
Well, I didn’t. I’m self-taught.

At high school I was a kind of self-chosen loner because of the cranky circumstances at home. Saving some distance between me and my school mates seemed to be a good idea to me. But social pressure is a big thing when you are young, so … cause and effect; I didn’t like school. I wanted to get out of it as soon as I was allowed.
Beside that, I didn’t get much direction from my parents. They had other things to deal with. Choosing for a further study never popped into my mind. University was meant for people of a whole other species. Another planet. It didn’t cross my mind.

So, after highschool I immediately started to work. Jobs like dish washer in a restaurant, cleaner in a hospital and worker at an assembly line in a cosmetics factory.
I ended up as the assistant in an accountant office. For me it was a kind of real and serious job for grown-ups.
But when I was 26 I slowly started to fall asleep on my desk every afternoon. I didn’t hate my job, but it wasn’t very challenging too. It was time to get serious about what I wanted with my life.

I knew I was creative. People said. But I thought it was something belonging to every ones’ childhood. Most children liked drawing, painting and playing with clay, isn’t it? I never considered my creativity taking to a serious level. For some reason playing with pencils and crayons on that age felt like cheating. Like refusing to take your responsibilities as an adult. Artists -just like university students- were another species too. Not my world.
Anyway … I still was falling asleep every afternoon, I knew I had to make a decision soon. This couldn’t go on for the rest of my life. So, encouraged by my boyfriend I quit my job and I started to paint. From the library I got some books about the techniques of oil painting and my inspirations came from the galleries I started to visit.

This was my very first oil painting, 25 years ago.

kikker, art school

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

Which old masters or contemporary artists have influenced me?

24 July 2013

That’s another frequently asked question, I can’t simply answer with a few names.
Does it sounds too pretentious if I say: “None”?
I know the impression that everything has already been done. And the other acclaimed opinion: There are no original ideas because everything is based on (sometimes unconscious) earlier seen things. If you take these not too literally I’m willing to agree with these pronouncements, but to explicitly mention another person as an example is just too much credit.

Sure, there are couple of old (dead) masters who did great work. On my first paintings you might discern the gloomy atmosphere of Carel Willink and Pyke Koch. “Ah! So you do have someone who influenced you!” I hear you say. Well, if you think imitating and being influenced is the same thing, then yes.

Patricia Van Lubeck, influences

Patricia Van Lubeck

100 x 160 cm (40 x 63 inch) on canvas, framed, 5500 euro

Patricia Van Lubeck

Which old masters or contemporary artists have influenced me?

Pyke Koch

Carel Willink

Carel Willink

After practising and doing the obligate trial & errors, I left that path and found my own style. But the misplaced connection between the words imitate and influence is just what makes me reticent to answer if someone asks me who is the source. If I mention another artist, the questioner and readers probably will search for similarities. And I think that’s an intrusion to the identity of my art.

And there are a couple of artist of the present too, who are making inspiring art. But then again; they are doing their thing and I’m doing mine. I’m happy we all have found our own spot to swim in that enormous art pond. It should feel weird to rub on someone else’s achievement.

This entry was posted on 24 July 2013, in FAQ and tagged .

What is the meaning?

20 July 2013

Like a lot of painters I have a slight aversion to the question: “What is the meaning of this painting? What do you want to tell us with this work?”
Actually, it is the same question when asking a writer: “What does your story look like? Show us a sketch”.
I can understand that an abstract painting needs some explanation, but the more realistic subjects should have to be clear of intention.

In comparison with a book, the stories of paintings are small. They are the frozen scenes of an anecdote, a fantasy, sometimes an opinion or a memory in the broadest sense (a widely known history or a dream only seen by the artist). Ok, there are millions of paintings aimed to be nothing more than decoration. Like plain realistic landscapes, that only intent to say: “I’m beautiful”. That’s the other end of the spectrum. But most paintings do tell a story as compact as a motto … and loading them with words will ruin the perception for the individual viewer.
I will explain that last sentence.

In the blog What is art I concluded that art should touch emotions. Not necessary the big ones that make you cry, but a tiny spark of inspiration is enough. That spark is different for every single person. Compare it with Cupids arrow. Didn’t you wonder why your friend had fallen for that jerk? Well, the arrow is totally personal. The link between an artwork and someone who’s touched by that artwork is totally personal too.
if I should explain my paintings, then I find I’m unbalancing the course of the arrow. My words would distract the viewer to compose his own meaning. I won’t say my words are ‘leading’, but they can be directing. And that’s not what I want.
My motive to create a certain painting is not more important than the meaning that somebody else finds in it.
What is the meaning?One example; For one person the lonely single tree in front of a crowd reminds him of his beloved mother who always was the misunderstood one in the family – but for someone else the single tree maybe means the encouragement to finally follow that person’s own path.

How is the shipment done?

1 July 2013

Heading to the NetherlandsHow is the shipment done?I’m living in New Zealand and most of my clients are not. The worldwide shipment of an original painting is at my expense.
The shipment for a canvas giclée in a tube (rolled with no stretchers) is for my expense too. Most local framers can stretch a canvas for not too much money.
If you want a ready-to-hang giclée (stretched) it need to be send in a box and then the transport costs are for you. Mostly quite expensive.

Great for sales at an art fairDuring my years in New Zealand I found a company that constructs excellent boxes, designed to ship artworks if necessary to the moon. The boxes are not too heavy, very sturdy and lined with soft foam.
In some cases I’ve even created extra bags if people need to carry them around after unpacking the box.

Another thing that’s included, is the framing.
I paint my canvasses all the way around the edges so they can be displayed without framing. But a proper frame does give them an extra touch. It’s very much like a monitor or TV-screen; the frame separates the image from its surroundings.
I like to use a so-called ‘floating frame’, which attach to the back of the painting. Because this kind of frame only shows a very small edge, it provides a framework without being too prominent. The frame I prefer is black except for the front edge, which is gold or silver depending on the colours I used in the painting.

Floating frame

This entry was posted on 1 July 2013, in FAQ and tagged .

What is art?

15 June 2013

Once in a while an artist bumps on the same old question; What is art?
During the years I’ve embraced different definitions about the concept of art. Not seldom nasty ones, like; art is just decoration, art is someone else’s therapeutic crap, art is overrated moneymaking, etcetera. My opinions were a bit depending on the artist or my own mood. Probably not very different than the opinions of non-artists.
None of these definitions was lasting and I still don’t have the exact answer. But the last years -those of more nuanced thinking, hehe- the definitions that reconciled the best to me are;

  1. Art should touch your emotions. Troubling or stirring is ok too, but personally I’m after the positive emotions.
  2. Art should raise questions.

Both quite oldies, so apparently I couldn’t get away from re-inventing the wheel too.

Patricia Van Lubeck, what is artToday someone asked me why I put that small gap in Populus Flucta.
I couldn’t reply directly, because I had to think about it. In fact it was a good question. The longer I thought about it, the more extensive my answer became. And that’s where this blog started.

Now I can conclude that both definitions are suitable. The intended emotion I was after is ‘the desire to walk to the peep hole’.
And the raised question is: “What is around the corner in the peep hole?

But this last question may be an emotion too: curiosity.
So maybe I can narrow my definition of art again.

Computer or drawing board?

1 May 2013

People often ask me: “Do you use the computer for your paintings? Or the drawing board?”
If people don’t see my paintings in real, sometimes they even think my paintings are only digital images.
In some way I find that a compliment; Apparently the scenes I create are looking crisp and perspective-technical correct to make you think they are beyond natural. Well, the are beyond natural, but that is in another way.
At the other hand I could not accept it as a compliment. Although I realize that creating digital images is not just simply pressing a button, I’m always hurrying to say that my paintings do not come from the computer.
I’m surely convinced that my style is heavily influenced by modern graphics and animation, but the sketches are still done on an old-fashioned drawing board with a ruler and an eraser.

Of course I know a computer program would be a lot easier.
Computer or drawing boardAnd maybe faster.
Years ago I decided I wanted to learn making digital images and 3D scenes. I bought a Dummies-book and I started full of enthusiasm, being under the impression that from now on my limits would be solved soon and my new possibilities would be endless!

After a week dragging myself through the lessons, I slowly started to hate it. Everyday I had forgotten what I had learned the day before. And every day I felt guilty about the lost time. My aversion was growing rapidly. Not because I don’t like the computer (usually I’m glued to the screen too much), but this felt like doing algebra. In the week I tried to learn the beginnings of that digital drawing program, I could have drawn 7 models by hand! Everything inside me was unwilling to follow the course.
I was not the right person to sketch behind the computer.
I wished I was, but I’m afraid I am not …

Ok, the drawing, ruling and erasing takes a long time and it is not my favourite part of the whole creation, but viewed in the light of the amount of time 1 painting takes … I decided I can handle it without the computer.

This entry was posted on 1 May 2013, in FAQ and tagged .

How long does it take to finish 1 painting?

Time is a very important factor in the creation of my work. I use oil paints and every layer needs a week to dry.
I work on 4 paintings simultaneously. This means I work with a rotation schedule and some paintings might take months from start to finish.
Apart from the technical aspects, the drying also forces me to stand back and reflect on a painting in progress. After working in close contact on a canvas for a while, it’s always refreshing to see it in another light, in another room and from a distance.

It’s hard to say how long it takes to finish one single painting. On the picture you see quite a large one, but most of my paintings are smaller. On average I finish 10 paintings a year.
After finishing and signing, oil paint needs to dry thoroughly for at least 6 months, or better a year. Only then it’s ready to get the final varnish. So, if you see a painting made in the year 2011, it is not earlier sellable than 2012.

Here you can find some making of’s


How long does it take to finish 1 painting?