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Paintings by Louis van der Linden: a stilled world

4 February - 2020
by Femke van Leeuwen
87

The paintings by Louis van der Linden show nature and architecture in a stilled world. His depicted places of the sea, for instance, are unrecognizable during summer when people make full use of the sun beds and umbrellas again. “On the beaches in Portugal I saw these chairs with blue striped cloths above them; they were the subject of my first beach painting. Then I went to Italy, after which I painted beaches with closed umbrellas. The wooden stairs on the coast of Calais, France, have also inspired me. Every time a painting of the sea and beach was added”, Van der Linden explains. 

Sand drifts are a fascination and can often be seen in his landscapes further from the sea as well, such as the painting below of the dunes in the southern part of Holland. But also architecture, including old factories that are no longer in use for their original purpose, serves as inspiration.

Louis van der Linden - Loonse & Drunense Duinen
Louis van der Linden - Loonse & Drunense Duinen

From teacher to autonomous painter

Van der Linden studied at the Visual Arts Academy in Tilburg, after which he started working as a drawing teacher. During vacations, Louis often sat outside drawing to work on his own skills. In the meantime, plein-air work has been replaced by photography. Louis uses the photos and memories of a place as a starting point for his works. The painting finally creates a new world, "in which the essence of a place is discovered. It also removes things, such as that single walker on the beach", Van der Linden says. He begins the work with a pencil and then starts painting very thinly with oil paint, layer by layer.

Louis van der Linden - Langs Zee (Along the sea)
Louis van der Linden - Langs Zee (Along the sea)

True to nature, but not realistic

Van der Linden's works are painted true to nature, but do not offer the reality like photos can. “At the Academy we had to make a painting within 2 days. There was a lot of quick brushing, wet in wet, no time for small details. My first paintings after the Academy were portraits of my son and wife. The hands didn't look realistic at all. So I wondered if I could do that ‘right’. It took me 10 years", Van der Linden says. That has resulted in some of his most realistic paintings, drawings, and watercolours, amongst which the pastel pencil drawing below of his daughter on the beach. Van der Linden: “I was able to paint realistic then, but the problem is that I couldn’t get rid of realism. Once you can do that, it becomes a kind of craft. I missed the adventure of painting in it.”

Louis van der Linden - At the seaside
Louis van der Linden - At the seaside

After a new study, Visual Communications at the Willem de Kooning Academy, Louis got rid of realism again. Due to the study, especially the subject in Computer Graphics, he made some abstract works for a while, which in turn influenced his paintings. Van der Linden: “I now dare to paint more things. Before, I wouldn’t have started painting a sunset for example, way too dangerous, haha!”

Louis van der Linden - Ondergaande Zon (Setting Sun)
Louis van der Linden - Ondergaande Zon (Setting Sun)

From 2014 onwards, Van der Linden has focused entirely on his autonomous work. He has had several exhibitions since then. In addition to painting, he is also occupied with street photography. Take a look at his website for more information.

Louis van der Linden - Moderne Kathedralen, Veemgebouw (Modern Cathedrals, Veem Building)
Louis van der Linden - Moderne Kathedralen, Veemgebouw (Modern Cathedrals, Veem Building)

Image header: Louis van der Linden - Stilte voor de storm (Calm before the storm)

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