Lieuwe Kingma: Amstel River II, 2000, oil on canvas, 80 x 100 cm, private collection, Tucson, AZ, USA
One of my favorite running and biking routes meanders along the Amstel River, just south of Amsterdam, The Netherlands. Here the river is lined with trees that reflect in the ever flowing water - enough material for inspiration!
A SHARED EXPERIENCE
The Amstel River II was painted in early 2000, and was barely dry when it was bought by a collector who had run many times along the Amstel River. She recognized the scene and the atmosphere immediately. Here is a quotation from the essay she wrote about it, which is also in my jubilee book: 'Lieuwe Kingma - 25 Years of Art'
'I lived on the Museumplein in Amsterdam and jogged daily. As I am easily bored, I sought out a variety of routes to keep me motivated. One of my favorites was along the Amstel River, which required a drive to one of my various starting points. Amstel River II, completed in 2000, is what I saw everyday I ran that route. The skies were gray and the water felt cold. The breezes blurred the trees and were exhilarating. Although I never tested my abilities, I felt as if I could run forever along that river. The painting is above my fireplace in Tucson, Arizona, and there isn't a moment when I glance at it that I am not reminded of my life in Amsterdam, and of all the very fond memories of that time. I am also a bit sad that that part of my life is over.â'
Former American Consul General to The Netherlands
Tucson, Arizona, USA
I usually have the concept in my head already, before I start painting. Once I've begun, there is space for coincidence. In this case, the painting Amstel II had to radiate my experience of those gloomy, stormy days in the late autumn where one could run against the wind, allowing the rain to lash in one's face, experiencing the elements. Once back home in the warm shelter of my Amsterdam studio, I strived to recreate this feelings and emotions on the canvas.
In order to create a dynamic effect in the water and the sky, I used the so called wet-in-wet technique. This means that I painted the canvas in one or two sessions while the paint was still wet, mixing the colors on the canvas instead of on the palette. I used a palette knife in my right hand and a brush in my left hand. The range of colors is very limited, namely: black, white, Van Dyck Brown, burned umber, light ochre and a little Sky Blue.
OTHER SOURCES OF INSPIRATION
Having grown up not far from a canal lined with trees, the image of trees reflecting in moving water was a familiar motive to me. This led to a few early sketches, two of which are shown below.
Lieuwe Kingma: Van Starkenborghkanaal, 1982, crayon on paper, 21 x 30 cm
Lieuwe Kingma: Van Starkenborghkanaal, 1984, charcoal on paper, 40 x 40 cm, 18 x 25 cm
The French Impressionist Claude Monet (1840 - 1926) and the Dutch painter Piet Mondrian (1872 - 1911) have both influenced the way I look at this type of landscape. Monet painted poplars along a river in diverse light and different seasons, and Mondrian's painted and sketched trees along the meandering Gein River, not far from the place where I spotted 'my Amstel' in 2000.
I think I'll head out for a run now. It is a beautiful fall day today!
© Lieuwe Kingma, november 2016
PS If you would like to have a look at the book and or want to order it, please click here.
Lieuwe Kingma: Amstel River I / Fall, 2014, acrylic / oil on panel, 40 x 60 cm
Lieuwe Kingma: Amstel River II / Winter, 2014, acrylic / oil on panel, 40 x 60 cm, private collection
If you want to see more examples of earlier works please click here