Persona November, 28th 2019 by

World Fine Art Professionals and their Key-Pieces, 240 - José van Wandelen

Jose – MB 1-

World Fine Art Professionals and their Key-Pieces, 240 – José van Wandelen
In front of me, water jumps from a copper flower down into a small pond surrounded by lush greenery. There are also frogs and toads in the pond, I hear from José van Wandelen, but I don’t see them now. Maybe they come in the evening. A wisteria full of purple / pink feathers hangs against the fence.
José van Wandelen tells me about her painting. We are in her back garden in Schipluiden, Middle Delfland, in the green heart of Haaglanden. Her studio is upstairs in the attic, where we will take a look later.

Schilderijen jose-MB-2.jpg

Nature is her theme. José: “I love nature, the wide landscape. I usually go (with Johan) on a cycling holiday, often in faraway countries. When we make trips I have my sketchbook and pencil to hand. When we arrive at a nice spot, we stop and I start sketching. That way I get the image of that place in my fingers. A little later, at home, I will make something of it. I don’t necessarily have to make the same image, but especially the feeling that I had there at the time acts as an urge. ”


She works with acrylic paint, but also other materials. “With the painting ‘Along the Ka’ I also used earth from the Delfland. There were flowers growing here in Delfland in the painting, yellow irises and cow parsley. With the painting ‘Keep it green’ I also put grass seeds in the soil, so that it could become green. When it was exhibited in the Town Hall of Schipluiden, I gave the alderman a plant sprayer with the request to spray regularly, otherwise the earth would remain brown. “


Pieter de Hooch
A large painting of flowers in a botanical garden hangs above the couch of her living room. The flowers have long strings. The scene is painted over an old scene. On the left you can still see the bulging of the paint from the old scene, but it fits in perfectly with the atmosphere of the botanical garden. “I do that more, paint over an old painting.”


Every week José goes to the VAK, the Free Academy Delft. There, she and 15 others are taught by Wilma Keizer. “I often come up with new ideas. For example, we sanded once, removed layers. The old layers then come through, you can sometimes use that, sometimes you paint over it again. We sometimes paint in the style of a certain painter. On the occasion of the exhibition of the work of Delft master Pieter de Hooch in the Prinsenhof, we are now busy with inside views à la Pieter de Hooch. I am busy with a glimpse into the living room of my own house, with my grandson with a clarinet, in the colors of De Hooch, red, yellow and black.” The works of the VAK painters related to De Hooch will be displayed in 38CC in Delft.
Why is nature her theme? “Nature is the most beautiful thing there is. It is there, it is unspoiled, it has beautiful shapes and colors, here in my garden I see changes every month. It is important to preserve nature. In the Netherlands, and especially in the Randstad, the urban is constantly advancing. The municipalities in Middle Delfland have chosen to keep the area nicely green. They are part of the ‘Cittaslow municipalities’. They are available in various countries.” See:

© Foto: Johan Gerritse

Alley in Egirdir
Does she have a key work? She has more works that have been important in one way or another, but one stands out: ‘Alley in Egirdir’. “This brought me to the semi-finals of ‘The Square Egg’, a cross-media project by de Volkskrant, NTR, Kunstfactor, and six leading museums for modern art, after winning the preliminary round at the Stedelijk Museum Schiedam, then it hang in the van Abbemuseum. “
She made the painting fairly quickly as a result of a sketch in the town in Turkey that used to belong to the Greeks. “The houses had collapsed very much. I tried to visualize that atmosphere with cardboard. Initially there was no person in it yet, but after a while I painted a boy in it with a water bottle in response to a photo by Johan. The painting appeals to many people, including me, and I am therefore not doing away with it. “


Art collective
As a child José liked to draw, she was always very creative. “But in the course of my life with a busy job as a breadwinner, study and children, that had gradually faded into the background. In 2002 I became ill (cancer) and I came to the conclusion that I was not balanced because I could not get rid of my creativity. I started to paint the tree in the front garden and got registered as soon as I was back at VAK in Delft. Since then I have been going to Delft every week to paint. ”
Together with two other artists, she founded the Art Collective Middle Delfland with the aim of letting artists with a bond with the municipality of Middle Delfland exhibit in the town hall. “We did this for a number of years, but stopped three years ago. In this way we came into contact with all kinds of inspiring artists. “


At the first exhibition “50 shades of green” she had made the aforementioned work with soil from Middle Delfland from which grass grew. She has often used earth in paintings. For example, in one of her paintings you can see the print of her running shoe with earth around it. In the distance you can see the Rotterdam skyline. The painting has been sold.
She has exhibited several times, including in Den Hoorn in the library, in Tavenu in Maasland, in café Vlaanderen Delft, during the Boerol festival, with the VAK artists in various spaces and of course in the Van Abbe in Eindhoven.


Blonde Dolly
We go upstairs to the attic. She has light from two sides. She is browsing through her sketchbooks. A landscape in Austria. “It was freezing – 17 degrees. My brush froze.” It can be seen. I see pencil and pastel sketches of, among others, the river IJSSEL, a waterfall in the Pyrenees, a beautiful view at Vianden, where the writer Victor Hugo had also sketched.
We view a number of paintings. ‘Bohol’ is made in the Philippines. It consists of palm trees in yellow and green with some figures in the middle. It also contains cardboard and tickets from buses and other entrance tickets. A painting of a Swedish landscape with threatening skies. Totem-like carved woodwork, meter-high ferns and light through the leaf in New Zealand. Burning rocks from Portugal with a beach below. A landscape with volcanic holes in Iceland, exploding skies – with copper paint – in Central Delfland, a bay in New Zealand with a fluorescent sea, and parceled land in the polder with the title ‘Keep it Green’ with a typical white fence and lots of grass.


And finally Blonde Dolly, the Hague courtesan from the Nieuwe Haven, where José lived during the first years of her life. We see a man in black, Dolly herself, a dog, a blue book. She received numerous high-ranking people and appeared to have piles of money upon her death. “She pretended to be poor. My aunt lived close to her and knew her. The wallpaper in the painting has the colors and contours of the houses around her home. “
1) Middle Delfland Winter landscape, 2) Middle Delfland Along the Ka, 3) Botanical garden, 4) Alley in Egirdir, 5) Tokumaru Bay New Zealand, 6) José van Wandelen sketching on a mountain in Sweden, 7) Bohol, 8) Omaha Beach, 9) Portugal, 10) Blonde Dolly

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