Student - January 22, 2009

LOSE YOUR FEAR OF THE CANVAS

There’s no chucking paint around tonight, for students on the painting course – unlike the class in December when they had a ball with paint, confetti and balloons on a huge sheet, to the sound of loud, stirring music. Now they have a small square panel on which to express something about the year 2009 – to the sound of peaceful background music.

Deep in concentration at their easels: from left to right Annette, Remko, Moni, Jan-Willem.
It’s the regular Monday evening art course in the former WUR library, the Jan Kopshuis. The students are deep in concentration at their easels, while artists Remco Zijlstra and Marjan Verloop walk around to advise. ‘You’ll soon clean that up with a bit of loo paper’, Remco tells Amélie when she messes up her bird’s beak.

The course is given in English but tonight there’s more Dutch and German being spoken. There are four German students of International Development Studies on the course. One of them is Moni, who is working on a dragonfly with lots of purple paint. ‘It’s nice to make something. I don’t paint at home. It’s a new experience, which everyone should at least try.’

An empty sheet of paper is just like a screen, explains Remco. It takes nerve, because what you put on paper comes from yourself. But actually it’s just a question of getting started.

Anniek, who studies International Land and Water Management, is happy she took the course. ‘I missed having something creative to do besides studying. Painting calms me down.’

Anniek’s neighbour this evening is Annette, who studies Soil, Water and Atmosphere, and who is confidently painting pinkish-brown mountains into her landscape. ‘I want to go to a mountain landscape this year’, she explains as she cleans her brush. Jan Willem has lost all fear of the canvas, and surprises even himself by blowing splashes of paint into flowers. It’s way past ten o’clock by the time all the tubes of paint are back in Remco’s large shopping bag, the brushes are clean and the paintings are lined up for evaluation. Moni thinks her dragonfly was improved by the white accents that Remco has advised; Amélie explains that her extremely brightly coloured bird stands for her wish to make her own decisions; Joss’s abstract painting with its shading from dark to light expresses a wish for things to get better. It’s clear that the story behind the painting is important.

Nobody has to put their coat on, because they’re already wearing them, it’s so freezing cold in the old library.
So if you join the course, bring a warm sweater. / Yvonne de Hilster

Information and registration: email('ezel1','live.nl'); . Cost: six euros per session.

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