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In 2004 the Museum van Bommel-van Dam ( link), the van Bommel van Dam Foundation and the Friends of the Museum asked me to paint a portrait for the occasion of the 95th birthday of Mrs Reina van Bommel-van Dam.
Reina and Maarten van Bommel van Dam had built a major art-collection when they were orientating themselves in the 1960’s on a possibility to house this collection and share it with the community. The city of Venlo welcomed their request and built a museum  and a bungalow attached to it, with a door that gave direct access to the museum. 
In preparation for the painting I visited Mevrouw van Bommel-van Dam , with the director of the  museum  Rick Vercauteren, and curator Ingrid Kentgens. Over coffee and cake we had an interesting conversation about the purpose of the visit. Her reaction toward the idea was one of surprise: the many wonderful things that one could experience in the course of one’s life, especially for someone who was brought up in humble conditions, “een simple boerendeerntje”  ( a simple peasant girl) as she termed it.  Reina van Bommel-van Dam was anything but simple, she had a regal air about her, great dignity and an open attitude to things in general and art in particular.
Her age came with some inconveniences , the most important being her poor eyesight, which she accepted as something inevitable and belonging to her high age, to be compensated by listening to beautiful  music.  But her bad eyes didn’t hinder her while she gave me a tour of the bungalow and told stories and anecdotes in connection to the many artworks in it, she knew exactly where every item was and when in doubt she asked me to describe a particular artwork she only needed a hint before the work visualized before her minds’ eye. 
After the tour she invited us to a glass of sherry and offered Rick, Ingrid and me a cigar, which we , as being nonsmokers, declined. She lighted up an elegant  small cigar from a  wooden box , on the lid the name of the brand ‘ La Reina’, was burned in. She seemed to like those kind of associations, La Reina of course being Spanish for queen.
With the pictures I had made and the impressions gathered during the visit I started to work on an idea for the painting.  All in all I made three versions of the portrait before I was satisfied.
Beginning of December  Mrs van Bommel-van Dam, Martin de Jong, her nephew and chairman of the Van Bommel-van Dam Foundation and curator Ingid Kentgens visited my studio for a preview of the painting .  It was a wonderful visit, heartwarming and intense.  I showed them the sketches I had made, some in brush and ink, others in oils,  and one by one the three versions of the portrait, Mrs van Bommel-van Dam listened to everyone of us while we talked about the works and she seemed to like what she heard.
I had to make some adjustments, the most important being the shoes which were brown and that color attracted to much attention, I really wanted  shoes that had a more neutral presence, so Alan an employee of the museum photographed a couple of Mrs. van Bommel-van Dams’ shoes  and sent them to me.
On the 30th of December, the last day of the year and Mrs. van Bommel –van Dams’  birthday there was a celebration in the museum and the painting was presented.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

2013, the art commission of the Technical University Eindhoven asked me to make a sketch for an official portrait of King Willem-Alexander. Its a pity they chose another artist to make the official work. But I really like the look in our new Kings'eyes and was glad with my proposal.

 

 

 

Portraits