Simeon Nijenhuis (1969, Zaandijk, The Netherlands) graduated in 1993 in fine arts, drawing, and graphics at Academy Minerva in Groningen. He became known for his series of large etchings of cathedrals. From 1999 on he concentrated on painting in oils.
A still life of a Chinese dish with grapes is on display in the studio of Simeon Nijenhuis. ‘They are one of my favorite subjects; grapes are so beautifully delicate and transparent.’
Everywhere on display in the studio are still lifes. ‘Even though to some I will not admit, I’m rather impulsive. If I have an idea, I immediately want to know what it looks like. So I’m often working on ten paintings at the same time.’
‘I started painting around ’99. That was somewhat surprising fore people who knew me from my etchings. But I’m fairly cyclically inclined: something keeps me non-stop working for a time, then there is usually something new. When I was doing my etching of the sea, I visited the exhibition ‘Praise of maritime navigation’ in (museum) Boymans and there the idea occurred to go painting. For I realized that with a subject like the sea, I did not get there with the linear approach of etching. Those soft gray tones of the 17th century Sea painters I found incredible. That was what I wanted!’
…those soft gray tones of the 17th century Sea painters I found incredible…
‘At first I tried with color etchings, but that was a tragedy. At the academy, I never had painted or concerned myself about color. And color is a complicated thing, not something you can do right away. Yet I found that you occasionally have to change course drastically if you want to stay fresh and inspired. After years of having done etchings I was becoming faint of all that fussing and bustle of lines. I wanted a kind of calm in my work.’
‘At an opening in Utrecht someone once said to me: Your work is so vital and dynamic, almost aggressive. But in a few years you won’t make these things anymore. He was right. As you get older you once in a while want to create something within where is silence. This is possible with oil, because you can paint beautiful surfaces, that in addition to the dynamics, ensure calmness.’