Ewoud de Groot has been named 2014 “Featured Artist” for the 27th Annual Western Visions show gathering on August 30th to September 21st, 2014.
Western Visions is a signature event held through the National Museum of Wildlife Art in Jackson Hole, Wyoming. “Ewoud lives and works in Egmond aan Zee, a coastal village in the north of the Netherlands. Born in 1969 in Alkmarr, he attended the Minerva Academy of Art and received a degree in illustration and painting. After illustrating nature books for a couple of years, he began painting full time. His work has been featured in many exhibitions in the Netherlands, the United Kingdom, and the United States. His subjects are often seabirds and waders. He spends time on his Dutch shrimp cutter exploring the Waddensea, an internationally known wetland that is actually a chain of islands, mudflats, and sandbanks, starting in the Netherlands and ending in the south of Denmark.” (Western Visions announcement) .
“I have many sources of inspiration in my work. As a boy, I would go out to the dunes and collect bird eggs and go fishing. When I became interested in art, I was inspired by the works of Lars Johnson before going to the art academy in Groningen. When I attended the art school, my style changed and I was inspired by more modern painters like Rothko.”
Once leaving art academy in Groningen, Ewoud worked briefly as a graphics designer for nature books and magazines. He also worked for the Netherlands Society for the Protection of Birds. As Ewoud continued to work, he began to experiment with a more relaxed and free style of painting influenced by abstract technique in combination with a figurative subject, most often birds. He got away from illustrating and began painting in a more ‘autonomic’ or free style.
“I would describe my present style of painting as contemporary wildlife art that includes birds and animals such as elk .”
Ewoud’s style is unique. I personally met Ewoud a few years ago at a local art exhibit while he was “artist in residence” here in South Texas. I got to see firsthand how he combines an abstract background with a more classical subject. This technique enhances and compliments the primary subject in many of his paintings. He often will place his paintings on the ground and use an oil based ‘splatter’ technique to enhance an abstract quality to the paintings.
“This technique gives my painting a complimentary contrast . . . the background becomes more abstract against the realistic subject and the subject becomes more realistic against the abstract background. This provides a sort of tension . . . “
“My technique is based on the principle of painting in layers, using cold bleuish-greys and warm brownish-greys. This delicate balance ensures that they compliment and enhance each other. I start a painting by sketching with big brushstrokes and using the palette knife to look for the right composition, not allowing myself to be distracted by specifics. Once the form of the painting has been established then I begin to work on the birds or a particular detail of the bird(s) themselves.” (Official Website)
I recently spoke with Ewoud discussing his latest projects.
Ewoud, I had a chance to meet you and ride bikes when you came to do an art exhibition in Rockport, Texas a few years ago. Firstly, how is your bike riding going and how is life in Egmond ann Zee?
Well to be honest I’m in great shape…beating all the young guys here at our club. I do train 4 times a week though and I found out that it takes one more training exercise a week to get yourself in real good shape…Because I’m an artist always working in my studio, I need this physical workout to balance myself.
Your technique is fascinating and unique. At what age did you first take an interest in painting? Where did your formally study?
As a kid I was always drawing and lost an interest at a certain age, from 12-18 But when I was at the Royal Dutch Airforce I picked it up again and went straight to Artschool in Groningen here in the Netherlands as soon I finished my mandatory contribution …
What are some of the latest works you have been creating?
Being a bird painter, I have recently started painting large mammals also, like Moose, Elk, pronghorns etc… This is because I’ve been hanging out quite a lot in the greater Yellowstone area…
You frequently travel to art exhibitions. When is your next exhibition and will you be traveling to the United States again?
Next week, I’ll be flying off to Jackson Hole Wyoming (see my first remark).
I often see videos of your dog on the beach in Egmond. Do you find artistic inspiration in your walks along the beach?
It’s always a good start of the day. I like to go for a walk with my dog straight out of bed and slowly wake up…and to be honest, I prefer not to engage anybody, that’s why I prefer to go out there when most of the people are still asleep.
What piece of advice can you give to our young painters wanting to make a living as a painter?
First of all, its not easy. You got to have talent of course, ideas and stamina…and yes of course also some luck.
Ewoud de Groot is a Dutch painter living in Egmond, Holland. ” To me, as an artist, producing a good painting is about exploring all the different facets of composition, colour and technique and not just reproducing an image in a photorealistic way. Although I consider myself a figurative painter, I always try to find that essential balance and tension between the more abstract background and the realism of the subject(s). In a way you could say that I am on the frontier between figurative and non-figurative, or the traditional and the modern. “
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