Painters 2017

Rob Houdijk

A well-respected artist in his native Holland, Rob Houdijk was profuse in his praise of the Lamu Painter’s Festival. “It is fanstastic and has exceeded even my very high expectations.” He admits he had a few misgivings about painting in a group but he found the experience an eye-opener. “It’s a great atmosphere. There is a genuine enthusiasm and such nice people.” A discussion with one of the artist’s has given him an insight into own style.  He recognised how, in painting fidgety young children, he has developed a signature technique similar to “handwriting that is now such a intuitive part of me. It now crops up in all my work.”

Citing the inspiring colours and subject matter, Rob credits Lamu with giving his painting, what he terms, ‘a much needed boost’. “I must continue in this style when I get home,” he says. He claims that drawing is the absolute basis of everything he does but he is passionate about painting outdoors. “Whilst I do a little touch up later, I try to catch as much as possible in a couple of strokes.” He eschews the camera for his sketchbook. Looking across his easel to the scene in front in him, he describes the how the falling drops of light is a sight that has to be experienced rather than reviewed in a photo.

Expounding on his enjoyment of his Lamu sojourn, he found himself moved by the hospitality and friendliness. He says he surprised himself with the beauty he saw in the deep poverty of Mtondoni village. He found the experience both moving and disturbing. He says “This is beauty – the poor homes are inspiring but we are outsiders who see it from another perspective. I hope I am doing it justice.”

Rob showed his patient gentle side in painting portraits at Anidan Orphanage. In spite of the language barrier, he confidently chatted away to his young subjects. “I tried to capture their friendliness and they were a revelation – so different from their peers in the Western World!”

Rob goes back to Holland with a large collection of Lamu paintings and sheaves of sketches that he intends to use as inspiration for a series of sculptures.

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