World Fine Art Professionals and their Key-Pieces, 96 - Sylvia de Boer
My first stop on the Art Route Statenkwartier last year was Sylvia de Boer. She stood, with Violet Roest, last in the program guide. So I thought, let me start there. Moreover, she lived near tramstop Duinstraat.
Two weeks later I am back at her, this time by bike. While she makes coffee, at the ground floor, we talk about her writing activities. She wrote and drew four children’s books. “I wrote twenty years for Sesame Street as well. But at a certain point you have told everything you have to say. Now I write for theater, Elisabeth Bas Productions. “
ΕΝΔΟΚΕΟΟΣ ΕΞΟΙΚΕΊΝ (ENDUKEOOS EXOIKEIN)
Once we are on the top floor in her studio she says that she works under the motto ‘ENDUKEOOS EXOIKEIN’. That is ancient Greek and means ‘Open with love what was bricked up’. Her paintings have a pattern of – most of the time – elongated, sometimes more square boxes. Sylvia de Boer: “I paint layer by layer, each layer must have its own beauty. After several layers I pull up the lower layers.”This she does with a chisel.
She goes back to a technique she learned as a child. Black paint application on Wasco (a kind of crayola) in which she then started scratching. “I was looking for the delight that I had as a child and I found it back in this way.” But before she began to work in this fashion, she painted very different. After a study at the Royal Academy in the Hague, Department Free Painting and drawing, she started enthusiastically. She shows me some paintings out of a picture book. Figurative art. “I could have continued this, but at a given time I had said all. For quite a time I wasn’t able to make a thing. I wanted something new, but what?”
Πάντα Ρχει (Panta Rhei)
Something new is always born out of desperation, she says. But before the desperation truly struck, she began to get an idea. “What I liked as kid? The Wasco-technique.” This time she combined Wasco with oil paint. She started working with dashes: Long – Short – Long – Short. Those dashes were limitative on the one hand, but on the other hand gave her the freedom – within the limits – to do anything she wanted.
De Boer: “Long – short – long – short stands for the idea of life. Everything comes and goes in waves. Panta Rhei.” I see a couple of empty horizontal canvases with a different size than her other work. Does she want to go on another tour? “No, I keep working from the same central idea and mentioned motto. It might be a little more of a show, a landscape. In my next works you will keep looking through a net curtain, as it were. You see a veil that I open. All people look to the truth through their own glasses.”
Μυστήριο (The Mystery)
It ain’t necessary that the viewer knows all this, says Sylvia. For her it is a wonderful technique. She never starts with an idea. At most, a sense of color. When there are several layers on the canvas, she chisels and sees then colors emerging which are often surprising. “If it doesn’t fit, I put a new layer over it. Sometimes there are twenty layers. It is very labor-intensive.”
Sylvia de Boer draws and paints all her life. She remembers that as a child she dyed half a sheet with gouache, double folded and then unfolded it to see on the other half of the paper whole landscapes appearing. “Great, it was!” In the fifth grade of primary school she drew streets with houses in perspective with walled gardens that you couldn’t see. “I could walk around it, but the garden wasn’t drawn. The mystery was more important.” It was about the imagination of the garden, about peace and quiet. “The thing you do not draw, that’s where it all about, was my idea already then.”
μέλοςΤρίμηνο (the Statenkwartier)
About seven, eight years ago the idea was born to bring the work of the artists of the Statenkwartier to the attention through an Art Route. “Irene van der Does de Bye got the idea and soon there was an initiative group where I took part in. It was a great idea. It grew rapidly. At present there are about eighty members.” There is no balloting. Both professional and amateur artists are participating. Women are in the majority. De Boer: “Fortunately, there are now more men coming in.”
Recently the old board of the Art Route took their leave. There will be a new board of five people, three women and two men. Also in the coming years we will be able to make a nice walk along the art of Statenkwartier.