World Fine Art Professionals and their Key-Pieces, 99 - Marjolein van Doorenmaalen

Marjolein van Doorenmaalen paints houses. Gazebos, sheds, stables. It doesn’t quite matter. They are often unique structures, composed of different materials. The doors and windows sometimes are at miraculous places.

She had an exhibition ‘Spring Light in September’ in the Amsterdam MLB Gallery. She did it with Jaap Burger. Various oil and watercolor paintings were shown, next to assemblages of sherds. The spring light was there indeed.


Marjolein van Doorenmaalen: “I am already two year busy with ‘cottages’. It is a fascinating topic for me because I can do a lot of things with it. The meaning is universal and the shape is sleek and simple: two walls plus a roof and you have a house. Components such as windows, doors or a chimney can serve for playful effect.

The tight framework gives me many opportunities to experiment with materials. You can do a lot with oil paint. I put fat and impasto strokes versus lean, thinned areas. I love old dry paint residu and scraping and scratching. Sometimes I use reed, sand or gel. This alternation of structures contributes to the abstracting effect.

It is also a nice theme because I encounter it everywhere. I like being outside, biking or walking, and suddenly something pops in my mind: a seperate house, sometimes insignificant, as a nice accent in a landscape. I shoot them head-on and take it to the studio.”


Marjolein also did other subjects. Birds, insects, flowers, trees. Nature is a recurring theme.

“I used to work very realistic. Oil paints and watercolors worked out meticulously. A key work came about after a trip to Iran in 1997. I then took many portraits of nomads we met and I wanted to do something with it. At home I focused myself on the list around the picture. That was my first three-dimensional work of gauze, plaster and all kinds of material that I found relevant to the portraits: wool, rags and wood. Then I started ‘freaking out’ with various materials. I let go the realism.”

Since 2000, she has a studio out in the polder. It’s an old pig shed near a farm in Abcoude. “If the weather is nice I sit outside painting amidst the flowers. I’m constantly alert to small finds around the farm. Pieces of wood, strings, potsherds. I call them ‘objects’. I have a seperate nook for it in my studio. I work in between on those objects. I believe the two disciplines grow more and more together.”

There is always the tension between rough and sensitive. “The interaction between the material, the earth, the physical and the idea. It has to be caressing ánd raw, not too smooth.”


Majolein is a graduate of the Amsterdam School for the Arts, Department of Visual Arts in 1988. As a first-grade teacher she taught seven years in secondary schools. In addition, she continued to paint in her studio and started exhibiting from 1990 on. “Every year I do have an exhibition. I like to do this together with Jaap Burger because we like to set up the exhibition ourselves. Although I’m not involved substantively in his work, we can go for the best in terms of presentation. And this without a fight!”

At present she combines her artwork with lessons to adults and children. The artistic life she finds delicious – except the acute uncertainty. “You are never alone. Always something to do. Always there is your studio where you can go. I have a tendency to perfectionism. I have to keep it under control as I teach, but I can let it loose in my studio.”

Asked about her philosophy, she quotes Picasso: ‘You should not search, you should find’. Marjolein: “That can only happen if you are open, then you can be affected. It is by doing. That is also the difficulty of the profession. Sometimes I cannot be completely open. I’m too vulnerable then. There’s then not much coming out of my hands. Fortunately, the passion and inspiration always comes back.”





Do culture your way

  • 1
  • 2
  • 3
  • 4
  • 5
Total votes: 0