World Fine Art Professionals and their Key-Pieces, 137 - Martin Koole

During the Open Ateliers Duinoord in The Hague I visited the house and atelier of painter Martin Koole in the Obrechtstraat. There I imagined myself to be in one of the old, classic houses of Venice. Nice stucco, pillars, ornaments, draperies and a lot of paintings of people and birds.

A few weeks later I am there again. We walk upstairs from the kitchen, two stairs to the studio in the attic. Light falls through a large dormer to the north. On the left are paintings in front of the wall and on the right, near the light is the easel with a painting, not yet ready, on it.

What does the girl experience?

Together we look at the painting that is on his easel. We see a girl from the back hanging over a balcony, a forest in the background. Koole shows me the preliminary studies in the sketchbook. The painting is called ‘La Découverte’. Martin Koole: "Who is the girl? What does she see? What does she experience? Those questions are raised. It's the little mystery I tried to capture in the painting." The painting is made on the basis of many small sketches in pencil or felt pen. They are almost all stored in folders, folders that have become precious to him.

That loose drawing every day is important for agility and gaining ideas. In making these drawings, Martin Koole feels the most free. We browse through one of his sketchbooks. Koole: 'The drawings are small and you easily determine the composition and organization of the light for later paintings. When I make such a drawing, I'm totally free, there is no cramp and that delivers benefit in which coincidence also plays a part. "


For a while, he felt that cramp during painting. Koole: "I was often dissatisfied with the end result. When it was finished I felt that something was ‘wrong’. The promise of the preparatory work, the sketch in advance, was not fulfilled. Comparing, the outcome was clear, the sketch won. Gradually I have overcome that feeling." A few years ago, this progress was announced. Orientate on the sketches, not a bit, but fully, was the motto. "In this way I regained my confidence which I had during and before my graduation at the Academy of Fine Arts in Amsterdam.”

Koole: “Now it works. I have the holy faith again. I just began making an oeuvre. People figure the most in it, but I'm moving more and more towards the landscape and for a number of years I am also painting the European birds." He shows a bird of prey portrait.

"The bird is recognizable as a bird of prey, but you can not determine it very easily by species like in the bird guides. Guides provide an objective view of exactly observed birds, but my images I make on the basis of what I know  about the bird species. I have been an amateur birderman from an early age. I used to be a lot in nature in the past. During the early years of my teacherhood, I shared my attention between so many other things that nature's experience became rare. Now I'm back to a bird club and I go on the dune very regularly and during all seasons. "

A need to decorate

Martin Koole is used to combining things. For example, he was a long time painter, furniture maker and teacher of drawing and crafts at the same time. But the art and special painting always fought themselves to the first place. For almost 20 years, Martin Koole was a drawing and crafts teacher at various schools. The first seven years at a school community in the northern part of the Veluwe, in Heerde, then in Rotterdam and as last school The Veurslyceum in Leidschendam.

In addition to painting, Martin Koole also carries out all kinds of decorative work in the interior of old houses. Koole: "At the time, I've completely restored my own home to her former glory during a long refurbishment. Many friends and acquaintances witnessed this and also came with the request to realize this at their home. It's a specialism that I gradually mastered. "

His approach

Martin Koole has always been inspired by the work of colleagues and art history. "There are so many nice examples. But I suspect that I have to follow my own approach. I do not like to work very long and exhaustively with one painting." He points to the paintings - all 1.20 x 1.20 - with their back side to the front. "Added together, I put about fifteen canvases a day on the easel to spend some time with. And in total, fifty works receive this treatment.” His entire oeuvre - as far as not sold at an exhibition – gets this treatment.

A nice profession with hard aspects

When I ask him for his key work, he says, "It's not one of my paintings, but my folders with drawings. Even the smallest sketches I have put in. It was and still is my support, in this way I kept my faith in it and it all ended well.”

He always continued painting and sold to satisfaction. He regularly has exhibitions. Amongst others in a gallery in Horst / Panningen, one in Poeldijk and one in Hotel Winston in Rijswijk.

Koole: 'The artistry is not an easy profession. You are one of the many. I think I've found my place in it. Therefore, I feel a happy person. As I grow older, I feel things more intense and more intrusive, now I feel more closely connected with the things I do, actually a reassuring conclusion. "



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