World Fine Art Professionals and their Key-Pieces, 97 - Loes Botman
Loes Botman draws animals. No exotic animals, but Dutch animals that you see on or around the farm. And she draws flowers. Botman: “Everything that’s alive.” That she does with pastels.
Since her graduation from the Royal Academy of Art in The Hague animals is her theme. Loes Botman: “Already back then I wanted to work with pastels. That was not allowed. The teachers had rather that you painted with acrylic paint. Yet I graduated with a series of large drawings – two x three meters – with pastels. With the theme of trees. The strong enlargement made it almost abstract works.”
During the final exam at the Academy she was pregnant with her first child. “I was wondering, how can I learn my child about animals? I went to the petting zoos in The Hague, where at that time there were a lot of animals. There I started drawing them. My daughter went every day with me. A long time I worked from two Albert Heijn (supermarket) bags, one bag filled with chalk, the other with paper. My studio was outside. I always worked on the spot.”
It wasn’t directly in her fingers, the right style. “My first drawings were quite rough, gradually it became more and more detailed. In my exam time I had the idea to work à la Eugène Brands, but that idea more and more disappeared.”
The first drawings that were good were of sheep, chickens and goats. “If you look at the animals, you naturally become more precise. Unfortunately, the diversity and the number of animals at the petting farm withered away. That was because of diseases that arose. At one time I cycled with my daughter out of town to the farms behind Rijswijk and in Wassenaar, to draw cows.”
Beauty of the world
Why did the theme appeal to her? “I come from the West Frisian countryside. In the city there is almost no experience of nature anymore. People do not realize how important animals are. We are completely interdependent: people, animals and plants. If the bees die out, we have 80% less food. Everything is so intimately linked. Most people do not realize this anymore.”
Botman wants to show the beauty of the world. “Not the pain, sorrow and misery around us. There is so much sadness. Let’s open our eyes how beautiful everything is.“ A key work she can not identify. “It is a continuous smooth line.”
Loes Botman drew from an early age. “I wanted to go to the Academy of Art. My parents thought it wiser when I went to the teacher training college. I did, but then I still did the Academy. I’ve never been in the classroom, have always been busy with my art.“ She wasn’t a hipster, as many students, nevertheless she feels one hundred percent artist.
“Being an artist means that you have to create with your hands. If I can not make anything for a few days, I start to be very sad, as if I do not live. There is a constant flow of ideas, about very much. A ‘word’ that I hear, architecture, clothing, images, colors. All lead to a continuous stream of fantasies and ideas.”
By assigments and requests from gallerists she can draw a lot of animals. In addition she works slowly and carefully on other themes for her drawings. “It has really taken off. It went incredibly quick. My schedule is now to work two years ahead.”
She has expanded her theme with flowers. “Those I draw the last five years. But I have spent years with them before I came out. A Belgian art collector told me, when I suggested that I might change my technique, by painting instead of working with pastels: ‘Cobbler, stick to your last’. He was right, the pastel will remain my greatest love.”
Her work has been in several magazines. And she illustrated books. She also writes articles herself. “There are very few pastel artists, especially in the Netherlands. I write about how to go about a specific problem within the pastel technique, also for magazines in France and Germany. And I recently wrote an article about Van Gogh coupled with my own drawing technique.”
We walk to her studio at the top of the house. I see a lot of chalks. A beautiful portrait of a pig and work she does with her sister Els, in which Loes put eyes of various animals between the suns. In addition to the pastels, there are small round boxes with pastel powder of PanPastel.
“I’m always looking for the best material. The pigments of pastel powder – of Pan Pastels from America – are wonderful, of high quality. I also use other pastels, such as Rembrandt pastels. In the Netherlands not so many artists are working with pastels. In France there are many more.”
Loes Botman also goes to fairs. “It’s nice to work for yourself as an artist. You try to make your dreams come true. But you also need the outside world. That is challenging for many artists. You have to act, negotiate and be sharp. Galleries prefer to have contact with the artist him- or herself.” She has a number of permanent galleries, also in Belgium. “Right now my work hangs in four galleries.”
If her work has a message it is that people can open their eyes to the beauty of the world. Botman: “Many people are embittered. I think it’s important that people experience pleasure and joy. It’s wonderful to be able to live.”
Recently Loes Botman’s book ‘Animal Friends’ appeared. “A book full of love for the animals around us. Colorful drawings in which every animal is in his / her worth. A book to meet the animal world in a joyful way.”
In this book Loes Botman addresses herself to everyone to meet the challenge to see the almost ‘natural’ presence of animals as special. “And to make a beautiful life story of it by the encounters with the animals. This book is a celebration of seeing and recognizing!”
Extra! In the back is a removable triptych with on the one hand the sheep, the horse and the cow and on the other hand the great tit, the robin and the tomtit.
Loes Botman has completed the Royal Academy of Art in The Hague. Drawing with pastels she did entirely on her own. Loes Botman exhibits at home and abroad. It is her desire to make the ever-loving presence of animals visible. Previously published by Publisher Christofoor: Loes Botman ‘Do you know what the animals say?’ ISBN 9789060386767.
Dierenvrienden (Animal Friends), ISBN 9789060387313, Publishinghouse Christofoor