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Tuesday, May 22, 2012

Mineke Reinders. Interview.

Since some time I have noticed that I keep clicking on the watercolors of the same artists in Facebook. Her name is Mineke Reinders. Today I am sharing her interview.

Have you always been a watercolor artist or you had a story how you have become one?
I had experimented with various media, in particular oils and gouache, before I discovered watercolor. Around 1989 I was working in a library when British watercolor painter Lucy Willis' book Light: how to see it, how to paint it came across my desk. It was a turning point, because for the first time I saw the expressive power and beauty of watercolor, especially with regard to the effects of light and atmosphere. I bought my own copy of the book, and many other books after that, and started my journey in watercolor before getting a formal art education a few years later. I haven't really looked back since, although I'm not a purist and will combine watercolor with other media if it seems fit to do so.

Mineke Reinders. Podmurna. 28x38cm

What is the major size of your works?
  My largest size is full sheet, 22x30 inches, my smallest is 5x7 inches, but most of my work now is quarter sheet, 11x15 inches. It is a good size for me. When I go to museums, I am the person who goes up to the tiny paintings and sketches that most people pass by, and attract the attention of the guards when I put my nose too close to them to study the brushstrokes and details. These small works are more intimate. I want that intimacy in my works too, because I think it suits my subjects.

Mineke Reinders. Boulevard Of Mist. 26x27cm

Do you paint on location or more in studio?
Despite the current popularity of plein air, I remain more of a studio painter. I can sketch on location, but anything that requires more of a set-up is not for me. I am also shy of painting in front of curious onlookers, which would be inevitable in the kinds of places I paint. I know that painting on location gives a sense of immediacy to the work that cannot be achieved in the studio, but that is not necessarily what I am after. I prefer solitude while painting. Alone in the studio, while listening to music, it is easier to access the state of mind that allows for memories and imagination to come into play. My work is representational, and I do use photo references, but they provide a starting point and a reference for particular details only. I don't aim to give an accurate rendering of a place or to capture a moment in time. The feel and atmosphere I want to express come from the mind, from memories and visualization. The sense of place is very important to me, but it does not have to be an immediate response then and there, it can be intensified by time and distance. At least, that is how it works best for me.

Mineke Reinders. Factory Girl. 34x27cm

Do you travel to paint or you use the travelling for painting?   Both. I have been very lucky in that I have had many opportunities to travel and see different places. I would love to travel to paint more, but I am also happy to use the impressions from my travels, as well as times living abroad, for painting. In fact, living in a place for an extended time is best, because you can get to know nuances and moods of a place much better, but it is not always possible of course.

Mineke Reinders. A Winter Day. 15x21cm

Is there some European or American influence in your painting approach?
My early influences came primarily from British and American painters. Later I was inspired by painters working in Australia, such as Joseph Zbukvic, Greg Allen, Alvaro Castagnet et al. In recent years I have moved away from that style though. Much as I admire those artists, I am wary of imitating a style, which I see a little too much of these days.
I was lucky to spend a semester in Turkey in 2006. Without access to art books and with very minimal internet, I responded in my own way to the beauty and interest I saw around me. That was a profound experience, which perhaps made my work more individual.

Mineke Reinders. Every Memory Is Like a Dream. 35x25cm

Do you consider yourselves an American or European artist?
  As a person, I remain a European, despite living in the US for more than 20 years, but as an artist, this distinction is not really meaningful to me. I think regional distinctions will become less relevant as we are exposed to influences from all over the world through the internet. I really don't feel that these geographical labels are meaningful anymore.

Mineke Reinders. House In Winter. 15x21cm

What is watercolors for you?
Watercolors: Paper, pigment, binder, water. I love the simplicity of this combination. When dry, it is just color on paper, but it can stay fresh for many centuries, given proper care. Watercolors is also: a little magic. One of its main attractions is that it cannot be completely controlled, so there is an adventure in every painting.


  1. through these interviews we come to know the different artists , their viewpoints etc which otherwise is not possible. It is really interesting to read. Thanks for sharing .

  2. loved the interview..especially the thoughts on plein air aganist studio work ...thanks..and best wishes.

  3. Thank you, guys. Nowadays there are so many great watercolor artists in India - just need some time to pick some for my blog.

  4. Thank you very much, Vijay and Sanjeev. Glad you found it interesting.
    Thank you again too Konstantin. I have discovered artists I had not heard of before, and learned more about the ones I already knew thanks to your interviews here.