About painting and still lifes……
(A short conversation with Sietse Jonker)

In Sietse Jonker's artroom, in front of the easel, on a table there are a few objects. It is the display of a still life, consisting of a few objects of china-ware.

‘Somehow I’m always trying to display a still life, which does not look too artificial. But eventually, the final product should be 'an arranged harmony'. That is not always easy and sometimes, it will take days to find all kinds of objects. Every now and then, something is added or removed from the display till I’m satisfied. Very often, I have a vague idea about what I want to show. The difficulty, however is to take this vague idea, and turn it to something real. For creating a still life painting, it is most important to have a good display before the actual painting starts. For me, there still is a lot to discover in 'Displaying objects' for a still-life painting.

‘A while ago, I was more engaged in painting surrealistic art works which evolved in making paintings of strange and awkward landscapes’. There was a whole world of philosophical ideas behind these works. Actually, a heavy-laden atmosphere surrounded these paintings. I continuously, wanted to present a certain mystery. Sometimes I felt myself more like a philosopher then an artist. When asked to paint a still life painting, I stuck to the still life concept. This concept gave me freedom and fascination. Our whole life is subject to changes. Therefore, an artist should also have the courage to leave old themes and to turn to new ones. For me getting to grips with still life painting is paradoxical; The old painting phenomena still life was new to me. It only pleased me to paint something that was in front of me. Especially, the tranquillity and quietness, in this scene, appealed to me. I can really enjoy it when daylight “touches” the objects and creates a beautiful display of soft shadows on and around the objects. Frequently, one of my discoverings was, that simple things possess splendor.’

‘Many people do not realize, that although I’m painting in a non-abstract and handicrafted way, my ultimate goal is still to represent the abstract qualities in my still life. It is just like music. It too, brings a certain atmosphere and feeling which is often abstract and difficult to catch in words. A still life painting should do this as well. This is the reason, why not every object should be worked out seperately. Eventually, the spatial unity and especially the atmosphere of the painting as a whole is the major essence. Conclusively, the meaning of a still live composition does not lie in the use of modest, common or old objects, rather in the meditative mood that sprouts from the still life painting itself. There should be “space” within the composition, literally and figuratively. As a painter, I try to let the invisible become visible. This results in high standards for my own work. Otherwise you could silt up easily in all kinds of tricks and automatisms. A unity between painting techniques and vision should be achieved. Again and again, the start of every painting is experienced as something new. This enables me constantly, to be allert and take every work of art as a challenge.’

‘To me, painting remains a specific utterance of art. I always draw much inspiration from what other painters have done in the past and what they do, today. I could sum up favourite artists, but I think it would become quite a list, so I will not. For ages, painters have been busy with beautiful themes. It gives me joy and moments to learn. Fundamentally, my faith in God is an inexhaustible source of inspiration which helps me to be creative continuously. I believe that God had fun when He created the world just like I have fun with creating a painting. Believing in the Creator, is a part of me. My opinion is, that the Christian spiritual aspect of a painting should not only be in the use of real Christian symbolism. God’s designed regulations (light, colour, shape, etc) are clear enough. It will show a beauty which is undoubtely, connected to the Creator Himself. To me, every painting is a form of worshipping the Lord.’

‘All in all I’m having fun when I am busy painting. If the creator is pleased during the creating process of art, it certainly will enjoy the spectators, eventually.’