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Introduction to the drawings (and paintings) of Stefan Bleekrode

My drawings cannot be see separately from my paintings because the scenes which inspire me to do a drawing are often also worked out in detail in a painting. Usually it's simple, everyday urban scenery; a subway station, sunlight in a street, specif… Read More
Introduction to the drawings (and paintings) of Stefan Bleekrode

My drawings cannot be see separately from my paintings because the scenes which inspire me to do a drawing are often also worked out in detail in a painting. Usually it's simple, everyday urban scenery; a subway station, sunlight in a street, specific architectural elements (a balcony or the colour of bricks) or buildings as a whole. Occasionally it can be a square or avenue surrounded by architecture I enjoy. But what sets the drawings apart from the paintings however, is the fact that I always try to work out the whole picture and leave as little out as possible. Although drawn extremely finely, there's even room for dustbins, phone boots and benches out in the streets. Just as any existing city my imaginary cities have to be as complete as possible so they form the ultimate confrontation and dialogue with reality. To enhance this sense of realism I attempt to make most of my newer drawings resemble in a way black and white photographs. But here again there's an almost manipulative element at work. None of the drawings (nor the paintings) were based on photo's. All of my work comes from memory. It's culmination of an endless stream of impressions I found whilst travelling in Europe and America.
This forms a nice introduction to what attracts me to the urban landscape; its endless diversity, the beautiful and the ugly and the endless opportunities the urban scene offers me to dream and idealise. So I can add or leave out everything I love or loathe when drawing. This way I can mix reality with imagination effortlessly, on paper it's possible and it allows me to turn the process of creating a drawing into a somewhat more tame but nonetheless agreeable venture into a new and yet to be explored city or neighbourhood of an existing city. I love to get lost in big cities and discover new things. My drawings allow my to bring all these intimate impressions together and create something realistic which that can be discovered all over again.
When I've got an idea that excites me, I usually just pencil it down in my sketch book. Sometimes pretty soon, sometimes weeks, months or even a year later I start work. First a pencil sketch on firm 300 grams ivory coloured paper, then a few ink lines. I always use Talens East Indian Ink and Conté Atome pens. If I like it I'll continue and slowly but surely the work takes shape over the course of several weeks or sometimes up to half a year. For shading I always use Winsor and Newton Ivory black watercolours paint. Often whilst working on a drawings I add and remove already planned buildings or streets to enhance perspective and the overall sense of composition. I'm entirely self taught in both drawing and painting and with a very few exceptions all work was created from memory. I've worked professionally as an artist since 2005 and since 2006 I'm exhibiting and selling regularly.

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