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An Interview with Artist Ank Draijer

Blown away by colour. That's the feeling and thoughts that I get when viewing Ank Draijer's paintings on her website. 

Beautiful acrylic paintings that, on the surface, are an exquisite study in form, colour, texture and shape. Yet within these glorious works there are important and unique messages that Ank is exploring and revealing to the viewer... 

You can view and buy Ank's artwork on her website :

Ank is also on Instagram

Please talk a bit about where you grew up and where you live now...

I grew up on the outskirts of a small town in the Netherlands. The neighborhood I lived in was close to the countryside where there were many farms. I could always be found on one of those farms, there was so much to see and experience. With the children from the neighborhood we climbed trees, in the summer we went swimming in the streams and in the winter we could skate on the ice of the same streams.

Because of my husband's work, I left the Netherlands after my marriage and lived in Peru and Colombia. For the last 35 years I have lived in Costa Rica.

How did you discover art?

My parents, aunts and uncles always took my sister and me to museums. Also as a child I got colored pencils and sketchbooks for my birthday. I was always drawing and coloring. But the moment I started painting was when my grandmother introduced me to a friend of hers, a painter. He painted beautiful landscapes painted with the palette knife. He used a lot of paint and that made a huge impression on me. From that moment on I started to experiment with different media and techniques.

What themes in your work are important to you?

In my paintings I want to express my concern about climate change, as in my series "Ice Cap". Another series "The Sun shines for Everyone" shares concerns about racism, violence and discrimination. The universe is a different theme. I am fascinated by the idea that parallel universes exist, which I express in my series "Parallel Universes" and "Outer Space".

What do you like about using Acrylics?

I like acrylics more than oil because it dries fast, cleaning is easier and you can easily correct mistakes. I even painted over an entire painting that I was not satisfied with. With some practice you can achieve a smooth blending when using a retarder.

What do you enjoy most about painting and is there anything that you do not enjoy?

What I enjoy most about painting is that it gives me peace, it’s like meditating. When I paint I am in my own world, on my own rhythm, feeling as free as I can. I do not enjoy when there is a time limit to finish a painting.

What is your process from an idea to a finished painting?

Most of the time I have an idea what I want to paint, but some times I don’t have an idea and start with some strokes on the canvas and let me lead by the brush or the palet knife. When I have an idea it can change during the process of painting.

Which artists inspire you and why?

Artists who inspire me are Georgia O’Keeffe, Gerhard Richter, Jackson Pollock, Gustav Klimt to name some.

How do you keep yourself motivated?

Motivation is not my problem, all my life I have painted. When I have no time to paint I try at least to work out some ideas in my mind.

Please talk about the successes you have had marketing yourself...

Marketing is difficult, as an artist you don’t want to lose precious time in doing the marketing. I had some successes but it is not what I expected.

What advice would you give a painter who wants to exhibit their work?

Take the time to prepare your exhibition, plan a good date where a lot persons can come to visit and interact with your visitors.

What are your plans for the future?

At the moment I don’t have some fixed plans. Painting more paintings from the series “Outer Space” and let come what has to come.

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