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Con van Velsen

Con van Velsen (1948, Bussum) graduated as a photographer.

Because he loved to read all kind of books, he discovered books abount painting and specially a book about the ‘Vlaamse Primitieven’.
This book was a revelation, from this moment on, he wanted one thing: To paint one of those amazing tryptiches himself. The beginning was hard, he had never touched a brush before in his life.

Years after this experience, he had a dream: He was painting and in the dream he thinned the paint with some kind solution. When he woke up he realized: this was the key to make a good painting. He went to an artists shop and learned that oilpaint shoud be thinned with medium. He immediately used this knowledge and made his first good painting.

To learn more about techniques, he went to the Art Academy in Utrecht. He only stayed there for 1 year, things were going too slow for him and he missed attention for the precise way of painting, he loved to learn.
Dozens of books about Old Masters and their way of working, studybooks about making paint, like a German book from Kurt Wehlte, ‘Werkstoffe und Technieken der Malerei’, taught him the way. Also visiting the Rijksmuseum helped him a lot, specially the 15th Age paintings. There were days that Van Velsen went twice a day to Amsterdam, just to check what he wanted to learn from a painting.

It took him 10 years to develop his own way of working, his own style, and he is still developing this.
His most important examples are: Hieronymus Bosch, Breughel, Dürer. The topics of his paintings are fictional. The landscapes and cities he paints, don’t really exist. A mix of impressions and a passion for science fiction is often the source. On an empty, white paper, he starts with drawing a horizon, this triggers his fantasy. In his head a landscape is born and while dreaming he draws what appears inside his head.What happens on the paper then inspires him and so a new painting is being made.

The first years he worked with selfmade tempera, later with oilpaint. At the moment he uses acryl, because this paint dries fast. He builds his paintings with a lot of thin layers. It would take forever to this with oilpaint. Painting is the perfect way to travel for Van Velsen. He goes where he wants to go and he sees what he wants to see. He is in charge of the weather and always gives the tavern a perfect view. In his world there are no factories, no ugly obstacles. The beer and the wine are always good and when he sits down at one of the many great terraces at the water, looking at the Medieval town on the other sight,  bathing in sunlight, he wishes everybody could see this.

And that is possible, if you look at his paintings!


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