Finding inspiration: Marlene Dumas

Hi there polkadot,

When this post is published, I’ll be enjoying my holiday in Metz, France.  I’m going to visit Nancy and eat up all the luscious Art Nouveau there.  Be sure to check out my instagram account for pictures.

Today I want to share with you my most recent lesson in the Love Art Happy Life e-course. Again a new female artist to discover: Marlene Dumas! This is a working artist who resides in Amsterdam.  To be honest, I know a little of modern artists in Belgium, but further then our borders I’m pretty much in the dark.  So it’s nice to discover a new name and her work of course.

Ivy Newport hosted this lesson.  Five minutes in the video I knew it: this is going to be a real challenge.  When you look at Marlenes work, you can’t help but notice it isn’t ‘pretty’.  There is much emotion and therefor you can call the work beautiful if it speaks to you, but pretty it is not.

Naomi, 1995_original

Is this a problem?  No, it certainly isn’t, but if you come from card making and/or scrapbooking, creating something this raw and ‘ugly’ can be quite the challenge. Watching Ivy going through her process, I couldn’t help but think: ‘oh no, don’t do that!  You’ll ruin it!’  When in fact, there is no such thing a ruined art. There simply isn’t.  If it is something you do not like, maybe you can keep going, or you would have learned a lesson.


For these works I didn’t use much: clear gesso, regular white gesso, charcoal pencils, some refill ink and gelato’s.



These are my two portraits.  They are far from the intensity of Marlenes work, but it was a first step.  And weird enough, it was freeing to go into the portraits.  I used my fingers to blend out and i really enjoyed that feeling.

I still have to learn much about doing portraits, about emotion in your work. This will count as the first step of letting go of the ‘pretty’!

Talk to you soon!


4 thoughts on “Finding inspiration: Marlene Dumas

  1. Wow! These are wonderful, Krisje! It’s all in the eyes. You’ve allowed the focus to be on the eyes and they are incredibly intense, engaging and evocative in both cases. I love the way the softness elsewhere contrasts with and highlights the sharpness of the eyes. Superb!

    Liked by 1 person

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