Rob van Hoek – Biography
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Rob van Hoek – Biography

Rob van Hoek – Biography

“Music is very important to me, 

All the titles I use are lines (or parts of lines) from song lyrics. Mostly from pop music, sometimes a title from a jazz track.

 There are so many references to the landscape to be found, (and the sky, the weather, the time of day, the time of year, and so on), which I thankfully use.

Usually I give the title to the painting when it is finished, browsing through my collection of songlines and selecting the most appropriate one. But sometimes I make a painting with a particular songline in mind.

Working from this concept is inspired by the novel “The Songlines”, by Bruce Chatwin.”



Can you explain your painting technique?

On the canvas I put several layers of white, gesso-like paint. The brush strokes of these layers give a nice structure. Because I use transparent oil paint in very thin layers, the structure remains visible, adding much atmosphere to the painting.

Instead of adding the paint precisely with a brush, I work the other way around; I put on a lot of paint and rub a part of it off with brushes or tissues. Later in the process I carefully remove some of the paint with a brush, the backside of a brush, a cloth, a tissue, a Q-tip or whatever is suitable for making the lines, the forms, the dots etc. In the beginning, I paint in a very loose way, gradually getting more detailed to finish with the finest details.


Do you live in the countryside or within a town?

I live in the city of The Hague, and although I love to go out to the countryside there are months that I don’t see anything that you can call a landscape. I love to live in the city, but I miss the scenery too; maybe my work is a bit of compensation.


Do you feel your work, with its calm order of composition and the landscape its represents, reflects values and sensibilities that are typically Dutch?

I never think of my landscapes as typically Dutch. Although I made a few paintings with ditches, meadows and willows, for me these elements are the same as all the others I use, I don’t use them because they are Dutch.

Working on my landscapes I take some of the possible landscapes elements; the fields, the trees, the roads, the clouds, even the use of perspective, and compose them to an image of a landscape. It doesn’t have to be typical for a region or country; it doesn’t even have to be a possible landscape.

It is a landscape constructed and composed with only making a painting in mind. In the end the effect of the combination of all the landscape elements, the colours, the proportions and composition is what is important to me. And I think (and hope) this is more universal than that it is typically Dutch.


In most of your paintings, human presence and activity is absent. The result of this seems to be a more open and peaceful image than might be otherwise. Is one of your intentions to create calming and meditative work?

This is exactly so, I think in my work adding human presence changes the whole painting.

The implications of human figures in the landscape distract from what I want to make, I compose a landscape with all this landscape elements. In a way, it is like composing music, from improvisations on a theme or groove or some chords, I gradually give the newly found melodies and rhythms their place in the composition. The human element is left out, no singing voices and lyrics; it is instrumental music.




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Rob van Hoek

Born in 1957, Autodidact Professional artist since 1993.

Numerous exhibitions in leading Dutch galleries, as well as in galleries in the United Kingdom (London ,Oxford, Newcastle), Denmark and France (St.Malo). His paintings have been shown at International art fairs (The Netherlands, UK, Belgium, France).

Artist Statement

” In all the years I have been painting, the landscape has been my only subject.
I have always been intrigued by the lines, forms and rhythms of the cultivated landscape.
And of course the ever changing moods, with the cycles of light, seasons and weather.

Everything about a landscape is perception, when you change your point of view the changes can be huge. And if you go “in” the landscape it is just not a landscape anymore; only plants and soil and pavement etc.

Because of this the landscape is such an ideal subject to paint; you can change whatever you want and it is still a landscape.

For years, I made my landscapes in figurative style with lots of naïve painted elements such as trees, flowers, houses and roads. Gradually, the paintings got a more abstract feel, with only a few figurative elements.
Lately, the abstraction has gone a step further, no figurative elements, but still undeniably a landscape.

I always described my landscapes as compositions. With forms, lines, shapes, scratches are color I try to compose a painting, a painting of an imaginary landscape. The more abstract way of painting is not very different from using many figurative element; the process of composing a landscape is the same.”

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