Herman Smorenburg

The early works

The gradual awakening into the Mystery called life was for me an event of great intensity so that in my teens I started to feel the urge to reflect on this process by shaping it into images. Experiences of the vastness and solitude of nature together with a growing interest in mystical doctrines became the breeding ground for the development of an inner world of imagination. The confrontation with surrealism, symbolism and the work of leading native imaginative artists determined the course I follow to this day.

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In the beginning these images were made with ink, pencil or gouache. It was only at the end of the seventies that I began working with oil paint. Early in the eighties I started my first experiments with glazing techniques. 'rebirth' (1980) is the first painting I made using this technique.

A lot of themes which already fascinated me in this period were going to return regularly in the following years: such images as the sea, desolate beaches, mountains, mysterious islands, the moon, ruins, the universe, lonely figures in vast landscapes etc. These became the 'symbol language' in which I, as a young artist, was going to relate the story of my inner processes. Recurring themes in this story were going to be: reflections on life and death and the duality of spirit and matter.