Born 1947 in North Holland, the Netherlands.
It took me a detour and a long time to realise my childhood wish - to make painting my profession. I went to the art academy in Arnhem when I was 30. That year I also became enamoured by dance: I was fascinated by movement and wanted to integrate it into my paintings. After finishing at the academy I wanted to work with “e-motion” - movements and gestures inspired by emotions. It was during the same year that I looked for a Yoga class and came into contact with the drawing and painting classes of Harish Yohari. With him, I made my first sacred art - Kali in a Yantra. I also developed performances and workshops, working with movements of the body in order to produce paint strokes and colours while incorporating sounds with the voice.
After an exciting period in Berlin, I moved to Amsterdam. There I looked for dance classes and found an announcement saying “Dancing with the Dakinis” - in these classes, led by Stoffelina Verdonk, I learned more about integrating body, speech and mind, as Stoffelina called it. Together we did a performance about the dead and went to Finland where she gave a workshop. Fantastic! In the meanwhile I discovered that Stoffelina was doing something secretly... which turned out to be the practises transmitted by Chögyal Namkhai Norbu. After my first introduction, with a very cosy group of practitioners in Amsterdam I went for the first time to Merigar at the end of 1991. I really had to study the Teachings in order to understand them, but the most practical and attractive thing for me was that there was a meditative Vajra Dance. We painted a very strong and heavy Mandala, which still exists, and learned the first steps of the Vajra Dance with Stoffelina.
From the son of my aunt, who was a Geshe in the Gelugpa order, I learned how to draw a Buddha’s head which led me to taking courses with Andy Weber in the Netherlands in 1994. In the following years I painted White and Green Taras, and Mandarava. Over the following 15 years I combined Dharma art with my free artwork.
In 1999, inspired by the practises of Chögyal Namkhai Norbu, I painted the Purification of Six Lokas on large panels (donated to Dzamling Gar in Tenerife). In this purification practice, the disturbing emotions and ignorance are transcended into wisdoms. In this way I arrived at the idea of finding the complementary colours specific to each Loka. In the middle of the panel the two colours mix and produce a certain shade of grey. When the panels are seen together, a horizon in grey is formed; I call it “equanimity”. With these colours and symbols I produced many more variations in smaller works on canvas. More paintings produced since then were inspired by the Teachings.
Once I showed these panel paintings to Chögyal Namkhai Norbu. He asked me a question related to the Santi Maha Sangha training which made me feel somewhat shy. Rinpoche’s reaction was: “Transformation is not Dzogchen!!!”
6 x (120 x 200 cm)
Oil on canvas in wooden aluminium frames.
Presented to Dzamling Gar on the occasion of the birthday of Chögyal Namkhai Norbu, 8th December 2020.
Gratitude to Dzogchen Community members from Europe and the USA who contributed towards shipping costs in order to deliver this artwork from Amsterdam to Dzamling Gar.
Over the years I studied Thangka art with Lama Gyurmed who came to Merigar (Italy) in 1999 from Tibet to teach with Marian van der Horst and with Gega Lama’s son Tharphen Lintsang in the Karma Gadri style. Currently I hold regular meetings at my studio in Amsterdam with a small group of dedicated Thangka painters.