Dutch Abstract Expressionism in painting art - painter-artist from The Netherlands, Amsterdam

Here I present my abstract art: colorful paintings, on paper and on canvas.
My original paintings and watercolors are for sale, shipping worldwide. The digital images of my original art you can download for free in high resolution from my Flickr-account, to use them for making your personal art-print on the wall.

I am a contemporary Dutch painter-artist, living and working in Amsterdam, The Netherlands. My name is Fons Heijnsbroek.
I paint dynamic abstract painting art since 1990; it is Dutch Abstract Expressionism, how I like to call it
I make colorful abstract paintings on canvas and watercolor art on paper; most of them are colorful and rather spontaneously. 

about myself as Dutch abstract artist

I place myself in the tradition of Abstract expressionism, because this painting style inspired and encouraged me a lot since 1990, the time when I started to paint abstract and spontaneously. I create 'intuitive abstract painting' because this term covers well the fact how all my images come to life in a direct, free and spontaneous way. The many hours of looking come after the making.  

Intuitive and free art means to me, I have no image in store when I start to paint. Because it is the image which calls itself into visual life, during  the process of painting. Of course I as an artist must be open for their calling, and I must keep myself aware of everything what comes up and asks for a place in the picture. This is the side of intuitive free and abstract painting, free and agile images coming from some 'place' beyond me as artist and as human being. This is the rather dynamic and unpredictable processor, operating in my 'act of painting'.
 don't give it a name, I don't talk about, I even stopped thinking about it. It just happens and I show my gratitude by painting images which come to me. 

On the other hand I myself must be aware and use my individual history, my grown attitudes, emotions and collected experiences. These form the basis on which I have to make my visual decisions again and again. That is my own responsibility in the creative process. I am not an empty hollow mind; I learned and lived bij watching and looking and trying, year by year. And yet I must keep my mind open to the new and visual sounds coming to me as free birds, as representatives of the unknown; it is a living paradox .......

- So my abstract painting itself grows from free-wandering intuition; it speaks only in the language of images and visual imagination, often beyond myself. This is the area where I transcend and opens myself for new views and pictures which come to me. Painting lies in the twilight between the known and the unknown. I am not mastering the painting; on the other hand, I am not only the victim who just can follows the sound of the universe. It lies between! And the point is: there does not exist a fixed point. That is what art is about, I presume.  

Fons Heijnsbroek



extended information

My name is Fons Heijnsbroek, born in 1951 - artist working and living in Amsterdam, The Netherlands. I am painting abstract art since 1989, first on canvas and since1996 also in many gouaches on paper. My destiny is to create free, modern, abstract paintings with lots of energy and vitality.
My art shows a growing transparency and openness in the abstract images I create. I like to make abstract paintings that portray a feeling of optimism, hope and life force. So I create modern, complicated pictures with various layers and internal spaces but always with a clear image as a whole. I like to challenge the viewer to wander freely through my painting, to find a personal route in the created image. 

Dutch landscape paintings

My abstract and often colorful paintings are created spontaneous - not from any predetermined idea or image. At first, round about 1990, I used the Dutch landscape as a basis for abstract painting. But, after some years my abstract art developed spontaneously, often with a strong emotional aura / atmosphere. Even so, my abstract painting art still reveals a strong connection to the Dutch atmosphere of land, water and sky that I love so much.

new areas in abstract painting

I have a spontaneous, free and direct style of painting with impulsive use of paint and long periods of just looking at the painting. So I must destroy a lot of my gouaches / watercolours on paper because they do not fulfill my goal. Destroying a lot of my painting art has become an integral part of my work process. The possibility of destroying later my created works give me the chance to accept fully the spontaneous moment which appears in my art. It appear freely and without much limitations in my work and I can accept irt directly. Because I know I will later rejudge the work again: can it stay or must it disappear back into the unknown.

After 2007 spontaneous lines started to create even more freedom in my painting, especially in my abstract watercolors. In my painting art the line is usually organic, but now becomes confusing and more expressive, in order to open up new areas of abstract painting. Sometimes the paper tears opening up a new perspective. My direct lines then wanted to keep moving without reaching their target - they resist against strict areas and shapes. Modern abstract painting means to me a continuous journeying - to discover new areas.

a painting artist's dialogue

From 2006, a next step in relinquishing my identity started; an intense and enduring painting relationship growed between me and my painter-friend Ben Vollers. As two artists we paint together side by side and react directly on a large painting canvas. It means a  free dialogue in image and paint, with the option to end up in a convincing abstract image.
The result of our dialogues are several long series of large expressive and colorful paintings. We call them Benfo's, destillated from our both forenames: Ben & Fons.
Some art-critic on a exhibitions of many Benfo paintings called Benfo the third and unknown artist... Our cooperation lasted till 2009.

Recent years I arrived at a point where I have to look back on my own development in abstract painting. 



- a collector’s view -

I have been collecting modern abstract painting since around the mid eighties. Colour and abstraction has, more or less, always been my guide. In the beginning I went for the colourful work of the Cobra artists. Allthough I could never afford to buy an original Karel Appel, I did acquire a couple of art pictures from other Cobra artists. Later on I expanded the modest collection with art of other artists who where painting with an even so colourful palette. Later on my taste of art was shifting towards more and more abstraction. At first, colour and composition were the main focus. Some abstract-figural elements might have been present in those days. But now my focus lies mainly on the complete abstract art.

Through artlease compagny Artolive I accidently stumbled upon the work of Fons Heijnsbroek. It was love at first sight. Unfortunately (but not for Fons!) many of his paintings were already sold but there was one painting that caught my eye which was still available. It was a large abstract colourful canvas. Immediately I measured the wall where I had the painting in mind and contacted Fons to arrange a viewing at his studio. When I met Fons for the first time there was a warm welcome and a common interest and when I saw the painting in real I bought it immediately.

What I like about Fons' art, and good abstract art in general, is that your eyes can wander all over the painting freely. There is no pause, no stop, no recognition of any figural element and no point to focus on. Just admiring the whole painting. If there is a point of focus on any painting you tend to stare at it and by doing so you skip the rest. Not in Fons' paintings. His paintings are holistic and free works of art. Your eyes travel all over the whole canvas without any limitation. Like travelling to the unknown, it never bores. Every time you look at the picture it is a whole new journey.

Through Fons Heijnsbroek I met Ben Vollers and Daan Lemaire. Both artists share the same ideas about abstract painting and naturally I became interested in their work too. Daan paints colourful paintings on canvas and works on paper. It is not as abstract as Fons' work but they are very balanced, colourful and narrative. In 2006 Fons and Ben started literally a painting joint-venture. Together they worked on the same canvas and by doing so they had to give in, let go, anticipate and react on each others brushstrokes. This resulted in a complete new and exciting co-operation with beautiful abstract painting results. One of those paintings is now hanging on one of the walls at home, in my livingroom!

Hans Cohen, 
owner of many artworks


Interview with abstract artist duo Ben-fo

on modern abstract fusion-art


* There is a great similarity between you two painting together and jam-sessions, making music in free Jazz. Is that what you are doing when you paint together - is it like spontaneous free jazz, but in paint?

What we do is improvise freely on one canvas: not particularly on an existing theme, and not one at a time, but together, on the spot, we continuously react to one another with brush and paint. We do not have a concept beforehand, no theme; we start totally blanco. But, we do have one another’s input to react to. For instance, Ben makes a line and Fons takes it further, or puts down another line or changes the colour etc. Apparently we understand each other’s way of working. Jam sessions in Jazz are very much here and now, reacting on the spot, the question, the answer; that’s very similar to what we do with paint. One starts an idea and the other can react.

* Jazz musicians often have a standard as the basis for a jam session, what about you two?

We’ve got all sorts of stuff in our heads, amongst other things the art of painting and the images of that. In that way we are also similar to free Jazz musicians jamming. They use previous jazz. They improvise on an already existing, well known number, a standard, that every well versed jazz musician knows. In the same way we are familiar with abstract expressionism, but also with painting expressively and landscapes, we write and talk about the art of painting without turning it into a concept!!! What are our standards? Well, not only the famous toppers within abstract expressionism. But we have them in mind. But also the city, the light, Van Gogh, Soutine, Ruysdael, Corot, Guston etc.

* What do you have in common in painting?

Something we have in common in our individual painting is that neither of us make a preliminary sketch. We both paint directly and freely onto canvas/paper and react to that whilst painting. When we work together as Benfo, we offer one another images that the other can react to in an associative way. We both experience that this way things happen on canvas that we would never have made individually. The other is necessary in order to extract yourself from individual shortcomings in your own imagery. It can only be done in acrylic paint, a paint that is direct and dries quickly, so can be painted over easily.

* What aspects are of great importance in the process of painting together?

Apart from the free spontaneity and the interaction to one another, there is the aspect of consciously constructing and destructing and consideration/thought. Considering whether the painting will make it, whether it will meet the promise of possibilities or intentions. At that moment we both feel that something is possible, that the painting could turn out well, but we’re not there yet! It’s the moment the painting tells us something and, it’s up to us both to understand. The painting has it’s own free life, it has come to life through us and now it demands that we do this or that. Often, we have to let it go for a bit – distance ourselves in order to recognize the question. We both know there is a moment when we have to paint carefully, with consideration. The phase of free associative painting, wildly, is over - which is by the way just as important. Our painting is a construction, in the sense that there must be cohesion and the various parts must work towards a whole. A structure, let’s say architecture, balance, contrast. In between all that is our freedom; but the final painting must be more than that. Otherwise it’s a failure.

* What does Ben do that Fons would never do?

Ben puts down areas/space, almost automatically. Fons nearly always starts with a construction in lines. Ben paints his spaces/areas with strokes, mainly in white or black, with further strokes so they don’t cover the canvas completely; his lines are often zigzag. Fons’ lines are often flowing and more organic. He often puts coloured layers over something already present, so the colour of that particular area is changed. Fons uses the colours yellow/green/violet/purple more often and Ben more often uses black/sienna but also yellow, dark blue and often lots and lots of red. But all that was six months ago and is probably old hat. In that respect we consume one another!

* What about mutual trust?

There is mutual trust that the ‘other’ watches and continues to work together and make keen judgments in the picture-making. Of course we’ve know one another’s individual work for years – which gives us a good common basis.

* What are your criteria for a painting to be a success or not?

We each have the conviction that a painting should be more than pleasing or nicely painted. We both see that we want to go further. There is no embarrassment between us when trying out something unusual; we can put down something impulsively without worrying about what the other thinks of it. There has to be some risk, otherwise the painting would be a failure for us anyway.

* What is your position in present day abstract painting?

A great deal of what we see around us makes us think that abstract painting is too slick, with too much emphasis on a ‘pleasing’ abstract painting. We are on the wilder side of abstract and free painting. It seems that we think that an interesting painting can’t be slick. As a viewer you have to make an effort to get into the created art picture, plough your way through. On the other hand, we offer a painting that one can actually get into freely with one’s eyes; we are offering a serious visual image. A slick painting excludes; there is no opening, no entrance. We want a painting to have its own ‘inside’. That’s what we mean by a painting being finished; there must be an ‘inside’ apparent in the painting; the painting has the right to existence because it gives visual form to that ‘inside’.

interviewer: Jean Homacher, 2009