‘In life everything seems to be very complicated untill you reach the big exploration that the truth lies in simplicity, the obvious, like nature, the sound, the love. And likewise in my painting.’
People, portraits and self-portraits are the themes that Dick Pieters (Zierikzee, 1941) paints. He often places them in or on the water. The artist loves to swim, to sail and the atmosphere and colors on the water. He depicts people is common and simple situations that gain importance because of the expressive way of painting.
Pieters already knew that he wanted to be a painter since he was a child. After a few years of painting and travelling around he went to the Higher Institute of Fine Arts in Antwerp. He quit this study after a year because it didn’t fulfill his expectations. So he mostly thanks his painting skills to himself. He tries to create a dreamy and soft setting with the painting of dots, despite the use of bright colours. The artist never uses black and rarely uses white. His working method is slow and one painting will take him months. First he will make the sketches, then more exact drawings, untill they are exactly as the painting is ought to be. Every part of the painting gets the same amount of attention because he makes the painting out of miniscule dots. The figures on the painting, the background, the bigger sections and the smaller details, everything is painted in the same way. By giving every element the same amount of attention, the painter hopes is will be an unity. By giving the world around the human being the same amount of attention, Pieters wants to express that the human has to trie to live in natural harmony with his habitat. And that the human should treat his surroundings with love and respect. The beauty of life is captured in simplicity, like the communication between two people. There only is harmony when people help, understand and value each other. Those kind of people move him.
Besides al this beauty, the reality can also be hard, cold and cruel. Death is present everywhere. In earlier work he showed this with dead birds or a rusty ship. But he slowly said goodbye to his youth and he accepted the life as an adult. Pieters hopes to find beautiful things in the way he paints, the color use, the style, the approach of the subject and the alienation. In this way he tries to give the small moments of everyday things happiness.
The artist sketches the contours with a thin layer of burned umber on the canvas. After that he starts with the application of lines and dots, usually by colour. When he has been working on one color for weeks, or sometimes even months, he can’t wait to start with the next color. Sometimes he uses eight layers. Pieters feels attracted by the Flamish way of painting from the fourteenth and fifteenth century with it’s attention for detail. But also classic modern greats like Paul Klee and Wassily Kandinsky have influenced him. Likewise for the realists Wim Schumacher, Pyke Koch and Dick Ket. In the color use he is mostly related to Vincent van Gogh, although this doesn’t show clearly in his paintings.
Everything in his paintings is modified into simple shapes and sometimes there are elements that are on the border of being abstract. It’s a game between abstraction and figuration and the fine color use that makes Pieters work so special.