Living the Creative Life: Henk Pander

On Sunday I rode along when R took the galleys for the book up to Henk for “color correction”…

I like going to Henk’s warm and textural house, filled with art and flowers (always still-life-worthy flowers)…

But before they jumped into the manuscript we went out to the studio to see the paintings he has gathered and re-stretched and framed for the coming retrospective of his work at the Hallie Ford Museum of Art, which opens Friday January 28th, 2011 (more show info as it gets closer).

Henk’s studio is in the backyard of his SE Portland home and is amazing.  It has four levels, each level with a specific purpose.  On the first floor level is a space for formatting…matting and framing….as well as library space and a work table and it is there we started as Henk showed us some of the items he’s been working on re-framing

including this painting from 1959

and this detail from a 1963 painting…long before he came to Portland from his native Holland.

In the work I like the best of Henk’s there is a frozen moment of chaos…all hell is about to break loose in a frightening and noisy way but in that moment of chaos there is a great scary beauty about these paintings…something to do with narrative, and EVERYTHING to do with paint.

Henk and Roger went to work and Henk generously allowed me to roam the studio at will and take some photos:

In the floor of the first floor studio is a set of long trap doors.  The large canvasses are stored in the basement level and can be hoisted up when needed,

or hoisted down from the big painting studio above…

Upstairs on the second level is the painting studio…where work is in progress

including a big painting where he works from his own preliminary drawing,

and a smaller still-life

Tools of the trade are a fascinating thing…

and the big amazing easel.

The top level is reserved for drawing and in the winter from the “crow’s nest” Henk can see Portland below him.

There’s lots to see for sure….

and then I head back down.

One more view of the downstairs studio

and back in to the house to see what progress has been made…they’re still at it…

so I wander and find the big begonia

more tulips

turn on some lights

and sit with Molly as they finish up…

Henk sends us off with a cutting of the begonia


  1. Bonnie, how wonderful an eye! You made such a fine journey through the weath of gorgeous images. The mirror reflection of ‘men at work’ is especially fine, looking almost like it’s fresh from Henk’s easel. Thanks for taking me along.

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