Hermien Buytendijk


At a very young age I enjoyed drawing under the domestic light at the table. The stories came to me during long winters with bronchitis in bed. By getting the time and space to dream stories and read a lot of books, it was possible that a colorful imagination became my reality. At home, a lot was drawn and painted. Here is a picture, taken on one of the many evenings that was signed under the guidance of family friend and painter, Harry Koolen. A lot of laughter, stories were strengthened and went from one to the other. Also the visits to Harry Koolen on Terworm Castle where artists lived, the atmosphere and design, the wall hangings on which the paintings hung were already a painting in itself. At the HBS in Heerlen, I illustrated the school papers in which the nuns who taught there often had to pay. For a long time, the influence of the Catholic South would exert its influence on my drawings and later in my images. The whole environment called for a certain ridicule that was soaked in a blanket of uninhibited dreaminess. The images of processions through the streets of the Limburg hills and the picturesque carnival with clownish loner figures were beautiful and a breeding ground for fantasy. After my final exams, at the age of seventeen, I went abroad for a year and there I followed intensive drawing lessons, including at an art academy. I was encouraged to develop my own way of illustrating on musical pieces, eg by Berlioz. For example, I discovered that the cartoon-like drawings were not one-sided, but rather a strong part of my own. That my wonderful drawings were not judged as one-sided but as “own” was a valuable discovery. This gave me a great feeling of freedom, something that I still experience as a starting point for life. I wanted to learn supporting techniques. I very much wanted to follow a training course for cartoons and go to the art academy. But my parents did not see it as good: they thought that there were too many dangers lurking for a young girl (denes and bearded monkeys). In 1967 I went to study psychology in Leiden. I was mainly concerned with illustrating almanacs and drawing posters and cartoons. I went to take drawing lessons with Harry Koolen and took etching lessons at the Free Academy in The Hague. Despite that, I graduated as a clinical psychologist in 1975. They were years of falling in love, of marrying Hans de Keyzer in 1974. We had three children, Myrthe (1975), Niels (1978) and Wendy (1983) – they are my most beautiful baking. I also did screen printing and became acquainted with clay, but it was only when I was given an oven as a gift by the age of forty that there were endless images of ceramics. Within a year I received my first exhibition in Zeist (1990). Hans died in 1991. Light-footedness is a survival mechanism. My images continued to dance, but there were many twin images and often cavities that also express a shape and also bear witness to lack. The subjects come from my immediate environment.
I became a full-time artist and got many permanent galleries that represented my work at art fairs (such as Haf, Lineart, AFA, Open Art Fair, Affordable, Primavera, Arti, ITAF, Naarden-Vesting). The statues grew in size – garden statues, but also wall objects and recently small porcelain were created.
Working with clay has enriched my life. I have met special people through it and have maintained warm friendships, partyed and eaten and exhibited with people of all walks of life. 21 years ago I already met Henk Jan, who transports and transports my images and thinks along, just like I do with his photos.
I am a member of artists’ associations: the NVK, Genootschap Kunstliefde and LKV-Brak. My work is in the possession of many private individuals and is included in collections such as: Theemuseum in Houwerzijl, Royal Numico, the Industrial Club in Amsterdam, Jufidet in de Bilt, Cono Kaasmakers, the Rabobank, De Kamphuis Collection, Liebherr and purchased by galleries and many others.