This week we are in the Netherlands and we are staying for a few days with my farming family. My wife was born and raised here. Now her nephew is the third generation to run the farm. He has 130 dairy cows with a total of 200 head of cattle. I love to visit the cowsheds. The nephew talks with pride about his work, as his grandpa and later my brother-in-law did before him. As I said, a farmers profession has little relationship to portrait painting. And yet, I always feel a kinship. Let me explain.
A farmer is self-employed. He has to rely on his own expertise day after day with the same dedication, all with a single purpose: to produce high-quality milk. The autonomy of the farmer has always appealed to me. The enthusiasm for the job I share with him. The creativity with which small or large technical problems need to be resolved I recognize. It is the independence that I feel strongly. But above all, we share the drive to deliver a good product.
Finally: here it smells of cow manure; in my studio, of oil paint. Not similar at all, but both smell good.