Lydia Jansen Visual Artist / Horse paintings
Powerful stillness

About

Lydia Jansen, painter, lover of horses, lover of nature, lover of life.

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About Lydia Jansen

From rocking horse to real horses

My grandparents must have known. Why else did they carry the most awesome rocking horse with them on December 30th in 1990? Little newborn me didn’t know yet. But I soon loved that rocking horse. During my time at the art academy I even made a project around it. Some sort of combination of the strong horseback riding and arrow shooting amazons and the fascination of childhood dreams.

I didn’t have much contact with real horses till the age of 13/14. My big sister used to go to small horse riding school in the neighborhood, but when I finally was big enough for lessons myself, the riding school had moved away.

So I ended up playing on my rocking horse, collecting a nice little herd of toy horses and tumbling through the book ‘Het Brieschend Paard’ (The Snorting Horse) of Rien Poortvliet.

Art Project 'Penthesileia'. Me all dressed up as an amazone!

Art Project 'Penthesileia'. Me all dressed up as an amazone!

My fascination with history has always partially been founded on the recurring appearance of horses: Alexander and Bucephalus, knights in shining armour on noble steeds, amazons, the tapestry of Bayeux … And even mr. Darcy (Jane Austen) is described quite nicely with his big black horse.

When I finally convinced my parents and started my first horse riding lessons, I was hooked. Soon after, I started volunteering at a horse riding school for disabled people. This is were I learned to see the horse in a new light. Not only are horses big, strong, beautiful creatures you can sit on. No, they turned out to be extremely thoughtful, loving, trustworthy beings who take care of those who can’t fully take care of themselves.

I experienced this beautiful trait once again while I recently lived very close to a herd of 18 horses. They taught me valuable lessons and triggered this newfound artistic passion for a creature which has always been a part of my life.

lydia&orin
The rocking horse at art school

The rocking horse at art school

The chaotic artist

I am an artist: chaos everywhere.

In my room, in my mind and originally also in my paintings. And although I’ve used this chaos to my advantage and created powerful paintings of landscapes, I never really felt comfortable with them.

My search for less chaos started slowly and with ups and downs. I soon discovered that nature is a key-factor to me. And history means something too. But I never really paid artistic attention to our four legged friends. Even though I love walking, playing and just being with them.

So, I did paint knights on horses. But, on the art academy this was not ‘art’ enough.

I started to paint nature. Even better, I started to paint nature where the horses and the knights have galloped together. Trying to catch that sense of power, combined with the stillness of nature.

Some of the landscape paintings. From left to right: Culloden, Muiderslot and Towton.

Some of the landscape paintings. From left to right: Culloden, Muiderslot and Towton.

At some point I stopped painting for a while. I was tired, actually, of painting. Although I found some sort of stillness during the work, I still was chaotic in its execution. (“Just some white over here… oh that was black… well alright, black over here it is.”)

During that time, of not creating, I was busy looking at myself and searching for strength and peace at the same time. I realised it is this combination of power and stillness that has always intrigued me: Wildcamping in nature, living history, yoga, campfires and… horses.

When I started creating again, it was not with painting. But with drawing. Drawing horses, just as I did when I was 14 years old. But now with a bit more experience and understanding.

Because the horse is, in it’s essence a beautiful and inspiring example of powerful stillness.

I found it.