Feb 122008

It may be hard to believe that these landscapes are contained each within an approximately 10×10 inches frame, but the reproductions before you are not very far from the actual size. I think that there are two different consequences to consider as a result: first, the artist creates a credible illusion of a generous spatial reserve and second, he leaves you wanting for more, and of a bigger size — and the first condition indicates that it is within his artistic range. And by “more” I also mean zooming both in and out, though some pieces satisfy that wish at least partially. I can’t help recalling of some of Ivan Shishkin‘s works when studying Jiddje’s, though the differences outweigh the similarities.

landscape Netherlands Jiddje Straatsma

Jiddje noted in a comment to the previous post that landscapes are his “comfort zone.” I would like to take on the job of expounding how his confidence in the genre interprets into technical terms. Strongly defined focal points coax the beholder into the scenery, the planes of which are often dissected by paths emphasizing the perspective. Lighter tones border the far edges, fully in accordance with the painterly precept of creating convincing depth. Low-key palette leads to a mastery of subtle hue gradations — a virtue out of the necessity of staying close to the primordial color (treatment of light, I think, is where the landscapes betray a realist quality). Together, these features inform an assured hand.

august afternoon landscape Netherlands Jiddje Straatsma

A notable shift in rhythm between the background and the center adds interest: while the hills or the tree tops touching the sky are usually arranged in a uniform fashion, the few trees enjoying a full size rendering often perform a more whimsical compositional dance. Sometimes a single tree would spread across the sky, creating a net of colors, in other cases it will bend or suggest a variety of comical situations with accompanying smaller shapes. Thus the artist strives to overcome visual complacency, appealing to geometric and pattern perceptions, selecting from more universal principles of the art form.

near Drachten landscape Netherlands Jiddje Straatsma

If I had to boil it all down to a few words, I would choose control and harmony. The former underlies and supports the latter, in a way reflecting a wish not to interfere with nature, though both traits, of course, have been masterminded. There is a general sense that everything is right where it’s supposed to be; the natural viewing angle and warm palette make for a releasing viewing experience. These paintings project an objective introduction to the artist’s habitat and offer a warm and instructive welcome.

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