Kees's work spawns from his interests in history, his extensive travel, his love of photography and his daily life in the bay area. While I was there he was working on finishing up a self-portrait from a photo he had taken on the subway while visiting NYC. He is currently working on a group of paintings that depict various transit systems. A painting of a trolley car in San Francisco stood out in particular, again reminding me of some of the Dutch paintings we had seen earlier that week. They are like Kees's contemporary take on the Genre paintings of the 1600's. There is a concentration on narrative and theme. This painting depicts a man and a woman crossing the street in front of the trolley, portaits of an urban society, regular folks. We also talked about his influences, from Thieboud to Vermeer; from Van Gogh to Oakland's Anthony Holdsworth. Kees's work deftly combines elements of California realism, Impressionism, and Golden Age Dutch painting.
Kees Jr. helped by painting the face.
Kees worked in the graphics department at The Oakland Tribune and, later, The San Francisco Chronicle for many years before retiring, and now concentrates on painting. He explained how things changed from one decade to the next, remembering when they first set an Apple computer in front of him and told him that this was what he would be using from then on, with no word of it beforehand. Can you imagine? The year was 1988; he was also studying painting with Holdsworth and (with help from his father) rebuilding the family house they have in the Sierra foothills. A real Renaissance man!
Rotterdam Haven, 1970