From 15 March – 11 May 2020 Le Hangar was closed because of the Corona Crisis. Teachers and Board missed the members as much as the members missed the Hangar – and to keep everyone ‘sharp and involved’ we organised The First Hangar Art Contest. There weren’t many restrictions, participants had to be Hangar members and the works had to have size ‘Raisin‘ ( 65x50 cm) or smaller.
All techniques were welcome – and the theme was ‘MUSIC’.
After an exciting race with submissions of an amazing quality, there was a first selection of 16 artworks by the jury (the teachers).
This selection was followed by a ‘public’ vote for the actual first prize and the Winner of the First Hangar Art contest was ‘the Dutch swing college band’, an oil painting by Els Bemelmans-van der Schoot.
Apart from the great honour, the winner receives an official certificate (to be issued during the vernissage of our ‘Music’ expo) and a well-deserved amount of publicity.
To start with this blogpost
Who is Els Bemelmans and where does she come from…
Els (76) was born in the city of Tilburg in the Netherlands. She is married to Berry Bemelmans, has two children and five grandchildren.
Now retired, she worked as a teacher with a Montessori grade and has done a fair amount of volunteer work in health care. Her husband Berry worked internationally and in 1971 they moved to Paris France. From there to Pittsburgh U.S.A and in 1983 they returned to the Netherlands.
During their time abroad they always kept a holiday home in the Netherlands, until they replaced that in 1995 for a holiday home in Valbonne, where they spend about one third
of each year. Their permanent residence is in ‘s-Hertogenbosch in the Netherlands.
Els truly enjoys her time in Valbonne, especially with the family and she also loves to travel to other parts of the world, playing golf, cycling and of course, painting...
What is Els’ relationship with the Hangar
“My father was a professional photographer and as a child I often sat with him, observing and being fascinated by his work. This consisted of retouching work and also colouring black & white portraits with pencils . I was fond of making drawings and paintings. As a tribute to my father I sign my paintings with my maiden name: van der Schoot.”
About twenty years ago she started drawing classes with charcoal and pastel and she soon discovered that her real vocation was portrait drawing.
She consequently followed portrait courses during 8 years. She worked with models and used pastel and acrylic.
Els discovered Le Hangar ten years ago and started following Pim de Jongh’s courses. She loves the abstract experimental work:
“where the composition is important but it is the free expression, when it hits you, that is the ultimate surprise and gives enormous satisfaction. It is totally different from the portrait style which feels very natural to me.”
Since last year Els also participates in the oil painting class of Nelly van Hijfte, which stimulates her to discover new techniques.
Her recent work is realistic, impressionistic with a free touch:
“Painting for me represents the beauty of the images in my head, which I can put on the canvas. I also love to experiment with colours
In general I admire the impressionists and artists like Kees van Dongen, Sorolla and David Park. They inspire me through their composition, colours and strength of image.”
About Els’ winning painting
‘The Dutch Swing College Band’, the prize-winning oil painting, was created during the Corona lockdown in her home in the Netherlands. She really appreciated the idea of the Hangar to organize this contest and with the subject ‘Music’, Els took her inspiration from fond memories during her times as a student. She listened to their jazz music and danced into the night.
She has done an excellent job, as the jury report says this about it: “it captures the warm and energetic atmosphere of the scene really well. I want to be there!”
The Hangar Board and the jury as well as all those enthusiastic voters, all congratulate Els on her first prize and hope she will continue to create her paintings in France and Holland for a long long time!