The triptych.

The above photo is of a triptych painting that I was fortunate to have been commissioned to paint for a yet to be build school in The Netherlands around 1974. Between 1973/76 we lived in The Netherlands. Before that we lived in Australia from 1965 where our three children were born. It was a chance article that I read that the Dutch Government had put in place a scheme whereby artist of good enough standing could now earn an income the same as carpenters, secretaries or civil servants. It seemed ideal as I could not maintain a life as an artist selling my work here in Australia. I compromised and painting pictures was more of a week-end pastime while paying mortgage and bills had priority. Not for me the life of a hermit artist behind the easel with pregnant women in his wake.

So, after selling up in Australia we trekked to The Netherlands with our three young children. I submitted some of my work and was accepted in the artist salary scheme. It seemed ideal because the salary allowed one to work on his or her arts and not worry about starvation or the dreaded knock on the door by the sheriff. In exchange for the salary the government would take on your work and exhibit those in government buildings s a schools, hospitals, offices, even jails . My commission to paint the triptych gave me three months of salary. It was done on three large woodchip panels. It looked very good and as far as I know might still be there.

The above and below pictures are of the farmhouse that we lived in while doing my art over those three years. It was an early 1700 Saxon farmhouse which during its time had stables and family under the same roof. It also had a large hay shed. Part of the deal was that the sale would include very old furniture that today still lives in my townhouse here in Australia’s Mittagong.

The last photo shows this farm again with our daughter Natasha standing on the wire fence looking at our Shetland ponies. It was a lovely time. However, the pull of Australia, the freedom of chaos, the wild growing weeds and so much more, including… and the rest of my family, got the best of us and after three years decided to return to Australia.,

How life can twist and turn.

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27 Responses to “The triptych.”

  1. auntyuta Says:

    “How life can twist and turn.”

    Indeed, Gerard, how life can twist and turn!

    Would you like to go back to Holland for a visit?

    Liked by 2 people

    • gerard oosterman Says:

      I have some admiration for my birth country. I mean, it punches well above its size, economically, socially and ecologically. It takes climate change seriously. It reaps its rewards for paying high taxes.

      Only thing is its rather windy and wet climate..

      Liked by 2 people

      • auntyuta Says:

        Are their parts of it below sea level? I wonder, how well they can cope if the water rises due to climate change?

        But right now, it would probably be interesting to go there for a visit? 🙂

        During the blockade of Berlin 1948/49, I was evacuated to Dülken, not far from the border to Holland. I remember, once I went for a long walk, right to the Dutch border. Borders fascinated me. I would have loved to cross this border into another country! 🙂

        Like

      • gerard oosterman Says:

        Interestingly, The Netherlands despite its small size is the second largest exporters of agricultural products.

        Top Exporters
        Country Exports (in billions)
        United States $118.3
        Netherlands $79
        Germany $70.8
        France $68

        Not only small and densely populated but about a third is below sea level.

        Liked by 1 person

  2. Curt Mekemson Says:

    Fun to read your post on The Netherlands today, Gerard, since Peggy and I in Amsterdam today. Tomorrow we leave on our Rhine River cruise. Enjoyed your painting! Did I ever tell you that Peggy was an exchange student here in 1967 in Goes, Zeeland Province. –Curt

    Liked by 3 people

  3. doesitevenmatter3 Says:

    What amazing memories! This was a joy to read!
    Your painting is so cool! I do wonder if it is still there!
    One of my grandmothers was born and raised in The Netherlands.
    Yes, life does twist and turn.
    (((HUGS))) ❤️

    Liked by 2 people

    • gerard oosterman Says:

      Thank you Carolyne. In the triptych I tried to reflect the boundless spontaneity that all children are born with. My own three children had that.
      Holland was generous to its artists at that time. It was a great period in my life.
      Nice to know you have Dutch blood in you.
      Hugs too.

      Liked by 2 people

      • auntyuta Says:

        “. . . the boundless spontaneity that all children are born with.”
        This is so well said. Gerard. I feel, all my four children had this, very much so. Especially the eldest daughter, Gabriele, who did get totally paralyzed at age four due to an outbreak of polio in Australia, when for a time no vaccinations had been done, because of some faulty vaccine.

        Liked by 2 people

      • doesitevenmatter3 Says:

        As Mom and a teacher, I love that! Kids do help the rest of us rediscover the world, the joy, the excitement and so much more…all positives. 🙂

        Liked by 2 people

  4. shoreacres Says:

    I loved seeing your Saxon farmhouse. When I worked in Liberia, the hospital bookkeeper was from the Black Forest, and his family had the same sort of home: man and beast happily living together. I will say that apart from the thatched roof and some of the best snow I’ve ever seen, one of the best parts of visiting there was our bookkeeper’s mother, who was up at 4 a.m. every day baking. And the meats! Oh, my.

    Your triptych’s wonderful. I had no idea that the Netherlands had such a program, to support artists. It reminds me of the WPA program here during the 1930s Depression. Artists were commissioned to paint murals in post offices, schools, and so on. Many of them still exist, and they’re quite beautiful. They usually were themed to reflect local history, geography, and so on.

    Liked by 2 people

  5. gerard oosterman Says:

    Yes, Linda. It was a terrific find. I remember seeing it advertised in the paper and after we drove up to it in the Eastern part of Holland near the German border, I bought it on the spot, especially when the owner included a lot of very old furniture that the farm was furnished with.

    The owner had nine children and was well off, had a cotton manufacturing business
    .
    It was so charming and had huge oak beams, old oak trees really, suspending across the previous animal stables with bed steads on either sides for the children to sleep in.

    It also had a bit of land for the ponies and two sheep. Of course, we had chickens and a dog. It was fantastic.

    Glad you liked the triptych even though the builders did a good job lining the three panels together making it a single painting really.

    Liked by 2 people

  6. auntyuta Says:

    I was wondering, why it looked like a single painting.

    Liked by 1 person

  7. freefall852 Says:

    I still keep Helvi’s gravitar picture in my saved bookmarks…it is one of the most delightful pics of a pretty and happy young woman that I have ever seen…I never met her personally but only on blog sites..but I still miss her.

    Liked by 3 people

  8. petspeopleandlife Says:

    A very interesting time of your life. Do you ever wonder what your life would be now had you and Helga remained in Holland?

    Liked by 2 people

    • gerard oosterman Says:

      Yes, that often crossed our minds. Helvi often felt we should have stayed in Holland, perhaps lived in Amsterdam. Things might have turned out differently

      We lost two of our adult children in Australia and that is still hard, but; who knows?

      Like

  9. rangewriter Says:

    You lived in remarkable times, survived your share of horror, and continue to adapt and adjust as needed to lead a rich and full life. Fascinating post.

    Liked by 1 person

  10. Forestwood Says:

    I love the look of the Saxon farmhouse. Was it renovated recently inside? 1700s is so incredibly old by Aussie standards. I can understand the kids wanting to come back to Australia, but freedom? What do you mean by that?

    Like

    • gerard oosterman Says:

      Yes, I suppose The Netherlands enjoy freedoms and being progressive beyond belief. I can understand you questioning that. At that time though while in Australia we did a lot of bushwalking and camping. That is something that crowded Holland can’t compete with.
      As soon as you walk outside the footpath in Holland the police will be warning you not to trespass. I was really missing the Australian bush and so did the kids.

      Liked by 1 person

  11. doesitevenmatter3 Says:

    Just stopping by to say Hi to you and Bentley!
    I hope you are both well and happy!
    (((HUGS))) 🙂 ❤️

    Like

    • gerard oosterman Says:

      Thank you for stopping by. I am fine thank you Carolyn. Mr. Bentley is fine too.
      My email has stopped working and I find it frustrating. Those IT things don’t seem to be stable and change at random, seemingly having a will of its own.
      Hope you are well.
      Hugs to you too.
      Gerard

      Liked by 1 person

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