Henk Helmantel and 24 other artists are working on this giant research painting in Tolbert.  “Never happened in 100 years”

Henk Helmantel and 24 other artists are working on this giant research painting in Tolbert. “Never happened in 100 years”

Henk Helmantel and 24 other artists put their heads together – in this case brushes – and created a triptych together. But is it worth repeating? “It's the first and probably the last time.”

Collaborating on a work of art doesn't happen often, it requires sacrifices. At the same time, many artists find it very interesting to work alone in the studio. But every now and then there is an exception to this rule. Then two or three people work together on the work.

In Tolbert it turned out to be even bigger. At least 25 illustrators worked together on a single painting to celebrate the anniversary of publisher Art Revisited. The painting is called Poem by the artist.

“As far as I know, not many different artists have collaborated in the last 100 years,” says Ton Dobeldam (66). The idea arose during the anniversary party of a publishing house that prints cards and books containing works of art. Dobeldam: “The company was founded by a number of artists 41 years ago. It started with a white enamel pot, which each person painted in their own way and resulted in a booklet.

Dobeldam worked out the plan with the publishing house. The white bowl is the center of the work, and many painters have left their mark around it. In their own style. In fact, it's kind of a big research puzzle: find the right painter for the pictures. Dubbeldam put the finishing touches on the project and combined everything into one unit. “It's not realistic, but it's coherent. Every painter is given freedom, and you have to trust the process.”

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The giant research plaque – about 3 meters tall – can be admired at Rosed in Tolbert. Here is a selection of Northerners who have applied their “colour” to canvas:

Henk Helmantel (79 years old) from Westermden: Table with bowl

Henk Helmantel (79 years old) was one of the first to work on the canvas. His commission was to paint a bowled table, typical of his realist style. His works consist of still lifes, especially interiors of monasteries and churches. Helmantel: “I'm very fond of simple things and functionality.”

“It was fun, too, talking to others about the direction the business should take,” says Helmantel. Dobeldam can still see the scene clearly: “Helmantel sat in a chair and worked very meticulously at the table. At the same time, Jan van Loon was drawing in the sky with a rough brush.

But will there be a sequel in the context of the team? “It was the first and probably the last time. I'm not really interested in joint projects.

Annette Holsema (27 years old) from Groningen: Shells and sea stars

“When I was allowed to start, the painting was already well developed, so I wanted to complement it with something in the same atmosphere,” says Annette Holsema (27). The Groningen artist prefers to be at the beach She took shells with her to paint. “It tickles me to do it more often.”

She wasn't the only one. She remembers that Kempe van der Kooy brought sunflowers. “And how quickly it gets on the fabric.”

Benjamin looks up to the big names she is associated with and finds them educational. “You don't have to cling so much to reality.”

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Denny Bogart (61 years old) from Nijiga: A girl and a kite

“I got in later, so it was a little confusing,” says Denny Bogart, 61. “There was actually a landscape on the canvas with all kinds of things on it. I thought it was a bit colorless. Boogaart is famous for her paintings of people on the beach. When her eyes fell on the canvas and she saw the beach, Boogaart knew it: a girl holding a kite. A colorful kite.

This was the first time Boogaart collaborated with other artists. She traded her attic studio for the Art Revisited studio in Tolbert. But working with colleagues at the same time was not an option. Other plans. Disappointed? “No, then I can focus better. I won't get used to it.”

Jiki Hogstens (67) of EXT: Cow in front

“At first I wasn't sure I wanted to get involved,” admits Jicky Hogstens (67). But she began to look forward to it when she saw the early artists at work. “For our anniversary party I made my first chalk drawing,” she says with a laugh.

She chose a cow. The cow painter has a lot of experience with this. “I think it sticks out a bit, but since there's so little on the fabric, it took some searching.”

I enjoyed working on it for a number of afternoons. “I really like the result, it has become almost strange. But I feel like my message is not finished yet. If I see the painting again, I would like to get back to work.”

Peter Bander (61) by Franeker: Floating Pony

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“This was the first time I had ever done a painting with such a large group,” says Peter Bander, 61. He found it difficult. “I tried to create a connection by drawing a little piece of someone else's piece. You don't have to be afraid of that if you make something together.”

De Vries describes the floating pony as “just a small contribution.” It was ready in the afternoon. He is known for his images of people and animals with a repulsive element.

He's not disappointed with the final product. “It gets messy, but that's to be expected if you work with few guidelines.”

Eric van Oomen (67 years old) from Vries: The swallow, the piece of green and the sky

“The swallow is my favorite bird, I have drawn it many times,” says Eric Van Oomen (67 years old). “They come from Africa in the spring, they have a beautiful color and they make a beautiful sound. I happened to see a few of them this week.

De Drent had previously worked with a range of artists on a single painting, but not many others. But he would do it again in a heartbeat.

Although he was one of the first to start, he did not deal with the matter on a large scale. “There wasn't much on the canvas yet, so I didn't want to paint too much. There had to be enough space for other artists.

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