Unfolding Entities, Realms, Perspectives, Transformations and Resonances...

Saturday, March 26, 2016

Spaceship Earth

Spaceship Earth, painting by Olivier Hijmans, 2015
Spaceship Earth, acrylic on canvas © Olivier Hijmans 2015
What do we have here? Floating above the Earth.. some unidentified entity, emerging from or approaching the blue surface? Or lines and structures launched from the moon in all directions? An unseen connection between our home and outer space? Humanity reaching for the stars? The scope of this scene is simply as wide or narrow as the World view one projects onto it.
The idea of Earth as a spaceship is a tantalizing one. In the words of Buckminster Fuller: "I’ve often heard people say: ‘I wonder what it would feel like to be on board a spaceship,’ and the answer is very simple. What does it feel like? That’s all we have ever experienced. We are all astronauts on a little spaceship called Earth." What's more, he even wrote an operating manual for it!
I've painted this in 2015, hoping it will trigger some cosmic perspective in the beholder. What is this little blue home in the vast blackness? What is our responsibility for it? Can we treasure it? Will we able to reach out as one united civilization and contact our cosmic neighbors..?

Wednesday, March 16, 2016

Threefold World

Abstract landscape painting by Olivier Hijmans
Threefold World, 70 x 70 cm acrylic on canvas, © Olivier Hijmans 2016
In many of my landscape paintings, like The Climb, it may be hard to figure out just exactly where is the horizon... as may be the case in some areas in life as well, or in how we see the world around us in terms of understanding.

This painting, titled Threefold World, takes that kind of perspective to a new level. Sky becomes movement becomes ground becomes horizon becomes sky. There are basically three landscapes or realms here, and it's up to you to define how they are connected. You can follow the vertical line in the middle, though, and see where it takes you.

The Threefold World also refers to a similarly titled Buddhist concept, which describes the World as we know it as consisting of the three realms of Desire, Form and Formlessness. Very interesting indeed.

Meanwhile, in this painting there appears to be some overarching undulation going on, which may almost lead one to believe that these various layers of mountain ranges and horizons are actually moving, and may even transform into another perspective.

Using this kind of panorama as a mirror for ourselves, one thing it teaches us could be that it is never our exact current circumstances that matter... it is our ability to see their dynamics and to creatively transform them.

Monday, March 14, 2016

Sandscape 3

Photo by Olivier Hijmans
Sandscape 3
Playing with sand is nice, playing with sand and a camera is great, and playing with sand, a camera and editing software is even better... Now this pic is admittedly staged and overstyled. It looks like one of those polished eye candies from Instagram, and that's exactly where I put it. Overstyled or not, I enjoy exploring the realm of sand-photography, even if it means going over the top once in a while. The interplay of light, texture, erosion and color. In this case four little mollusks are featured, each with a unique color and perfectly spiraled shape. In time, they will be part of the sand they're floating on now, further enriching its diversity and depth of color... because that's one great myth about sand: that is monotone. It most definitely is not, as Dr Gary Greenberg beautifully reveals in his close up photography of sand.

Monday, March 7, 2016


Painting by Olivier HIjmans
Earthrise, 20 x 20 cm acrylic on canvas © Olivier Hijmans 2014

 "We went to the Moon as technicians; we returned as humanitarians"

-Edgar Mitchell

On February 4th this year, Sir Edgar Mitchell passed away. He was the 6th Human being to walk on the moon. Like many astronauts who had the unparalleled privilege to gaze at entire wonder of the "blue marble", Mitchell was awestruck at the sight. More than any other spacefarer, he was able to articulate his profound experience and insight at seeing our distant home suspended in star-filled blackness. He describes in detail how he experienced the fundamental interconnectedness of al things in the universe, including his own body and mind. It was a very personal and very physical as well as spiritual experience. He even said it felt as if the entire cosmos was like one living entity, and that it appeared to be conscious. Back on Earth, this experience triggered his thorough search through scientific and eventually mystic literature to find some sort of 'documentary proof' for his actual experience, and he even went on to found a scientific research center for consciousness studies. A very interesting, sincere and well-informed man, Mitchell was also very outspoken on the 'ET issue', stating that he had sufficient inside information to conclude that "we have been visited".

In any case, seeing the Earth from outer space generally seems to open one's mind to the infinite preciousness of life and nature, the insanity of war, the pointlessness of such concepts as 'borders' and, at the same time, it seems to evoke a sense the great cosmic potential of Human civilization. In the words of Edgar Mitchell: "Thát's a 'wow'..."

I painted 'Earthrise' in 2014, and have now decided to dedicate it to the late Edgar Mitchell, whose integrity, research and vision will always be a great source of inspiration for me.

Saturday, March 5, 2016

Warp 5

Pebbles & Clouds, photo by Olivier Hijmans
Warp 5
Took and slightly manipulated this pic today in the completely soaked garden of Naturalis Biodiversity Center in Leiden. Pebbles & Clouds would be an apt title, and it fits nicely into my "warped surroundings and reflections" series. Again, as I noted earlier, the central idea of these disorienting pictures is to fold dimensions, amalgamate elements, and achieve painting-like qualities from an otherwise ordinary scene. Or in other words, to transform a mostly unnoticed reflection into an otherworldly realm. To me, photography, or visual art for that matter, is not so much about technique or object.. it is about vision.

Thursday, March 3, 2016

The Meeting

Abstract painting by Olivier Hijmans
The Meeting, acrylic on panel, © Olivier Hijmans 2010
That time and that place
Harmonious and awkward
They happen to be

'The Meeting', which I painted in 2010, has always been personal favorite of mine. But why? I think it is precisely because in certain respects it playfully deviates from my 'regular' style, though only slightly so. It is one of those scenes that has what I call a 'slow fade-in of humor', meaning that the longer you examine it, the funnier it becomes. To me it represents a happy bunch, sort of awkwardly posing for the occasion, yet assuming a kind of natural and effortless harmony together. Sometimes there is this beautiful and unexpected rhythm or resonance within a group composed of seemingly random people, showing that indeed they would have been randomly composed, except for this occasion. Or something like that. I guess I am referring to what is explained in Buddhism as the distinction between the 'provisional' and the 'true' nature of a person or a situation. I will stop here, because this painting could make me go on for many pages..

Wednesday, March 2, 2016

The Climb

Painting by Olivier Hijmans
The Climb, 30 x 30 cm acrylic on canvas, © Olivier Hijmans 2016
Mountains have always been a source of inspiration for me. I love mountains. Perhaps because where I live, we don't have any. To me, mountains are magic, massive, majestic, magnetic entities. They call out to me: "Climb me!". Whenever I see a mountain or mountainous landscape, I get exited. And I want to scale it. And when you do, I found three things generally happen: You get to enjoy the wonderful vistas and colors of the land, unfolding under your feet step by step. Then, to your great challenge/annoyance you get to find out that there's always yet another peak beyond the one you're looking at. And when you pursue, you'll get this irreplaceable sense of fulfillment. In the end, I feel mountains teach us to challenge ourselves, broaden our horizons and become unshakable...