Portrait Hesther

Hesther van Doornum BA (1973) | Independent Contemporary Artist | Member of the BKKC ( Brabant Knowledge Centre for Art & Culture) | Member of the NABK (National Association of Expressive Artists | Member of Pictoright | Her work is included in both business and private collections around the world.

Hesther studied Fine Art in Education at the Amsterdam University of Arts, NL | Concept & Product-Styling at the Artemis Styling Academy, Amsterdam, NL  | Cultural Management at Art & Co, Amsterdam, NL.
Curriculum Vitae (CV) Hesther van Doornum – INT-2024

Women on canvas

“I am a woman who paints women. For me, my work is finished once I have encapsulated the essence of the woman; when I capture a moment in time, a layering of emotions, to make it count forever. To stimulate the viewer's thoughts: what is she thinking about? What is it that I recognise? Do my own facial expressions show what I truly feel? To strike a certain look, an emotion: in it you find the beauty of genuineness and individuality.”

My art, my inspiration

No one recognises the female expressions of mind better than a woman herself. The impressions I capture are the emotions I have experienced myself. From childhood I was intuitively intrigued by how people’s facial expressions could reveal their mood and feelings, the tone in which someone ‘looks’ and later in life I was able to depict all these emotional nuances on a canvas.

A woman being herself is beautiful! The strong physical sensations caused by emotions are numerous and have so much influence on your physical appearance. Think for example of a teenager’s infatuation and heartbreak, endearment, sensual sensation, determination, love, emotion, despair, happiness, pride. And that is exactly why I never get bored and will never be done painting: what happens beneath her skin, beneath the surface, beneath the layers…? And what effect does that have on her facial expression? Recognising these moods in women’s faces never ceases to amaze and inspires me. I have to work on a painting, both in the paint and in the emotions, they reinforce each other….

Everyone lives in their own physical, emotional and social reality. These emotional clues are of course not objective and the emotional nuances are numerous. Because of the transparency of my characters, the background is the foundation of the painting, and therefore very important for the atmosphere; Just like in real life where your frame of reference, your own background, is inextricably linked to you. In the places where the final paint is thin on the canvas, you can always see it in between; symbolic for not being able and not having to name what you feel intuitively. It is beautiful and interesting for me as an artist to experience that every viewer of my paintings experiences the ambiance and emotions in their own way.


From childhood on

From a very young age I have been creative in many ways. I have been fortunate that these creative talents were discovered and stimulated throughout my childhood by my parents and teachers. I chose an HBO teacher training course that offered many different subjects such as flat printing, photography, handicrafts, textiles, drawing, painting, art history and psychology of the adolescent. Because of this I learned to work with many techniques and with all kinds of different materials. In this way I had plenty of space to develop my own techniques and way of working.

Distinctive dynamic image

During this study at the School of Arts I discovered the for me ideal form of expression of my creativity: painting. Since that time I have developed the combinations of techniques and materials, the tension between figuration and abstraction in a way that I can constantly challenge myself in. This gives the works a distinctive dynamic image: they can be recognised by the austere, capricious and tangible horizontal and vertical structure in their backgrounds. The brushstroke is tangible and visible through the accumulation of paint through the use of putty and palette knives in combination with thickened paint (sometimes through sand). This, and the application of up to 10 opaque and transparent layers of paint, creates a deepening in colour and an extra dimension. I have a preference for classical natural tones and a subdued pallet; with just a few colours I mix dozens of nuances. The colours are mixed optically, directly on the canvas as well as on the palette. This unique application of paint and technique give the paintings a new look with every changing light, season and environment.

From the very first encounter

The expressive use of colour, the composition and clearly visible strokes make the paintings a symbiosis of reason, feeling, sensuality and symbolism. The work enters into a connection with the viewer, from the very first encounter.

Selection of exhibitions

Scope Miami, Miami, USA


Red Dot Artfair, Miami, USA

Art Ahoy, Rotterdam, NL

Ik hoor graag van je!

Hesther van Doornum

I’d love to hear from you!

Hesther van Doornum