About Renate

Renate van Dongen

“Animals are my greatest source of inspiration and the main subject of my paintings. Their honesty and pureness is something I love; there are no masks they're hiding behind. I feel at ease around them and that’s why I love to paint them.

Before I start I often have an idea and picture in my head, which I focus on. For instance, in my bird paintings my main aim was to suggest movement. I associate birds in the sky with freedom, which is what I wanted to convey in my watercolours.

Colour only matters to me if it has a clear function, for instance if it is a specific characteristic of a certain type of animal breed. I try to find and visit places that have the animals to take photos and make small sketches which I later on use for my paintings. My works are realistic, but painted loosely and spontaneously. I strive for a misty atmosphere with a few sharper details. The final step in my watercolours is to add playful lines which is done by letting a special brush ‘dance’ across the painting.

I love painting on wood with a smooth surface. I prep my own panels, which has the advantage that I can decide the dimensions of my work. But I also work on ready-made Ampersand claybord, which is hardboard with an ultra-smooth kaolin clay ground. My work and the intensity of the colours require many layers. On both surfaces I can play with the water and pigments and just have fun. It’s unpredictable and the results are always a surprise and unique, but that’s exactly why I love watercolour so much.”


2021: nominated for Cultuurprijs Halderberge 2021

2021: awarded 'Finalist Award Certificate Highly Commended' of International Watercolour Masters

2021: represented by Aquarel Art Gallery, Zutphen

2021: 'Kitto&Jarkko' selected for the Readers' Competition in The Art of Watercolour Magazine

2019: winner of Jumbish International Online HorseArt contest 2019

2018: member of IWS Holland - International Watercolour Societ

2018: awarded certificate ‘Among best 50’ of GAWA International Watercolor Online Contest 2018

2018: article in the magazine The Art of Watercolour

2017: followed an online course with the internationally renowned watercolour artist Janine Gallizia

Since 2015: start of Grafieto; teaching drawing and painting workshops at primary schools

Since 2014: exhibiting in group shows

Since 2013: followed various watercolour workshops

2008-2014: trained in Classical Drawing at IKO Academie in Hoogstraten, Belgium