From Ballet to Brushstrokes: The Intuitive Flow of Katja van den Bogaert’s Abstractions

“Art remains as a strong contender of how we share our thoughts and ideas. It has the possibility of changing one’s mind, creating other feelings and expanding into new concepts. Just one new idea can change a person’s perception and life.” –Katja van den Bogaert

by Heather Zises

Katjia van den Bogaert

Dutch abstract painter Katja van den Bogaert approaches each canvas as an extension of herself. A former ballet teacher, she blends the worlds of art and dance by crafting fluid shapes and patterns that draw inspiration from the beauty of nature. Van den Bogaert’s carefree and exuberant spirit is expressed on the picture plane through the harmonious interplay of layered and blended paints, which take on organic forms and captivating structures.

Within each composition lies a hidden narrative, a world that goes beyond the surface, communicated through the language of texture, line, color, and form. As van den Bogaert paints, she taps into her intuition rather than relying on conscious thought, allowing her abstracts to emerge freely, driven by instinct. Whether working on a large or small canvas, her joyful essence shines through, with different vibrations converging into a vibrant and multi-layered composition.

Grounded in the belief that she shapes her own existence, van den Bogaert seeks the harmonious convergence of the seen and unseen. As such, her paintings function as reflections of her personal journey. Within the walls of her studio, van den Bogaert embraces an intuitive approach to art, allowing the process to flow naturally. Her technique revolves around an additive process of layering and blending until the composition harmonizes with her spirit and resonates with her soul.

Van den Bogaert studied art in high school and as a young adult found it challenging to combine a regular job with a creative one. Her first paintings were made with a teaspoon, a Christmas gift of KLM. In this scenario, necessity may have sparked the invention, but it was also fueled by a strong will to create. The curve of the spoons delivered an amazing effect when she used them as tools to paint. Over time, the artist sought out proper painting instruments, as well as different materials and bigger canvases, adding more dimension to her overall practice.

Katja van den Bogaert
Katja van den Bogaert at her studio

In the studio, van den Bogaert works with acrylic paint and employs an alla prima method (wet on wet) with a brush, roller, or sponge to build layers upon linen substrates. She repeats these steps until she feels the picture plane has reached an interesting diversity of texture, color, and form. She then uses a medium flat brush to create stripes in several directions so that the painting does not look flat, but rather maintains a depth of space that triggers the eye in different directions. A bigger hake brush is used to finalize the last layers of waves, a process that can be likened to call-and-response.

Color plays an essential role in van den Bogaert’s painting process. She approaches the canvas with a specific palette, and once she is underway, the artist decides which hue is needed to anchor the composition. The result is a symphony of explosive color fields that activate the picture plane with their vibratory effect. “I love to work with bright colors, ones that look fresh, energized, and sparkling,” offers the artist.

Katja van den Bogaert
Untitled 2, 2021, acrylic & spray paint on canvas, 31.5″ x 31.5″
Katja van den Bogaert
Blue Magic, 2021, acrylic & spray paint on canvas, 39.5″ x 39.5″

In addition to color, the use of different materials as well as organic forms and structures are key components in van den Bogaert’s artwork. She predominantly paints in two modes: Abstract portraits and compositions. Her portraits are rooted in the knowledge of inner authority, sovereignty, and inner peace. Conversely, her compositions allow her carefree spirit the freedom to create acting on an impulse driven by instinct. “My creative process is not inhibited by my conscious thought but rather comes from an intuitive place. I create paintings that engage the viewer and trigger a sensory response and/or strong emotions.” The artist maintains that if given enough time, her artworks will come to life and become their own life form. She continues, “There is a layered story within my compositions, a world that lies deep beyond the surface of my paintings. I prefer when it pleasures the eyes, resonates with the people and really fits the environment.”

Katja van den Bogaert
Intuitive Nature, 2021, acrylic on canvas, 59″ x 39.5″

Van den Bogaert likens painting to her voice and her language. She claims it is the truest version of herself that is “A sacred communion of emotion, spiritual and physical presence…one that serves as a bridge that connects me at a greater level of consciousness.” In this regard, the artist views her paintings as energy cleansers; such that as negativity is inhaled joy and calmness are exhaled.

The artist takes creative cues from her native land of the Netherlands by translating its beauty and raw essence onto canvas. For her, nature, the environment, and the allure of water serve as a wellspring of inspiration. Her main objective is to forge a profound connection with the healing qualities of water. For her, water symbolizes a source of rejuvenation and restoration. It represents the highest expression of the human element, embodying universal love and higher consciousness deeply rooted in wisdom.

Throughout her creative process, van den Bogaert allows her instincts to guide her, unencumbered by conscious thought. Her art flows forth authentically, as an expression of her individuality and respect for others, all the while aligning with the rhythm of her heartbeat. Her ultimate aspiration is to craft paintings that captivate and engage viewers, evoking a sensory response. As one gazes upon her artwork, may they uncover a layered tale that extends far beyond the surface, a world steeped in depth and significance. 

Born in the Netherlands, van den Bogaert received a degree from the Dance Academy of Art in Tilburg, where she worked for several years before opening a teahouse with a friend. While she enjoyed running her own business, van den Bogaert ultimately decided to follow a creative path towards her passion: depicting her inner sanctum through large canvases that appear to take on a life of their own.


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