Bonaire inspires us in many ways. The dry, desert-like environment that explodes in bright colors the moment the first raindrop hits the soil and the blue shades of the Caribbean Sea scream for recognition. The colorful spectrum of cultures, personalities and human stories, each one more interesting than the next, and your own personal experiences are the ingredients of the memorable moments in our lives.
They are something we wish we could take a picture and keep as a physical memory. An even better option would be to have a painting that catches these wonderful memories. A picture you can look at whenever you like.
One of the few professional painters on the island, Henk Roozendaal, is well known for his photorealistic, sharp-edged portraits, visualizing Bonaire’s nature and human characters alike.
When Henk was very young, he was already interested in painting, its history and all the different techniques. Not by studying at the university, but only by teaching himself did he reach the professional level he attained in his work.
While struggling with school at age 16, his parents gave him an ultimatum, finish his school education or start working to earn his money. Henk decided working would be his choice. He started off at a printer’s and focused on the career he set as his goal - becoming an art director. Not by study, but by manual labor and experience, did he become the youngest art director in the Netherlands at only 21 years of age.
After 31 years of a successful career in this very competitive industry, he wished for a change in his life and Bonaire became his safe haven.
Long lost love
Henk came to the island in 1999, looking to leave the Netherlands for a place of peace and where he could be himself. Bonaire became that place. A place where he could pick up his long lost love for painting again. When he was younger, the style and techniques he was interested in were not in demand and not used very often. Years later that would change and Henk felt inspired to try and find his own personal style, using the materials he felt would be right for him.
Viewing his first works, you can follow his development from a cartoon-inspired painter to the painter he is today. Using photorealism combined with his own techniques, the result is the colorful and strong portraits and paintings we now admire.
An achiever at heart, he painted for days and days and hours and hours until, 2 years later, he was satisfied. He found his own style and was ready to present it to the world.
While he was focused on his paintings, he also joined a jazz band to play his harmonica. He became friends with Guus Gerritsen, who later became his partner in his first coffee table book, Portraits of Bonaire, Volume 1 in 2002. The book showcased portraits of people on Bonaire who are important to the community. In a greater sense, it paints a picture of the variety of people on the island and their many life stories. Portraits of Bonaire became one of the bestselling Bonairean publications.
Another of his great successes was the mural at Top Supermarket down town, the former Cultimara who had commissioned his work in 2002.
Being so visually present all over the island made Henk’s paintings in high demand. To this day his work has been commissioned approximately 200 times.
Working on marine plywood makes his work very durable in this climate and is the perfect canvas for his technique of sharp-edged and double acryl painted shapes in clear and bright colors.
In 2006, the second volume of Portraits of Bonaire was published and became a favorite.
Many exhibitions, solo and shared, from Bonaire to New York, made Henk Roozendaal an internationally recognized painter, something he is proud of.
If you are interested in your own painting that will be a memory for a lifetime, you can find contact information below. Henk takes about one month to finalize a portrait, beginning with taking many photos, then drawings and the finished painting. To view his work and to find out more about him, visit his website and his Facebook page.
His colorful portraits catch the character of the person and the surroundings perfectly. Everybody who lives, or has been on Bonaire, feels the familiar, warm hug of the island that has inspired many, and Henk, in the best way we could wish for.
Facebook: Henk Roozendaal
E mail: firstname.lastname@example.org
Phone +599 7176938