luz bathes in sea of colors

Text: Gwendolyn Luijck
Photo: Anthony Verolme

Painter despite of eye disorder

Heemskerk * As if the colors of nature are calling her. That’s how Marloes Bloedjes – artist, painting teacher and writer – describes a moment of inspiration. She managed to develop her talent, despite of a congenital eye disorder (glaucoma).

Her paintings are showing seas of colors, purple trees, yellow fields, blue hills and pink flowers. “I’ve always had a rich inner world. I wanted to share it, even more when I saw the world outside of me worse and worse. That made me a very creative kid.”

Suffered by glaucoma Marloes was blind in one eye since birth. A couple of years ago the other one was affected by cataract, what caused a vision of less than 5%. Notwithstanding Marloes remained painting. “I was working on a canvas that was 5 cm away from my nose! To so the work from a distance I took pictures with my iPhone. I used it to find my way on the streets and if it would be possible I had used it to cross the street too!” A surgery was full of risks, but without Marloes would slowly become blind. “And that meant I could never paint again.” Hard to live with, Marloes found. “Painting is very close to myself. If I’m not painting, it is like I don’t exist.”

if I'm not painting, it's like I don't exist

The surgery, now 4 years ago, was a success. “The next day I secretly lifted the bandage a bit. I watched from my window and saw the neighbors living across the street all watching television. There was an important soccer game and The Netherlands were playing. I could see it clearly on their little screens. I’ll never forgot that moment!”

After the surgery Marloes had a vision from around 65%. That was a turning point in her life. She used to be a primary school teacher and there was not enough time left to choose a career as a professional artist. “But I promised myself: if the surgery succeeds, I will start an art business.”
In the meantime Marloes runs her own business Toverzicht. She gives art lessons to kids, teens and adults. She works also with Timo, a young man suffering from the Down’s syndrome. Last year they exhibited their paintings together. “Timo’s got a great fantasy world, but he can be a bit overwhelmed by all his ideas sometimes. Painting helps him to focus on just one thing. He’s telling amazing stories and he’s drawing his own illustrations. It’s a perfect combination, I work the other way around.”

Marloes has a more intuitive way in the the process of painting. “There are people who are afraid of a white canvas, but to me it’s an amazing moment. When I close my eyes, I immediately see colors. And moving landscapes, figures or abstract shapes. It’s a sort of kaleidoscope of images. There’s always something popping up. When I start working on a new canvas, the composition doesn’t have to be clear at all. The main question is: what does the painting wants me to do? That may sound strange, but it feels like I have no power over it.”

For example she mentions her artwork ‘Garden of my Soul’, that was painted on an old wooden panel. “I already liked it when I only had a foundation with a lot of structure and color, created with a roller. I didn’t need to go on, but then there came all kinds of botanicals, plants and trees came to my mind and I kept thinking about a female figure that walked in the garden. Some people see a younger version of me in her, or Mother Nature herself. To me she’s a kind of helper in an inner garden where you can always go to.”
The most striking about her work are the colors. Just like the old masters, Marloes has got periods in which she uses a favorite color. At the moment the color is yellow, earlier she had a rusty and a purple. “It’s all starting with a color that calls me. That can be when I’m walking outside, but also when I see a pillow with a specific color at the Ikea. That specific color stands very close to me, as if that color is feeding me, like I would bathe in it.” She laughs. “It sounds weird, I know. But painting means the world to me. When I had no time for it, I lost myself.” What she dreams of? “To give workshops abroad, with my boyfriend. That would be amazing!”