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REVIEW by David Montgomery

In London we are privileged to be steeped in cultural life constantly drawn to the galleries and concert halls. But rarely are two art forms blended together to celebrate the young emerging talent that will captivate the next generation of concert-goers. The Yehudi Menuhin School centenary celebration did just that at the A&D Gallery in Chiltern Street later transferring to the school itself in the early part of July for the Menuhin 100 Festival. In the gallery sketches and paintings of the children by artist Geraldine van Heemstra were exhibited as the young Menuhin players performed. Observers commented that the movement of the performers were reflected in the gestures portrayed in the paintings. In sketches where the performer’s face was partly obscured teachers and parents recognised the player by his or her distinctive physical technique in the portrait. The event repeated through the week at the Chiltern Street gallery was a joyous affair recognising the often unsung devotion of those supporters, teachers and parents of a far-sighted institution established by one of the world’s great twentieth century musicians. Presenting the talent of the pupils in music and painting emphasizes and fulfills the enduring need to promote supreme quality in the arts. 

David Montgomery (newspaper executive)

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‘MUSIC ON CANVAS’ – a review by Julian Johnston

An artist can’t capture music on canvas, or paper, or whatever, now can she?

 

Musicians, of course, are another story, and that is what Geraldine van Heemstra has been doing over the last year at the Menuhin School, observing young musicians, and then transforming what she has seen into artwork in a wide range of media – drypoint, monoprint, pencil, charcoal, oil. I had the chance to do my own bit of observing a week or so back, when two Menuhin students between them produced a dazzling rendition of one of Bach’s Violin Sonatas at the A&D Gallery in Chiltern Street, where Geraldine’s work was on show. As I listened, my eye wandering from artwork to violinist, from violinist to artwork, I found myself seeing the movement of the performer’s bowing arm somehow conjured up with just a few swift strokes of a pencil, the raptness of the player’s concentration reflected by an inexplicable depth in what was on canvas, well beyond what might be expected from such a judiciously controlled use of the contents of the palette. I listened and observed; observed and listened.

Come to think of it, maybe an artist can, after all, capture music on canvas, or paper, or whatever…. She can.

Julian Johnston, London 7 July 2016

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CENTENARY EXHIBITION – a review by Zamira Menuhin Benthall

Geraldine van Heemstra’s exhibition in the Menuhin Hall of 75 paintings, drawings and prints, the fruit of her residency at the Yehudi Menuhin School, Stoke d’Abernon, Surrey, was a highly effective backdrop to the Summer Festival successfully organized by the School to celebrate the centenary of Menuhin’s birth in 1916. It is also raising funds for the School’s development appeal, since all proceeds of sale are given by the artist. Geraldine’s portraits of students at the School, aged between 8 and 19, together with a few portraits of staff members and group scenes, combine an exhilarating technical inventiveness with an ability to evoke in two dimensions rhythm, movement and individual physiques. The result was a unique representation of the life of the School, and anyone who has purchased one of Geraldine’s works will own an attractive reminder of this important year in the School’s history.

 

Zamira Menuhin Benthall, July 2016

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Yehudi Menuhin School – Newsletter interview
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ART INSPIRED PIANO COMPOSITIONS

CD release of Grant Foster’s recent compositions When Love Speaks features the artwork ‘Bydlo’.
Bydlo (2012) is dedicated to Geraldine van Heemstra, whose evocative etching of oxen burdened by a hay-filled cart inspired by Mussorgsky’s Pictures at an Exhibition prompted so many intriguing and stimulating questions in my mind.

Grant Foster in his notes about his music

 

…the tumbling menace of Bydlo is a reaction to an etching by the Dutch artist Geraldine van Heemstra (herself prompted by the music of Mussorgsky).

Michael Quinn, music and theatre journalist, March 2016

 

 Click here to listen to recording excerpts or to order the CD

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ART FOR YOUTH

For 26 years Art for Youth London has given art enthusiasts the chance to buy works from contemporary artists at the beginning of their careers, alongside more established artists in a major London venue. New artists are chosen by a selection panel which seeks out fresh, innovative and affordable work.

For more information and to purchase tickets visit:

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GRANT FOSTER – BYDLO

In 2009 I expressed my great interest in the art of Geraldine van Heemstra. I found her paintings and drawings imaginative, vivid and exceptionally warm. In the same year I received from the artist a drawing titled “Bydlo” that was inspired by “Pictures at an Exhibition” by Mussorgsky. I was not only moved by the gesture but by the sensitivity of the drawing. I was drawn into the scene on the canvas: a scene of unease; mystery; fear and of escape. This work did not represent the literal Russian translation of Bydlo: it cornered the unspoken, the unseen. It enabled fantasy to take hold. Who are the passengers in the carriage? What are they running from? Where are they going? Are they escaping? Are they lovers choosing a new life, a new beginning? My creative juices were ticking over and in 2013 I completed my Symphony for Viola; Piano and Orchestra: “The Tears of Strazon.” The last movement of my symphony is inspired by the drawing. It is not bold or forceful but rather a representation of survival and rediscovery. Coming out of the ugliness of war it is a statement of what could be.

Grant Foster
Composer

BYDLO – Full Score

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COLUMBA 1400

A Gift from Skye
A sell-out exhibition in Edinburgh where all the proceeds went towards enabling more and more young people from tough realities to benefit from the award-winning Columba 1400 Leadership Academies at their centres on the Isle of Skye and more recently on Loch Lomond.

“It might be said of Geraldine that ‘in self-forgetfulness is self-fulfilment’ and the same is so ably and often excitingly demonstrated in her art as in her life.”

Norman Drummond
Founder and chairman Columba1400
www.columba1400.com

Geraldine van Heemstra is a remarkable talent who on a long walk on a beautiful summer’s day on the Quiraing on the Isle of Skye realized that in addition to her already appreciated gifts as a restorer of pictures in The Royal Collection she could yet fulfill her personal vision to become a well-respected international artist of increasing repute.

That conversation on the inspirational Isle of Skye took place over 10 years ago, since when Geraldine has indeed fulfilled her dreams in a whole series of successful exhibitions beginning, typically for her, with a sell-out exhibition in Edinburgh where all the proceeds went towards enabling more and more young people from tough realities to benefit from the award-winning Columba 1400 Leadership Academies at their centres on the Isle of Skye and more recently on Loch Lomond.

Geraldine’s art in its variety and creativity in so many ways speaks for itself and it is no surprise that she has attracted a range of noteworthy commissions from her distinguished family and friends as well as much further afield, where the name of Geraldine van Heemstra is indeed increasingly well and internationally recognized.

It is said that very often one can interpret the character of an artist in the way that she draws and paints as indeed with the time and trouble which she takes with her research and subjects. What makes Geraldine so very special is that such qualities in her creativity are also manifest in her personality where she will be the first to ‘cross the road’ for another person’s child in any kind of need, as so visibly demonstrated in her and her family’s greatly appreciated contributions over the years to Columba 1400 where she is more than just a well-liked and respected visitor but also a true friend to many.

It might be said of Geraldine that ‘in self-forgetfulness is self-fulfilment’ and the same is so ably and often excitingly demonstrated in her art as in her life.

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DEVON

“We love Geraldine’s paintings, they are contemporary but also fit in a more traditional environment. We approached Geraldine to make three paintings for our house in Devon which is an old farm house. She visited a few of our favourite locations in the area and eventually chose to paint three different views of the main lighthouse on the coast. They now all hang together in our living room and it is wonderful to admire the coastal views from a warm fire-lit room. We are very happy that she wanted to travel all the way to Devon to do this work and we enjoy the works even more knowing that these are some of our favourite spots of the Devon coastline.”

Fleur and Adrian de Mol van Otterloo
London

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DUTCH CENTRE

Geraldine van Heemstra at the Dutch Centre.
Geraldine was the very first artist chosen to exhibit her work in the newly opened Dutch Centre in the heart of the City of London. The mission of the Dutch Centre is to provide a unique focal point for the advance and promotion of Dutch culture and heritage in the United Kingdom.

Birte Geesink
Chairman of the Trustees of the Dutch Centre

The vibrant colours and energetic brushstrokes of Geraldine’s paintings beautifully depict the Scottish landscape, and express her love of the Scottish Isles. The Triptych Musical Patterns and Colour Rhythms of an early Autumnal Trotternish Ridge (oil on panel, 80 x 180cm, £2,500) is an excellent example of the artist’s manipulation and knowledge of the medium she uses, in this case oil. Scottish weather or heather, mountains or lochs, Geraldine’s paintings combine a powerful sense of both awe and peacefulness. Varying in size from 25 x 25cm (£620) to 100 x 140cm (£1,900), each and every one of her oils project this sense of exuberance, whether you have experienced the rugged nature of Scotland or not. We instantly connect with the bright colours of Sgurr an Fheadain, or with the grey skies of Stormy weather, Quiraing,

Altogether different from her landscapes, the Pas de Deux (130 x 100cm, £1,800) from the series of Dancers, depicts two ballet dancers lost in their own world; through her unique style Geraldine invites us to hear the music and sense their gracious and harmonious movements. The Dutch Centre was honoured to be able to show such a varied collection of the work by this talented Dutch artist.

Birte Geesink
Chairman of the Trustees of the Dutch Centre

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EMMANUEL DESPAX

Geraldine is a wonderful artist. I have had the pleasure of following her work for many years and collaborating with her on several occasions, including using her Mussorgsky prints (based on Mussorgsky’s pictures at an exhibition) to include in the programme of concerts at the Wigmore Hall in London and Salle Gaveau in Paris. These musical portraits were originally based on sketches and drawings, and essentially Geraldine reversed the process by recreating prints based on the music. They are all deeply evocative, imaginative, with great flair, energy and sensitivity – Each print recapturing beautifully the essence of the music on which they are based. 

Emmanuel Despax 
Pianist

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GOBERNUISGACH

Geraldine van Heemstra is an exceptional artist . An exceptional talent with vision, courage , persistence and that ability of the very best artists to get you to see something familiar to you in a different light and with renewed energy and appreciation. 

Wonderful colour, line , depth and perspective and pictures that are thoroughly individual and uniquely her. Totally recommended” 

Hugo van Vredenburch

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