Five questions to Rosalien Toornstra

Five questions to Rosalien Toornstra

Rosalien Toornstra (born 1987) is a self-taught artist living and working in a small town near Amsterdam. Her work embraces color palettes and structures inspired by and found in nature. If you see a painting of her you feel the softness and calm energy.

How did you get into art?

From an early age I have been fascinated to bring colors, materials and structures together. It gave me calmness. I didn't do anything with this for a long time, until I lost my job in the aviation sector a few years ago. I ended up at home with a burn out, and anxiety. I no longer knew which direction I wanted to go. To come outside, to feel how it is to work with my hands and no longer with a computer, and also because I needed some money, I started with working in the garden of a farmhouse. During the autumn period I  encountered beautiful dried flowers in the garden where I was working. I collected them, and came up with the idea to transform them into paintings. You don't recognize the flowers  in my paintings anymore, but you do see their fascinating  structures. I found so much peace in collecting, assembling and working with all the different structures and materials, that I continued doing this.



How would you describe your style? What makes your art special? 

I would describe my style as warm, a feeling in touch with nature, with a variety of structures and materials. On the one hand the painting gives energy, but it is also calm to surround yourself with. It surprises me each time to notice how in all the paintings everything comes together. In some of my paintings, the structures are inspired by volcanoes. In others by the coral reef. I therefore find it special that I can imitate a coral reef with inspiration and structures from the woods and flower fields, so you can see that everything in this world is connected. I want people to actually feel the softness and beauty of nature through my paintings; with their eyes or even by actually touching the painting. The paintings have that appeal of touching, because of the materials and structures. So I would describe my paintings as abstract, warm and natural. A piece of abstract art, to bring nature into your home.

How do you go about developing your work?

My work is driven by intuition and the desire to create. I prefer to work on my paintings when I feel happy and relaxed, which has sometimes resulted in not touching a paintbrush for weeks. I now try to paint through all my emotions, because I know now, that it gives my paintings a new dimension of brightness (after rain comes sunshine). I always work on several paintings at the same time. Just what I feel at the moment, sometimes it's experimenting with new structures, other times looking for materials in nature or mixing the right colors. While I consider myself to be a dreamer in the creation of new atmospheres, I am able to translate those ideas quickly to paintings with for me the right textures, materials and colors.

Who or what influences you? 

I find my inspiration mainly in nature, and by experimenting. Something innovative always comes out of it, even if it is months later before I use it again. After working alone for a while, I need to surround myself with people. This could be anything; a visit to the store for some paint supplies, a museum, library or art market. This gives me renewed energy, but also, I do need time alone to create.

What are you planning to do next?

I want to deepen my style even more. Going even deeper into the depths of the ocean with the works inspired by the coral reef. Experimenting with multiple colors, because until today I still mainly keep them the same. Also, I want to spend more time in the woods and on the beach looking for new materials. And hopefully, with my inspiration from nature, I can give something back, for example in the form of a donation for the protection of the coral reef.