Lines and Colors art blog

Jacob Kerssemakers

Jacob Kerssemakers
Most painters who buy canvas by the roll cut off rectangles in common sizes. Dutch artist Jacob Kerssemakers, in contrast, cuts his 30 foot rolls lengthwise into horizontal strips, 10 to 20 inches high, to accommodate his novel approach to plein air painting on long scrolls.

There is a short film by Roland Kemp on YouTube of Kerssemakers working at a plein air event in Kenya that shows his process — and the custom easel and spindle arrangement he’s created for deploying his rolls in easy-to-mange sections (screen caps, first seven images above).

In the video, he works through in an initial pass — drawing with light washes, rolling and unrolling from the right as he goes — then makes a second pass for final painting in oil and acrylic.

Kerssemakers initially developed his penchant for working this way while working in the studio with markers on blotter paper. (I remember my own experiences as teenager making long scrolling pen drawings on small rolls of adding machine paper, so I can understand the appeal.)

He moved from there to ink on rolls of watercolor paper and then to watercolor, before developing his process for oil and acrylic.

Kerssemakers says that a light touch and care not to roll or re-roll repeatedly allows the use of oils without too much lifting from the back of the canvas.

There are additional videos of Kerssemakers and his work on YouTube, though the ones that pan through his paintings do so too rapidly.

Kerssemakers has a website. Unfortunately it’s one of those multi-artist cookie-cutter sites, and suffers from poor presentation, particular for Kerssemakers’ unique format. His work would benefit from a specifically designed interface that would allow viewers to scroll through his long works at their own pace.

Similarly, Kerssemakers has had to find sometimes makeshift ways to physically display his unusually sized works (images above, bottom two), at times simply resorting to taping the longer ones to gallery walls.

I encountered Kerssemakers on the Outdoor Painter site, which has a more extensive article on the artist and his process.