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International artistic insights

When Yvonne and Alex DeKramer from the Netherlands visited Bohemia Gallery in Ashland last summer, artist Inger Nova Jorgensen never dreamed she'd be participating at Schildersweek, or Paintersweek, an annual event held in Domberg, a historic Dutch city on the North Sea.

"This lovely couple came into the gallery, and we instantly took an interest in each other," Jorgensen says. "They love art, and when they told me about Schildersweek, I felt motivated to go. But it is just so far away."

Yvonne DeKramer is a classical pianist who performs regularly at Schildersweek, and when the couple returned to Domberg they submitted art from Jorgensen's Web site to the event's committee.

Alex DeKramer called Jorgensen a few months later to say the committee was considering her art. Then Jorgensen received a beautiful hard-bound book full of photos, art images, artists' biographies and information about Schildersweek 2008 programs.

"Unfortunately, the entire book was in Dutch," Jorgensen says. "But, along with the book, there was a formal letter in English inviting me to the 2009 week to be held in May."

The international Paintersweek is organized by Stichting Art & Performance, a group dedicated to Domberg's revival as an artists' colony. According to the event's Web site, the city had a reputation as a place for artists during the early 20th century. Painters such as Piet Mondrian, Jan Toorop and others were inspired by the town and the light from the nearby Walcheren Peninsula.

Professional painters from Holland and around the world are invited to attend and work in private studios, outdoors on the beach or in the streets of the city during Paintersweek. The paintings are exhibited in Domberg's Duingalerie through July, then auctioned. The proceeds fund the next year's event.

"Each artist is required to donate two paintings to the exhibit," Jorgensen says. "But I actually left five. Another requirement for the painters was to create a bird's eye view of a scene of Domberg."

Jorgensen chose a church sitting in the center of the town that Dutch painter Mondrian once used as a subject for her project. She also created "Domberg Trees" with India ink on paper and "Tower Painting" — a view of her turret bedroom at her Dutch hosts' house — in oil on canvas, among other paintings. Jorgensen's hosts, Ria and Willem Woestine, also provided her with a studio to work in.

A lover of music as well as art, Jorgensen painted musical instruments such as guitars and violins into her work for the Paintersweek exhibit. Jeff Pevar, Jorgensen's partner and fellow musician in the Ashland-based duo Bohemian Soul, joined her for the exhibit at Paintersweek, and the two performed live in five towns in the Netherlands, including Amsterdam.

"It must have been something divine," Jorgensen says. "It was like a fairy tale. I made so many discoveries while I was there. I see my life as an artist with a broader perspective. And many of the artists there were interested in showing work at Bohemia. So it looks like our gallery in Ashland may become international."

See www.schildersweek.nl, www.ingerjorgensen.com or www.bohemiagallery.com for information.

'Self Portrait 2009' by Inger Jorgensen. A self-portrait is a requirement for artists at the annual Shildersweek in the Neverlands.