Ben Lustenhouwer Portrait painter

You draw what you see, because that is your mission. People tend to think that you are sort of a psychologist, but that isn’t true. If you are lucky, at one point you will know… if you have managed to catch ones character. I don’t consider myself an artist. Usually I say that I’m a carpenter. That way I feel more comfortable. An artist creates something out of nothing. Yet, I can only reproduce what is already there. Working on a portrait, I go like this: where does this eye line stop… …where should the shadow start? Yes, about there. Like that. People use to think: eyes are the thoughest. Well, of course it is a skill. But if you have difficulties in making it look realistic, you should look here: The side of the mouth. This shows the model’s emotion. Honestly, I find working with real-life models… …slightly uncomfortable, because… …you worry: is the model feeling fine? Is this taking too much time? That tends to drive a wedge between you and your model, in a way. That’s why working with more people makes it easier. Makes you slightly more anonymous. The biggest trap is… …to work on a piece for too long. This portrait nestles inside my head. So, in the end it will start to look like itself. The more time you spend, the more you will recognise it. But you only recognise it by your own memory. Therefore it is important to know, when to stop working on it. I can only tell the next day if the portrait is good. Sometimes it happens, sometimes you work like mad without succes. And some portraits seem to paint themselves. Makes you feel: was I actually part of that? Those are very special moments, absolutely. The thing is: you feel just as good, or as bad as your very last portrait. For that reason I surround myself with older work… …because sometimes, you feel like you’ve lost it. It is necessary to feel someone’s presence in a painting. And this presence, that is a secret. Something mysterious. And it has nothing to do with realism, at all. It could very well be an abstract work, and that this mystery catches you.

6 Replies to “Ben Lustenhouwer Portrait painter”

  1. Maestro, me gusta mucho su técnica, tiene algún video en castellano?.
    Al parecer vive o pasa temporadas en España, sería de agradecer para sus seguidores hispano parlantes…
    un saludo

  2. Hallo Ben, heel hartelijk bedankt voor je vele mooi tips en werken die je deelt! ik vind het zo mooi wat en hoe je portretten schilderd, en leer graag van je… als schilder ik vele jaren, ''het leren'' houd nooit op… afgelopen weekend ben ik een portret begonnen voor een over buurman, die zijn dochter op 33 jarige leeftijd heeft moeten verliezen aan borst kanker… ik hoop zo dat het me gaat lukken, dan wil ik het aan hem geven als en gebaar van medeleven.

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