Simon van Leeuwen – "Face of a Clown"

by Cindy Paul

Born in the Netherlands, Simon van Leeuwen is a well-known and prolific artist whose medium of choice is oil. His work is invariably expressive, employing bold use of color, contrast, and texture in the form of blunt, heavy strokes softened by technically adept, perfectly blended colors.

Van Leeuwen portrays all the usual suspects in his wide-ranging online gallery: florals, portraits, landscapes, wildlife, and architectural subjects all have their moments to shine. "San Marco Square – Venice" is a great example of one of his paintings that features a prominent world city, and "African Market" is a beautiful homage to the color and ambiance of his adopted homeland. "Hibiscus" shows his control and aplomb with the broad, bold brushstroke in no uncertain terms. and "San Girld 2" is a lovely, sensitive portrait of a native woman in all her glory.

"Face of a Clown" stands out among van Leeuwen’s large collection as a real favorite. This is, as the title says, a closeup portrait of a clown’s face, dutifully painted in primary colors on a clown white field. The sad eyes match the sad-clown, painted mouth, and a tear falls from the right eye. But what is most striking about this stunning picture is an overlay of shadowy rays that completely cover the canvas. It could be the effect of a screen between the viewer and the subject, or it could be a device used for added interest. Whatever its reason, it took guts to do, and it really works!