C’est en plein pour Moi or Outdoors in English

Jeanette Olyhoek – En Plein Air


Solo Exhibition: Jeanette Olyhoek, curated by Art Historian Wouter Maas

C’est en plein pour Moi

It’s Right for Me / The Outdoors is for me / It's full for me

‘Every canvas is a journey all its own.’

-Helen Frankenthaler

Reading Time: 5 minutes 

Zoutelande II (2019). Jeanette Olyhoek. Oil on Canvas. 40cm x 50 cm. Oil painting of beach, with shore line on the lower right of the painting. A stormy sky wit intermittent clear skies, dominates the small oilpaintings top two thirds of the painting.

Zoutelande II (2019). Jeanette Olyhoek. Oil on Canvas. 40cm x 50 cm.

Looking at a painting of the beach by Jeanette Olyhoek, it almost seems like you are there yourself.

The fleeing clouds, the rushing water. You can almost feel how the wind chases the sand over the beaches. Especially for those who know the Dutch coasts, these works are incredibly recognizable. And this also applies to other subjects of Jeanette. Paintings of dunes inhabited by grazing animals, of waterways meandering through the flat Dutch landscape, and of forests where you can almost hear the rustling of the wind through the leaves. This convincing feeling of nature, of being outside, has to do with the painter’s talent. But it also has to do with how Jeanette’s paintings come to life: they are made in the open air. Or how this is usually referred to by the French term en Plein air.

The Hague forest in Blue(2017) .Jeanette Olyhoek. Oil on Canvas. 60cm x 80cm 

Jeanette Olyhoek – En Plein Air

En Plein air, in English, translates rather dryly to “outdoors.” Now that spring is coming, being outdoors is becoming increasingly attractive. The feeling that we have to go outside is also reinforced by the past year—a period in which we were urged to stay inside. The terraces beckon, the parks are calling, the beaches are now screaming. The sun, the rain, the wind, the water, the beach, the forest. Quite a part of what we had to miss for months. These are also the things that Jeanette Olyhoek has captured in her paintings. It precisely because of this is why the work en Plein air so incredibly convincing.

Beach at Berkheide (2017) .Jeanette Olyhoek. Oil on Canvas. 30cm x 40cm 


The history of outdoor painting begins in the nineteenth century. Before that, artists were more attached to their workshop or studio for a few reasons. The materials they worked with were difficult to use outside. Large canvases, wooden panels, copper plates, these supports are much easier to paint indoors than outdoors, and they are not all easy to move around. Then the paint. Students often made it in the studio from pigments, oil and other additives. It could take quite some time for such a student to have something worthwhile finally. This paint also dried slowly; this could even take months. And another thing that the landscape painter works within a distinction of that en Plein air: in the studio, he or she painted not so much what he saw, but what he or she thought he or she had seen.

Beach pleasure at Katwijk (2018). Jeanette Olyhoek. Oil on Canvas. 40cm x 50cm.

Until 27 June, the Teylers Museum has a large retrospective of the painter John Constable (1776-1837). This landscape painter was a romantic artist, one who wanted to depict nature as faithfully as possible. For this, he started painting outdoors later in his career. He was one of the first true peintres de Plein air. At the beginning of the nineteenth century, this mainly concerned sketches in oil paint (often on paper), which later served in the studio as the basis for a more considerable work on canvas.

Zee (2019). Jeanette Olyhoek. Oil on Canvas. 70cm x 90cm.

Various inventions in the nineteenth century made it easier to paint outdoors. The development of the paint tube meant that many colours were immediately available to the painter. There was just a palette between paint and canvas. In addition, these canvases became easier to transport, and the portable easel played a large part in the move outside. There is a growing interest in nature and its landscape from both artist and viewer. Direct observation became important. The display of natural phenomena such as changing sunlight and weather conditions became a fascination. However, it must be said that the studio was never wholly abandoned; works were sometimes only completed there, and with large canvases working outdoors was quite inconvenient. 

Grote Grazers bij Berkheide (2019). Jeanette Olyhoek. Oil on Canvas. 40cm x 50cm.

Constable was most imitated in France. Large groups of painters went out and captured landscapes in Normandy, Fontainebleau, but Barbizon is especially famous. The artists best known for working en Plein air are probably the Impressionists. They were about catching the light, the changing circumstances that could be captured by the sun and the weather, about colour, about feeling. Their loose brush touch and softness often characterize their paintings.

Tocht bij Voorlinden (2017). Jeanette Olyhoek. Oil on Canvas. 40cm x 50cm.

It is known that Monet even took to the water in a boat to paint and that later Vincent van Gogh worked on his art in wind and rain. In the Netherlands itself, it is mainly the members of the Hague School who chose to go outside. It is unknown whether it was due to the Dutch weather, but the works they made in the open-air mainly served as examples for larger artworks from the studio.


Tocht bij de Horsten Wassenaar. Jeanette Olyhoek. Oil on Canvas. 40cm x 50cm.

With her way of working, Jeanette Olyhoek puts herself in the tradition of the Impressionists. When you look at her work, you see the same fascination for light, weather, catching the atmosphere, the loose touch. Yet her paintings are not to be confused with those of her nineteenth-century soul mates; she has her own style and use of colour.


Her brush use feels intuitive. It is loosely used to depict the turbulent weather on the Dutch coasts, show the forests’ coolness, and portray the tranquillity of the wide, flat views. The feeling that Jeanette is central to this. Or as Paul Cézanne put it: “painting from nature is not copying the object; it is the realization of your feeling. “.


Jeanette’s works in this exhibition are a permanent promise of spring. It will always come, and we will go out and feel the warmth of the sun again. Not only will this be a message to hold on to in the dark winter months, but also in this time of being gated at home, the works of Jeanette Olyhoek offer a world to get lost in.

De Manteling Domburg (2018). Jeanette Olyhoek. Oil on Canvas. 30cm x 40cm.

About the Artist: Jeanette Olyhoek

Jeanette Olyhoek is a Dutch "en Plein air" oil painter. Most often from the dunes and the sea near Wassenaar, The Netherlands. 

 Jeanette paints for hours until it was done, capturing the moving nature of the beach, waves and clouds. Jeanette also sculpts, using the Waist Direct method, a method in which you let yourself be guided by the stone and therefore never know exactly what will arise. She directly employs this techniques of intuitively following the material until there is balance in her paintings as well.

About the Curator: Wouter Maas

Wouter is an Art Historian based in Amsterdam, The Netherlands. He has a Master in Art History from Amsterdam University. Wouter first studied to become a doctor but has dedicated himself to the arts. He describes the art at the gallery through his specialist lense of late Medieval and Early Modern Art Historian. He is also an active member in several social movement projects.

You can read an interview about him here.

Art Historian: Wouter Maas. Curator of Jeanette Olyhoek's solo exhibition

The Paintings

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All paintings are for sale.