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MEDIUM Ink on paper
SIZE 11x7cm



Welcome to the exhibition


My name is Frank Verbrugge.

I would like to introduce myself to you on the basis of 7 of my figurative and abstract works.

  1. Tribute to Hera

  2. The soul of a portrait

  3. Connection and seclusion

  4. The luxury of not knowing

  5. Not everything has to be right all the time….

  6. The dark road

  7. The magic of happiness



Together they give you a clear picture of the way I work. And you will discover the quality I strive for.

You will also see how much I embrace both disciplines, both the figurative and the abstract. The emergence of my abstract work comes intuitively from infinite inner silence. I see finding that silence as the key to my creativity.


I love to fantasize about abstract works when I'm working on a portrait and vice versa. In both cases they reflect my desire to evoke closeness through my work. Whether human or animal. Or just an emotion that an abstract work can evoke in the viewer.


I once wrote about myself in a kind of condensed form:


with few moves I sow
small hooks I discover
new moves arise
in flow
me and the canvas
a dialogue in silence
rhythm and balance
in line, plane and color
the emptyness
In summary


Let me start with the portrait of Hera.

7 werken
IMG_9967 copy.jpg
Hulde aan Hera
MEDIUM Oil on canvas
SIZE 140x100cm


Yes, Hera….., what a sweet animal that is!

The loyalty, the respect she has for her boss, it radiates from her.

At the same time she is completely in her own zone. When I see her it's like looking at a landscape. That wise look, wow…


"What I love is how the light falls on her. I see a kind of snowy landscape with a track in it that finally runs straight to the wet tip of her nose. Fascinating!"


While working I felt so connected to that beast. I am not her boss…

But with Hera in the picture? I gave it to myself!


With this pose you only need Hera's head to grasp her, so to speak, the rest is support.

"The design of Hera is so beautiful, so clean, more background would detract from that image."

I chose the white, which consists of coarse brush strokes, which makes the background alive. The reflections of the light are therefore not uniform. That creates dynamism.

Right above my head you see a kind of spot of warm white, about 20 by 20 cm.

With that I accentuate Hera's feminine, soft and sweet character. I also wanted to make that character stand out in the list. It is made of beech wood with a fine small grain, which is also still visible. So it is not sealed.

Tribute to Hera!

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De ziel van ee portret
TITLE Leonie
MEDIUM Oil on canvas
SIZE 45x60cm

The soul of a portrait


"Until I realize that I feel the person through my own work, right in front of me. Then it's right!"

The quality I strive for in my portraits is that you already know the person a bit because you have seen my painting of him or her before. Is that person himself present in the painting? Is such a person 'unconditionally present'? As it is, and is known by its environment?

The biggest compliment I can get is a resounding 'YES' to all those questions.


Then I have touched the soul of such a person. That's what I call it then. And what then is that soul?

Let me say first of all that if that soul is there, then as a viewer you feel the closeness of that person.

And why is that?

By the right balance of all kinds of fragments. Like in this case, for example, her silhouette. Even if you didn't wear your glasses, you would still recognize her by her silhouette. Read: her attitude. The typical relationship between the eyes, mouth and nose is also decisive. Another anchor, as I call those fragments, is the moment in which I portray her. I want to portray her in a pose that is characteristic of her and in a relaxed rest.


The most important question is always: which anchors do I want to give attention to and which not or less?


I do that with, for example, the lighting, or precisely through a detailed effect, or through a contrast. That is actually the search for the right hierarchy in all that I could show. Points that I think and feel should draw attention to, that 'attract' the eye.

Until I realize that I feel the person through my own work, in front of me. Then it's right!

That's why I always start with an extensive photo session.


Photo session

In such a session I look for the somewhat risky word in this context, 'stripped down' version of the person. Not literally of course, haha!

I create an atmosphere that invites the other to relax and be who he or she is. Apart from all pleasantries, possible tensions, appearances and ballast.

"And I just watch and observe. Watch endlessly: how does she behave? 'Hey, funny that little subtle eyebrow movement' those kinds of observations."

I then get what I call a coherent image of someone. An image that is correct: the outward appearances correspond to how someone talks and behaves, the small traits illustrate someone's identity, I experience someone as an unconditionally present person. 'Time for the right photos!' I say to myself then.

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Verbinding en afzondering

MEDIUM Ink on paper
SIZE 11x7cm

Connection and seclusion

It often happens that I sit with a white paper in front of me and the white hypnotizes me, as it were. I wonder what will flow from my pen. Also in this case.

A few lines, nothing more.

That drawing illustrates my desire for visual tranquility and simplicity. I like the space of the white. To the serene. You could also label my work as minimalistic.


"I think untouched white space is just as important as the line, the color or the surface."

You can also see that here. What I'm crocheting on is that separate line at the bottom. That goes its own way, separate from the group. Isolated? Or maybe even expelled? Who knows… Or does that line need space?

In other words, I also want to create space with my work.


Now that I say all this, I realize that I am now linking more thoughts to it than when I made this drawing. Only now do I see that it represents themes that often recur in my work: connection and isolation.

I have always been someone who mainly observed. In high school I didn't die in the boyfriends or girlfriends. Not that I was left out, or not accepted. I was not a loner. But I only felt a real connection towards the end of high school.

"And what that connection meant? I later found the right word for it: unconditional."

Just being able to be together without necessarily having a good conversation. That silence is good too. To leave and find the other in it.

You don't have to acquire a high pedestal in the middle of a group, with all the bravura that entails.

I feel most comfortable in personal contact with people.

Just 'being present', as I also want to express in all my work.

<<< back to menu,or discoverherehow I did a nice experiment with a good friend with this minimalist work of art and what the result was.

de luxe van het niet weten

MEDIUM Ink on paper
SIZE 24x17cm

The luxury of 'not knowing'.


Yes, where did I start here?

I think I started with the brush first, so with those surfaces. Then go through it with the ink. Something like this arises while looking and from a kind of gut feeling. Here again skill, coincidence (so something that happens to me…) and playfulness intersect.

Only to discover later, almost to my surprise, that this is a wonderfully abstract work.

When I look back on it now, the word energy pops up. Is energy being passed on? Are strings being played? You feel tension…, load. I allow myself the luxury of 'not knowing'.


"While drawing and painting, I think it's fantastic to look for such a balance, a balanced image. By playing with format, line thickness, proportion between surfaces and white space."


It also reminds me of the visualization of a mechanism. Something manufacturing, something industrial. I remember when I was looking for a design course after high school. In the end, TU Delft was the deciding factor for me. I also wanted to understand the inside of a product. Technology fascinates me!

And that 'tic' is also very much in my family: stuff must be right, so it must also function properly!

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niet alles hoeft te kloppen

MEDIUM Oil on paper
SIZE ~12x12cm

Not everything has to be right all the time…..




I am very happy  with this semi abstract work. Of course, it is still quite figurative and, above all, expressive. But still… It's a made-up person. It nicely illustrates how abstract and figurative can interact. The effect of one material invites a certain technique, which in turn demands something that I had not foreseen.


If you paint a lot of portraits, you eventually gain muscle knowledge.

As an artist I know how a face is put together, which muscles are where and how they extend to your skull. And how I use that knowledge to portray a desired facial expression.

The amazing thing is that your hand will eventually 'know' that too.

And with that almost automatic, motor skill you can then start playing.

In other words, I can partly manipulate my hand, while at the same time it also goes through its own ingrained motoric course. It is wonderful to create intuitively and emotionally in that insane freedom.

In other words, this painting was created through that combination of study and freedom, discipline and creativity, rigor and 'let it blow'. Then not everything has to be right…..

And in that combination, this painting was created.

I then play with my own skill, so to speak.


During my career as a product designer at a large multinational, I developed a growing desire to create, draw and paint. As that hobby became more and more intrusive, I felt as if I had found what I call my original Self.


I would like to explain that.

As a high school student I really enjoyed the creative subjects: crafts and drawing. To me that was like swimming with two fingers up your nose. Close your eyes and just go. And getting nines and tens, that too. I took all of that for granted so much that I thought it was all too easy for me. It came to me so I didn't take it seriously.


An example.

Once I had made a piece of steel. The teacher then asked me: 'Hey Frank, you're going to put this up for sale, aren't you?'

I had no idea, putting it up for sale, why? That's not possible at all, is it? I remember thinking, "It's just my own thing, crazy!" It never occurred to me that it might be a special piece of work.

That teacher advised my father, who was my arts and crafts teacher, to give me an 11. It was of course a 10. My father was careful …….

In the end it turned out that I could have gone straight to the second class of the Art Academy.

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de donkere weg

MEDIUM Ink on paper
SIZE 11x7cm

The dark road




I really like it when my work puts people in a positive mood. There is enough misery in the world already. At the same time, work always chooses its own path. Just to name an example.

A friend of mine characterized this work with the following title:


The dark road through the coffee to the burnout


Just sayin…. That's something I hadn't even thought of.

But apparently that's how it goes.

For me, this work typifies my desire for simplicity and respect for (white) space.


"By the way, this beautifully illustrates what abstract art can do. It turns you inward and stirs up images and emotions."


I sometimes say: 'abstract art is figurative for emotions'. That's why I love both art forms so much. They interact and provide a fertile ground.

The two touch each other in my desire to evoke closeness with my work, whether it concerns a person, an animal or an emotion.

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De magie van het geluk

MEDIUM Oil on canvas
SIZE 29x33cm

Magic of happiness?




Sometimes luck is yours. Then it seems like magic.

Here's a detail of two girls that I painted on commission.

I'll try to explain.


What you see is an eye that sparkles…., SHINE! And that the eye is a sphere.  I create a suggestion of a three-dimensional (3D) reality.

3D suggesting is magic!

You do not see 3D because you look at what evokes that 3D. The aspects in a painting that have the task of evoking that 3D feeling in you are precisely those aspects that are least viewed in a painting. And at the same time, that is where my greatest attention goes. Likewise in the following case. Sometimes luck smiles on you. I'll reveal the little secret.


You can see a very thin gray line just below her eyelid to the right of her pupil. It came out of my one-haired brush more or less by accident and…., taaaadaaamm, let that be exactly the line that provides the shimmer and the bulge. I was and am so happy about that.


"The cast shadow of the eyelid on the eyeball is also not what you pay attention to as a viewer. But it is the key detail to suggest depth."
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