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The New Gerhard Richter? Meet the Artist: Koen Lybaert

Posted on January 11 2017


The abstract painter inspired by his rural Belgian surroundings.

We met with the artist all the Collectors are talking about.




Sought after by collectors all over the World, Lybaert is definitely one to invest in!



Choose 3 words to describe your work

Abstract, atmospheric and dramatic



What drives you to create art?


"Creating art is a personal need to keep sane; to give meaning to my personal existence. The time I spend making art is the time I feel most at peace with myself and the world in general. I take long walks in the countryside on a daily basis; the beauty and abstractions of nature is something I try to capture on the canvas. Improving my skills and technique to allow me to accurately recreate the complexity and atmosphere of nature is something that drives me."





Describe a day in your studio


I paint almost everyday. I start with my first session at my main studio in the afternoon. I work on several paintings at the same time, as my oil paintings are created in several layers and work by checking different paintings to see where more layers are needed. I carefully add to them and take time to see how they evolve. Creating an abstract painting is like making a conversation with the canvas and paint. Sometimes the paint tells me how and what it needs, sometimes I dictate the direction and result. A session takes mostly 2-3 hours.

In the evening, I do another session and prepare colour and material for the next day.

In the summer, I also work on larger works outside. I live in the Belgian countryside so I love to get the direct influences of nature around me.




As your works require many layers to be complete, you must use up a lot of paint. How much paint do you think you use on each work? And how long does each painting take to complete?


It is impossible to be precise about these matters. I always start with three to four thin layers and slowly build up until I feel satisfied with the result. But even then it is possible that years later an old ‘finished’ painting gets brought back into the studio for some more layers.

A painting is only finished when it ends up at a collector’s place. Until then, all my older paintings can disappear into something new. So a painting can be made up of anything from 3 – 30 layers of paint. On average I use somewhere around 5 kilos of paint every week. Some larger paintings can contain about 10 – 15 kilos of extra weight because of the thick layers of paint.





Do you plan your paintings?

I always start with a main idea about the painting but I often let the painting lead the way until a certain point. In the last sessions of a painting I mostly come back to a finished idea of how it should look. As nature is my main inspiration, I mostly put some extra layers to reflect the work on this theme, although this isn’t always the case; sometimes the work created itself during the process. I like to work in series but most pieces work as individuals.







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