A graduate of the Parsons School of Design, Bob Hiemstra has always had an eye for composition. While working in editorial and catalog advertising for many years, Hiemstra developed his signature talent to create scenes that are both familiar and original. Hiemstra’s talents aided successful national campaigns in magazines like American Homestyle and large-scale advertisers like Macy’s. His study of both photography and illustration allowed for a wide portfolio of work across mediums. In the latter part of his career, Hiemstra found his way back to painting. Recent work, in particular, highlights the artist’s aptitude for translating emotive scenes of both people and places to paper.
In his shadowy and loose figure paintings, Hiemstra strikes a delicate balance, depicting abstract versions of scenes familiar—allowing viewers to identify not only with his subjects but also with the spaces he leaves unfilled. The people he paints are depicted with a certain softness and compositional effortlessness that invite viewers in. Working with oil paint, oil stick and gouache, Hiemstra’s evocative works merge line, form, figure and shadow in unanticipated ways. Through fluid lines, pops of unexpected color and, at times, unusual configurations, Hiemstra’s pieces invite unhurried enjoyment and reflection.
A resident of Maine and Florida, the artist’s formative works are inspired by the landscapes around him. Scenes of foggy Maine mornings and seaside squalls come to life with muted tones and a resilience familiar to those who have spent time on the coast of New England. Other works feature beach days, coastal views and wooded picnic scenes.
Views from Hiemstra’s Maine home on Louse Island undoubtedly provide inspiration for much of his coastal works. A self-proclaimed modernist, the artist seems to enjoy a challenge and expanding his creative portfolio in a number of mediums. One of the artist’s many creative passions included flipping homes from Florida to Maine with his late partner and interior designer, Michael Formica.
Hiemstra’s work has been shown in galleries including the Hopkins Wharf Gallery and the Artemis Gallery in Northeast Harbor, Maine.