Interview from the master back in approx 1980.
Co Jansen is a painter from the old school-and proud of it.
The dutch painter learnt his art in the Netherlands and worked as a professional painter in that country before migrating to New Zealand in 1950.
Although he had to adapt his style of painting when he started painting in the brighter colours of New Zealand. Mr Jansen still paints in his traditional style
I suppose in one sense you could call me a square", he says.
He learnt the rudiments of painting at an artists studio, where he worked on Saturday afternoons.
I went to an exhibition when i was about 122 and I thought I could do this. This is how I began painting Mr Jansen says.
He picked up his knowledge of painting just by being around the studio and "then I started on the slippery road".
Mixing in my paints but also my attitude Mr Jansen says.
That is why, even now, I paint New Zealand landscapes toned down. I tend to paint them dramatically he says.
During his working life in New Zealand painting was relegated to a spare time occupation. It was only when Mr Jansen retired that he returned to full time painting. For the past 7 years he has concentrated on his painting again.
The only still life painter in the South Island, Mr Jansen is known for that sort of painting.
Setting up a still life scene can take 4-5 hours- Just shifting this a little and that a little to get that perfect shape.
His still lives are painted on a background of decaying and rotting wood.
For the painter the wood symbolizes loss of rules and morals in society.
It is a reflection of the growing anarchism and lawlessness. People today look at an exhibition and say its no good,that there is nothing new. That is not right. You cannot just throw everything out after years of civilization.
You cannot have something new all the time. You have to build on what is already there.
His subjects he draws from everyday objects.
I like to paint ordinary things, old books,shoes,old jeans. I like to imagine what someone might have been thinking when they read a book.
You see, there is a beauty in everyday things but often people do not have the time to see that. New Zealand life is an outdoor life. In the Netherlands, because of the bad weather, more time is spent inside and you see these things.
The still life technique and traditions of painting Mr Jansen is passing onto five or six pupils he teaches once a week.
There is only a small group as that way I can attend to each one individually.
The classes have been held in Mr Jansen's studio in a neighbors garage.
A new studio on the Artists property will be built soon.
As well as painting still life, Mr Jansen also paints landscapes and portraits.There are no portraits in Mr Jansen's exhibition because he usually paints these on commission and they take a long time.
Mr Jansen's last exhibition was at the Nova Gallery in 1978. It is the only exhibition he has held in New Zealand.