2023 Bastiaen Vries

video about bastiaen vries his paintings and work process

click for video

Self portrait of Bastiaen Vries,, oil paint on panel board, live painted

2023 Live self portrait, oil on panel


Bastiaen Vries is a portrait painter living and working in Amsterdam, the Netherlands. He makes commissioned portraits.

In 2022 he was the winner of the TV program ‘Stars on Canvas’ in the episode with Rob Kemps. He was among the top 10 winning painters of the competition ‘Painting of the Year 2022, and was selected by the jury of the Dutch Portrait Prize Foundation for the biennial ‘Weekend of the Portrait’.

During the last years he has been working in Germany as Head of Fashion Design, and he reignited his passion for painting and drawing, especially since the Corona outbreak. He loved working as fashion designer because he was dealing with colours, shapes, and materials on a daily basis.

During his studies at the Fashion Academy he was already familiar with drawing and he considered model drawing as one of the best disciplines.

Bastiaen was inspired by his great-grandfather who did oil paintings until he was in his late nineties. He remembers him painting landscapes and portraits when visiting him as a child. His mother inspired him with her drawings and paintings too. She was able to find the time to do it albeit she was busy with her work and raising two children.

Besides painting, he works with pleasure at the Marline Fritzius Foundation, where he coaches people afflicted with aphasia to paint, draw, and sculpt. Bastiaen admires how the participants, though troubled by a physical disability, make art, and express their creativity. It provides him a profound insight into how life could be; not always predictable, easy, and untroubled.


Painting portraits inspires me because human faces are so distinct, and there is a whole world to read in them: strength, pain, joy, love and much more.

I describe my style as ‘Human Realism’. Expressive portraits with a soul. I aim to catch the person’s soul and try to convey in the portrait both the strength and the vulnerability, capturing their ‘being’, and eternalizing the person. I want the viewer to perceive real people, real characters.

I prefer to work in oil paint on Belgium linen canvas. Like many of the ‘old masters’, I first apply a background in ochre, and set the contour with the pencil. Then I start the portrait in ‘imprimatura’ namely using earth tones, these layers will be also visible through all layers in the final painting. Then I proceed applying colours, layer upon layer, with transparent paint strokes from dark to light to reach real expressions. I also use glazing as a technique to get even more depth in the work.

When the portrait comes to life something magical happens, something that gives me the feeling that the person in the painting is looking back at me; almost having a silent conversation with me. In that very moment I feel I have come to the essence of the person.

At present I work also part time as:

  • Art Mentor supporting people with aphasia as they create art, at Foundation Marline Fritzius.
  • Coordinator at Atelier Marline Fritzius Amsterdam


2023 British Royal Society of Portrait Painters: pre-selected for the annual exhibition 2023 London read more

2022 Painting of the year 2022: painting ‘Adam’ ended in the top 10 read more

2022 TV-program ‘Sterren op het Doek’, Rob Kemps chose my painting read more

2022 Foundation Dutch Portrait Prize, ‘Sacha, my mother’ exhibited at Weekend of the Portrait 2022 read more

2022 Italian Cultural Institute Amsterdam: presentation of drawing ‘Pier Paolo Pasolini’

2022 Art Space Milano: two paintings for the virtual exhibition ‘All you need is Art’

2022 Sound Light Colour Art Space: three paintings exhibited at private event

1970 my great-grandfather painting Hendrik Hebo ten Berge

1970 Hendrik Hebo ten Berge, my great-grandfather

1969 Sacha Vries-van Poorten, my mother

photo: ©Frans Vries F3

I have been Head of Creative Design for various fashion companies, like Triumph International, HEMA, Miss Etam, and more.

click for portfolio fashion design

Furthermore lecturer and committee for Art Academies, like Artemis and AMFI. Coaching creative people and consulting companies.

click to read more