Jan Ernst Douma was born May 29 1946 at Delft. At the age of 16 he enrolled at the Rotterdam Academy of Visual Arts, dept. of Advertisement and Graphic Design. 

His love for observing the landscape gets form and substance under the influence of one of his teachers, Dordrecht painter Otto Dicke (1918 – 1984), whose work he still values greatly.

After graduating he worked as a graphic designer and illustrator for some years. Shocked by the hard-boiled atmosphere in the advertising business he came to develop his artistic calling more and more. Exebitions of mainly watercolour landscape paintings have been the result.

Gradually he realises that the experiences gained must be shared and he acquires a number of teaching qualifications in the visual arts.

Supported by a couple of years of practical experience in varied forms of visual arts he decides to go on studying for secondary and higher degrees in drawing and art history at the Royal Academy of Visual Arts at the Hague in 1973.

To this day he has been able to combine his own artistic calling with teaching the arts.

He finds inspiration too, at Davos, Switzerland, not only in the surrounding mountains but also in working with pupils and patients put under his trust.

Back in the Netherlands he keeps feeling the need to share his knowledge, and even more so the fun in being artistically and visually occupied, with student all through secondary and higher education.

This resulted in a five year teacher training career at the Academy of Visual Arts. the ‘Academy Minerva’, at Groningen.

The rest of his time and the holidays is devoted to his great passion: landscape painting.

In 1991, for a prolonged time during the summer months, he withdraws into seclusion on the Groningen shallows: “for some time now not together with and for others…”. Douma seeks the challenge consiously. After having painted for years in the mountains, his choice is now the infinite and always present horizon of the Groningen polder and shallows. The result is a great number of paintings of the area between Noordpolderzijl and Eemshaven. 

Self portrait with son Atse (oil painting)

This intense experience has had such an influence on Douma, that for maximum inspiration, he plans another lonely and prolonged working visit to the same area the following summer.

In 1992 he is a temporary visitor to the village of Loo near Arnhem. This visit to the riverscape of Waal, Rhine and IJssel appears enough of a source for a series of acrylic paintings

The latest of these painting safaris brings him to the Dutch coast near Sint Maartenszee, to Ameland and to the Maas basin in Limburg.

In the late 1990’s Jan Ernst lets inspiration, along with the flow of youthful memories, take him to the light of the Mediterrenean. His months-long sabbatical is spent in the (sub-)tropical heat of the islands of Ibiza and Malta.

These foreign visits do not keep him back from proving his passion for painting “Stad en Ommelanden” (Groningen: Town and Province).

Wouter van der Vorst, acrylic 2017