His studio was not large but had an atmosphere, which I imagined belonged to a studio. The light came in both from the North and from the roof. He was always working simultaneously on different canvasses. After the lighting of a cigarette they were put unsteadily around the easel and we discussed them one by one.

Thijs also asked for my opinion. He was critical and would study them at length from his chair beside the stove.

The wall behind the easel was covered with sketches, scribbles and studies in water paint. Against the walls, there were racks with paintings.

Whether there was a "wintergarden" or a "still life" on the easel, the first day I visited his studio, I do not remember. But I do remember that Thijs wanted to portray his youngest daughter Andrea.

He had many daughters and a son who was very young. For the greater part the daughters were in "their wild age". This was fascinating but also scary. They did not come into the studio. When I entered the living room I sweated blood.


Sketch paper

They were inquisitive, giggled, talked and called me "Master Bes" Thijs Sterk sat there like a tired animal trainer and came to my rescue: "Come on, let's go to the studio."