Roland Palmaerts was born October 4, 1953 in Brussels, Belgium. He comes from a family of artists and grew up surrounded by paintings by his father and great-grandfather. When he was six, he won first prize in the national Tintin Contest. Roland Palmaerts studied at the Athénée, the Institute Saint-Luc and the Royal Academy of Fine Arts in Brussels where he received first prize in watercolour painting.
In 1972, the artist joined the para-commando unit of the Belgian army. During his army career, he earned several certificates, including that of instuctor and jump leader. Looking back on this period, he acknowledges it as the most physical of his life and one that instilled a deep sens of self discipline and endurance. These years also taught him much about human nature, as an average of one thousand men, from all walks his unit each year, « bringing their strenghs and their weaknesses, their courage and their fears, trusting you with their life. »
In 1978, Roland Palmaerts was assigned to His Royal Highness, Prince Philip of Belgium, during his stint at the parachute training center. At the same time, the artist was also finishing off the last Chinese ink drawings for his firts solo show, entitled « Men of the world ».
In 1980, Roland Palmaerts emigrated to Canada. He first worked as a designer and illustrator for several major advertising agencies. For four years he gave frequent showings of his artistic endeavours.
His exhibitons proved so successful that in 1984 Roland Palmaerts decided to devote himself full-time to painting, particularly to its teaching potential. With a solid formation in drawing and oil-painting, he concentraded on watercolour and for twenty years made this his principal medium.
In 1990 Editions Mortagne published a monograph entitidled « Palmaerts, the man and the artist », devoting 120 pages to his career.
Roland Palmaerts has had more than 100 exhibitions, mainly in Canada and Europe. He has also hosted over 125 television shows. He has disigned and marketed several artistic products, including two teaching videos which have been translated into four languages. One day he would like to show in Japan and U.S.
Roland Palmaerts is a member of the Canadian Society of Painters in Watercolour, the European Institute of Watercolour and was president of the Institute of Figurative Art for five years.
« It took twenty years of working with watercolour before I was able to master its fluidity, form, transparency, light, and a few other truths I want to share. »
Roland Palmaerts skillfully interprets the dualities of life and death, good and evil, with superb colour washes or rich textures; with vivid, clear or contrasting tones; with an abundance of subject matter or the reverse, a Zen-like, spare simplicity; with strong explosive gestures balanced by soft, languid brush strokes.
Contrary to most artists, he never prepares his canvasses beforehand. He explores the ebb and flow of energy liberally brushed on the surface, engaging in a dialogue with his emotions, ideas and techniques which allow him to « serve the emerging work, rather than be enslaved by it, » drawing the outlines of the work as soon as it takes form.
The artist uses the symbolism of music to express the philosophy behind his work « there is vibration and movement = music in other words – in every thing. The mind is linked to the subject like the soul to the body, the musician to his instument. Withour such communion, the subject is no more than a still-life … All the nuances of a symphony come together in a brief moment of time – melody, lament, requiem… Each one of us possesses his own colour, his identity, and creates his own joys and sorrows, chooses his own notes, writes his own score and then performs it in the work that is his life. As an artist, I first try to make visible what is invisible. I want people to see the music and hear the paintings. »