Outstanding new book "Light: The Visible Spectrum & Beyond" by two of NASA's mission media specialists

Tso Moriri Lake  foto P.B.Doss

"Light: The Visible Spectrum and Beyond"

(please scroll to next post - below - to see 
my painting included in the book)

"A visual exploration of the power and behavior of light, across the electromagnetic spectrum, and how it affects life on earth and everything in the Universe.

Light allows us to see everything around us, but humans can only see a sliver of all light, known as the electromagnetic spectrum. Here, Kim Arcand and Megan Watzke present the subject of light as never before. 

Organized along the order of the electromagnetic spectrum, each chapter focuses on a different type of light.

From radio waves, harnessed for telecommunications, to X-rays, which let us peer inside the human body and view areas around black holes in deep space, Arcand and Watzke show us all the important ways light impacts us. 

An introductory chapter describes what light is and how it behaves, while hundreds of full-color photographs and illustrations demonstrate concepts and make for a stunning book that's a joy to read and browse".
 Kimberly Arcand

 This magnificent new book is now available at bookstores, Amazon or Barnes and Noble



Here is image of my painting reproduced in "Light: The Visible Spectrum and Beyond"

 Light Sprang Forth, acrylic on canvas, 1964 by Henri van Bentum

Reproduced in the magnificent new publication, "Light: The Visible Spectrum & Beyond" (please see above post for more details). I am honoured to be in the company of Johannes Vermeer, Vincent van Gogh and Claude Monet whose works are featured in the book. This particular painting, acrylic on canvas, has an interesting history.  In 1966 it was also reproduced in TIME Magazine following my solo exhibition in Paris at Galerie Raymone Cazenave. 

The painting is in the Bissell Family collection, Canada.


Dec 3 is the 55th Anniversary of when my teacher and mentor Jock (J.W.G.) Macdonald went 'over the horizon'

December 3rd marks the fifty-fifth anniversary of the passing (or "going over the horizon") of my teacher and mentor, Jock Macdonald. 
Here's a link to a website we created earlier this year in honour and remembrance of Jock, called “Jock Macdonald Remembered”, to celebrate his major retrospective exhibition, Evolving Form, held at the Vancouver Art Gallery, The Robert McLaughlin Gallery and the Art Gallery of Greater Victoria in 2014/2015.

A catalogue was produced in conjunction with the retrospective. It is available at the galleries mentioned above, or on Amazon.

You'll also find on this blog, additional posts about Jock, just enter his name in the blog Search box.  This link takes you to a recent one in which I answer questions posed by a journalist about Jock Macdonald  -  the teacher.  http://henrivanbentum.blogspot.ca/2015/06/answers-to-questions-about-my-mentor.html


Dr. Wilf Goodman - humanitarian, good friend and early patron Dec 21, 1922 - Sept 8, 2015

 Picea Pungens Hoopsi
One of the many varieties of trees planted by Wilf Goodman
at Vanaheim

Wilf Goodman was a humanitarian, healer, happy family man, good friend, and an early patron. In 1958 I’d recently emigrated to Canada from the Netherlands and had ear problems. Having no doctor, I looked in the Yellow Pages, and noticed the name “Goodman” under the Ear, Nose & Throat specialist section. “Must be a good man”, I thought. And he was!

When Wilf learned that I was an artist, he suggested I go out West to paint, but on realizing I had no means to travel, he said he’d take care of it, and he did.  Wilf thus became my first-ever patron. What an opportunity he gave me, only two years in Canada, and I was able to spend several months in the Banff region of the Rocky Mountains! (Several posts were written a few years ago about the 1959 spring and summer in Banff;  if you search "Banff" in the box on the left, several will come up.)

Baldur, Manitoba - oil painting 1959, Henri van Bentum

In appreciation, on the way back by train to Toronto, I stopped in Manitoba to visit his parents and did an oil painting at Baldur where Wilf was born.

Also in gratitude for his generous support, I gave him all my paintings. Around the time Wilf was seeking a name for his new ‘farm’ near Shelburne, Ontario - -  knowing his Icelandic descent and his love of opera, I suggested the name “Vanaheim”, and he liked it very much and so named the property.

We stayed in touch through the years; every Christmas he took time to write us a lengthy, handwritten letter. We are honoured, thankful and happy to have known Dr. Wilf Goodman - a humanitarian, healer, family man, and lifelong friend.


Answers to questions about my mentor Jock Macdonald

"Evolving Form", the major retrospective of work by my late teacher and mentor Jock Macdonald, is now on view at the Art Gallery of Greater Victoria.  In addition to the website we put together in homage to Jock (please see post below), here are some answers to questions someone recently posed to me, which we thought we would share:

How did it come about that you studied privately with Jock? When and where was that?

Spring and summer of 1959, I painted on my own in Banff National Park.  Later I was guest artist at the Banff School of Fine Arts, where faculty referred me to Jock Macdonald. Jock was teaching at the Ontario College of Art (OCA) in Toronto.  So I returned to Toronto and enrolled at OCA, September 1959.  Although enriched by Jock’s Composition and Still Life classes, overall the system - with its focus on commercial art by the other faculty - did not jive with me. 

I aired my feelings to Jock.  He understood and suggested I leave the College, saying he’d come and visit me at my rooming house on Walmer Road.  So I left OCA in Feb 1960.

True to his word, Jock came to see me some Saturdays from May until November. His untimely and sudden passing in early December, 1960 was a great personal loss, and a loss to the art world.

What made Jock unique as a teacher?

He was a human being with an enormous amount of insight into the capacity of other human beings and with the ability to bring out in them things which many other teachers could not do.

He simplified and made you see things in a different light. He understood the need for freedom of expression. He protected you if you had trouble.

I have never experienced such encouragement and protection from any other artist or art teacher. He was a great teacher.

It was as if he carried a small vial of oil, then dripped a bit on the tiny flame burning within his students.  Jock stressed (once the foundation work was done) freedom of expression. 

He said if we worked with our head, heart and hands in tandem, the painting will show life and spirit.  Without the heart, it is only paint on canvas. 

Jock Macdonald had the unique ability to see things in us, our potential we did not even know was there, and bring it out.  Jock would never say what to paint or how to paint, but his words stimulated me.

What makes him unique as a painter?

"All Things Prevail", Jock Macdonald, Lucite on Canvas, 1960

Jock Macdonald evolved from “landscape to mindscape”, from the conventional and familiar to the realm of abstract, or not-so-familiar. He did it all – drawing, painting and in a multitude of media.  In all these he expressed his expertise and his ‘head, heart and hand’ approach. 

The retrospective shows how Jock evolved by constant experimenting, exploring and searching.  An artist, a human being, on a quest, lifting a little of the veil of the mystery that life and the universe presents us.

Do you think he is underrated in Canada by the general public? If so, why would that be?

Yes!  Maybe after the exhibition,  this will change this somewhat, I hope.  Jock was a kind and modest man, he was not part of the Establishment very much alive in Toronto in those days. He was also not a ‘pusher’’, amongst other things, that may have had something to do with it.

Do you think he fully came into his own as a painter in the last four years or so of his life?
Yes, definitely.  This is something I said a long time ago.  He believed that the process of an understanding of the totality of life, the meaning of all its forces, the unseen powers of nature - was gradual and very slow.

In the same manner, he viewed his life as a gradual development towards an understanding and expressing of these spiritual laws. He realized in the last four years that he was finally reaching the culmination of his life’s search.

His canvasses became softer and more spiritual in quality. Jock Macdonald was concerned with the idea about unseen forces behind all matter, and wanted his paintings to express this concept.
You only have to look at his later works – how confident, strong and mature they are.  He had found himself a ‘handwriting’, a style for all to see - - only to be taken away by “going over the horizon” at the height of his career.


Jock Macdonald suggested I paint while listening to music

In 1960 during one of his visits to my rented room on Walmer Road in Toronto, Jock suggested I paint while listening to music. Here is a painting I created while listening to the music of Felix Mendelsshon.

"Midsummer Night's Dream", oil on masonite, Henri van Bentum,1960, artist's collection

Here is another work painted while listening to the music of Claude Debussy.  This painting is in the permanent collection of The Robert McLaughlin Gallery.
 "Inner Reflections", Henri van Bentum, oil on canvas, Collection Robert McLaughlin Gallery (gift by Ann Southam)

Jock's death was sudden and unexpected.  He was only 63 years of age when he went over the horizon.  Here is a painting I did a week after he died that expressed my sorrow at the great loss of this exceptional painter and mentor.

"Drowned Sun's Glimmer", Henri van Bentum, homage to Jock Macdonald, December 1960
Private Collection



Honouring Jock Macdonald, artist, teacher and mentor

We've just published a new web site in honour of the late J.W.G. ("Jock") Macdonald, my teacher and mentor.  It's to mark the occasion of "Evolving Form", a major retrospective exhibition on Jock's work, currently at The Robert McLaughlin Gallery in Oshawa and, in June, at the Art Gallery of Greater Victoria. 



O  n the influence of Jock Macdonald
on the work of Henri van Bentum:

Jock Macdonald and Henri van Bentum both share a love for music, as well as an intense interest in the metamorphosis of organic forms, the hidden forces in nature, and the transitory elements of growth and decay in all natural forms and life itself.
— Harry Malcolmson, Toronto Telegram art critic, 1963

….in Banff Murray MacDonald sent van Bentum to the late Jock Macdonald in Toronto, who had tremendous influence on his development, and whose death was an irreplaceable loss to students as well as art lovers.
— Lotta Dempsey, Toronto Star, November 26, 1963

….that van Bentum’s watercolours should resemble Jock Macdonald’s oils is far from strange, for the soft, blurred edges and the textures of Macdonald’s oils always strongly suggest watercolour effects.

— Harry Malcolmson, Toronto Telegram, February 13, 1965

Completely introspective in his work, van Bentum is probably a born abstract painter. Jock Macdonald, with whom he studied, was one of the first to encourage van Bentum to develop his individuality, and it is certainly under Macdonald’s influence that he achieved his present independence.

— Marina Sturdza, Canadian Interiors, October 1966