Almar Zaadstra is an Australian artist based in Casterton, Victoria.
Almar arrived in Australia at the age of 6 in 1966, the 4th of six children born to Sake and Ytje . They left Oudega in Friesland , Netherlands, to give their boys a brighter future in a new country, on the other side of the world. None could speak English, so there were many hurdles to conquer.
Settling in Mt. Gambier, South Australia, things soon fell into place,and Sake re-kindled his love of oil painting ,whilst working as a primary school teacher.
Art, was always in the daily discussion around the dinner table, and in the late 1970’s the family, [altogether], built a big Art Gallery just out of town, and there Almar started his full time career, learning to paint, frame, and deal with customers passing by.
In January 1986, Almar and Judith, newly married, moved to a tin shed in Casterton, Western Victoria, and built up a life together, raising four children and running their own Art Gallery in the main street for many years.
A rich source of subject matter for Almar , has been imagining the struggles the immigrants, and Pioneers of Australia went through. This led to the ” Early Settlers” placemats being produced by Ashdene, in 1991, with constant reprints for the next 25 years.!
This in turn led to being published by numerous other companies, which has seen Almar’s paintings travel around the world on all sorts of products.
Almar still paints every day in the same tin shed in Casterton, and is still happily married to Judith. The life and scenery of Casterton, including the rivers and redgums, have proven to be a rich source of inspiration for Zaadstra.
Almar is also known for his paintings of Australian history, particularly early farming practices, majestic river red gums, and early settler pioneers in full costume of the period. He was strongly influenced by Australian art and history. He works in oils on canvas, and his paintings are known for their fine detail and realism. He takes great care to accurately depict the costumes, farming practices, and other details of the era he is painting. This attention to detail gives his paintings a sense of authenticity and nostalgia.
His paintings are held in public and private collections throughout Australia.
“I am proud of my Dutch heritage and I think it has influenced my art in a number of ways. I am interested in depicting the Australian landscape, but I also want to explore the relationship between Australia and the Netherlands. I think there are a lot of similarities between the two countries, and I want to explore those similarities in my art.” (interview with Casterton Art Gallery-2018)
Judith and our children inspired these paintings , and now they have been turned into these art cards published in the Netherlands. Card deco