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Jaap Oudes was born in 1926 as the only son of Dirk Oudes and Ali de Boer. From an early age on, he was stimulated by his father to take up drawing. "You needn't go to art school to learn it", senior is supposed to have said. As a self-educated man Jaap kept drawing all his life, nearly always with pencil and coloured pencil. For al long time he was a member of the art society "Doorwerken" in Alkmaar.
Unlike Dirk Oudes, who mixed the influences from well-known painters from the history of art with his own realm of imagination, Jaap Oudes mainly looked at examples from folk art. The stories of Felix Timmermans and other Flemish narrators inspired him. From 1954 onward, Jaap also enjoyed visiting towns and villages in Flanders. As a matter of course he followed the footsteps of Brueghel. The world that he drew was nostalgic, childish verging on the surrealistic, and festive. Fairs, popular festivals and the circus are his favourite subjects, often situated in recognizable, picturesque sites in Noord-Holland and Flanders.
The first museum exhibition of his paintings was organized in 1977 in Museum De Wieger, Deurne (NL). A year later this exhibition was on a show in the Stedelijk Museum in Alkmaar. Museum De Wieger also exhibited an overview of the drawings. In 1986 works by Jaap Oudes were exhibited by the Helmond Gemeentemuseum, Museum de Zalm at Mechelen (B) and the Westfries Museum at Hoorn, in that order. In 1987 he exhibited works in Kasteel Radboud at Medemblik. Three times, in 1989, 1996 and in 1999, his works were on show in Het Convent (Beguinage) at Lier (B), and in 1993 in the Spaans Paviljoen at Veurne (B).