However, he first started working for his father, until at the age of 25 he rented a studio on the Bomkade in Dordrecht. There his preference for painting water and ships came to fruition. A greyish tone predominates on his first moody paintings. He learns how to use more color by studying progressive painters such as Jan Sluijters, Piet Mondriaan and Leo Gestel. He also occasionally takes over 'their' subjects that these moderns paint: the nightlife of Paris and interiors, full of red-pink tones, candlelight and intimate scenes. But it stops at trips, because his true love remains the outdoors and the water.
Botters on the water-Dordrechts Museum
When it was decided in 1918 to close the Zuiderzee, Schotel was continuously found at the ports of the Zuiderzee, documenting the disappearing Zuiderzee life. He painted it obsessively in all its facets: the villages, residents, sea, harbours, cloudy skies and, above all, the botter. Schotel was also a photographer and increasingly dared to cut off the perspective of his painting and only partially capture it on canvas.
He is doing well. In the twenties and thirties he traveled to London, Belgium and France, where his work changed under the influence of the French light; he was also influenced by the Belgian painter Maurice Sijs (1880-1972), whom he met around 1920. Since then, the atmosphere has been central: the mood of the air and the vast water. His impressionistic touch became shorter, the paint thinner and the use of color more harmonious. With this he brought more tranquility to his paintings.
In 1926 he and his wife settled full-time in Volendam, the colorful fishing village that attracted many artists at that time. Schotel had only one goal here: to learn to paint the tough botter even better, and to master it to perfection. He painted in rain or wind, almost always sitting on the scaffolding. Once the Afsluitdijk has been constructed, it will enter the waters of Rotterdam and Zeeland. From 1929 until his death in Laren.
His paintings are popular; people found it charming and civilized. Its 'pearl-like nuance' and vibrant light were admired. In 1944 he fled (due to the impending liberation) to Berlin. It was only a few years later, back in the Netherlands, that new work was created again. Less daring than before, but just as popular. During his lifetime, Schotel's work could be seen at artists' associations in the Gooi and Amsterdam at Sint Lucas and Arti en Amicatiae, where he was also a member. The last exhibition took place in 1958 in Kunstzaal Hamdorff in Laren. His work hangs in the Museum Dordrecht and various Zuiderzee museums.