From the middle of the 1980's his work began to detach itself from the 'Northern Realism Style'. This new direction manifested itself in his work - it was no longer a question of stylish still lives that appear motionless in time and space.
His moving to a new home and workshop was reflected in his work. The surroundings - full of light and space, have given his paintings a new focus. They are lighter, livelier and appear to "breathe" in the southern atmosphere.
Since then van der Kooi has established a good reputation with his 'floor still lives'- steaming cups of coffee, baskets with cow parsley and glasses filled with water on his work shop floor bathed in sunlight.
Apart from his reputations as a painter Jan van der Kooi is also a talented sketch artist, this being reflected in many aspects of his drawings.