Wednesday, 16 April 2014


A quick sketch of the Orangerie, one of the small side-buildings of the castle of Amstenrade, around the corner from my house.
The Orangerie was a garden centre until last year. They were specialised in the most beautiful hydrangea (hortensia as we call them). I wonder what they will do with the building now.

Monday, 14 April 2014

Two glass pieces

We have been working hard on our next glassprojects.

Above the lantern that my wife has been making, about 30x30cm square. I made the design, but I did not make it easy on her....

I'll make a wooden plinth for it, and it will get a nice place on our garden table, under the veranda. 
This is how far I got with the Royal couple.
The figures are ready now, I also prepared a cherry wood sockle, I just have to oil the wood and assemble the pieces.
Which will probably take some time: it's spring season and like always: too much to do, too little time.

Saturday, 12 April 2014


I made this painting this morning. It's a coal-miner, a "Koelpiet" as they were called in our local dialect. It's an image from my youth. When I was young one of the largest Dutch coal mines was located literally around the corner: the "staatsmijn Emma". I grew up under it's smoke, and all of the inhabitants of Amstenrade and Hoensbroek worked at the coalmine one way or the other. So images like these were quite common back in those days.
The mines were closed down in the early 70s, and the government back then made a very thorough job of erasing all reminders of the mines. It didn't fit in their clean modern image of the future I guess. This painting will be shown at an group exhibition in Landgraaf, early May. 
I also show two early stages of the painting process. I prepared the wood MDF panel (12mm thick, about 60x70cm) withtwo layers of Gesso, and some tile mortar. Then I used transparent layers of paint, using only the colours Burnt Umber, Prussian blue, Ochre and alizarin red. And white. No black.

Friday, 11 April 2014

Alphons Winters prize

Exhibition tonight in the Kerkrade townhall.
This painting was made in may 2013, during a live portrait session. Acrylic on paper. Took me about 1 1/2 hour to make.
The painting was selected for the first round of the bi-annual Alphons Winters prize (for amateur painters). It was nice to see selected works of 35 painters together in one room.
I was curious to see how my work compares to others within the league I always wanted to be in. I must say, the average quality was pretty high, and some works were far better than mine. But in general I think I fitted in well.
Only a few works will be selected for the next and final round, but I will have no problem to "lose" from what I saw tonight.

Thursday, 10 April 2014

sketchcrawl 19 april

I am organizing a sketchcrawl again. I think it's the eight time by now.
In Heerlen, at the yearly spring fair. Part of the fair will be an art market, and we'll be there to draw.
If you want to join, assemble at 13.00 hours at the big tree in front of the city hall, Geleenstraat side.

Tuesday, 8 April 2014

Paint box

Isn't this cute?
I bought this ietsy-pietsy mini watercolour paintbox in Maastricht last saturday. It even has a brush!
For €2,50 only....
The brush is unusable, it's only good to clean an electrical razor. And the paint is horrible. You see immediately that the pigments are very crudely grinded; I will refill them with proper tube colours later.
But still: I can never use the excuse that I didn't bring my colours with me again...

Of course it's so tiny, I'll probably lose it in no time.

Sunday, 6 April 2014

Girl combing hair

Painting with mixed media. Not yet finished (I think). But this is to show progression. I prepared a sheet of standard 12mm MDF (Masonite in English?) 50x60cm, which I prepared by adding 2 layers of gesso on both sides.Then I spooned a layer of the kind of mortar you use for bathroom tiling on top. It gives a good textured surface. See picture, with a light charcoal drawing on top.

I added a few layers of acrylic, to see how it worked out, but somehow the texture got lost. So I put it under a shower to wash off the paint. Now the effect was more transparent with a tactile texture.
After that I added a few other layers of colour, rather thansparent. The mortar made the underground stay moist, so the acrylic worked like watercolour: the colours would blend into each other. In the end I found the painting to be too soft, almost fresco-like.

Again not what I wanted, so I added a new layer of tile-mortar.
Sometimes you have to destroy what you make, in order to find the road back to what you wanted to make in the first place.
After this I added new layers of transparent acrylic.I also added a few lines to find the form back again.
The form was kept as simple as possible, to give the texture and how the paint reacts with the underground maximum effect.

I also tried to play with "lost and found". A painters method which tries to make a painting interesting by deliberately NOT defining the form. The viewer will use his imagination by defining the form even where it's not indicated. If you are interested in that process, check the blog of Terry Miura, an excellent Californian painter.

So the top painting is the result as we are now.
I am not 100% satisfied, but I have to be careful in order not to lose those parts that I do like.

Thursday, 3 April 2014

Meers, Grote straat

Meers, a little village on the banks of the river Maas. A sketch of a collapsed shed.
Actually, there is a little story behind this drawing: my daughter Rianne and her friend Bob wanted to buy a house in Meers. Now everything was in order: beautiful old house, in good condition, reasonable price, papers were drawn. But at the last moment the owner couldn't sell. A big disappointment for them both.
Back to the drawing: this would have been the view from the kitchen window in the back, overlooking the fields to the river, filled with sheep, old fruit trees and this little collapsed shed.

Monday, 31 March 2014

Glass statues

The royal couple, in  progress as of this evening.

Saturday, 29 March 2014

Glass window

This is my latest finished stained glass window.
It was an exercise in traditional classic glass painting (grisaille) and burning. 4 months work.
Unfortunately the paintwork in the "tower" did not work out well when observing it in the bright sunlight: they are too light. The drapes are better, also a bit on the light side, but still OK. All this looked far better on the lightbox.
But the exercise was about finding out how medieval artists painted those beautiful drapes that you see all over the church windows.  In that view this window was successful: I found out how to do it.

Thursday, 27 March 2014

Onze Lieve Vrouwewal

Another fine spring day.
I was working in Maastricht today, and went for another nice lunchwalk.
I just couldn't resist to draw this scene.

It's a view between some houses built on the old fortifications along the river, with a view towards the Onze lieve vrouwe basiliek (our-sweet-lady basilica, dedicated to Our Holy Maria).
The basilica in its present form dates back to the 11th century, a previous version from the 5th century was probably the oldest church in the Netherlands.

Tuesday, 25 March 2014

Rekem (Belgium)

On my way to our Maastricht office I made a detour to fill my tank with cheap Belgian gasoline.
As it was about lunchtime, I decided to refrain from eating my bread behind the steering wheel, and stopped in Rekem, a little village just across the border.

I had just enough time for a little sketch while sitting in a feeble spring sun.

Saturday, 22 March 2014


Model class: we had a male model (which is very rare): Mark.
Acrylic on brown kraft paper 50x60cm.
Colours: alizarin red, ochre, burnt umber and windsor blue. And white of course.

Monday, 17 March 2014

Elsa Martinelli

Bought myself some tubes of gouache for my birthday, to experiment.
I have always been fascinated by the colourful 50's and 60's advertisement paintings, and this is a trial for that style of image. I thoroughly enjoyed working with gouache, but I still have a long way to go learning its possibilities.
The image is based on a 1967 picture of Elsa Martinelli in front of a Lancia Fulvia (image by Angelo Frantoni).

Sunday, 16 March 2014


Sketch of a few pots of Daffodils (Narcissus) on our windowsill.

Saturday, 15 March 2014


Practice in model class. Not the best portrait I ever made, but I am already happy if I make one good painting out of 5 moderate ones.
This is Isabel, panted with acrylic on brown kraftpaper.

As a sidenote: one of my paintings was selected for the first round in a regional amateur painting contest: the biannnual Alphons Wintersprijs.
I am already very happy with that.
There will be an opening at April 11th: then I'll know what the artistic level of the other painters is.

This is the painting I submitted:

Tuesday, 11 March 2014


I am not posting so much now, I have some unfinished and unscanned drawings, but not enough time. Busy with work, sports, social activities and the garden. And checking social media.
Here are some designs of two new stained glass objects that I started on yesterday: the King and the Queen. The objects will be 40-50cm high including the hardwood socle.

Friday, 7 March 2014

Zeche Zollverein

Visited a abandoned coalmine today, with my daughter Rianne. Two times a year we visit museum and stuff, I cherish those moments with her. I see so many things of myself in her.
We went to Folkwang musuem of modern art and the Zeche Zollverein.
The latter is the coalmine, an impressive assortment of buildings, towers, chimneys, conveyor bridges and rusty machines. The sketch shows the locomotive once used to catch the hot cokes from the cokesovens.
A sentimental journey; we had a coalmine with the same ovens just around the corner, within a kilometer of my house. But here in NL they choose to get rid of everything, there is nothing left now. Just memories.

Monday, 3 March 2014

Optocht Hoensbroek

Carnaval in the Netherlands: today's parade in Hoensbroek, my home town.
We had fine weather for the yearly parade, it was one of the best in years. beautiful floats, and a lot of "einzelgänger" (single participants staging and performing a jest or humorous view on a local issue).

This was a smaller float, it stood still just long enough for me to draw it. I painted it at home.
Theme of this float was "panic in the henhouse", don't ask me why.

Saturday, 1 March 2014

At the office

Drawn at the office, last thursday.
A colleague.