Tuesday, 28 February 2012

Fabritius huis

This is the Fabritiushuis in Wolfhagen, a little hamlet of Schinnen. It takes a small detour when driving home from work to pass this house. The house dates back to 1611, and was renowned for being the home of the "Bokkeriejers". These were dangerous gangs who raided farms in our region in the 17th century. The bandits were so fast that people said they must have travelled on the backs of flying goats (Bokken), obviously a reference to the devil. Because of these dangerous times the buildings and barns of old farms in Limburg are grouped around an closed inner courtyard, easy to protect in hard times.
I made this drawing a few hours ago, took me about 25 minutes to draw and paint.
Fabritiushuis in Wolfhagen Schinnen. Huis van de eerste bokkerijders bende.

Monday, 27 February 2012

The art of Urban Sketching

A few days ago I received my copy of the book: the art of Urban sketching. Some of the sketches I made in New York a few years ago are featured in this book, which makes me very proud (page 75). I mean, the book is loaded with so many beautiful sketches and drawings, 350 pages of them, all made by these artists all over the world; I feel very honoured to be counted among them.
The book is an initiative of Gabi Campinero, is linked to the Urban Sketchers site, and is available at Amazon for about $17, Click here to go to Amazon.
Het boek "the art of Urban sketching" in de brievenbus: ik ben er apetrots op dat enkele van mijn New York schetsen daar ook in staan, tussen al die andere fantastische schetsen en tekeningen.

Saturday, 25 February 2012

Parade Carnaval

Sketch made during the Carnaval parade of Hoensbroek. I don't even know the name of the group. I made the sketch on three different locations, each time they would pass before I had chance to look up. I made some splashes of colour on location to define which colours were where, but did the finishing at home.
Optocht in Hoensbroek, een van de verklede groepen. Schets gemaakt op drie verschillende plekken, de groep was meestal voorbij nadat ik de eerste lijnen op papier had gezet.

Wednesday, 22 February 2012

't is nieks...

't is nieks en 't weurd nieks. That is how the "Zaate herremenie" (the fun-brassband) of Hoensbroek is called. Free translated the band's name means: "it's nothing and it never will be anything". I guess no further explanation  is needed. Drawn during the Hoensbroek Carnaval parade.
De zaate herremenie van Gebrook, 't is nieks en 't weurd nieks. Getekend tijdens de optocht van Hoensbroek.

Monday, 20 February 2012


My neighbors Rene and Marij play in a "Zaate herremenie" which means "drunken brassband". That says it all.
This morning, before playing in the Carnaval parade of Hoensbroek, they dressed up in colourfull and warm clothes and painted their faces with schmink (special facial paint, I have no idea if that word exists in English). I was there to assist and make sketches of the process. Which you see here.  
It wasn´t easy making these sketches, during the process they kept moving around.

Onze buren spelen in een zaate herremenie. Hierbij de schetsen die ik vanmorgen maakte bij het schminken van de gezichten, voorafgaand aan de optocht van Hoensbroek.

Saturday, 18 February 2012

Art class: Rob

Art class today, exercise in contrast (more contrast where you want to lead the eye, less contrast where less emphasises is needed).
I was pretty pleased with this portrait, it more or less looked like the guy.
Acrylic, 50x60cm, took me two hours to make.
Portret cursus, een oefening in contrastverschillen. Soms lukt een portet wonderwel.

Friday, 17 February 2012

Koerennen 2012

Yesterday evening Carnaval started with our local Hoensbroek tradition: Kowrenne (Cowrunning).
Unfortunately no cowrunning for us this year. With pain in my heart I have to state that after 14 successful years we had to stop with our group "de Föhners". We couldn't get enough runners together anymore.
But luckily enough there are new groups to continue the tradition, and I had a good time yesterday evening watching the games as a spectator. And enough opportunity to draw. The top sketch is of the group "Breuker Kamaraode" who won the prize of the Most Beautiful Cow (of the world). Well deserved.

Geen koerennen voor ons meer, dit jaar. Na 14 jaar zijn we gestopt met de Föhners. Gelukkig zijn er nieuwe groepen om de traditie voort te zetten. De Breuker Kamaraode gefeliciteerd met de "Sjoenste Kow" prijs.

Tuesday, 14 February 2012



Every few years I reread the book "Crash" by J.G. Ballard, one of my favourite authors. When I started out with this drawing I had no idea it would be a reference to that book. I just started drawing on the top left side with an underpass, and continued clockwise drawing without plan. Suddenly I found I had drawn "Crash" without realising it. It was a strange experience.
The drawing was made with my Lamy Accent fountainpen, but filled with chinese Hero ink (see linework version).
After that I waterbrushed the drawing, and even though Hero ink is not waterproof, it only bleeds to a limited amount: the lines are still clear. I did not use extra Chinese ink in the washes, just what came off from the linework.

Sunday, 12 February 2012

Raffles hotel

The last of my Singapore sketches. I made this one right after I bought the pen, in an art shop just behind the Raffles hotel.
On my way back to the metro I walked through the hotel complex, which is kept in the original British colonial style. The hotel has numerous inner courtyards, and this is one of them.
The statue in the middle is of sir Raffles; I was told he founded Singapore.

Friday, 10 February 2012

Hero pen 501-1


Tia and Paul tipped me about a Chinese fountainpen, a Hero 501-1, used in China for calligraphy writing. The top of the nib turns up 45 degrees, so you get very lively, thick and beautiful black lines. I also bought Hero ink, even though it's not as waterproof as Noodlers, it still keeps up strong lines. Above sketch was made with this pen: one of the huge beautiful rain trees that line Orchard avenue. Most trees have different leaves on the lower branches, looks like a parasite plant.

Thursday, 9 February 2012

Betty, in memoriam

You may remember the sketch above, I posted it on January 5th. It was quite chilling to learn that Betty, the woman with the red hat (second to the right) unexpectedly died last December, about when I made the drawing (at the time I didn't know).
July, lead singer of the group, made this poem to commemorate her. It's written in our local dialect, which even regular Dutch won't understand.
The drawing was made for our local Carnaval newspaper, "d'r Uul", which came in today. The paper featured some of my drawings of Cowrunning and the carnaval parade of last year.

Tuesday, 7 February 2012

Botanic garden

Just a block away from my hotel there was the beautiful and famous Botanic garden of Singapore. I went inside to sketch, an hour early before work. I used the paper that Paul and Tia treated the evening before, to force me to use pre-splashed paper. The blue colour you see in the drawing was randomly applied the night before, without even knowing what I would draw. I was surprised to see how it somehow fitted perfectly into the painting!
Just after I finished the above sketch a woman came down and sat herself on the stone on the left, to meditate and stare into the water.

Monday, 6 February 2012

USK singapore: Tia and Paul

 Last thursday I met two of my favourite Urban Sketchers from Singapore: Tia Boon Sim and Paul Wang. We had dinner in the University Club restaurant, we showed our drawings, and exchanged experiences. It was great to see the beautiful drawings of Tia and Paul in reality; like so often, they are so much better in real life than on the screen.
They also showed me some tricks, like using the calligraphy fountainpen Hero 501-1 (which I managed to buy the next day) and splashing random colour splashes on paper as preparation for an Urban sketch.
I learned a lot, and will try to use it in my own work. Afgelopen donderdagavond had ik een ontmoeting met twee Singapore Urban sketchers: Tia en Paul Wang. Het was geweldig mede USK-ers te ontmoeten en ervaringen uit te wisselen.

Saturday, 4 February 2012

Dragons and lions

I returned home from Singapore this morning, brrrr.... from 30 degrees to minus 17, on frozen trainstations, waiting for trains that don't arrive. Winter in Holland. Only sketches left of my trip.
Last Tuesday we were having our lunch in a courtyard of a large office and shopping complex, when quite unexpectedly a group of 20 performers arrived to show us a traditional dragon dance. Drums, music, acrobatics, a showfight of lions and dragons. Most impressive was that the lion (with 2 men under it) jumped and tumbled over a set of columns, each at least 2,5 meter high. It was so well done that the dragons and lions really looked alive.

Wednesday, 1 February 2012

Exploded fish

Dinner yesterday evening, here in Singapore. At first I thought I had a barbequed bird on my plate, but it was really a fish. Thai deep fried three flavor fish. It tasted the way it looks. Diner in Singapore, in een foodcourt. Je weet niet altijd wat je besteld, dit keer deze ontplofte vis. Hij smaakte zoals hij uitziet: op z'n nederlands gezegd: Thai-taai.