Wednesday, 31 July 2013


We left San Francisco on Sunday, and drove through the valley to the Yosemite National Park. Beautiful mountains and deep ravines there. Eventually we stopped at Yosemite village, a nice shaded valley and park surrounded by close mountains. We walked to the bottom of Yosemite falls, where I climbed to the plunge pool. The waterfall, which is the highest of the US with its 730 meters, was thin due to the draught. It was warm, and a lot of people were cooling off in the pool.

A bit later we stopped at the parking lot of "tunnel view", and enjoyed this fantastic view over the mountains and the valley.

Tuesday, 30 July 2013

Golden Gate park

San Francisco, Golden Gate park.
With a guided bustour you can't always draw what you want, you have to take opportunities as they come. I would rather have drawn the steep hills, cabletrams or old victorian wooden houses, but alas, the bus stopped here for our coffee-break. A bit of Japan in Frisco.

Monday, 29 July 2013

Our trip

Here is the trip that we made during these 10 days: from San Francisco to Vegas, then to the canyons and finally arriving in Los Angeles. About 3400 km or 2000 miles.

Sunday, 28 July 2013

Sam's Diner in San Francisco

Across the street from our Hotel on Market street there was Sam's diner, our first experience on US food (if you don't count the tasteless hamburger I took with Rob Carey the first evening).
American breakfast is something: quick, tasty, and enough to keep you going for a day.
Double eggs, smoked bacon, toast with too much butter, hash brown potatoes, tomatoes and good black coffee.

American food is delicious. Apart from the standard hamburger that first night, I can't remember one single time I did not thoroughly enjoy the meals. Even though quantities are somewhat larger than what we are used to, they were never overdone.
I became a fan of medium rare New York steaks.

That early morning when I wanted to draw Sam's diner, there were a few homeless searching the wastebins.
I added them to the drawing.
In all honesty, I should add that this was the only time during our trip when poverty was so visible.

Friday, 26 July 2013

San Francisco from the boat

Day two of our trip (day one was the flight). We visited San Francisco, made a tour through the steep streets of downtown, walked the Golden Gate bridge in the mist, checked Chinatown and cruised the river passing Alcatraz. I made these quick sketches on the boat. At this point the mist had cleared, and the sun was trying to shine bravely, but it was still far too cold for summer, maybe 13 degrees Celsius.

Thursday, 25 July 2013

Michael Jackson trial in Los Angeles

I will post the drawings I made during my USA trip in due time.
Meanwhile I decided to show above drawing first because of the relevance: it was made last Monday on the doorstep of the Superior Court in Los Angeles.
Anchorman Alan Duke was in a live broadcast on CNN, talking about the (weeping) testimony of the mother of Michael Jackson. I even found the broadcast back on youtube I am not in the clip, I was sitting to the left.
Funny that in the clip there is no indication that Mr. Duke has a ponytail, which in reality he has.
And as a sidenote: there are beautiful trial drawings made by a Mona S. Edwards in the clip.

Wednesday, 24 July 2013

Rob Carey in San Francisco

Today I returned from a trip trough the west of the United States. We saw great things and I was able to make some sketches of Frisco, Vegas, the Canyons and LA.

On the evening of our arrival in San Francisco I was able to meet Rob Carey, a fellow sketcher with whom I have corresponded through sketches for some years.
Unfortunately we had no time to sketch together, but it was great to meet him in person and exchange stories.

You can find his fantastic drawings here:

Monday, 22 July 2013

What I do for a living

Always busy at work a few weeks before the holidays. All clients always have two deadlines in mind: before the summer holidays and before Christmas. That combined with others going on holiday means long working hours and no sketching for fun.
This is a conceptual design for a double gas fired Power Plant that I finished a few weeks ago, for a location somewhere in Europe. It's fit for more than 8oo Megawatts, and has the latest energy saving technology as far as Power plants go.
Technology and process is done by others, but I worked on the building design since October last year. It's now in the permitting phase, hopefully we get a chance to bring the design a step further.

Thursday, 18 July 2013

Marsha in the sun

Finally finished and cleaned may latest stained glass window. I called it "Marsha in the sun".
Marsha is our old black cat, she is now about 17 years. She has had a large tumour last April, and we had it surgically removed. Luckily she came but out very well, she is the grand old lady all over again.

Wednesday, 10 July 2013

CX Loadrunner

The scrapyard drawing I showed earlier belonged to a Citroen repairshop. They had this beautiful CX Loadrunner in the parking lot. Back in '79 I lived in Amsterdam as a student, and each morning one of these cars would park around the corner of my room. They had just returned to deliver the French newspaper le Monde and Figaro after a 4 hour high speed drive directly from Paris.
The repair shop is in Roetgen, Germany, and called "Schraubervitrine".

Where old cars die

Drove around in Germany, found this old car cemetery. It had overgrown wrecks of a Citroen Traction Avant, a Peugeot Cabriolet, a 2CV and a van that was used for horse transports. I love these rusted scenes, too good not to draw. I found it in Roetgen, just across the border. See location.

Monday, 8 July 2013

Taxi to Coventry

Short business trip to Coventry (UK). Plane, taxi, meeting, taxi, plane. Didn't even get to see the city. But maybe I didn't miss much, the Specials made a song in the 80's about Coventry called "Ghost town"....
The things that always surprise me about UK taxi's: they have chairs for 6 people, of which 3 sit backwards. And the windows are plastered with safety instructions.

Saturday, 6 July 2013

Expressionism, the result

I promised to show the final painting, acrylic 50x60cm. It may be hard to believe that I painted this on location, it really took determination not to copy literal reality. On the below picture you can see that it took a lot of trouble to get the lines in the painting right, the light blue spots are corrected lines. Even those simple lines took more than an hour to make before I was content about the result.
In the end it was my favourite painting of the painting week, and I really enjoyed making it. I should do this more often.

Friday, 5 July 2013


Art class in France. After trying our best with impressionism and post-impressionism, it was time for expressionism. Trying to express what you see, but not necessarily copying what is there. It's valid to make a tree red, as long as it serves the picture you want to tell. But it's always rooted in reality.
So we stood there in the blazing sun of Ozenay, a little vilage with a castle and a nice 11th century church. Here you see the colour and composition studies I made before making the final painting. I will show the final painting in a later post.
This picture here was also a study (acrylic 50x60), but one I made the day after I finished the painting. I tried to redo some of the things I liked, and improve on things I did not like. Anyway, I think the final painting (not the one of this post) was the best I made that painting week, and I am sure it had much to do with making all these studies.

Tuesday, 2 July 2013

View over the hills

Other drawings made from the village of  Brancion (France), overlooking the valley and the hills.
First a quick sketch of reality, and then trying to abstract and catch the depth by only using strokes of colours.