Tuesday, 29 April 2014

Moulin Rouge

One of the few sketches I made in Paris. This drawing was really about taking an opportunity: we were in need of a good cup of coffee and the Starbucks at Place Blanche had only one table left. With this view.  The drawing took me as long as it takes to drink a regular cafĂ© Americano, with an extra shot espresso.

Monday, 28 April 2014

25 years ago...

My wife Gertie and I celebrated our 25th wedding anniversary today.
Quite an achievement on behalf of my wife I can tell you. She must see something worth while... I haven't yet figured out what... :)

We had planned to go to New York, like we did 5 years ago, but instead decided to have a long weekend in Paris with our children and their friends Bob and Brenda.
A terrific weekend it was. It was so good to spend this kind of time on an occasion like this, with our family together. Those moments; that's what you do it for.

We had a little bad luck with the weather though; but even cold temperatures and lots of rain could not spoil the weekend.

Friday, 25 April 2014

Spring market

We held our sketchcrawl during the  annual spring market.
Here are a few scenes of the arts&crafts and the bio-food part (with flocks of geese and sheep) part.
There was also a vintage-antique part, and usual food market.
And a lot of visitors.

Wednesday, 23 April 2014


Another sketchcrawlsketch.
A stonecarver called Marcel Hazen. He worked with calciumsandstone, and made a beautiful statue, at the arts and crafts fair.
Impressive work. If I had time I would like to do that kind of stuff as well.
Too many ideas, too little time.

Monday, 21 April 2014

More sketchcrawl

A quick in-between sketch of an old man sitting on a bench, watching the blacksmith at work.

Sunday, 20 April 2014


The first drawing of the Sketchcrawl series, during the art & crafts fair in Heerlen.
One of the participants was a (female) blacksmith, Puk van de Ruijt. She forged steel flowers on location, a feast to see and draw.

Saturday, 19 April 2014

Sketchcrawl today

We held our 8th Limburg sketchcrawl today.
This time in Heerlen, at the yearly Springfair.
We were invited to sketch in the part where artists and craftsmen showed their work.
But one group did not feel comfortable to draw under the gaze of the public, they went with tineke to the library.
We had great weather: sunny, not too warm and no wind.
And looking at the results: a succesfull installment.

I will post the results in our Limburg sketchcrawl blog shortly, see:

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.