Tuesday, 26 April 2016

All it ever does is rain

All it ever does is rain.
Woke up this morning with this dream about torrential rain, watering cans and steam irons.
Yes, there was a lot of rain last night. Just a silly in-between.

Saturday, 23 April 2016

Looking for Klimt (1)

This years exercise in painting Master class was making a painting based on the style of Klimt.

This does not mean trying to make a copy of one of his paintings, but studying his painting style and composition principles.
I never liked Klimt much, I considered him to be rather kitsch: a lot of gold and coloured patterns overwhelming the portrayed models.
But to my surprise I found that there was a lot to learn from him: especially his composition methods. Also how he paints the human parts very fragile, almost vulnerable, easy to hurt, and breakable within the storms of colours and patterns around them.  
Anyway, the exercise was even made worse by the theme that we had to use for the painting: intimacy.
I did not want to paint the obvious subjects: "the kiss", woman and child, two lovers, that kind of (in my male opinion) romantic stuff. So I decided to go for a girl being absorbed by reading a book.
On google images I found a picture that could serve as basis, see above.

 I made a lot of small sketches to make the theme work, here are just a few of them.
I tried all kind of ideas: positioning the figure in the frame, making the scene "flat" (a Klimt signature: a total lack of depth in his paintings), contrasts between colour and flesh, where and how to add textures/patterns, where less exuberant areas, centralised composition or dynamic, what colours to use etc.
Then I choose one idea and started painting on a large canvas: 90x80cm.
I had decided earlier that I wanted to do something in red/orange/yellow, for no obvious reason. Just because I had not seriously painted in these colours for some time.

Here you see the first version. A total failure. The figure too small, wrong location, not interesting at all.
You can see on the new thin lines that I enlarged and repositioned the figure within the composition.
By placing it higher and o the left, the subject filled the canvas better, and the dynamic came from the subject, not from the coloured blocks.

I tried to rebalance the different colour blocks (notice how the red squares form a triangle, to compensate the yellow triangle).

Also, the one visible leg with the arm over it did not work, it looked comical. Furthermore I enlarged the yellow blanket, and resized it to balance the colours.
This was how the basis looked like, at the point where I would start adding details and textures.

But after these three sessions I was still totally dissatisfied.
So I made a picture, then a print and used some tracing paper to start all over again. And I arrived at some new ideas for the composition.
I coloured it in Gimp, and found another way to do the image,.
I am still working on the new version, it's not very far from being finished.
More to come in the next post.

Thursday, 21 April 2016

The fresh green colours of Spring

A sketch of yesterday, one of the first beautiful days of this year, >20 degrees C.
And the yellowish-green colours of spring are suddenly everywhere. Like in this "volksgarten" complex in Alzenau, just a few 100 meters from the hotel.
Most towns and villages in Germany and the Netherlands have them: places where inhabitants can rent a few 100 m2 to grow fruit and vegetables. And they usually have small greenhouses and gardensheds. Like this one.

Sunday, 17 April 2016

Simca Ariane

Last week on my business trip I took a wrong turn in the little village of Dettingen am Main (not so far from Frankfurt), and found these two cars in process of restoration.

I had some time to kill - one should never waste a good opportunity when it finds your way.
It's a Simca Ariane, made in France during the early 60s. Also sold as Ford Vedette, but that one had some details that were different.
The car next to it is an Opel from the late 60s, a Kapitän, Admiral or Diplomat. These cars looked the same but were different in detailing, luxury and motors. I forgot to check which one it was.
I can still remember these cars driving around in my street, it's funny to see them as vintage cars nowadays.

Saturday, 16 April 2016


Our new kitten, Mila. She is just 6 weeks old now. And so cute.

Thursday, 14 April 2016

Hotel Krone, Alzenau

To Bavaria Germany again this week. This is the restaurant of the hotel I am stayimg in, Hotel Krone.
The restaurant serves very good food, traditional German, but not too traditional.
Time for a little sketch after dinner, while enjoying a good Weizenbeer.

Monday, 11 April 2016


Another little sketch of the Zehntmauerstrasse, in Wasserlos-Alzenau (Germany). A few hundred meters from the hotel.
Made last week, but it was getting dark before I could finish the paintwork. I finished it today.

Friday, 8 April 2016

Olga und Helmut

Hanau, Hauptbahnhof, this afternoon.
After my week of business in the South of Germany (Hanau, Kleinostheim and Alzenau), I travelled back home by high speed trains. I waited for the train in the square in front of the station, and this couple was sitting opposite from me. I secretly drew them, and they were so occupied bickering about something, that they did not notice me drawing them. At some point a little boy sat down next to me, and started asking questions, but I had hush him secretly, and had to hide my book until he was gone with his mother to catch a train. I finished it on my journey home.
I have no idea if their names are really Olga and Helmut, but I somehow felt these are fitting.

Tuesday, 5 April 2016

Glass bird

My latest glassworks project, ready to go into the oven. Its made out of a few plates of glass with coloured enamel in between. And for the wings small stripes of regular sheetglass. The object is about 30 cm. high. 
Next week i'll see the results. 

Sunday, 3 April 2016

Wasserlos Alzenau

I have this project in the south of Germany nowadays, very interesting, but also very time consuming.
I have to stay three to four days a week in Bayern (Bavaria). That means long days and limited opportunity to sketch.
This is an early-morning-walk-before-breakfast sketch of a old half-collapsed barn. The only thing worth sketching within 5 minutes walking from the hotel. It will be difficult to keep up with this blog.
Watercolourpencil in a A5 moleskine.