Tuesday, 31 July 2018

Amsterdam: Westerkerk

Just returned from a lovely weekend in Amsterdam. The weather was modestly hot (we are used to temperatures far above 30 degrees this year; 28-30 degrees is a treat!).
I made this sketch while sitting on a terrace of cafe Roem, across the water from the Anne Frank house, and in full view of the Westerkerk.
I had some nice talks to the waitress, a nice couple from Australia, and a Dutch/Finish family.
we live in a wonderful world with international contacts.

Saturday, 28 July 2018


Simonskall, is a small hamlet just behind Aachen. You wouldn't say so after this picturesque scene, but this was the terrain of one of the worst battles of World War 2 (battle of Hürtgenwald). Americans fought for months against the Germans in this countryside with steep hills and severe winters. It was even worse here than the Ardennes offensive, which raged some 100km more to the south. The battle cost between 33.000 and 50.000 American casualties. And 28.000 on the German side. Quite a lot for a forgotten battle.
Forgotten, yes, it's about 50km away, and we know nothing about this battle. And I toured the district: there hardly anything left to remember.

Thursday, 26 July 2018


Stolberg, just across the border in Germany.
It was just a daytrip, to escape the heat of my hometown and garden. We had 36-38 degrees here, an official record-breaking heatwave for these parts. In Stolberg, the Eifel, it was a few degrees cooler, just 30 degrees.

Monday, 23 July 2018

Hedge near the Patersweg

A ancient hedge along the footpath starting from my street, the Patersweg, towards the Castle of Amstenrade. The footpath is centuries old, I found it on a map from 1866. But there was already a castle since the mid-12th century.
Unfortunately due to the construction of a new road most of this path has now disappeared. And with it most of the ancient hedges. These hedges are constructed out of different types of shrubbery, and were so dense that cattle could not pass it. Alas, there are only a few of these left in this region.

As for the style of drawing: I used a black fountain pen, and tried to experiment with the drawing style of Ian Sidaway (check his blog).
Actually, I first copied one of his recent drawings, to find out how it works. That's the drawing of the tree lying down.

Friday, 20 July 2018

Willem, our 2nd Grandchild.

This is Willem. Born this morning, on Friday 20th. Bob, Rianne and Jake are very prood to welcome their son and brother into his world. And so are we, his Grandparents.
Everything went well, and both Willem and his mother are in best health.
I made this sketch today in the hospital, he was about 5 hours old. Willem and Rianne will return home probably on Sunday.
Life is very kind to us.

Thursday, 19 July 2018


My most recent project in Germany is now in the execution phase. I had the pleasue to work with some local people, among others a German architect. He asked me to make a painting of his children, as a present to his wife, based on a picture he sent me.
Difficult not to fall into the "too much details" trap.

Monday, 16 July 2018

Vintage motorcycles

Aother quick sketch of the meeting in Hoensbroek. Enthousiasts discussing about motorcycles.
These are the "brommers" of my highschool days, 50cc motocycles. Every bay wanted one. From low to highest ranking: Peugeot, Yamaha, Kreidler, Zundapp and top of the bill: the Puch/Tomos. Even though they were only 50cc, it was a sport to try to speed them up, over the legal 40km/h. Without the Police noticing it.... Unfortunately I never had one, there was no need, I more or less lived across the street from my school.

Thursday, 12 July 2018

Nimbus 1934

I was at a vintage car and motor meeting this evening. This is a 1934 Nimbus.  A Danish motorcycle with a 4 cylinder in line motor. A beauty, with a beautiful sound.

Tuesday, 10 July 2018

Steamship SS Kunz

A fantasy drawing of a steamship. These ships always remind me of "the heart of Darkness" .
I made this drawing using chinese ink and wooden cocktail sticks. And a newly aquired Schminke watercolourset. Just for fun.

Sunday, 8 July 2018

Kiah Kiean

I have always been a great fan of the Urban Sketcher Kiah Kiean, and how he does his chinese ink & wooden twigs work. I have experimented a lot with twigs, especially bamboo, with mixed results.
On Youtube I found this video how he sketched a Chicago scene during last year symposium, some overhead metro track.
So I tried out the same scene, and used a few of his tricks (as far as I can tell from the video of course). That is, putting the ink in a small jar, with some bandage gauze. And cutting the bamboo stick fresh.
To be honest, I tried these things before with mixed results, the ink never came out as grey as I wanted. So today I tried putting the bamboo in water first, so the wood is soaked. And voilà, at last I got the result I was looking for.
Not quite what Kiah Kiean can do with this technique, but a promising start.

Tuesday, 3 July 2018

Elsloo Meiboom

Elsoo, and the Meiboom (the tree of May).
I made this lunchtime sketch this afternoon, sitting in my car in the shade of some trees, with some classical music on. The tall spike in front of the church is a "Meiboom". It's a very old regional tradition. Early May a  group of young men "de Jonkheid" will go and look for a tall pinetree, and will cut it down.
Then a few weeks later, in a parade accompanied by local groups like scouting, drumbands, and "schutterij" they will raise the tree. It's a symbolic way to welcome Spring.