I had a business trip to Antwerp last friday. Took the opportunity to make this little sketch from the parking lot. It was just a few days before they shut down Antwerp, due to too many Corona cases.
They even have curfew today. It looks more and more like war.
Started on an oilpainting again. This is the underpainting.
It's based on a picture of a Belgian actor, Jan Decleir. But it also looks like beethoven, maybe Jan should take up that part one day.
I am pretty happy with this first stage. The next stages will give a lot of opportunities to spoil this nice start.
a quick drawing, made after a picture on the internet. Couldn't find the original photographer.
It's supposed to be a guy living on the streets for almost 50 years, at 85 years of age. I have no idea how someone can survive that way.
Made with watercolour pencil (Caran d'Ache Technalo) and acrylic markers.
Out sketching with te Maastricht Urban sketching group again. We were 12, and looked for spot where we could draw together, but with enough distance to avoid Corona problems.
The Fronten are the old fortifications against the French and Spaniards, who wanted to have control over this strategic city. Since the Roman era Maastricht had one of the few safe crossings over the river Maas. This is one of the barracks.
I took my bike for a 20km tour, and made this drawing on the way.
It's Nonke Buusjke, a complex of old farmhouses in Schinveld, in the middle of the forest.
It's located on the border of Germany, and I believe it's a museum now where they still practice old traditional ways of living.
Out sketching again with friends: Ruud and Desiree.
We organized a zoom urban sketching event. On different locations all over the Netherlands, keeping contact through Zoom. It was really funnyto do.
I made some challenges, one was: draw with little lines and scribbles, don't use a long line.
I saw some fine results from the other paticpants.
The terraces were opened again, this was drawn on the market of Sittard. with some nice coffee.
Tuesday May 19th: our fourth grandchild was born. After three lovely boys, now a girl.
Daughter of Mart and Lisa. How lovely she is! We are so proud.
It will take a few days before I can see her, due to Corona restrictions, but I guess we'll get chances enough.
Out drawing again, It felt good, the sun was warm, even though the wind was on the fresh side.
This is the central tower in the new "Maankwartier" in Heerlen. Translated it means "the Moon quarter". THe tower has a huge solar clock on top (the half-sphere).
It's an architectural project initiated by an artist, Huisman. Most architects don't like it because it refers to iconic buildings from the past; the first 40 years of the last century. But I must admit it's well done, and has an overall visual quality that seems to be missing from most shopping malls nowadays.
Today a page of my sketchbook was publicised on the internet site of our national newspaper.
They had a feature about: does Corona influence your dreams? volkskrant.nl/dromen-we-door-coronamaatregelen-meer-en-vreemder-dan-normaal
As it happens, I keep track of my dreams since January 1st. (as far as I can remember them the next morning). I already have about 35 dreams noted and sketched.
This is how the sketchbook looks like.
So far I had 5 Corona related dreams, most about social distancing. One was about virus falling from the sky (the one that was publicised, see the top story). And one of the Wuhan market (already on february 17th).
Lockdown had the unexpected result that I lost my appetite for drawing. I really prefer drawing outside than inside, so lockdown, even the less restricted one here in the Netherlands, is an ordeal.
Drawing the garden didn't work, neither did the back of our house, or the living room.
But we had lovely weather yesterday, at our King Willem's anniversary, so I took the liberty of drawing this scene, just a few 100 meters from my house. I swear, in the time that I stood there, I did not see a living soul, only a few cars and motorbikes on the road 10 meters behind me.
Anyway, it's nice to draw a view I have seen all my life. We take a lot for granted.
Now isn't this great? The nice people of the Ray Bradbury Experience Museum used one of my drawings for one of their publicity posters.
The museum-to-be is located in Waukegan Illinois (not too far from Chicago). Bradbury was and still is one my most favourite authors. Back in 1974, in highschool, I made a rough sketch based on the "Martian Chronicles". And in 2010 I remade the drawing, which you see here. I am thrilled that it is used for this purpose. Check the original 2010 article: https://renefijten.blogspot.com/2010/01/ray-bradbury.html
And I do love the caption: "Try the refreshing experience of springtime on Mars". I couldn't have thought of a better one.
I participated on a mosaic game. A picture, devided inti 18 pieces, each given out to a different artist. THe fun this is you have no idea where your part is, or how it connects to the next one, or what the total is. Mine is the brown one, on the rigth, near the bottom. Really fun to do.
Thanks to Laura S. Fiat who organized it, and Wes Douglas who provided the origical picture.
I can't go out to do some nice on location drawings, and I just don't feel like painting after pictures.
So I decided to try some digital painting. I wanted to try Procreate, but you'll need a Ipad for that. So I used Autodesk Sketchbook, to be used with my touchscreen laptop.
It is my first all-digital drawing, and it took a while to get used to the pen and brushes, and find out where all the features are hidden. Not a very easy program to use. But here it is, something weird.
Still within the Corona days "intelligent" lockdowns. I am working from home, I am using my "drawing and painting" room now for work. But this means I don't like to sit there in the evening as well. And I am totally lacking of inspiration. Nothing to see, nothing to draw.
I found an old vintage picture of a few Italian New York dockworkers, back in 1910. Gave me something to draw. As excercise.
I am painting again, in these times of homebound Corona social distancing.
This is a real broken down barn. It's just a few hundred meters from my daughters house, but you can only get there through small paths. I found it by accident.
It's been in this state for years, I don't understand how it survived the recent storms.
Anyway, made with washed out Cobra oilpaint, on a Talens canvas panel, 40x50cm.
The Castle of Amstenrade, just a few 100 meters from our house.
It's Tuesday now, I made the drawing last Sunday. Two days that feel like ages, all due to the deepening crisis of the Corona contaminations. The numbers of victims and the deathtoll is rising quickly.
Schools are closed, streets far too quiet, me working at home. Everyone tries to avoid personal contact. We are even avoiding visiting my mother; as her age is in the second half of 80. Afraid to pass something on, which we don't even know we have. Tough dilemmas, but she is okay with it. There are good alternative ways to communicate these days.
And in the meantime, after weeks of continuous rain, the weather gets better. Trees blossom, flowers start to colour our garden, birds are suspiciously eying our cats, squirrels make the branches dance.
It seems out of tune with our own feelings. Strange days.
Oirsbeek, a village just 3 km from where I live. It was nice weather, and I just had to get out and draw on a quiet place.
All the news is all about the Corona virus, the death, the lockdowns of schools, restaurants and other institutions. I had contact with possible virus victim early last week, and I confined myself to working at home. Luckily I have no health problems, but I know some people with high fevers (maybe the virus, maybe not, but you just don't know). All this is terrifying.
So I need drawing to set my mind to other things.
Three dimensional glass fusion object. I had made the first three figures before, back in 2015. Rianne was expecting our first grandson, Jake. But there is another lovely boy now, Willem. So I had to add another figure.
And another cat, first there was Noortje, now there is also Sammy.
A lovely family.
It was time to make an urban sketch again. I am busy with all kind of other projects and activities, so sketching went into the background a bit.
During lunchbreak I went into Elsloo, and made this little sketch of the church, up the hill. This is seen from the old castle, which funny enough is at the bottom of the hill. Apparently the church used to be more important than the gentry.
The Borgermolen in front of castle Terborg, in Schinnen. Just a few kilometers from my house.
I looked for a subject to paint, and found the white woodwork of the 1st floor quite interesting.
It's painted with waterbased oils, Talens Cobra. I only used Umber, Sienna, blue and Paynes grey. Thin watery layers of paint, then washed out with water using crumbled paper, rulers, cloth etc. Slowly the image emerges from the mud.
I went to an exhibition of the drawings of the French comic book author Moebius (Giraud) in Brühl, Germany.
On the way there I passed Inden, just behind Aachen. There are huge browncoal works there. I was able to get to the edge of the terrain, viewing into the deep open mine. The machine on top of the hill stands about 2 km away, and is about 65 meters high. Just to get the scale in proportion.
Abelated christmas present for my son-in-law. He has a physiotherapy practice, and wanted an anatomical painting on his wall. I once visited Körperwelten, Body worlds, and made drawings of preserved human bodies. I made this collage basd on pictures of some of the displays.
Made on fabriano paper and caran d'ache watercolour pencils (museum quality, they are very good).
Lefthand Gothic. Once in a while I do some drawing games with others.
Laura S. Fiat organized a "Sherlock game", a bunch of people make a drawing on a subject, and everyone will have to guess who made which drawing. Actually that is very hard. I only had one correct.
Subject this time was: make a drawing with your left hand, including a mirrored handwritten text.
Very hard to do.
And my inside joke: the chapel in the back is the one that is featured in the well known painting: American Gothic by Grant Wood.
Excercise for a larger drawing, a commision for an assembly of several anatomical bodyparts.
This image was based on pictures of the Body World exhibition in Amsterdam. In 2014 I went there to draw corpses for a day. See 2014/08/body-worlds-amsterdam.
Made with a new set of Caran d'Aches Museum watercolour pencils, that I recieved for testing through Liz Steel, kast summer in Amsterdam. They are fantastic.
After the Urban Sketching meeting we went to a cafe in Utrecht. We were chatting and trying to draw each other. With mixed success. This should have been Marleen reading her smartphone, but the resemblance is not that good. It's always hard to do live portraits under such conditions, but at least I think I managed to make a lively one.
Made with Technalo pencils in a A5 moleskine sketchbook.
We had a meeting as urban sketchers Netherlands with all the local groups, to discuss issues and future plans. And to learn from each other and exchange information. Very well organized by Roger Klaasen and Judith Spijk. After that we had a few drinks, and took a moment to sketch at one of the canals in the centre of town. The Oude gracht, at the "werf". But it was rather cold, just above freezing point. By the time I finished this one my hands almost fell off.
I had finished this glass object some years ago, but it rested in a drawer in my house.
I never had the time to make the basis. During christmas holidays I finally got around finishing it. It now has a teakwood base.
The object is made from small stripes of coulored glass. When the sun shines through it is even more beautiful that the picture shows.
Business appointment in Olst, a village at the banks of the river "de ijssel".
We were a bit early, and parked on a quiet street in the village to eat some sandwiches (in the car). A moment to catch up on emails and phonecalls. This was the view out of the frontwindow of the car.
Took me 12 minutes to make this drawing. I had forgotten my watercolours, but washing out a Koi brushpen did the trick as well.
It's a very old farm called "De rooze".