Wednesday, 17 January 2018

Mushrooms again - trying out a new watercolour paper.



The last few days I have been free from my job, so after all the household chores were finished I wanted to paint. For these occasions I have an album with lots of mushroom pictures made by my husband or my daughter during autumnal walks. I just have to select one, think about how I want to paint this and get started.
Last year I bought a small block with Canson Montval paper, because of the convenient small size, ideal to bring with me on vacations. I did not need it last vacation so I decided to try the paper now. This time I used a reference made by my husband Peter.

The first - dark - painting is made in my usual manner: soaking and stretching my paper and then painting with a lot of water. The paper did not take that very well so I put a note on the block reminding me not to soak the paper before using it. After soaking it looked like the paper was pilling and I am not used to that.
I have tried to paint the background first and that too was a challenge, but after several stages of adding colour, washing with water, spreading out the colour and repeating where possible the background may be overworked, but it could be worse. Then I added the colours of the mushrooms and used a wooden pricker to draw the lines on the hoods of the mushrooms. 

The second painting was made on dry paper that had not been soaked and stretched. I started with the mushrooms and added the background colours later. having learned from the first painting, I did not try to make a dark, dramatic background but just added some colour variations by changing the mixture of blue, yellow and some Burnt Sienna that gives the green of the mosses under the mushrooms. And even here I had to be careful not to use too much water. For extra texture I splattered over the green mosses with the mixture I used for the mushrooms.
To make the mushrooms stand out I used Calligraphy Ink for some of the outlines and the lines on the hoods.

I have learned a lot about this watercolour paper - at least what I can not do with it and I will use it again of course, probably with the wash-and-ink technique or watercolour pencils.

More information about these paintings can be found at my website www.jannekesatelier.webs.com 

Sunday, 14 January 2018

A path in the Forest of Anlier - a charcoal drawing

 


The history of the Forest of Anlier is long. It is said that Julius Caesar wrote about this forest in his travel reports. The landscape is full of variations, from hillsides with fields through valleys with side rivers of the Sûre and forests with either trees that show the greatest autumn colours or conifers that stay thick and green all the year long.
This path is between such areas with conifers and there was little light when we walked here. The path is muddy, the sides are overgrown with mosses and behind the first or second line of trees there is only a grey shadowed area where the ground is covered with fallen branches. This area was planted for the production of nice straight trees that could be used in the industry. As the trees stand so close together only the top branches are green. Behind the curves in the path there is another area, where more daylight can reach the forest ground.

My husband Peter made several pictures of these muddy, dark paths and I chose this one for a charcoal drawing.  

More information about this drawing can be found at my website www.jannekesatelier.webs.com 

Monday, 8 January 2018

The river basin of the Sûre - after the beavers moved in!


Now I am back to the vacation memories of last October.  We made a long walk through the Forest of Anlier and the views inspired my husband and me to make lots of photographs. I have been making several paintings yet and this is the next in that line. 
After we had been walking over the hills and descended into the forest area we found traces of beaver activities. First we saw the trees that were gnawed at and had fallen down, later we had to leave the path because it was flooded. We could continue our walk easily because we only had to step a little higher on the hillside to pass by the flooded area. 
This scene is where the small brook was flooded and some of the trees were 'with their feet in the water'. This brook is part of the river basin of the river Sûre and we could not find a name for it on the maps. We were still close to Fauvillers at this point of our walk.

The scene was quite a challenge as the water was standing still, but there was not much light to be reflected. The colour of the water is really muddy here and only the trees standing in the water have a bit of reflection. In the middle of the water is a row of stones that might have been the river bank but now is surrounded by the muddy water.
The day we were walking there the sky was not clear because of pollution from forest fires in Portugal brought here by the wind. We did not see much of it, more to the west the sky was yellow that day. I think we had a much lighter version of that - in some of our photographs the discolouration of the sky can be seen.

In the reference picture I used (made by my husband Peter) for this painting the water was not 'standing out' very well, still I have tried to make the most of it. This was the best picture of that watery scene we could make and even though I am not completely happy with the result, my husband tells me the painting shows the atmosphere of that scene very well.  
I have made some finishing touches with the Iridescent Medium my daughter gave me, hoping that it would give some sparkle to the water and some of the leaves in the foreground. Maybe I was too careful or the medium simply does not reflect enough light for my camera to see the effect in the picture. More experiments will have to follow.

More information about this watercolour painting (paper and paints used, size, availability, etc) can be found at my website www.jannekesatelier.webs.com 

Wednesday, 27 December 2017

Our chestnut tree in winter - charcoal drawing


In front of our house is a small chestnut tree. It came as a just budded little tree and is now almost eighteen years old. The last few years we have lots of flowers in springtime and chestnuts in autumn.
From my kitchen window I am watching the leaf buds grow thicker in springtime, and I cannot wait for the leaves to sprout.
This year I am trying to capture that process in drawings and paintings and I have started now, in winter. The leaf buds are already visible when the autumn leaves have fallen off and I have chosen a nice angle to work from with the help of my camera of course.

The days are grey, a cold wind blows and sometimes a chilly drizzle falls.
To show that feeling in a painting is not easy, so I chose to make a charcoal drawing. I started with the outlines of the branches and wiped the charcoal to the right side of my paper as I was trying to give the illusion of wind and movement. The branches were filled in with some dark colours from my box of Tinted Charcoal Pencils and I think the feeling of winter in The Netherlands was captured on my paper.

More information about this charcoal drawing (size, materials used, availability, etc) can be found at my website www.jannekesatelier.webs.com 

Sunday, 24 December 2017

Christmas Morning



The conclusion of Advent is Christmas - of course. After the four Sundays of Advent, with more and more light coming into the world and my paintings I just had to paint Christmas as well. Because I had used my mothers old missal as the source of information for the Gospel readings of Advent, I turned to that book again. I found that sixty years ago there were Gospel readings for Christmas night, dawn and day. The readings for night and dawn follow each other, but the Gospel for Christmas day is very different from the stories we have been reading before and is not easy to translate to a landscape painting. 

I chose to paint a landscape inspired by the Gospel reading of Christmas dawn. 
Luke 2, 15 -16; "And it came to pass, as the angels were gone away from them into heaven, the shepherds said one to another, Let us now go even unto Bethlehem, and see this thing which is come to pass, which the Lord hath made known unto us. And they came with haste, and found Mary, and Joseph, and the babe lying in a manger." (source of the English text is www.kingjamesbibleonline.org)

As this scene is at dawn, there is much more light. The Star is supposed to be in the sky until Epiphany and shines brightly now. On the right side of the road are fields like those where the shepherds spent the night. They have left for Bethlehem, but the remains of their fires can still be found. On the left side of the road is a town like Bethlehem could have been and some fields that might be used for agriculture. Of course this landscape is imaginary, like the ones I painted for the four Sundays of Advent.
The sky still has some of the colour of the night, so I used indigo again, but the landscape is well lit and has much more colour.

This project was really nice to work on. Indigo is a great colour to work with as it is usable for all tonalities in a landscape painting. Adding more and more colour was also coming naturally as I have painted all five paintings in order within a few weeks time.

More information about my Advent project can be found at my website www.jannekesatelier.webs.com

Saturday, 23 December 2017

The fourth Sunday of Advent


This year I decided to paint landscapes that were inspired on the Gospel readings belonging to the four Sundays of Advent. 
That is easier said than done, because in the Roman Catholic Church in The Netherlands we read the Gospels in a three year cycle.
So I asked my mother for her old missal, published in 1957 (long before that three year cycle was introduced) and used that as my source of information.

This painting is inspired by Luke 3, 4b - 5: The voice of one crying in the wilderness, Prepare ye the way of the Lord, make his paths straight.
5Every valley shall be filled, and every mountain and hill shall be brought low; and the crooked shall be made straight, and the rough ways shall be made smooth (source of the English text is www.kingjamesbibleonline.org)
Of course I have included some other elements that are connected to Advent - at least they are connected for me.
The star is a sign we hang in our windows when Advent starts and we remove it after Epiphany. So in every painting the star is present, though hidden behind some clouds.
A star means night, so the main colour is Indigo and only where the light shines other colours are introduced. 

The landscapes are scenes that are familiar to me: I did not search the internet for the landscapes of Israel, but I chose to paint variations on the nature of The Netherlands and Belgium. Sometimes I used a lot of imagination, sometimes I did not add much to the original landscape.
Because the text of this Sunday is related to the text of the third Sunday I have tried to make the landscapes look like they are related also. I used most of the elements that featured in the other paintings, such as the bushes, the reeds, a stone, small trees, the path of course and the illusion of a forest in the background.

More information about my Advent Project can be found at my website www.jannekesatelier.webs.com 

Saturday, 16 December 2017

The third Sunday of Advent


This year I decided to paint landscapes that were inspired on the Gospel readings belonging to the four Sundays of Advent. 
That is easier said than done, because in the Roman Catholic Church in The Netherlands we read the Gospels in a three year cycle.
So I asked my mother for her old missal, published in 1957 (long before that three year cycle was introduced) and used that as my source of information.

This painting is inspired by John 1, 26 and 28: "John answered them, saying, I baptize with water: but there standeth one among you, whom ye know not; 
These things were done in Bethabara beyond Jordan, where John was baptizing." (source of the English text is www.kingjamesbibleonline.org)

Of course I have included some other elements that are connected to Advent - at least they are connected for me.
The star is a sign we hang in our windows when Advent starts and we remove it after Epiphany. So in every painting the star is present, though hidden behind some clouds.
A star means night, so the main colour is Indigo and only where the light shines other colours are introduced.
There are three light rays this time and more light is introduced by suggesting the morning twilight.


The landscapes are scenes that are familiar to me: I did not search the internet for the landscapes of Israel, but I chose to paint variations on the nature of The Netherlands and Belgium. Sometimes I used a lot of imagination, sometimes I did not add much to the original landscape.

More information about my Advent Project can be found at my website www.jannekesatelier.webs.com