Saturday, 17 March 2018

The Lighthouse of Texel and the dune landscape around it

During our short vacation on our largest Wadden Island Texel, we drove to the Eierland lighthouse and made several pictures of the landscape of that area.
The lighthouse is the most important landmark of the island, situated at the most northern point of Texel. It is said that when you go straight north from that point you will have only sea until you reach the North Pole.

We wanted to see the dry sandbanks of the Wadden Sea (and we saw them) but we also saw a small dune lake and went out of the car to make some pictures. 

Of course we were on Texel at the end of winter and the colours are a bit different then, but I decided to 'imagine' an early spring for my watercolour.
I chose to use a portrait format this time to give the Eierland Lighthouse some more attention.

More information can be found at my website 

Thursday, 15 March 2018

Texel in winter: the beach of the Wadden Sea near the lighthouse - charcoal

Because of the very cold weather we have spent a lot more time inside the hotel than we usually do during our short vacation on Texel. The third day we were on the island we tried a walk in the eastern part, but returned to the car because of the cold wind.
In a restaurant we had some coffee and lunch and I asked the waitress where we could see the dry 'wadden' along the coastline. It was low tide so the time had to be right for that view.
We were directed to the lighthouse, in the northern parts of the island so there we went. 
Hopping in and out of the car to make pictures and getting warm again was the only way to get some views and reference pictures for future artwork. 
At some points we were able to cross the dunes or the dyke and go down to the beach. This is one of those places, very close to the ferry to Vlieland, the next Wadden Island.

The wooden structures inspired me to make a charcoal drawing. 
What the purpose of the structures is, we do not know, but they make a great subject for a drawing.
The sandy beach on the foreground probably is always accessible, further away are layers of ice on the Wadden Sea and maybe some of the sandbanks that fall dry during low tide. The background is open sea.

We have made several pictures during our short stay on Texel, so I do have references to make more drawings and watercolour paintings. I am looking forward to that!

More information can be found at my website 

Monday, 12 March 2018

Texel in winter: the Dunes of 'De Muy' - charcoal

On our short trip to Texel I brought my drawing materials, as I have already written in my previous post. My charcoal was packed also and I have made some charcoal drawings.
This is the first one, after a reference picture I have made in the dune landscape of 'De Muy', a bird reserve that is only open for the public outside of the breeding season. 
There were a lot of birds in the area who were busy staying warm and sheltered because of the very cold wind we had these days.

I was inspired by the vastness of the area and because we were on a relatively high spot we had a wide view to all sides. For a short time the wind was a little less strong so I took the camera and quickly made several pictures to all sides.
Back in the hotel I selected the picture that would be most suited for a charcoal drawing and set to work.

Of course I can draw or paint a scenery like this showing the vastness and the signs of winter, but I cannot really draw the cold wind that forced us to walk on and withheld me from making much more reference pictures.

More information about this charcoal drawing can be found at my website 

Friday, 9 March 2018

Impressions of "Winter on Texel"

Last week we had booked a nice hotel on our largest Wadden Island, Texel for a few days vacation. Because hotel rooms are not meant to be transformed into a painting studio, I only packed my drawing materials.
The weather turned out to be very very cold, so we did not walk outdoors as much as we usually do when on vacation.
This scene is very close to the hotel, we only had to walk over the dunes to find the North Sea coast. Sunset was to be in an hour but it was too cold, the wind was too strong to wait for it. I made some reference pictures and later in the evening I tried a graphite pencil drawing. I am not unhappy with the result - for a first try.

The second day of our vacation was still very cold with a very strong wind from the East. As we were at the western coast of the island, walking in the dunes, it was possible to make a walk of about 7 km. We did not stop long to make pictures and did not stop at all to eat our lunch (we ate that in the car, after the walk) and returned to the hotel early in the afternoon. 
This is from memory, as it was too cold to take off my gloves to hold the camera at this point. The dunes of "De Muy" - a bird protection area - were looking very unforgiving, possibly because of the winter season. I used my Tinted Charcoal pencils here on watercolour paper, as an experiment. 

The third day of our vacation we went looking for the dry sandbanks of the Wadden Sea. The most northern part of Texel is where we had to be to have a chance to see what I wanted to see. We were warned not to go walking on the dry sand because at that point it is quicksand and very dangerous. The "wad" was covered with a layer of ice,but we did see some sandbanks. Sheltered by the dunes and dykes I made some reference pictures at different places close by the lighthouse of Texel, where we had access to the shoreline.
We returned to the warmth of the hotel early in the afternoon again and I made a second graphite drawing.

These three drawings were meant to become accustomed to my pencils and to explore the possibilities they give me. 

More information can be found at my website 

Saturday, 3 March 2018

Via Crucis - The Path of the Cross

Last year I have started drawing the fourteen stages of the "Via Crucis" or the way of the Cross. 
This project took me a few months to complete and it was finished long after Easter. 
It took some time to find an hour or so to make pictures of all fourteen drawings in the same light conditions and so I am publishing my "Path of the Cross" now, a few weeks before Easter.

The stages of the "Via Crucis" have been painted many times before, but I am a landscape painter so I have only painted the landscape and added the Cross to that. There are no human figures. As the story develops I have given the Cross more and more emphasis in the scene.

The references I used are pictures my son Martijn and my daughter-in-law Claudia have made during their stay in Jerusalem, in May 2016. Some of the reference pictures were made in the Via Dolorosa, most of them were made at very different places. I have used my imagination to find a suitable picture for the scene I was about to draw.

Charcoal was chosen because of the fierceness of the subject, watercolour is much too gentle for what I was going to depict.
In some of the drawings I have used Tinted Charcoal pencils, to give just a hint of colour to the scene. 

Here are the fourteen scenes of the Via Crucis

Via Crucis I - Jesus is sentenced to death.

Via Crucis II - Jesus takes the Cross on his shoulders

Via Crucis III - Jesus falls for the first time

Via Crucis IV - Jesus meets his Holy Mother

Via Crucis V - Simon of Cyrene helps Jesus to carry the Cross

Via Crucis VI - Veronica dries the face of Jesus

Via Crucis VII - Jesus falls for the second time

Via Crucis VIII - Jesus consoles the weeping women

Via Crucis IX - Jesus falls for the third time

Via Crucis X - The clothes of Jesus are taken from him

Via Crucis XI - Jesus is nailed to the Cross

Via Crucis XII - Jesus dies on the Cross

Via Crucis XIII - Jesus is taken from the Cross

Via Crucis XIV - Jesus is placed in the grave

When I started this series of fourteen drawings I thought I could 'keep my distance' from the subject. 
Every Roman Catholic church has a depiction of the Via Crucis in its walls.
The story is familiar of course, we hear and read it every year on Good Friday when the Via Crucis and the death of Jesus is remembered.
And yet I was taken in by the story I was depicting...

More information about these fourteen drawings can be found at my website 

Sunday, 25 February 2018

The hazel trees are in bloom! - a watercolour pencil study

These days are a bit strange, it looks like spring but the temperatures are below 0ÂșC most of the day. Last weekend the sunshine was inviting us to a little walk so we went outside, warm coats, shawls and stuff and on the way I made some pictures of the hazel trees (Corylus avellana) that are in full bloom right now. The little catkins were standing out against the blue sky and I really wanted to use that image.
As I have written before, for me springtime is about what happens in the trees. The catkins, the flowers, the light greens of the new leaves are all signs of spring.

This is a very 'small' subject, I cannot fill a large sheet of watercolour paper with it. 
I decided to make a drawing using my watercolour pencils and giving accents with water to the branch that has the leading role in my composition. In that branch I have used several colours and the catkins are more detailed. The other branches and catkins are treated with less attention.

For this little drawing I have used the Canson Montval paper, examining how the paper works for pencils and a little bit of water. The structure of the paper did help with this subject.
I have gathered a selection of Derwent Watercolour pencils in the past years and I have used some of them in this study.

This was a nice experiment for me, I am getting more and more comfident to make more detailed drawings compared to the sketches I am using for my watercolour paintings.
More information can be found at my website 

Saturday, 17 February 2018

Getting Green energy

The 'model' for this little painting can be found in the Chinese Garden of "Diergaarde Blijdorp", the Zoo of Rotterdam. My daughter Mariska made some pictures for me a few years ago and these have been waiting for inspiration to come.
This lantern is in the middle of a pond and the holes in it made me think of fishing: the fishing rod fits nicely in there. 
The title refers to the energy source of the lantern. Of course that is electricity but the quest for sustainable energy sources is an important issue nowadays so my imagination came up with something 'green'. Not so very realistic but fun to paint.

This time I have been painting almost dry-on-dry, with just a little water and using small brushes and this is how I should paint on the Canson paper. It was easy now.
Because I have used concentrated Payne's grey for the dark lines I did not need to add ink lines. Another thing to remember for the next time.

More information about this watercolour painting can be found at my website