Sunday, 20 December 2015

Veluwe - now as a snowscape

I am still experimenting with the possibilities of my new set of Twilight Colours.
This time - inspired by all the snowscapes that are appearing on fb this time of the year - I decided to transform an autumn landscape into a snowscape. In fact that is not so very difficult; you just need another set of colours, a bit of salt and some patience.
My first plan was to make the ground dark with a few white patches and so I started out making the sky, bushes , trees and the falling snow and left the painting to dry completely. When I stepped back I decided to change that plan and make the ground white with a few dark patches and some shadows. It really didn't need much more than a few carefully placed touches.

As reference  I used a picture my husband Peter made for me when we were walking in the Renderklippen (the Veluwe) last October.

More information about this painting (size, colours used, etc.) can be found at 

Monday, 14 December 2015

Twilight - Maasvlakte 2

Just before sunrise on the Maasvlakte 2, in the Port of Rotterdam. 
The sky is cloudy and very dark, below the clouds are shades of blue. 
The big elevators for the containers in the port are standing out against the sky. 
I am looking towards the west, so there is no red or yellow colour in the sky, just blues and greys.
The moment I saw this I knew I had to paint it. 

For my composition I relied mostly on my memories and a little on references for the correct shapes of the elevators.

So here is the second painting with my set of Twilight Colours - the set is perfect for scenes like this! I used the red only to create the grey colours of the elevators and the port side.

More information about this painting (and my other paintings) can be found at 

Sunday, 6 December 2015

That one little red bush

Autumn colours do not come at all trees and bushes at the same time. 
So here all was still in shades of green exept that one little bush which had coloured to a fiery red and really stood out.
I decided it deserved to be painted, so my daughter Mariska made some reference pictures for me. The green foliage was still there, but it already had a lot of thin spots. 
So I decided to make a charcoal drawing, that material makes it easier to show that air through the branches. And a Cadmium Red pastel pencil for the brave little bush.

More information about this drawing (size etc.) can be found at 

Thursday, 3 December 2015

In the parking lot at night

This is not just any parking lot - it's the parking lot at our hotel on the Veluwe, last October. By day it was just a parking lot with trees and bushes surrounding it, but at night in the light of the lanterns those birch trees really did catch our attention.
So the first evening I was standing next to my daughter holding equipment while she was making lots of beautiful pictures. One of those pictures had not only the trees but also a bush in autumn colours and I decided to paint that one.

This is a scene that asks for white gouache on a black background. For the colours I just mixed in some watercolour paint, that works very well for me.
More information about this painting (size, colour and paints used etc.) can be found at 

Friday, 27 November 2015

Twilight Colours!

The special edition colours by Winsor&Newton Professional were too tempting.
I already had the Smalt (Dumont's Blue) and I never use black colours, so I bought Sanguine Red, Quinacridone Violet, Aqua Green and Cobalt Green Deep. 
It was a challenge to find something to paint  for an average reference photo does not have (all) those nice colours. Last winter we were in the train that rides alongside the river Douro at the time of sunset and my daughter Mariska made a lot of pictures. 
I decided to use one of them, a picture I had not painted before. 
The sunset was really nice and reflected in the river beautifully, I just had to change the colours a bit. The mountains were all black because of the strong backlight, but I do remember seeing detail in them so I painted them that way.

Getting used to a new set of colours is not done with just one painting so I expect to have a lot of fun with this in the near future!

More information about this watercolour and the others I made after our winter trip to Portugal last year can be found at

Sunday, 22 November 2015

At the prehistoric burial mounds

Our beautiful National Reserve 'De Veluwe' has been the inspiration of my latest paintings. It is not over yet!
As I mentioned before we were in the vicinity of a moraine, a leftover from the last Ice Age. A lot of the low hills in the area are part of that moraine, but this scene is a bit different. 
The area of the Renderklippen also contains some prehistorical burial mounds. 
They are 4000 to 5000 years old and still visible in the landscape, situated beautifully on the edge of a small moor. The foggy weather made the site even more mysterious.

The reference photo was made for me by my husband Peter.
More information about this watercolour (size, colours and paper used) can be found at 

Tuesday, 17 November 2015

Scene from a hotel terrace

A simple scene of the terrace of our hotel is ideal for experiments!
The combination of the small bush with autumn colours and the dark flower pot drew my attention and I wanted to paint this somehow.
I decided to work it as a charcoal drawing and to experiment with it. 
First I decided on my composition - simply the two elements I wanted to paint with a suggestion of a background.
Then I decided on my experiments - one with a Conté pencil in Sanguine and one watercolour underpainting in the red colours of autumn.
Working with Conté added to my charcoal was nice and not much different. I found out I can decide to add that whenever I like in the drawing process. 
The watercolour underpainting needs some planning ahead and it affects the paper in a way I cannot smudge my charcoal the way I like to do. 
So for my charcoal drawings I will stick to drawing - with charcoal and sometimes I will add Conté for some colour.

More information can be found at 

Sunday, 8 November 2015

When the fog lifts....

The first time we saw this landscape it was foggy weather. So when the fog lifted after a few days we could see much more of the autumn colours this part of the Veluwe has to offer. And we all had a very pleasant surprise!
The sky was still cloudy, but opening up with bright red/orange and patches of blue.
The trees were changing from green to a reddish brown and the heather lost their flowers but still had a lot of violet to be seen.
As I explained earlier, we were in a moraine so the landscape is not as flat as the rest of The Netherlands. We were walking on the top of the hills and looking at the scene below us when my daughter Mariska made the reference photo I used for this painting.

More information about this painting (size, colours used) can be found at 

Thursday, 29 October 2015

Foggy weather on the moors

The fog I painted before lasted a few days, so here is another watercolour inspired by that special atmosphere you get in that kind of weather.
We were walking in a small part of the Veluwe called Renderklippen, a moraine left over from the last Ice age. There is a lot of variation in that landscape, I already painted the woodlands, now you can see the moors. They are all small patches, but to me that makes it all the more attractive for a walk - in an hour or two you can visit various landscapes!
Of course when there is someone with a camera in your company, the walk tends to last longer - but we all see much more of the landscape we are exploring.
The reference photo for this painting was taken by my daughter Mariska.

More information (size, colours used) can be found at 

Monday, 26 October 2015

A walk in the woods

A walk in the woods can be very refreshing - if only because of the fresh air and the exercise involved. We usually take at least one camera with us, so we return with lots of pictures and I am inspired to start painting as soon as possible.
Not all scenes are fit to be painted in watercolour, so this one has become a charcoal drawing.
Those nice tall trees are standing in 'de Renderklippen' which is a part of our National Reserve de Veluwe. We had some nice walks there and I got inspiration for a few more watercolour paintings!

More information can be found at 

Friday, 23 October 2015

A foggy day

Sometimes foggy weather is sometimes nice, especially when the landscape around you gets a bit mysterious. A bit of fog in a forest gives just that touch of mystery to inspire a watercolourist - like me.
This forest is in the Netherlands, it's a part of the National Parc of the Veluwe. We were here for a short vacation and were really lucky with the weather. A bit of fog, not too much and the temperatures were nice for the time of the year too. So more than one walk in the surroundings was made and enjoyed.
We took a lot of pictures - as it was a bit too damp to stand still and try to sketch - so after this one there are more paintings waiting to be made.

More information can be found at 

Autumn colours the sky - 2

The colours of autumn are really great to work with, so I could not resist the temptation to make another painting with them. For this one I used a sketch I made after a picture my daughter Mariska made in Portugal. 
When you walk around the church of Santa Luzia above Viana do Castelo you get this view of dome of the church. The foreground is a combination of bushes and treetops. 
For this painting I imagined a strong backlight so the details of the dome would not be visible.

More information about this painting and the one I painted from this sketch before can be found at 

Monday, 12 October 2015

Lost lights

The colours of the sky are always worth looking at, even in an industrial area such as Rijnmond. So I decided to 'recyle' the sketch I made for my first 'urbex' watercolour, the one for which the heavy industry of that area was my inspiration.
This time I chose to stay a bit closer to reality: the lights are still on!
It's really amazing how many lights there are on those towers and buildings, almost as if there is someone present on each and every metre of those long corridors.
I chose to work with the same three colours I used in the latest painting I made and create an atmosphere of expectation. People can still come to work here, as a contrary to the scene I painted before.

More information about this and my other watercolours can be found at 

Thursday, 8 October 2015

The moon exposed....

As an amateur artist I want people to see my work so I participate in expositions from time to time. Each year the section of Amateur Art in my home town Papendrecht will organise an exposition in the public library where we all contribute one work. The name "Met z'n Allen" means All Together and that is exactly what it is. This year there are over forty very different pieces of art hanging together on the walls of the library. This exposition is always from the 1st of October untill the 31st of December.

This time is also the first time my daughter Mariska participates, so we chose similar works. She made a series of pictures from the moon last year and she is exposing one of them now while I am exposing a painting I made after another picture from that series.

Sunday, 4 October 2015

Autumn colours the sky

As the days grow shorter I drive to work during the hour of sunrise  more and more often, and I can enjoy the wonderful colours in the sky. Most of the time there are clouds so they add to the beauty of it all. Of course I only look and try to remember in order to come home safely again in the afternoon.
The landscape of a highway with noise barriers on both sides is not really inspiring for a painting, so I only remembered the colours and the clouds and fitted them in a landscape I painted before. So in fact I re-used a sketch made from a reference photo my daughter Mariska made for me.
This scene is very close to my home, it's a view from the bridge over the river Merwede and I gave it the colours I remembered the best from those mornings a few weeks ago.

More information about this painting and the one I made before can be found at 

Sunday, 27 September 2015

Guimarães - that tree in the museum

The museum of Alberto Sampaio in Guimarães is housed in the buildings belonging to the Collegiate Church of Nossa Senhora da Oliveira. 
Part of this is a former cloister and the garden is still worth seeing, although very small.
It was not easy to take a good picture of this old tree but somehow my daughter Mariska succeeded. 
That picture has been waiting for me to find a way to paint it for over two years now. The composition was something to think about so I have been looking at the picture and cropping it several times. 
And still I could not think of a way to make a good painting.
But recently I was introduced to charcoal drawing as a medium and now I finally saw a possibility to make the painting I wanted to make.
Deep shadows in the structure of the building, the tree standing out in front of it and the illusion of space around it, now they are all there!

More information about this work (size, material used) can be found at 

Wednesday, 23 September 2015

Painting mushrooms!

Somehow I always liked mushrooms, not only the ones that can be cooked with. So it's not really a strange thing that I started painting them as well.
These ones were growing a few years ago in the Sauerland (Germany) and my husband Peter made some nice pictures of them - and others that were standing close by.
In autumn the ground in a forest even more littered with branches, leaves and moss than in the other seasons, so I had to simplify that a bit.
For this painting I chose to work on a very heavy 'all black' paper using white gouache and some colours of watercolour paint. 
This technique worked really well for the white stems of the fly amanitas (Amanita muscaria) and the spots on the hoods, better than I would have managed with watercolour on white paper.
Making a good photo of a painting like this proves to be aquite a challenge. Using flashlight makes the background grey, sunlight does the same and when it's really overcast outside you can't see the painting. My daughter Mariska waited for the right moment and did capture my painting well!

More information about this paiting can be found at

Sunday, 20 September 2015

Connemara - as I imagined it would be

Many years ago there was a song by Michel Sardou called  "Les lacs du Connemara" that created an atmosphere of barren, unforgiving nature. Ever since then I imagined the landscape of the Connemara to be like that, but unfortunately I never saw it.
Last spring my son and daughter-in-law went on a short trip to Ireland and brought back a lot of beautiful pictures and amongst them some nice ones of the landscape of the Connemara. They allowed me to paint from their pictures, so here is the first one!
I was attracted by the clouds, the lake and most of all the mountains in the distance that really create that same atmosphere I remember from that song. 
This picture taken by my daughter-in-law Claudia really shows the Connemara as I imagined it would be!

More information about this watercolour (size, colours used) can be found at

Tuesday, 8 September 2015

A bit more about me

Some days ago I was asked by Patience Brewster to write a blogpost with a bit more information about myself as an artist. The questions asked were not that easy to answer, so I took some time to think them over and write the answers down in a nice, readable post. I hope you will enjoy this one!
I was asked to describe how I became an artist – although that was posed in several questions – and what inspires me.
As a child I was not very exposed to art like paintings and drawings. My father was an amateur photographer,  so photos and cameras were always a part of my life.
Another big part of my life is reading and that led me to watercolour. It all started with a series of lessons based on fairy tales and poetry. There I got acquainted with the wet-in-wet technique. 
More lessons were taken, now focusing on painting what I saw. Here I discovered that the landscape is my favourite subject.
I really want to show the beauty of this world in my paintings and sometimes I achieve that goal. The more I paint, the better I manage to express the feelings I have when I am in a certain landscape.
There are times in which I do not paint what I have seen personally, but what one of my children saw, photographed and told me during and after their travels. Those times I really need their words before I can paint. My son once told me that my painting expressed the atmosphere of a certain place better than his pictures did. That was really a special compliment to me!
The last few years I have also been trying to find out whose paintings I like the most.
From the past I like Rembrandt and the masters of the School of The Hague. Turner and some of the Impressionists are on my list of favourites as well. And you may think this a strange one, but I grew up with his art for it was always somewhere in school or public places: M.C. Escher. There are many contemporary watercolourists I admire so I will not bother you with that overly long list of names…

What the future will bring me I don’t know. I follow the path I started upon and I cannot really see where it will end. Along the way I hope to be surprised by fantastic landscapes, beautiful paintings and nice comments of the people who see my artwork.

Sunday, 6 September 2015

Hubermont - looking in the other direction - now as a Charcoal drawing

Sometimes I feel like doing a scene twice and try out how it looks using different colours or even a different technique.  This time I wanted to do a charcoal drawing of the last landscape I painted in watercolour.
In fact this is my second charcoal drawing ever, I learned to appreciate this technique on that painting trip in the Ardennes I mentioned in my previous post.
While making the watercolour I already got acquainted with the scene and that helped me a lot doing this drawing. Here I left out the clouds because they would have interfered with the branches of the trees and the wind that was blowing on that hilltop is easier to visualise because I used a smudging technique to create the foliage on those branches.
Alltogether I am very happy with the results.

More information can be found at

Friday, 4 September 2015

Hubermont - looking in the other direction

I was on a one week painting trip in the Ardennes this summer and came home with some nice watercolours and a lot of ideas for more. 
One morning we went sketching on a hilltop in Hubermont, not far from the place we were staying.
On that hilltop I made two sketches, one of them was already used for a painting  I made that same day, the other one is the inspiration for this painting. 
I simply turned around and sketched what I saw: the road I was standing on, some fields to my right and ahead of me, the woodland on my left, the distant trees and hilltops and the clouds in the sky. I felt that I could make a nice little watercolour out of that scene.
Well, that feeling was right! 
I worked with a limited palette, changed the colours a bit and created this watercolour.

The information about the size of this watercolour and the colours I used can be found at

Tuesday, 25 August 2015

Looking for a blue sky

For this watercolour I got inspired by a photo my daughter Mariska made. There was something interesting about the abandoned building and the holes through which the blue sky was visible. But before this painting was finished, I had to do a lot of thinking and I had to make some changes.
First of all I had not seen the place. The photo was showing a little piece of building with parts of walls almost everywhere. As it was really sunlit, there was no shadow or perspective to reveal te actual structure. So I 'took down' another wall and simplified the part of the building I was going to paint.
Second was the decay. I like to exaggerate that a little, letting plants grow over walls and through windows. And yet I had painted so many green vines over the last weeks that I wanted a change. Autumn maybe? With yellow, red and orange for my foliage. 
So that was the plan!
I started painting the sky and the walls and planned to fill in the plants after that. When the walls were dry, I started to paint the vines on the left and at that moment I decided it was already winter in my painting. So there are some leaves left on the vines and on the branches of the tree we see through the door opening, but they are painted with the same colours  the vines and branches have.

More information about this watercolour (size, colours used, etc.) can be found at

Saturday, 22 August 2015

Abandoned Sanatory - by day


An abandoned sanatory is an intriguing subject to paint, so I decided to make two different scenes with one reference photo my daughter Mariska made.
She made the photo at night looking out from the windows of the abandoned Sanatório de Valongo in Portugal.
This is the daylight scene as I imagined it to be several years from now.
The original photo had a lot of backlight so I had to guess where the wall stopped and the floor began, with a little help from perspective lines that was easy to do.
Then the walls themselves, were they high or not? I decided on high and damaged so I added cracks and green algae.
The floor would also be dark with algae and moist from the incoming rain.
The plants outside would have taken the opportunity to overgrow the walls and windows, so there will be vines coming in. But not too far, once inside they are devoid of sunlight and can't grow any further.
I had a lot of fun imagining all this and of course painting it!

More information about this watercolour - and the nighttime version - can be found at

Abandoned Sanatory - by night

An abandoned sanatory is an intriguing subject to paint, so I decided to make two different scenes with one reference photo my daughter Mariska made. 
She made the photo at night looking out from the windows of Sanatório de Valongo in Portugal.
This is the night scene and it depicts the situation as it is now. 
There was a strong backlight so the structure of the building was not to be seen, only the light coming in from the windows and the reflection it made on the floor.
This scene inspired me to paint on very black paper, so the contrast between the dark and light are increased.

More information about this painting - and the daylight version - can be found at

Thursday, 6 August 2015

The path along the church

The church of Maboge (in the Ardennes) is in fact a very normal church, only the weather vane is a bit out of balance. Walking down towards that church you pass by  a weeping willow, a fence, some walls around the gardens of the houses in that street and of course the churchyard.
I was attracted by that church, the wall around the churchyard with the streetlight and that weeping willow at the other side of the street. So I made my sketch and started to think about my painting.
Using the complementary colours yellow and violet gives a colour range from the pure yellow via all the brownish grey shades in between them to pure violet. As the image is very simple, the limited palette gives a very surrealistic atmosphere to the path along the church.

More information about this watercolour (size, colours used etc.) can be found at

Wednesday, 5 August 2015

Weeping ash - my first charcoal drawing

I like the idea of trying something new, especially when it's about my art.
This time it's charcoal drawing, something I don't remember having done before.
Looking for a subject I found a weeping ash in a courtyard. The branches were pruned down last year but the tree was doing all the better (I was told). As a result of that work all the curves that had grown in the branches in the previous years were visible. 
Those forms really can be intriguing and I decided to select a nice one to draw. 
After a first sketch in my sketchbook I started to work with charcoal on a large sheet of paper. While drawing I decided to add some of the leaves that were visible on the tree. After adding some background I was realyy happy with the result.
It was a nice change to be working this way and I will certainly do more charcoal drawings in the (near) future.

More information about this work (size, material) can be found at

Tuesday, 4 August 2015

Hubermont - where the wind blows

There are many facets to a landscape like that of the Ardennes. There are valleys with small rivers and so there should also be hilltops - where the wind blows!
Because of that wind I only stopped to make sketches and photos, my fingers became too cold to hold my pencil too soon. The slopes may be steep, the hilltops are round and used for cornfields and grasslands to graze sheep and horses. Trees are used to shelter the farms from the worst of the weather. I found a spot where the grass and corn fields are divided by the road and a farmhouse is just visible between those sheltering high trees.
That view inspired me and so I made my sketch with some notes to use later, in a warm and sheltered place, to make my watercolour painting.

More information about this watercolour painting (size, colours used etc.) can be found at my website: 

Monday, 3 August 2015


In the Ardennes rivers are very different from the ones we have at home, so it is a nice challenge to paint one. At the point where we were, the river Ourthe is very shallow at some places with little waterfalls and rapids. Nothing you can't wade through if you'd want to.
The stones of the riverbanks were overgrown with brambles and there were more bushes in the background. In the riverbed were either large stones creating little rapids or shallow beds of pebbles that were partly above the water.

I wanted to paint those stones and pebbles, the flowing water and the restful mood of the area.

More information about this watercolour (size, colours used etc.) can be found at

Friday, 31 July 2015

Day by day Ardennes day seven - going home

As the title says today we are going home again. My car is packed, I just have to close the back door and drive away. That is a bit difficult though, so first I take my time to say goodbye. This last week we became 'family'  united through our love for art and beauty and it is not easy to leave that behind.
Of course I am at my own home when I write this, but still a little 'homesick' for that nice spot in the Ardennes. Luckily I have taken lots of pictures, sketches and paintings with me........

Thursday, 30 July 2015

Day by day -Ardennes day six

Today is ourfinal day. In the afternoon we will be collecting our works of this week and make an exposition out of them.
But first there is one more morning for painting and exploring new techniques. Today we are introduced to making monoprints with acrylic paint, a plate of glass and paper. After the paint we printed on the paper has dried we can complete the picture with pastel or charcoal. As the whole thing is totally new to me I do not take many risks.
Each morning a large family of swallows is flying around the house to eat their breakfast and afterwards resting on the electricity wires. That was to be my theme. The picture can be simplified to some basic shapes that will not give me problems while printing. After that I first tried the pastel on the darkest print. Nice material, but not easy to manipulate. The lightest print was filled in with charcoal. After monday I have more confidence with it. The result did not disappoint me.
Today I did not have the whole day for experiments, I had to make my exposition. The photos are not great, but they will give an impression of the results of today's work.

Wednesday, 29 July 2015

Day by day -Ardennes day five

Today is about colours. We were invited to find our inspiration for today's painting in the village. The church was a favourite subject and we all had a different approach. I painted with complementary colours. As I had forgotten to pack extra ultramarine, the blue/orange pair was not an option. Green is very present in the paintings I did the other days, so purple/yellow was today's choice.
My subject was the church with the weeping willow in front of it. There is a wall around the churchyard and a road and many more things but I decided to make my composition with only the elements that attracted me.
Later, after I finished my waterolour painting I made some postcards with my watercolour markers. Those are nice and I am still exploring their possibilities.

Tuesday, 28 July 2015

Day by day -Ardennes day four

Today was about composition. We went up to find an open landscape and make sketches with different comositions such as square, portrait, landscape size. We had to reduce the landscape we saw to big shapes of colour value, light dark and middle. With those sketches we returned to the house to make our paintings. Returning was a nice thing to do, as it was dry today but very windy and cold.
After a few hours of work I think my watercolour is finished, the sketch and the result are in the photo. I will make a more detailed post about it after I get home.

Monday, 27 July 2015

Day by day -Ardennes day three

Today we had rain, lots of rain! So the lessons had to be indoors or so close to the building that running towads shelter was possible. We were asked to work with charcoal and explore the possibilities of that material.
It was my first time using that charcoal and the general introduction was more than welcome. To find an easy subject  was quite a challenge but I found my inspiration in the tree in front of the house. The branches have grown in twisted shapes and provide a nice variety in form, structure, shadows and shapes.
After making a small sketch I started in charcoal. I made a second drawing in charcoal with a different approach for the background. After lunch we have free time and that time I spent drawing the very same subject with watercolour pencils. The rain had not stopped so I decided to stay indoors. The pencil drawing is not finished yet, but it's already worth showing.

Sunday, 26 July 2015

Day by day - Ardennes, day two

Today had a very sunny beginning, so we decided to paint outdoors. The theme of this week is Reflections and Playing so next to a river there is a lot of inspiration be found. We did not go far, just crossed the bridge and walked by the river untill we came to a piece of grassland where we all could set up our things  and start painting
The small one is my first work of today, painted almost on the spot after a quick sketch. The first painting of a week like this is always a try-out. Testing the environment, the weather, the teachers....
Having time left before lunch, I made a second sketch and painted the large one after lunch. I am much more pleased with that one and I will make a more detailed blog post about it when I am back home.

Saturday, 25 July 2015

Day by day -Ardennes

This week I will try to write every day. I am on a painting vacation in the Ardennes, a region in Belgium. This day is the day of arrival, so I had a ride of over 260 km, mostly in rainy weather.
The photo gives an impression of the location, a large house next to a bridge over the river Ourthe.
Since there was a lot of rain today, I did not venture far on my first walk here.
There will be more reports!

Sunday, 19 July 2015

Still standing - abandoned houses

This house really is abandoned and my daughter Mariska could not resist the impulse to make some pictures. With several buildings (house, shed, stable) in different stages of decay it was really hard to find out which was which so I decided to select some of it to make up my own composition.
The chimney was to be my subject, it really did catch my attention so I had to compose my painting around it.
The contrast between the chimney and the trees is stronger now and the decay of the buildings is exaggerated as well. The tree that comes out of the middle of the house is real, the other plants growing all over are my additions. But it will not take long before those are real too!

More information about this watercolour can be found at

Saturday, 11 July 2015

Peonies in autumn

We have peonies in our garden, so in springtime we enjoy the wonderful flowers and when autumn comes the leaves start colouring beautifully. 
Last autumn my daughter made some photos for me to paint. But this time I wanted to do something with the watercolour pencils I have. 
I made a simple composition from one of the photos and started colouring. I layered different colours, mixing them on my paper and after doing that I did not want to risk losing all this by brushing water over my drawing. 
So the drawing was not touched with water, only the outlines a bit so I could add a background with watercolour paint and salt for texture.
More information about this drawing can be found at 

Monday, 6 July 2015

Abandoned courtyard

The inspiration for this landscape came from a sunset photo my daughter Mariska made for me. The sunset is nice, with lots of clouds and colours in the sky, but the courtyard is a little worn out so my imagination had to add in some interesting details before painting this scene. 
Again, I started to wonder what this would look like after people had abandoned the site.
I exaggerated the worn out look of the courtyard to a point where normal use is not possible anymore. I added a lot of green, overgrowing the buildings and helping their decay. The sunset had to remain of course, that's what started my creative process!

More information about this watercolour (colours used, size and more) can be found at

Monday, 29 June 2015

Rijnmond - Imagining the future

Rijnmond – Imagining the future

Last month I worked on the Maasvlakte, so I had to drive west along the industries of Botlek and Europoort every morning.  What I particularly noticed was the green look of it after coming in the Europoort section. Trees, grass, bushes everywhere – and industry of course. Somehow I see the nature parts first.
Taking that road every day, I started imagining: it’s already green, what will happen when there is no more oil to process and these industries will be abandoned?
Of course it helps that many chimneys already have a rusted look, and much of the other industry as well. So a bit more rust, a bit more decay and lots of extra green.
I wanted to paint that!
Things like this have been done before, but never my way.
That meant looking well at the oil plants – and still driving safely - remembering how it looks now and picking out the structures that I think interesting.
All that was combined to create an imaginary oil plant somewhere in the area. For my composition I did some thinking. I could have chosen between horizontal and vertical but that seemed a bit too obvious to me. There had to be a curve somewhere and that can be done with a thing called ‘cantilever composition’
The vertical elements are still there and the element of desertion too; that was to be my painting.
The buildings are decayed and rusty of course, so I needed to work with more details than I usually do. I still wanted to add some ‘haziness’ which is almost always present in the Rijnmond area, due to the influence of sea, sand and blowing wind.
I am really satisfied with the result of my imagination combined with my painting efforts. Maybe I will do some more paintings on this theme.

More information about this watercolour (size, colours and paper used) can be found on

Wednesday, 24 June 2015

This way! - more beautiful views in Rotterdam

This path presented itself as an invitation to explore the Island of Brienenoord in Rotterdam, but I made a sketch of those trees first. Their form is really intriguing, as if there are at least three trees at the same spot, all twisting around each other to catch the most sunlight. And some succeed, some fail. 
In the beginning of spring, the trunks of the trees are still visible through the foliage and that's really a nice moment to paint them.

More information about this watercolour can be found at

Monday, 15 June 2015

Composition in green - unexpected views in Rotterdam

There is a tiny bit of 'real' nature in Rotterdam: the Island of Brienenoord. Of course it's in the river, a bit under the Brienenoord-bridge and it's green!
At that place the river is still in open connection with the sea, so there is tidal movement which makes the island a special little spot of nature in our country.
We went to discover it on a nice warm - not too hot - day and while the others were making photos I was sketching. This willow tree had not been able to remain standing up but it is not beaten yet! From the trunk new branches are growing and blocking the view towards the other side of the little pond.
Everything was green that day, the grass, the bushes, the foliage of the trees, even the water in the pond looked green. Only the sky was blue - ish.
From my sketches I made this composition. Because the fallen tree is my main subject I did not include details of all those trees in the background.
The little waterbird made its presence well known, so I honoured its efforts.

More about this watercolour (size, colours used) can be found at

Monday, 8 June 2015

Springtime on the moors

A few weeks ago we were going to a place somewhere in the middle of The Netherlands and we passed by a patch of heather with the common broom in bloom.
The heather plants were still brown - with a hint of purple - and the bright yellow of the flowers of the common broom were contrasting nicely.
As we were driving about 100 km/h making a reference picture was not possible, so I made up an imaginary landscape with the idea to show what did catch my eye there.

More information about this watercolour (size, colours used etc.) can be found on

In Papendrecht

Each spring there is a watercolour workshop in a fruit orchard in Papendrecht. 
It is a small orchard, very close to the river. This is the first time I joined and I enjoyed it!
There is more than just fruit to be found as inspiration for a small painting, these fences and the tree were just enough for a pleasant afternoon painting.
Because the teacher did provide us with materials, I painted on paper and with paint I do not normally use, so that added a bit of a challenge for me.

More information about this watercolour can be found on

Sunday, 31 May 2015

Ponte de Arrábida - Memories from Portugal

There are more bridges in Oporto, but this one has a view towards the ocean. 
What appealed to me in this sight was the fact that the horizon was visible through the structure of the bridge. And with a lot of sunshine the white bridge is a special thing to see.
The reference pictures were made by my daughter Mariska, from an open spot in the gardens of the Palàcio Cristal. We were almost at the same height as the bridge. 

More information about this painting (size, colours used) can be found on

Tuesday, 26 May 2015

Von Gimborn Arboretum - under the trees

The Von Gimborn Arboretum is located in the middle of The Netherlands and it is really worth visiting, even if you do not intend to paint it.
A collection of trees is always interesting, in springtime it's mostly green. 
Lots of shades of green! 
And yet there is still space for sunlight coming through the branches, so the ground is already covered with greens in all possible varieties.
Here we found a nice corner, inviting me to paint it. My daughter made me a few reference pictures and here is the result!

More information about this watercolour (size, colours used etc.) can be found at

Saturday, 23 May 2015

Sakura - and Watercolour Markers

There is something new in watercolour - world to have fun with: Watercolour Markers! 
My daughter gave me a box with 6 colours and I had to try them as soon as possible. 
As described in the instructions I found on the internet, they have two tips, a sharp one for precision and a brush type tip for filling in larger spaces. 

I tried all that of course, with and without water, with and without added paint.
This is the result of half an hour fun and experimenting - I did not have much more time.
For the subject of my test run I also got inspiration from my daughter: Sakura flowers!
I kept my composition simple so it would be easy to copy, for I wanted to try all those possibilities and compare the results.

This was fun and I will definitely try out more... I like this stuff so: thank you very much Mariska for giving me this box of wonders!

Sunday, 17 May 2015

Lane in Miramar - even more memories from Portugal

There are many lanes like this in the world, this one is in Miramar, Portugal.
We were there on a nice sunny day last December, so there was a lot of shade with bright spots. Not much foliage in the trees of course, but still the gardens behind the walls were showing green bushes. This lane reaches almost to the seaside.
The place felt like an open invitation to paint...

The reference photos were taken by my daughter Mariska.

More information about this painting (size, colours used etc.) can be found on my website 

Wednesday, 6 May 2015

Heather in bloom - Kalmthoutse Heide

Last september the heather was in bloom and the weather was nice, so we went for a walk in the "Kalmthoutse Heide". This is a natural reserve overlapping the border between The Netherlands and Belgium.
That place is a favourite of mine and I have already painted many parts of it. This one, with the blooming heather, is special to me, for we do not always get the opportunity to see that.

More information about this watercolour (size, colours used, etc ) can be found at