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