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