Friday, 23 December 2016

Early morning in November

Over a month ago my daughter Mariska and me took a bus to an arts-and-crafts event. 
As we wanted to arrive as early as possible (around the opening hour) we had beautiful views from the bus. 
The ride took us through the landscape of the Alblasserwaard, a landscape with fields, some cows and villages and trees in the distance. The sun was still rising and the clouds were looking great. Some of the morning mist was still visible.
Mariska took several pictures from the riding bus and this is a watercolour painting I made after one of them. There are more great pictures so more paintings will follow.

I do not need a perfect picture to paint from. As the bus was driving, the foreground is not sharp and the tree was a bit more blurry than I painted it. The clouds and the mist were visible though and that is what I needed for this one.

The Alblasserwaard is close to my home, although I do not cross it like this very often. Usually I take a motorway, the bus uses a provincial route in order to pick up passengers where possible.

This painting challenged me more than I thought it would. In fact I made the mistake to choose Burnt Umber to mix my grey instead of another brown colour. When I apply my grey mixture on wet paper, the blue and brown will flow each in their own way and give blue clouds with a brown lining. So the paper got a 'special treatment' with the shower and I started over. Still using the Burnt Umber, now on not so wet paper. The result is now what I wanted to achieve and I learned another lesson.

I like this painting, it has a bit of the mystery you can feel early in the morning on a misty field.

More information can be found at my website 

Where three rivers meet - at sunset

A few weeks ago we had visitors and as the weather was great, we went for a walk by the riverside. Whe live near the point where three rivers meet: Merwede, Noord and Oude Maas. On the left you have a view on Dordrecht, on the right hand side lies Zwijndrecht, behind the trees of the riverside park.
In the weekends the river is quiet, not so many boats as during weekdays.
The upcoming sunset was colouring the sky in a marvelous way so we stopped for pictures. My husband Peter made the reference picture I used for this watercolour painting.

Painting a sky without clouds is a thing I do not often get the chance to do, so this was a bit of a challenge.
The colours of the sky were reflected in the water, but as there was a lot of wind the water was not  calm. As this is a point where rivers meet and the tides are still of influence the water is never completely calm here.

I enjoyed painting a view that actually is very close to my home. To us this is a beautiful spot to visit all around the year. There is so much to be seen - even when traffic is low - and the light changes every minute.
In fact this was a favorite spot for some of our Old Masters as well and I can easily understand why!

The information about size, colours used etc can be found on my website  

Sunday, 4 December 2016

Rotterdam in November

On a cold, windy November afternoon we went for a walk in the city of Rotterdam. As this was a family reunion, we walked in the area just south of the river, partly between the earliest harbors that lay in the inhabited area now.
Crossing one of those harbors (by bridge) we had this view.

The back-light simplifies what usually is a landscape with too many details into a skyline with only chimneys and cranes as recognizable features.
Of course there was wind, so the water was rippled without much reflections of the buildings, trees or clouds.

The colours were also simplified by the weather conditions, a yellow haze for the sky and some blueish grays for the clouds, river, buildings and trees.

This painting will be a good remembrance to a nice family reunion.

More information can be found at my website 

Monday, 28 November 2016

In the Black Forest - second version

After having painted this little tree in the 'real' colours, I wanted to try to make a second version using my set of Twilight Colours. I decided to do a small painting this time and I chose to use paper that is very white.
While I was taping my sheet of paper down I decided to make a mixed-media using the paint for the background and some of my Graphitint (watersoluble) pencils for the tree and some details in the bushes and on the path.
I did not paint the trees on the left now so I could concentrate on the little tree in the curve of the path.

For the bushes in the background I used the granulating colours in my set of Twilight Colours: they fade away nicely, even where I applied a thicker layer of colour.
The sky, the path and the foreground are painted with the colours that do not granulate so much and I really am happy with the results.
For the path and the shadows I used the grain of my paper, lightly going over it with my pencil gives the same effect my granulating colours do. But this gives just a bit more control. The trees and bushes were drawn in the usual way and I made some accents with little strokes of a small brush with clear water.

This was a 'quick one' as it did not take much time to make, but this is one of the experiments I promised myself to do over the year: getting to know all the possibilities my paints and pencils have to offer. I will have to extend that to next year and maybe even further and that does not bother me at all!

More information about this painting can be found at my website 

Wednesday, 23 November 2016

In the Black Forest

On our vacation trip in the Black Forest (Germany) the weather was most of the time something between a light fog and a drizzle. 
Nevertheless we went hiking a few times and our first walk was directed towards the Sankenbach Waterfall. We could walk there from our vacation home so on a nice dry (not rainy) afternoon we went there. There still was a light fog between the trees that gave our afternoon something special.
The waterfall is very steep and maybe very spectacular when more rain has fallen, now it was really nice to visit but we could not really make pictures showing that there was much water falling.
Located at the top of the pathway down the falls is a hut meant to be a resting place. 
We ate our sandwiches there and made some pictures of the surrounding area.
In a curve in the path stands a small tree, partly hidden in the fog. 
I made several reference pictures with the idea to paint that scene.

I wanted to paint the special feeling of that autumn day in the forest.
The curve in the path that is fading in the mist, the little tree (on the lookout for hikers?) also not clearly visible and of course the foreground that can be seen much better - but not too well. And of course on the path the traces of the last rain, not so very long ago.

This was not really easy to paint, but I am happy with the result.
Maybe I will paint this scene again, using a different set of colours, sometimes a scene invites me to do that and this is one of those.

More information about this watercolour painting (size, materials, etc) can be found at my website 

Wednesday, 16 November 2016

Ruins and autumn colours

The ruins of the monastery of Allerheiligen, Germany are situated very nicely besides the brook and the waterfalls. As it is a touristic site, it also is very well - kept, clean and accessible. I gave some information about the history of the site before.

I painted this scene before and used the colours of reality; green for the fir trees and yellow and orange for the other trees and the bushes below. I also tried to reproduce the foggy weather of the day we were visiting the site. 
But I was not finished with this scene, I wanted to paint the scene again and this time I wanted to do a fantasy in autumn colours.

For this painting I also changed my crop a bit, now I did not want to draw attention to the contrast between the green and the yellow/orange trees but I wanted to accent the ruins themselves. This time I have been depicting the difference in the structures of the walls that are still standing. Some are in natural stones, others are made of nice rectangular blocks of limestone. And all of it is striped with moist and dirt.

The trees and bushes are bare this time, as if the foliage has already been shed and the leaves have been cleaned up by the caretakers of the site.
The background still suggests a forest in autumn colours - not all the trees shed their leaves at the same time.

More information about this watercolour painting (size, colours and paper used) can be found at my website 

Monday, 31 October 2016

Ruins of All Saints'Abbey - Allerheiligen, Germany

At 'Allerheiligen' waterfalls was also a monastery, now in ruins. During our trip to the falls we also visited the ruins and the small museum and took some pictures. 

The next bit of information was found - amidst a lot more information - on a wikipedia page 

According to the tradition, the foundation date was 1192, and the site of the building, at 620 metres above sea level in the upper valley of the Lierbach near Oppenau, was determined by a donkey which threw off a sack of money at this remote and inaccessible spot. In the same year a wooden chapel was built, which was gradually extended to be a Premonstratensian monastery.
Large fires, in 1470 and 1555, had already destroyed parts of the premises. In 1804, a last fire, started when a bolt of lightning struck the church tower, finished the job.
Not until the end of the 19th century, when tourism finally reached the Lierbach valley and its waterfalls, were any steps taken to secure what was left of the ruins, which were then put into the condition they are in today.
Also now on the site are a cafe and a small museum. Below the ruins are the All Saints'waterfalls.

Those ruins are really great for a painting! We only have a few pictures (camera battery low) but I intend to use them as good as possible.
On the slopes of the mountains are mostly fir trees but closer to the buildings was a group in bright autumn colours - just behind the ruins. So this painting is about the autumn colours and the contrast with the ruined building. 
Because of all the dirt and mold the structure of the ruins was hardly visible, especially the tower is hard to see clearly.
The tree trunks were dark because of the moist, and as a lot of leaves had fallen already they were standing out nicely against the bright coloured foliage.

I have tried to paint the decay of the ruins standing out against the life in the trees. To show some of the details I have also used some of my Graphitint pencils, they have colours that fit right into this atmosphere.

More information (paper, pencils, colours used, etc)  can be found at my website 

Tuesday, 25 October 2016


This October we were in the Black Forest for a week of vacation. The Black Forest (in Germany) has mountains, forests, waterfalls, ruins, and a lot more to see and paint.
As we were there only for a week we haven't seen it all but we did visit the waterfalls of Allerheiligen. 
There are lots of small and larger waterfalls in a row, not going down in one big fall but circling down in a gorge. A good footpath has been constructed with safe stairs and some platforms to walk up or down beside the falls.

On one of the platforms in the path I have been sketching and the same evening - in our vacation home - I made a small painting after one of the sketches.
There is one more - on the spot - sketch and a lot of pictures so I will be painting some more waterfalls in the weekends to come.

For this watercolour painting I decided to use only autumn colours (orange and yellow) in stead of adding the green that was still part of the colour scheme of the forest.

This is my first waterfall painting, so it's not perfect, but I had fun painting this one and I am happy with the result.

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

Sunday, 23 October 2016

On the road - in the Ardennes

We drove through the Ardennes and came upon this nice scene. 
A railroad, a little building, bushes, grasses, trees and the mountains in the background.
All in autumn colours, waiting to be sketched. I also took some reference pictures, but never used them.

I wanted to make a charcoal drawing inspired by this scene, but only black and white would take away the friendly feeling. So I made an under-painting with watercolour in autumn colours. The watercolour paper has a nice structure to work on with charcoal.
The result of the under-painting will always be a bit of a surprise. This time there was a nice surprise to work with.

This is a small size painting, I brought only smaller sizes of paper with me on vacation.
When I am painting in the 'vacation home' I don't have the same amount of space I have in my studio. And I have to be careful with the furniture in that place as it is not mine.
That is why I choose the small sizes, they are easier to manage in such circumstances.

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

Coffee with a view

This autumn my husband and me were on a short vacation again. This time we wanted to go a bit further from home than last year so on the way we had to make some (coffee) stops. The last one was on the parking place near Monswiller in France, just before crossing the border to Germany. The coffee was nice and so was the view from our table.
Because there was a small construction zone at the end of the parking place I only made a sketch, no reference picture. 

The church tower did catch my attention. It was visible from behind some bushes and was high enough to be seen above the mountains in the distance. Houses were visible around the church and the village also has some trees. 
The village is situated in a small valley but the higher parts were showing themselves, almost asking to be sketched and painted.

I decided to use warm autumn colours again and the paper I used is new for me. 
I have bought a small size block of Arches paper in  a special offer and decided to try that on vacation. This really is great paper!

More information about this watercolour can be found at 

Monday, 10 October 2016

Near Wirtzfeld - Autumn colours

Back to my summer vacation in the Ardennes. 
When we were on the spot, all I could think of was the challenge to paint in shades of green, and I made a painting I was not completely happy about. You can find the blog post here.
So I decided almost immediately to paint it again, in different colours. 
A few months passed since that decision, but here is the Autumn Colour version.

Not only the colours changed, I also changed the scene a bit. I made several reference pictures and on one of them were almost all the trees and not so much of the fields. I liked the light coming from behind the tree trunks so I decided to paint that this time.
My colours are also chosen from the not-so-familiar ones with the plan to get to know them better. A few were bought on impulse because they look great on the colour chart. Now I am making them look great in a painting and that is in fact why I bought them in the first place.

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

Sunday, 2 October 2016

Still time for mushrooms!

I am still in the mood for painting mushrooms so this is the second painting after a picture my husband took in the Sauerland. As I said in my previous post, there were lots of mushrooms in lots of different colours in that forest.

This is a group of brown mushrooms growing close together and all in almost the same shade of brown. I decider to use calligraphy ink to outline the mushrooms and then try to fill them with the correct colour. That shade of brown was not easy to find at first, but mixing my Burnt Umber with Indian Red gave the perfect final touch.

For the background I worked with two shades of green and a sprinkle of salt over a brown background. After that all had dried and the salt was rubbed off I used some darker shades of green for shadows and a bit of texture in the landscape.

This was fun to do and I am happy with the result.
These paintings of mushrooms are experiments with materials and colours and they give me the experience I need to introduce something new in my landscapes.

More information about this painting (colours, ink, paper etc) can be found at my website 

Monday, 26 September 2016

Time for mushrooms!

Sometimes I like to paint mushrooms and for that purpose I have a lot of reference pictures, taken for me each autumn. 
The reference picture for this painting is taken by my husband, about three years ago. We were on a walk in the forests of Sauerland - in Germany. There were lots and lots of mushrooms in all possible colours.
These looked a bit grey on green moss. The moss is something I never achieved as I like it to be so this time I decided to make a very different background. 

When I was looking carefully at the mushrooms to draw them correctly I saw the grey was actually a bit violet and a bit orange. So the mushrooms have been painted in those two colours. I added the twigs in order to connect the mushrooms and make it one painting instead of several 'portraits of a mushroom' on one sheet of paper.

Unfortunately it was hard to make a good picture, the real painting has a bit more red in its overall impression.

More information (size, colours and paper used etc) can be found at my website 

Saturday, 17 September 2016

Winter evening

When I was browsing through my reference pictures looking for inspiration I found this scene. The picture was taken years ago and I could not exactly find who had taken it, probably my daughter. It was one of a series of snow pictures given to me for inspiration a long time ago, so I can use it as I wish.

The scene is not very far from our house. 
We regularly take a walk around the quarter where we live and in the winter - with snow - the most beautiful spot of the walk looks like this. 
The lights are the lanterns illuminating the highway close by. There is a screen (to block most of the noise so houses have been built nearby) which is visible in winter, when the trees and bushes are bare and the herbs are sleeping in the soil. 

Sunset is early in December and the picture was taken just after the sun had disappeared. 

I used some of my Twilight Colours again, combined with a yellow and an orange for the lantern lights.

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

Sunday, 11 September 2016

Blijdorp zoo in Rotterdam - the 'Rivièrahal' in charcoal

The Blijdorp Zoo in Rotterdam is one of those places I visit at least once a year. Every time it is different compared to the visit before:  new buildings or new animals are to be seen in the garden. 
It is always crowded at the animal shelters, so there is not much 'peace and quiet' to draw the lions, tigers, birds, elephants, wolves, giraffes and other animals I might like to sketch. 

So I decided to try and show the buildings of Blijdorp Zoo that were designed by the architect Sybolt van Ravesteyn,which are monuments since the year 2007.
First of them is the Rivièrahal - or a part of it. 
This hall used to be a tropical greenhouse, but it is not well isolated. Being a National Monument, it was not allowed to make changes to the construction of the building, so new buildings have been constructed to take over that function and the Rivièrahal is now used for educational projects and an indoor playground.

The zoo is also a botanical garden, so lots of trees and bushes are everywhere to be found. 

More information about this drawing (underpainting used etc) can be found at my website 

Monday, 29 August 2016

An invitation.....

The first time I was visiting the estate of Castle 'Keukenhof' was at the occasion of a Christmas Fair. That was a nice experience, the estate is a perfect setting for such an event. The tents were - as far as I can remember - the same as we saw during Castle Fest, so the scene I sketched could also have happened in winter.

So I decided to make a winter scene after my sketch, using my Twilight Colours and adding some warm lights to shine from the tents, as an invitation to come and see what is inside.
That is where my title comes from.

This had to be a real winter scene, so there is no foliage on the bushes, snow is falling and the trees are also bare. The path before the tents is trampled already - maybe by the merchants selling their wares inside the tents? There are no visitors in this painting, not even their shadows. 
It is an invitation, so the visitors are yet to come!

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

Monday, 22 August 2016

A fantasy inspired by Castle Fest

In one of the beautiful lanes on the estate surrounding Castle 'Keukenhof" I stopped to make a quick sketch with the idea to use that scene for a painting. Not all my sketches will become paintings but this one had all I needed to work from.

Of course I changed the colour scheme, in stead of all the green of summer I changed the mood to autumn with the nice golden brown shades a beech tree will have in that time of the year.

Castle Fest is all about Fantasy, Elves, Dragons but also Steampunk, Star Trek and almost everything else you can imagine.

The tents with the merchandise are still there - as if they were never taken down after the festival. 
The imaginary side of the festival is what I wanted to show here, that is why the people walking around and looking at the merchandise are only shadows - some of them wearing elaborate costumes, some of them more simply dressed - as if they too never left the estate.

This painting was great to work on. First of all I had to make a plan about how I was going to use my sketch and after that I had to paint of course. I really love this colour scheme for the warm atmosphere it gives and the colours are easy to work with.

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

Thursday, 18 August 2016

Castle 'Keukenhof'

The castle 'Keukenhof' was built in 1642 and was restored several times. The last restoration ended only four years ago and now the building can be visited.
The name 'Keukenhof' means 'kitchen garden' and the surrounding estate was meant to produce the vegetables, fruits, game, eggs and all other things needed to feed the inhabitants of the castle.
The estate is now used for festivals, such as Castle Fest in August and a Christmas Fair in December. The park around the castle building is a nice place to walk and find surprising views.

During Castle Fest there are lots of people on the grounds and it is hard to get a nice picture of the lanes, the fields and the flowers. But I managed to get a spot to draw the castle! Of course this is only part of the building, there were some large trees blocking the view but I don't really mind drawing the castle like this.

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

A day at Castle 'Keukenhof' - the walled garden

My daughter and I went to 'Kasteel Keukenhof' to visit Castle Fest. My daughter brought  her camera and made several beautiful pictures. 
Castle Fest is an event in Fantasy style and many people dress up in wonderful costumes. We did not wear great costumes, as Riska wanted to move freely with her camera and I wanted to make some charcoal drawings.
The event is really nice to visit, not only to look at the people, but also look at everything that is for sale in the fantasy market!

Two or three times we laid down a blanket and i stayed behind to draw and look after all our stuff while Riska went about with her camera.
The first stop was in the walled garden. There were still fruit trees at the walls and they were not totally crowded with photographers and their subjects so I decided to draw these - to get in the mood of the estate.

There really were lots of people and other things to see, so I only made two drawings that day - the second one will be posted also.

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

Wednesday, 3 August 2016

View on Bütgenbach - evening mood

The first time I saw the church towers of Bütgenbach I already knew I wanted to paint them as they were at that moment: far away in the evening mist. 
I made some reference pictures to remember the atmosphere of that evening and I made a sketch of the scene in the brighter light of the following morning.
The colours were still very much related to the blues and greens of summer but after a week of shades of blue and green I needed a change. So I decided on a limited palette of french ultramarine, burnt sienna and violet to give the scene a different mood.

Because of the evening mist, there are not so many details visible on the towers and surrounding buildings, but this was the view that did draw my attention. 
Adding the 'highlights' to make the foreground stand out a bit more was a bit of an experiment as I did not know whether it would work in this colour scheme, but it turned out really nice!

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

Tuesday, 2 August 2016

Ardennes - mixed media with starlings

The last painting day on the trips with Buitenatelier is always a day for experiments with something different.
This time we were encouraged to make stencils with (our) names and make a 'negative' cut-out. Then use the stencil to paint the name(s) and make a nice composition with it.
Those who use acrylic paint just have to use the paint they always do but I had to think of something else.
Because oil pastels are water repellent I stenciled my name with black oil pastel, then poured over two nice colours of watercolour paint and waited for that to dry. 
After that I just added trees and starlings in a very casual way and the result was - well, fun of course! I had fun thinking over this and painting the scene and the result shows how much I enjoyed working like this for a change.

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

Monday, 1 August 2016

Ardennes - the buzzard and the starlings

During the day we were painting on the fields near Wirtzfeld (see my previous post) we could hear and see buzzards in the sky above us. 
Most of the time it was only hearing them but they were really busy that day.

They were always too far away for my little camera to make a good picture, but my memory is really trained now, so I could sketch this one later the same day. I just had to make something in order to remember that part of the day.
I decided to make a charcoal drawing after my sketch because I like the black and white and also because charcoal drawings can be made in a short time.

I added some treetops, a fir tree in the foreground, clouds of course and some smaller birds - to fill up the empty space in the sky.
It had to be starlings just because every evening we had a 'ballet' of swarming starlings above the lake. These birds entertained us while we were dining and we really liked to look at them.

So this drawing is made up - as a reminder of the birds we saw and heard the most during our stay in the Ardennes.

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

Ardennes - nearby Wirtzfeld

The fourth painting day was colour again. The teachers from Buitenatelier have found us a great place with nice views to all sides. We were situated halfway up a slope and could look down on fields separated by lines of bushes or the lane we drove through to reach this place. There also were some very curious cows on one side, they really liked the entertainment we gave them.

The lane, with some large beech trees along was to be my subject for today. I like the shapes of those trees, the shadows underneath and the lane itself that gives a direction to my painting.
Once again I made a cadre on my paper with some tape, this time just a small outline.
While sketching some trees disappeared, I lost the lane while painting and the fields were simplified a bit. If I had not done all this, there would have been a lot of details distracting from the atmosphere of the view I wanted to paint.
I have been making some reference pictures to paint from at home, so the other views will also be shown in the future.

Standing outside, on the spot is not without problems: the light kept changing from overcast to sunny and the colours in the foliage of the beeches changed along with it.
At some point I just decided to stop changing those trees and start working on the rest of my painting.

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

Ardennes - The bridge near Wirtzfeld

This vacation was used for experiments. Most people on a painting trip do that and I am no exception to that rule - at least this year I wasn't!
The team from Buitenatelier took us to a small bridge crossing a stream that will eventually flow into the reservoir of Bütgenbach. We were asked to work black and white here, with ink or charcoal.
That was to give us a change from all those fields, bushes and trees in all those shades of green. After two days we all could use that change!

Because I already had painted monochromatic yesterday, I decided to try an experiment today. When working at home, I had experimented with a watercolour under-painting for a charcoal drawing and I was not too happy with the result. Now I decided to try this on watercolour paper which is much more made to absorb water and colour than the paper I use for my charcoal drawings.
So first I have been pouring diluted watercolour paint on my paper and waited for that to dry completely before I started to draw my scene.
At this point it started to rain and the group decided to pack and return to the vacation home we were living for this week. There we all finished our work using pictures or sketches and our memories of course.

The poured watercolour had left some blank spaces, just as I wanted it to be and the drawing process was easy. The watercolour paper is much better for this mixed technique and as it is medium rough drawing on it with charcoal gives some nice surprises too.
I really like this result and will try this technique more often.

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

Saturday, 30 July 2016

Painting week in the Ardennes - Path in Sepia

The second painting day (painting week in the Ardennes with Buitenatelier - see my previous post for details) we drove to a field not far from our vacation home. 
There was a lot to see and paint here, fields, hills, cows, a flower field, bushes...

I found a small path into the forest and decided to paint the lines of the trees, as a contrast to the round shapes of the bushes and the curves of the path.
The theme for this week was Contrast, so I decided on a contrast in shapes for today.

In order to make that very visible, I decided to make a monochromatic watercolour using Sepia. That is a colour I am not so familiar with so I worked carefully, adding colour and shapes only after the paint I already applied was dried completely. With the sun and wind I never had to wait long though.

Again I made a cadre with tape on my watercolour paper and filled that completely with paint.
Once again this way of working was not my usual way of painting, but I had a lot of fun working like this and I am happy with the result.

More information about this painting can be found at 

Painting week in the Ardennes - view on Bütgenbach

In my previous posts I already explained I was on a painting trip, one week in the Ardennes. The trip was organised by the art teachers of Buitenatelier who always know how to find great painting locations not too far from our homes. 
The Ardennes, in the eastern region of Belgium is one of those great places to paint. 
We live for one week in a former hotel - now a vacation home - and go to different locations every day to sketch, take pictures and paint.

This view was from the 'living room' towards the small town of Bütgenbach. The towers of the church, some houses and other buildings and of course lots of trees and bushes.
I made my sketch with the thought that I could paint from it later, back in my own home, but it turned out differently. I was encouraged to make a frame on my paper - with some tape that can easily be removed after my painting is dry - and to paint my 'View on Bütgenbach' within that smaller space on my paper. I had to use all of the space I had framed, something I do not always do when painting on a larger piece of paper.

The result is really nice, new for me and really fun to do!

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

Thursday, 28 July 2016

Ardennes - day 6

The last painting day is always out of the ordinary. This time we were encouraged to make stencils with (our) names and use those in a painting.
That is a nice idea, so I made a small stencil using my first name. I stenciled with a black oil pastel, that does not mix with water. Then I poured two colours of diluted watercolour paint and after drying I made a simple version of a landscape. Just trees and swarms of starlings.
We had starlings swarming over the lake every evening and I felt I had to paint them sometimes - and they were perfect for today's project.
Later today we will all make an exhibition of our works and tomorrow we'll drive home.

Wednesday, 27 July 2016

Ardennes - day 5

For our fifth day most people in our group drove to a field with lots of views on all sides. We came through a narrow lane with lots of curves and nice spots to paint. Today we were 'allowed' to use our colours again and we  had to think about composition.
I decided to stay uphill and paint a part the trees, the shadows underneath them and a bit of the fields to the right. My composition  is bases on the dark on the left with light on the right side of my paper.
As usual, the trees were not easy. Maybe this time because I still could see them and the light kept changing. We had clouds at first, and a lot of sunshine later.
Once again I am  happy with today's result.

Tuesday, 26 July 2016

Ardennes - day 4

Today we are halfway our painting vacation. To give us a change from all those colours our teachers planned a black and white day - with charcoal or ink.
Because I worked monochromatic yesterday I decided to work on watercolour paper and make an 'under-painting' by pouring diluted paint and moving my paper a bit until I had a nice surprise for result.
After drying I started drawing with charcoal in my usual way. The underground was unfamiliar for charcoal, but it turned out really nice!
We had a different subject today, we drove to a nice little bridge surrounded by bushes and trees.
I really had no problem getting inspired here!

Monday, 25 July 2016

Ardennes -day 3

Today was supposed to be overcast,  but we had lots of sunshine. The painting location was a field nearby, with trees, bushes, flower fields and even cows on one side.
I chose to paint trees - no surprise there - and the contrast is made by painting monochromatic. I have done that before and now I decided to work with sepia, a colour I am not so familiar with.
Again we were invited to 'frame' our paintings with tape and fill that space with our subject.
This was a nice experience and I am happy with today's result!
I will post better pictures of the paintings I made and will make later this week after I returned home.

Sunday, 24 July 2016

Ardennes- Day 2

The first day is always used for getting acquainted with the location and the theme of the week.
The theme is Contrast so we have a lot to think about these days!
My contrast today was between the round shapes of the trees and bushes and the rectangular shapes of the buildings.
I was challenged to make a smaller 'frame' on my paper and fit my painting in there.
The result is a nice surprise!

Saturday, 23 July 2016

Ardennes -Day 1

The first day of my painting trip in used for driving and settling in our room.
The picture shows the view outside the room: a lake,  hills, trees and clouds!  Just what I like to paint for the next week.
It will be dinner time soon now,  so I will write again tomorrow,  when I have a painting to show. 

Sunday, 17 July 2016

Walking around 'Naardermeer' - the map

After our walk around the Naardermeer - now two months ago - I started painting watercolours and drawing with charcoal after all the pictures we made. 
Those paintings are already posted here, with numbers 1 to 8 and some extra because I painted some scenes twice.
The trail is indicated on a map and I added  numbers to indicate where my paintings were inspired. In one of my previous posts I already mentioned that I was doing this and would show the map when I considered it (almost) complete. 
So here it is!
For now I will stop painting after the pictures we made around the Naardermeer, mostly because next week I will be on a short painting trip in the Ardennes and will get loads of inspiration there.

More information about all the paintings I made with the Naardermeer as my inspiration can be found at my website

Saturday, 9 July 2016

Walking around 'Naardermeer' - 8a; charcoal drawing

The last scene I painted inspired me to do a charcoal drawing as well.

I want the focus to be on the white bridge standing out against the dark chestnut tree and suggest some bushes, grasses, reeds and the small stream the bridge crosses.

That is not so difficult when I am using charcoal. In fact, almost all the effect happened by itself. Charcoal may have its limits, but it is a great material to work with.
Personally, I feel very pleased with the result of my work.

More information about this charcoal drawing and the watercolour painting I made can be found at my new website 

Monday, 4 July 2016

Walking around 'Naardermeer' - 8

In our country it is almost impossible to walk that long (20 km) without passing by a farm or a bridge. Here we found a farmhouse with an old-fashioned drawbridge beside it and a large chestnut tree behind the bridge. Perfect for a picture and a painting!
I used reference pictures taken by my son Martijn and my husband Peter.

This scene also shows a road, which is for bicycles and walking only. Our natural reserves have many roads like this, to make it easy to visit the area in times when there has been a lot of rain. 

In springtime everything is green and the shades of the grasses, the bushes and some of the trees cannot be told apart easily. Just the reed is a bit blueish and the chestnut tree was already heavy with leaves, so there were a lot of shadows to be seen. The fruit tree in front of the house was not so full in leaf yet.

I had some trouble with all that green again, but I think I did not (over)work my painting as much as I used to. For me it is important to keep challenging myself and try to improve on my weaker points.

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

Sunday, 26 June 2016

Walking around 'Naardermeer' - 7

The trail around the 'Naardermeer' is about 20 km long so there is a lot of variety in the landscape. 
I have already painted the lakes themselves, a small patch of forest, some marshlands and now I have painted fields with oxen and a very large tree, I think it may be an old oak tree.
The combination of the standing tree, the fallen one and the large animals scattered over the area inspired me to paint this scene. I had to gather some courage because I usually don't include animals in my paintings, so even though we saw this scene very soon after we began our walk, it is the seventh scene I am painting.
It was not really difficult to paint them, it is not easy to make an accurate drawing on the surface of my watercolour paper. 

The sky looks still light, the darker clouds I have painted in my other paintings came in shortly after the moment we were looking at these fields. 

More information about this watercolour and the other paintings I made after our walk around the 'Naardermeer'  can be found at my new website 

Saturday, 18 June 2016

Walking around the 'Naardermeer' - 6

After three paintings with blue, grey and green as most important colours, I wanted to do something different. 
The scene is familiar - a small lake with reeds, some bushes and lots of clouds hanging over but now I decided to transfer that to the Twilight colours. Working like that is a bit more challenging than transferring to black and white - like when I make a charcoal drawing - but I like challenges like that.

The reference picture was taken by my son from a bird watcher's hideout overlooking the small lake called 'Hilversumse Bovenmeent'. As it was getting late in the afternoon, the birdwatchers had already left - as had the birds. 
Still the view was great and worth being painted, especially with those clouds.

More information about this watercolour and the other paintings I made after our walk around the 'Naardermeer' can be found at my new website 

Sunday, 12 June 2016

Walking around the 'Naardermeer' - 5 an unexpected sight

Only shortly after we walked by the scene I painted with the number 4 we saw a predator hunting. My husband used all he could get out of the camera and made the picture that inspired me to do this painting.
We have been looking at both pictures he could make of the bird but we could not exactly determine the species. We think is is a harrier, but that is just a guess.
Different species of harriers are known to visit or even breed in the area of the Naardermeer so our guess could be right.

The picture is zoomed in a lot so the dark clouds in the background were large. I did pour some diluted paint over my wet paper and let it dry completely. After that I used the resulting pattern to make my clouds. After the clouds were dry I used water-soluble pencils to draw the lines of the railroad's electricity supply and the bird. Using a little bit of water I put emphasis on the bird.
This was a bit of an experiment for me, using both paint and pencils but this technique suited my subject best. 

More information about this painting and the others I made after our walk around the Naardermeer can be found at my new website 

Monday, 6 June 2016

Walking around 'Naardermeer' - 2a

This is a second version I made from a sketch I used earlier and this time I wanted to do a painting on a black background. Using white gouache and my watercolour paint I can create a painting that is very different from a watercolour on a white background. 
Until now I used this technique only for night scenes, with this painting I tried a daylight scene.
I am really pleased with the result. 
The technique is something I still am getting used to, but my experience is growing and problems are solved much more easily than in the first paintings I did this way.

These paintings are not so easy to picture for the purpose of showing them in this blog and other things. The light has to be good enough and my daughter has to be home to make the picture for me, my camera is not up to this task.

More information about this spot along the walk around the 'Naardermeer' is found in the blogpost with the watercolour painting I made earlier.

More information about this painting (paint and paper used, etc) can be found at 

Friday, 3 June 2016

Walking around 'Naardermeer' - 4

This is already the fourth scene taken from our walk around the 'Naardermeer'  and there are more reference pictures waiting to be painted.
This spot is at the south eastern part of the area, where in the past years fields have been flooded to keep the water level of the natural reserve as it should be. So there is a lot of water, there are grasses and reeds and trees are only in the distance.
We were walking on a bicycle path so the watery environment did not bother us.
On both sides of the path we saw a lot of waterfowl - with young ones of course, it is springtime.
The springtime also shows in all the shades of green in the grasses and reeds. The distant trees are not having all of their foliage yet, that gives me a nice contrast for my painting.

I took the reference pictures for this painting myself, sometimes it is easier to do that than to try to explain what I want. 

More information about this painting (size, paper and colours used, etc) and the other paintings I made after our walk around the 'Naardermeer' can be found at 

I am planning to show the spots I painted on a map after I finished painting all the scenes I want to paint after this walk. 

Thursday, 2 June 2016

Walking around the Naardermeer - 3a now as a charcoal drawing

Sometimes I use a working sketch more than once, I have been showing the results of those experiments before. This time I was inspired to do a charcoal drawing of the last painting I did. The bushes, trees and building are a perfect scene for such an experiment.
The wide, open landscapes with the view over the lakes of the Naardermeer area are not suitable for this approach as there are no great contrasts between dark and light due to the clouded sky.

A charcoal drawing  can give attention to other aspects of the scene compared to a watercolour painting. 
I used this idea to give more detail to the bushes and trees as the watercolour is focusing more on the white blossoms of the hawthorn bushes.
I am really happy with the result of my efforts: making a second version of a scene and having for result a work with a very different feeling to it - both versions are showing something of the way that spot really looked like.

More information about this drawing and the watercolour paintings I made after our walk around the Naardermeer can be found at 

Sunday, 29 May 2016

Walking around the Naardermeer - 3

The walk around the 'Naardermeer' is marked counter clockwise and starts at the most southern point. First you walk the eastern edge of the area which is lined by high trees, bushes, fields with cattle and a few farmhouses.
As it was springtime, all the trees and bushes were showing fresh green colours and some of them were in bloom, like the chestnut trees and the hawthorn bushes. In the fields were lots of flowers showing their yellow, white or violet colours. The grasses themselves bloom with a reddish brown haze.

Altogether great to look at and not so easy to paint, as I do not want to show all the details, but the impression of the scene.
This was a peaceful spot with a very gentle feeling with lots of green, birds singing and sheltered from the wind.
I tried to paint this impression and I think I succeeded.

More information about this watercolour and the others I painted inspired by our walk around the 'Naardermeer' can be found at