Sunday, 28 February 2016

Are you sure that's where you want to go?

Somewhere in Ireland there is this road lined with beautiful old trees. As it is a famous scene, my son Martijn visited it as a part of a touristic ride. He made some nice pictures and I got permission to use them as references.
Because the scene is famous, I wanted to make something not so ordinary. Besides, the atmosphere of that road with those trees hanging over can be a bit eerie and I wanted to lay emphasis on that aspect.
As the trees were still bare I did not have to change anything about them, just exaggerate the dark shadows a bit. 

While working I was confronted with one of the limitations of charcoal: as I am working with a stick of charcoal, not a pencil, I cannot work very detailed. Well, in this case that only adds to the atmosphere I wanted to create....

More information about this charcoal drawing can be found at 

Thursday, 25 February 2016

National Treasure 386

A few years ago my son Martijn was in Seoul, South Korea for an internship. Of course he worked hard but also found time to make trips to touristic attractions.

He lived very close to Changgyeong Palace - or Changgyeonggung so he visited that site several times. In early springtime the sakura trees blossom, so he tried hard to make pictures with as few tourists as possible - and of course as much blossoms as possible.
The reference picture I used to paint this watercolour also features Okcheongyo Bridge. This bridge serves as a symbolic entry to the courtyard and is designated as National Treasure 386. (Wikipedia: Changgyeonggung)

Again it took me some time to decide on my composition, I cropped the picture a bit and changed the position and size of a few of the trees.
As the scene is in early spring I painted with soft colours and adding darks only in the trees and the shadows under the bridge. I have been adding to the depth of the shadows carefully, too little is not good, too much would be even worse. 
I had fun working on this one and am really happy with the result.

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

Tuesday, 16 February 2016

Colour study - Dark Clouds..

As I wrote before, one of my good intentions for this year is to get to know my palette a bit better. This is a study I made in order to get more acquainted with one of the colours that I rarely use: Antwerp Blue.
I used the scene from Bentheim Castle to make a watercolour with a very limited palette, only Antwerp Blue and Burnt Umber. I already knew that by mixing those two colours I could get shades of green, perfect for the trees.
Of course those dark clouds are not so dark anymore but I did learn a few things about Antwerp Blue.

More information about this watercolour (materials used etc) can be found at 

Sunday, 14 February 2016

Dark clouds... (over Bentheim Castle)

Last autumn we made a short trip to Bad Bentheim, in Germany and visited the Castle. That castle has been painted by Jacob van Ruisdael in 1653 so it's famous in our country. Of course things changed over the years so that famous view is not there anymore. The castle is surrounded by modern buildings now.
When we were entering the gate for a visit to the castle grounds I saw some really dark clouds hanging over and asked my daughter Mariska to take a reference picture for me. 
It took me a few months to decide how I would use that picture. 
There are some walls, a tree in front of the wall of the castle building, some trees or bushes behind the wall surrounding the area and of course those dark clouds. 
Not much to make a watercolour painting very interesting, so after some thinking I decided to make a charcoal drawing. Besides, using only black and white also helps to unite the picture.
Of course I am still exploring the possibilities of charcoal, but I am really happy with this result!

More information about this drawing can be found at 

Monday, 8 February 2016

North Sea beach - almost sunset

It's almost sunset at the beach of the North Sea, some people are still walking on the floodline and the clouds look great.
My husband Peter took the reference photo for me last september and it took me a few months to make a plan to paint it. 
Usually I paint the sky wet-in-wet, but sometimes that does not work well with the greys I mix for the clouds. So I tried a different approach.
First I made an underpainting in the sky with yellow and a bit blue. I left the sun open. After this was completely dry I mixed a blueish grey and made the clouds, adding water where I wanted the colour to flow. I also added the grey to the sky where needed. 
After this had dried again I added sea and sand and in the final stage I added details to the waves, the tracks in the sand and the people on the shoreline.
I am very happy with the result of this technique and will use it again for sure.

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

Monday, 1 February 2016

On the moors

When we visited a small part of the Veluwe called the Renderklippen last autumn, we made quite a few pictures. I already used a lot of them to paint from and this time I used two pictures my daughter Mariska made. 
We were standing relatively high on top of the moraine and she made a series of pictures to create a panoramic view of the area. 
From that panoramic view I chose my composition.
This scene shows a bit of the path over the moraine and through the field. As it was a foggy day, the moors and the trees in the distance are hazy, which adds to the feeling you get when walking in a landscape shaped in the last Ice Age.

More information about this painting can be found at my website