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