Friday, 18 August 2017

Lamps, watercolour and other things

During my last painting vacation in the Ardennes I was introduced to Expressionism.
The result was a rather strange looking beer bottle (it was meant to be like that)  and the feeling that expressionism is not really my style. 
That morning I had also made a sketch of a standing lamp in the house we were staying. That lamp was transformed with the help of the shapes that originate from random splashes of watercolour paint that are dropped on a wet surface. The result of that experiment was also published in one of my blog posts about my painting vacation.

The idea of transforming the original shape of a standing lamp using the random shapes of watercolour that has been free to flow and mix stayed with me. No wonder, it was really fun to do and does not take much time to execute.

So I decided to use my own standing lamp as my model and try again. This time a different set of colours and a 'reason' for the transformation of the shape of the lamp. Spider season is upon us now, so there was the 'reason'. The colours I chose are looking forward to autumn: yellow, orange, red and a dark blue. Once again I used one of my Professional Watercolour Markers for the lamp, only the glass part was suggested by Indian Ink. The spider and his web are also drawn with Indian Ink.

Of course I have planned this concerning the materials I have used and the spider theme, but the final shape of the scene was dictated by the lines and shapes that were formed by the wet paint and the water - with a little help of gravity of course.

This was fun and I have many more ideas so after I have had time to buy me more of the paper I am using for these little paintings you will definitely see more lamps showing up in my artwork!

More information about this painting and the other one I have made in this style can be found at my website 

Saturday, 5 August 2017

Ardennes, this time some good photographs

The last week I have been posting the paintings I have made during my week of vacation in the Ardennes. The photographs were not as good as usual and for a reason. I did not have the opportunity to give the published pictures my usual watermark which is meant to prevent abuse of my artwork.
Today I have made some good photographs at home and I have given them the watermark.
So they are ready for proper publication now.

For the story of each of my paintings I refer to the blog posts I have written last week.

Some additional information may be necessary.
These painting vacation are group activities with two teachers, both ladies are qualified. Each teacher accompanies half of the students each day and they change groups every other day. Unfortunately they have decided to stop giving these classes and focus on one-day-workshops instead.
The paintings I have made this week are very much my own idea, I have had some guidance, but not much. With one exception, the bottle in expressionistic style could not have been completed as it is without help from my teacher. I am not ashamed to say so, expressionism is really not my style. The lamp was easy using the hints I needed to finish the bottle.

More information about these paintings (paper, paints, other materials used, size, etc) can be found at my website 

Thursday, 3 August 2017

Ardennes, day 6

The last day is always about playing with paint and ends with an exposition of the results of the week.
This time the playing part was monoprint and I had to 'borrow' some acrylic paint for that. I tried to include some dried flowers and grasses in my prints but that did not have the results I hoped for.
So I continued with the results I got and added red ink in one of my prints and crayons in the other.

After lunch I will be 'composing' my exhibition.

More information about me and my paintings can be found at my website

Wednesday, 2 August 2017

Ardennes, day 5

Today was about abstracting.
We were invited  to make sketches on a beautiful location and to create an abstracted painting after that sketch.
I found a very nice spot for my sketch and decided it was too beautiful to make only an abstracted painting. So I started a watercolour painting using the realistic colours and while that one had to dry I started a small one which had to be more abstracted. Halfway we moved back to the house because it started to rain. After these two were finished, I decided to do a white-on-black painting in the afternoon, using the same sketch for inspiration.
The results are in the picture.

More information about me and my paintings can be found at my website

Tuesday, 1 August 2017

Ardennes, day 4

Today the weather forced us to stay in the house. We were invited to paint in an expressionistic style and I found inspiration in some small corners in the central room in the house.
Because expressionism is not my usual style I was very happy with all the suggestions our teachers gave me.
Today's results are colourful and experimental and I enjoyed painting like this for a day.

More information about my paintings can be found at my website

Monday, 31 July 2017

Ardennes, day 3

Today we have been away from the house, on the shore of the lake. First we had an introdution to Impressionism and then we were invited to paint.
The shoreline is curved, so we could all choose a different view.
I decided to include some of the pine trees and bushes to suggest the distance between my spot and the opposite shoreline.
Once again the creation of all those shades of green with blues and yellows was challenging, but the results are much more to my liking than the results I got when using greens from the factory.
In the water I added some touches of Iridescent Medium, just for fun. The results are nice! So thanks to my daughter who gave me the Iridescent Medium for my birthday.

More information about me and my paintings can be found at my website

Sunday, 30 July 2017

Ardennes, day 2

This day is 'warming up day', so we start finding our inspiration in the view from the house. There also is a nice garden and many of us started painting flowers.
Of course I found my inspiration in a lot of trees and some buildings on the other side of the lake.
After I had started the green painting one of the teachers said "Why don't you paint two paintings at the same time?" and I gathered paper and other stuff to start a second version of my subject. As one was drying, I painted the other one and so on. Each watercolour painting has three or four layers of paint, so I have been switching a few times.
It was really nice painting  this way!

For more information about my watercolour paintings, please visit my website

Saturday, 29 July 2017

Ardennes, day 1

This week I will be painting in The Ardennes again. The view from the location is great, even in the evening. Today was mostly spent in the car, we arrived in time for afternoon coffee with cake. Tomorrow we will start painting and I will post the results of each day.

For more information about my previous painting vacations, please visit my website 

Sunday, 23 July 2017

After the rains - morning in the mountains

Last autumn my husband and me had a short vacation in the Black Forest, Germany. I have already made and published some watercolour paintings I made during and after that trip. On the way home we started early - as it is over six hours by car to get home - and we stopped for this sight. In the night and the early morning it rained and now the water that had fallen was rising up to the sky again in the form of mist. In the mountains that is a great sight especially for people like us, who are living in a flat country.
On my request my husband Peter stopped the car (in a parking place of course), opened the window and made some photographs.
We were near a hamlet situated in a bend in the road, so there were some buildings in front of the forests, the mountains and the mist.

Because I wanted to lay emphasis on the tranquility of the scene I have 'forgotten' to show the part of the road that was visible and added some bushes to the ones that were already there. The house on the left is also a bit altered and has got a more traditional 'Black Forest' facade.

Once again I have not been using green from the tube, but mixed my greens using several blue, grey and yellow paints. Because it is autumn I have added the yellows in pure form to the trees and bushes. The pine trees are evergreen of course and most of them are emerging above the mist. Only those on the far left are hidden behind the mist as that mountain ridge is much further away.
The smoke from one of the chimneys is highlighted with Chinese White.

Once again I had not stretched my paper before painting on it, and again I had some small difficulties. I have been giving this method a second try but I have found out that it is better for me - and my painting habits - to soak and stretch my paper before painting. 

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

Wednesday, 12 July 2017

Evening mood in the polder

The reference photo for this watercolour painting had been waiting for almost two years now. My son Martijn lives in Almere, which is in what we call 'the New land', one of the polders made in the IJsselmeer. His birthday is in September so when we drive home after a visit the chances of a nice sunset are good. Usually my daughter Mariska makes a picture from the car when I ask her to.

Because of the poor light circumstances the fields were very dark and without structure in the reference photo so I have changed that part a bit. I had to do this from my memory because since the photo has been made, parking places have been made there.  
The railroad is still the same. On the right is the little railway station, unfortunately its structure is mostly on ground level. Behind the railroad only one building is visible. There are plans to build more of course as the town of Almere will be developed further in the next decades.

Maybe it is due to the rainy weather but painting this was not without struggle. It can also be caused by the fact that I did not soak and stretch my paper before starting to paint. The surface of the paper reacts differently to water and paint when the coating from the mill is not removed by the soaking and stretching. It's easier to remove paint this way and I had forgotten that - I remembered quickly though.
Nevertheless I made a painting I like very much.
For the first time I used Chinese White in this painting - only to highlight the moon a bit. After I had removed the masking fluid I tried to soften the edges and the result was not good, so I tried to hide that behind some clouds, and still I was not happy about it. The white paint did the trick, as it is not very opaque (like gouache) the clouds are still there, but my moon is round again.

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

Monday, 10 July 2017

I have got free art materials!

This month my favourite art supply store gives away free art materials when you get yourself a membership of the Dutch Association of Artists.
So today we went to the store, filled in the application  form and went shopping.
The result is in the picture.
I got paint and paper for my watercolour paintings, charcoal, fixative and paper for charcoal drawings and paper for sketches. I will be using some of these materials when I am on my painting vacation in The Ardennes - in a few  weeks.
The membership of the Artists Association does also have some nice advantages, so I think I got myself a good deal.
Now I only have to paint.

More information about me and my paintings can be found at my website

Friday, 7 July 2017

View on the Kasbah of Ouarzazate

After so many weeks working on a project using charcoal, I wanted to paint again! So I brushed away the dust from my palette and started browsing through my 'inspiration gallery'. That is a collection of reference photos that were made by my husband, my children and me. 

This time inspiration came from Morocco, my son Martijn visited that country as a tourist almost three years ago and gave me some of the photos he made there.
One of the trips he made was a visit to the historical Kasbah of Ouarzazate, a monument.
The view is great and a challenge to paint. The colours of the buildings have only a little bit of variation so I had to exaggerate that variation to give depth to the structure.
There was a hint of green and grass in the landscape so I used that as well.
And the cactus on the rocks in the foreground. 

This is my first cactus and it was a bit of a challenge, especially as i am still mixing my greens from blues and yellows. I had to find the right mixture here and that meant experimenting with my colours. The green of the cactus is made up with two different mixtures of a yellow and a blue and a grey mixture for the shadows. Each mixture is applied on the dried paint I had already used, this technique allows me to suggest the shapes of the cactus leaves. Of course it is not perfect yet, but for my first attempt the result is satisfying.

For the grasses and the dry branches on the foreground I used my Watercolour Sticks. They are nice for drawing thin lines and when used dry on dry the lines are uneven because of the structure of my paper.

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

Monday, 3 July 2017

Painting again! A view in the forests.

It has been a long time since my last painting. I have already mentioned that I had started on a project of fourteen charcoal drawings and that project is ready for the camera now. When the pictures are ready I will publish my project.

We have been busy with a lot of things, the weather did not cooperate so it had also been a long time since we had our last walk in the nature of our country.
Not very far from our home lies the small town of Oosterhout which has a nice little forest to walk in. The signposted walk is provided with information about the history of the area and how that history affected the landscape. That is really interesting, the area used to bee moorland, later it became production forest and now it is being brought back to recreation forest with a lot of attention for the past.
In this piece of forest there are also some patches of field where wheat can grow alongside with the flowers that naturally accompany it.
At some point we had a nice look through from under the trees over one of those fields. The scene had some back-light, so the trees are a dark mass on the reference picture I took. The wheat has all the sunlight we had at that moment and makes a nice contrast to the dark greens of the surrounding trees.

This gave me the idea to paint this scene on black paper, using white gouache and some of my watercolour paints. The foliage hanging over from the top gave me some troubles, as expected. That is much easier to paint on white paper, painting the leaves and not having to worry about the white colour of the clouds behind them. I decided to make the foliage a bit more dense, this may be reality next week, so I only took some 'artistic liberty' here.

This time I cropped the picture I have made after my painting to where the paint is. Usually I show some extra bits of the black paper, but this time my 'horizon-line' could not be erased without damaging my paper. This is how the painting will be framed.
Of course it is possible to make a better picture after the painting, but it still is as I have told you before - I do not have that advanced a camera and I do not have an advanced editing program on my computer.

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

Saturday, 3 June 2017

Ik Toon - I am showing you my artwork

In the month of June the area where my residence is part of is showing artwork of its (amateur) artists. That event is called 'Ik Toon' which means 'I am showing you'.
All over the area - the Molenwaard - there are shops that give some space in their windows to display artworks. Many private homes show art as well. And there are special activities in this month such as musical festivities, an exposition day in a monumental windmill, raku baking etc.

Two of my artworks are on display in the shop window of 
Estate agent Kooyman Eigen Huis, 
Kerkstraat 1, 
2969 AJ Oud-Alblas.

The weather is great now, so taking a good picture of artwork on display in a shop window is quite a challenge. 
I could not take good pictures, but I will show what I made. If you take an 'average' of these three, you might get a nice impression.

The artworks on display are these: 
A charcoal drawing and a watercolour made after a foggy walk in the woods.

More information can be found at my website 

Friday, 26 May 2017

There is work in progress...

This time I do not have a picture to show you.
I have been working on a project that will include at least fourteen charcoal drawings and I will publish this project when it is finished. To give you a hint on the progress: four of them are finished, ten to go. For this project I have been given permission to use pictures made by my son Martijn and my daughter-in-law Claudia. When all drawings are made, I would like to write (or have someone write for me) a text to accompany my artworks.

Usually I have time to paint or draw in the weekends, but lately there have been other things filling my time. 
For example: my son got married last week. Of course that is a very happy event but it took my time and attention away from my little studio.

The time of outdoor art events has started in The Netherlands and I have some obligations towards my 'colleagues' in amateur art. On the other hand, those days might inspire me to do some watercolours, so I could have paintings to publish here soon.

When nothing is published here, I am still working on my project.

More information about the paintings I have made in the past and the art events I participate in can be found at my website 

Tuesday, 9 May 2017

A brown beech tree in springtime

A few months ago I became member of IWS Holland. That is a nice group of watercolourists, both amateurs like me and professionals are in it. A few times each year a meeting is organised in a beautiful spot so that we can meet, talk and paint together.
Last time we met in the town of Vleuten (in The Netherlands) where a nice little church stands surrounded by large trees. On the side of the churchyard is a huge brown beech tree. As it was springtime, the foliage was brightly coloured and not as full and dark as it will be in summer. The sun was shining brightly so the light yellow and red shades of the young leaves were attracting my attention.
I made a sketch and some reference pictures, selected a piece of paper and started to paint. Somehow my tree was not what I wanted it to be and some of the other members of IWS Holland were giving me valuable advise. My painting of that day ended up as an autumn scene and not completely mine as I was given a demonstration of how to paint an interesting tree. 
Of course I am very grateful for the demonstration and with all that fresh in my memory I started another painting the next day. This time I worked from one of my reference pictures and really tried to make a tree in springtime.
Brown beech trees look like autumn in this time of the year: bright yellow and red colours instead of the more usual green leaves. The colours of the leaves will turn to a reddish brown very soon and stay like that all summer.

I have discovered that a tree in springtime is not an easy subject. The sun shone through the leaves, giving lots of colour but not much shadows, as the foliage is not very close yet. The trunk of the tree and the large lower branches are still very visible and that makes it hard work to suggest volume in the foliage.

This painting may be not one of my best, but I will continue painting trees in all seasons, untill I have mastered my subject.

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

Sunday, 7 May 2017

In the Caves of Han

Last autumn we visited the Domaine des Grottes de Han. The caves are famous,we would be passing the area on our way to the Black Forest in Germany, so the decision to visit these caves was easily made.
The tour in the caves lasts over an hour and there are many beautiful stalactites and stalagmites to be seen. My husband Peter had the camera and made lots of photographs. Most of the formations are not easy to paint - for someone who is used to water, clouds, trees and that stuff - but this one was challenging me. 
This formation was lit by one strong lamp and the shadows in the deeper parts are very, very dark. There are some stalactites hanging from a ledge in the wall  of the cave. The whole scene is not very large, maybe less than one m2.
The colours are real and are caused by various salts that dissolve in the water and mix with the limestone that shapes the stalactites.

Of course I decided to paint a white-on-black painting. The fading of the light on the edges of the area the lamp shines on was a bit of a challenge. This is easier with watercolour paint on watercolour paper.

This time I made the picture after the painting myself and I used a 'not so very good' computer program to edit that picture. So what I am showing you could be better, but this is the best I can do for the moment.

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

Thursday, 27 April 2017

Bird sanctuary - 2; an experiment with a limited palette

We returned from our last walk on the 'Kalmthoutse Heide'  with a lot of photographs that can be used as reference for my paintings. 
To prevent me doing the same thing over and over again, I usually start challenging myself after the first two or three paintings and here I set myself a double challenge.

I chose to work with a limited palette of only three colours. The three are selected carefully, when placed in a colour wheel made up of 12 colours, they are in the shape of an equilateral triangle. So they have a natural balance.
I have worked with this palette before and this is great for painting landscapes.

The second challenge I set myself is the high position of the horizon. 
Usually I have my horizon positioned low, like the old masters did. So now I have a lot of land to paint and very little sky.

For this double challenge I decided to work on a smaller piece of paper than usual.

The scene is the bird sanctuary I painted before, but this time a bit to the left from my first painting. There is no real path, just some parts with moss, low grass and sand that suggest there might have been a path in the near past. The tree is waiting for warmer weather to let the leaves come out and the bushes are doing the same.
In the distance are evergreen trees and bushes, in front of them are traces of other paths visible in the moss and grasses.

My limited palette may have a natural balance, it is hard to get really dark values with these three colours without making a mess of my painting. So I stopped before that could happen and decided to suggest a bit more than I did in my latest paintings.

I really enjoyed working on this painting and the lessons I learned will be used to improve the next ones.

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

Tuesday, 18 April 2017

A wider view - Kalmthoutse Heide

This scene attracted my attention the moment we were walking on top of the hill and looking towards the bend in the path we were following. I asked my husband Peter to take a reference picture for me, as he is a bit taller than I am and could get a wider view.
As we walked towards the bend in the path I took another reference picture, which I used for the charcoal drawing I have already posted.
At this point the sand path is very broad and filled with footsteps of the people who walked there before us. Around the bend the path is more narrow, between the hills and dunes that give this part of the area its name: Vossenbergen (Fox mountains).

This was springtime, the grasses and mosses are green already, a nice bright colour. 
As the area is sandy, there are mostly evergreen pine trees and heather bushes. These heather bushes are not just brown, their colour has more than a hint of violet. In a few weeks they will be green too.
Our walk started under a bright blue sky but as time passed, some clouds appeared. 

Again I have tried to show the beauty of this Natural Reserve in my painting. 
I am not the first painter that is attracted by this area and I hope I will not be the last.

More information about this watercolour painting (size, materials used, etc) and the other paintings I made inspired by this Natural reserve can be found at my website 

Tuesday, 11 April 2017

Testing my new Tinted Charcoal pencils

A charcoal drawing can be a bit too much black (and white) when you want to draw a landscape. So I have been experimenting with techniques to introduce some colour to a charcoal drawing. I was really happy with the results I got using a watercolour underpainting on watercolour paper but sometimes that is not what I am looking for.
Then, browsing on the internet I found Tinted Charcoal pencils. In the instruction videos they are used for the whole drawing, but I just want to add them to my charcoal. 
I decided to give these pencils a try to see how they can be used in my artwork.

This is the result of my first attempt: the scene on the Kalmthoutse Heide was back-lit, so the silhouettes are strong and dark, perfect for a charcoal drawing. I added the colours of the grasses on the left with my pencils, and very little pine-green in the tree. So most of the drawing is made with my charcoal stick and I added the colours later.
Working with these pencils is different than working with a stick of charcoal, the marks can be blurred with my fingers, but not so easily as the charcoal. Of course that is because they are pencils and I just have to get used to them. I have got the tin with all 24 colours, so I have plenty of opportunities to experiment with my new pencils.

More information about this charcoal drawing and all the watercolour paintings I made inspired by the Kalmthoutse Heide can be found at my website 

Monday, 10 April 2017

Ssssh - bird sanctuary!

One of my favourite places to go for a hike is the Kalmthoutse Heide. This  Natural Reserve is situated partly in The Netherlands, partly in Belgium and the management is shared by several organisations.
The Kalmthoutse Heide is very close to the place we live so it is easy to go for a walk when the weather turns out to be nice. There are many signposted walks and I think we have explored them all by now. Of course we can walk there all seasons and see the changes. We also started to walk the pathways anti-clockwise for a change in perspective.

Some areas are closed for public during the breeding season. The reference picture for this painting was taken looking into one of those areas while I was standing behind the fence. The paths that can be seen are forbidden to walk on from March until July.
The birds were not always to be seen, but they made their presence very clear on this warm spring day.

The heather plants are still brown, many of the grasses are dry and yellow, but green moss and grass is showing itself already.
Most of the trees and bushes have started to unfold their leaves, this pine tree is having fresh green needles amongst the older ones.
The trees and bushes in the background are all pine trees, this part of the Kalmthoutse Heide is sandy and relatively dry.

I have tried to paint the beginning of springtime and I hope I have succeeded.
For this painting I have been ignoring my ready-made greens and mixed the colours I wanted using blue, yellow and some sienna or violet for the shadow parts.
This is a nice challenge for me because not all 'blue' and 'yellow' mixtures make a nice, transparent green. But still, despite the challenge part, I really am happy with the mixtures I have now and think the painting results are better than with the mixtures I get using the ready-made sap green and other greens.

More information about this painting and the ones I have made during the past years inspired by the Kalmthoutse Heide can be found at my website 

Sunday, 26 March 2017

Kinderdijk - 2

The Unesco World Heritage Site of Kinderdijk is mostly famous for the windmills, but there is also a nice folktale that explains its name.
For the story I have copied the text on the Wikipedia page about Kinderdijk: 

"The name Kinderdijk is Dutch for 'Children Dike'.
During the Saint Elizabeth Flood of 1421, the 'Grote Hollandse Waard' flooded, but the 'Alblasserwaard' polder stayed unflooded.
It is said that when the terrible storm had subsided, someone went to the dike between these two areas to see what could be saved. In the distance he saw a wooden cradle floating on the water. As it came nearer, some movement was detected. A cat was seen in the cradle trying to keep it in balance by jumping back and forth so that no water could get into it. As the cradle eventually came close enough to the dike for a bystander to pick up the cradle, he saw that a baby was quietly sleeping inside it, nice and dry. The cat had kept the cradle balanced and afloat."

As a reference to that nice folktale a wicker cradle is floating in the water close to the entrance of the site. As we saw the cradle floating I tried to translate the tale to our French guests. I hope they could understand enough of my French to appreciate what I was telling them.

The area has a lot of water, dikes and small bridges and not all the reeds were harvested. The windmills were in plain sight with most of the reeds cut.
I wanted to get a nice composition with some windmills of the 'ordinary' type and another one, the one on the right is a 'wipmolen' or wip mill.  The reference picture I made for this purpose shows the cradle from the tale, so I decided to include the cradle in the painting, draw some extra attention to it and tell the story in my blog post. 

I hope you also enjoyed the story of the baby and the cat in the cradle, surviving the flood.

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


Sunday, 19 March 2017


The windmills of Kinderdijk are a Unesco World Heritage site and I live not very far from that place. One of the reasons we do not visit it very often, is the fact that it usually is full with sightseers.
This time we had guests from France and they liked to see the windmills. As it was still winter and a grey day, it was relatively quiet.

Our guest were making lots of pictures and we had taken our own camera as well. As the reeds were not as high as they are in summertime, we had a nice view of all of the windmills. I have been making some reference pictures during our walk and this is the first watercolour painting I made using these references.

As I said, it was still winter, but springtime is already near. There are some patches of green between the yellow stalks of the reeds. The meadows on the right are green and what I cannot show in the picture is the fact that hundreds of geese and other birds were feeding in the meadows behind the windmills. We could not see them, but they made themselves heard very well.

This is only one of the many inspiring views in the area, I have made several reference pictures to paint from. After I have posted this one I will be planning the next.

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

Monday, 13 March 2017

Exposition in 'Kerkcentrum Holy' in Vlaardingen, the Netherlands

Last year I responded to a call for artists willing to join the summer exhibition in the Church centre in Vlaardingen-Holy. Two of my watercolour paintings were accepted and were in a exposition for about three months.
When that arrangement was made, I was also offered six weeks of solo-exposition in the same centre, beginning today March 13th until April 19th.
Last weeks I have been selecting and framing my paintings for this exhibition. 
I have chosen to show a variety of techniques and mostly the landscapes of The Netherlands as subject.

So this morning we packed the fifteen selected paintings in the car and drove to the town of Vlaardingen to hang the exposition.
This is an impression of the results of our work:

Eight large watercolours in a long row, three smaller ones on another wall and a wall with four varied works: a mixed media with pencil, two gouache works on black background and one charcoal drawing.

More information about this exposition can be found at my website under the button 'Expositions'

Tuesday, 7 March 2017

'Allerheiligen' waterfalls - a second attempt

Last autumn we were in the Black Forest - in Germany - for a short vacation. During that trip we visited the ruins and waterfalls of Allerheiligen. 

The ruins have been painted (and will be painted again) and during the vacation I already painted the waterfalls once and I promised myself that I would paint them again.
Waterfalls are not an easy subject for me, because I have to go on vacation to visit them. In our flat country there are no waterfalls to be found. At least nothing over a meter.

As I have written in my first post about these falls, the Allerheiligen waterfalls are a series of falls cascading down around the mountain. To visit them safely there are stairways and platforms beside the falling water.
At that time my knees were giving me messages about 'age' and 'not in shape for this terrain' so I stood sketching some of the falls as my husband went down a bit further to make lots of photographs. This painting is made after one of my sketches.

For this painting I chose to do a small size using only two colours. This enables me to focus on the falls; how to paint them in a way that they can still be recognized as waterfalls. On top of the scene is a small waterfall, which is mostly in the shadows of the rocks and trees surrounding the falls and the path beside them. 

As it was my goal to make a recognizable waterfall, I think I have succeeded with this painting. Of course I will have to paint much more waterfalls to improve my skills on this subject.

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

Sunday, 5 March 2017

Some information about 'Sallandse Heuvelrug'

The past few months I have painted scenes from one of our Natural Reserves, the 'Sallandse Heuvelrug'. In the posts dedicated to those paintings i already gave some information about the history of the area.
As I did with the 'Naardermeer', I am now posting a map of the area.
This map is part of a brochure published by the organisations that share the stewardship over the area. The numbers 1, 2 and 3 indicate information centers owned by those organisations. At every information center are start points for several signposted walks, varying from two to sixteen kilometers in length. 

As it was winter we chose walks of five to ten kilometers. The days are short in winter and visitors are only allowed between sunrise and sunset, so we decided to do these walks instead of the longer ones. That is better in the summertime, when the days are much longer.

We started our walks from the point indicated with 1, the point indicated with 3, and the parking place that is indicated halfway between 1 and 2.
Most of the time we walked on the moors (colour purple) although all three walks started and ended in a piece of wood (colour green).
For people living in the west of our country, between the rivers, those moorlands are something special, so we like to visit them when we are on a short trip. I can imagine the people living in the area of the 'Sallandse Heuvelrug' are interested in visiting our flat lands, dikes, windmills and lots of water. 

If you like to see the paintings and drawings I made (and will make after today) you are welcome to visit my website: 

Wednesday, 15 February 2017

'Sallandse Heuvelrug' The sheepfold - a charcoal drawing

Most of the Natural Reserve 'Sallandse Heuvelrug' is heath, and where you find heath, there are sheep. Therefore we were not surprised that one of the trails we followed came by a sheepfold. In winter it is closed to the public, so we walked by and my son Martijn made some pictures for me, so I could gather courage again and paint or draw a building among trees.
That is something I like to do, for these older buildings are really picturesque in their own way but I really have to practice this kind of subject a lot.
When I make a watercolour painting after a scene like this the dark colours of the building always trouble me. For this drawing, I made the sheepfold not as black as it is in reality. This enables me to show the shapes and angles of the building.

This is a scene in winter, that makes the trees easier and we had foggy weather, so everything was dark because of the moist and there are no shadows. 
At this point, somewhere in between the trees, the fog was not as dense as it was in the open areas.

The sheepfold is protected by some woodland and the reference pictures were taken from the path we were following. More to the right (not pictured) and to the back were some meadows and directly next to the building is a path of fine stone chippings.

I liked doing this. Charcoal is nice to work with - if you don't mind black fingers - and sometimes you are challenged by the same problems that you have to face when working on a watercolour painting. 

More information can be found at my website 

Monday, 13 February 2017

Broekpolder in winter - monochromatic version

As I have told before, sometimes I like to make a second version of a painting. 
This time I wanted to do a monochromatic version, using - and exploring the possibilities of - Payne's Grey.
Last year I decided to explore the materials and colours that i have gathered over the years and this is one of those experiments.
I used the same reference from the Broekpolder that I painted from just one day earlier.
The composition and the problems I faced were fresh in my mind so the colour was my only challenge.
Payne's Grey is made up with more than one pigment, so I tried to use that.
This is a much smaller painting than the coloured one, only a quarter of that size.
When I look at both paintings, I cannot say which one I prefer, they have both strong points and weaker points. 
This monochromatic painting does not represent the sunset very well, the wintery feeling is stronger here.

More information can be found at my website 

Broekpolder in winter

We did have some nice weather this winter. Around Christmas we visited my mother-in-law and went for a walk in the 'Broekpolder'. This is an area of wet nature between Vlaardingen and Maassluis, used for water storage in times of heavy rains and recreation in all times. 
It was a cold day but we had not much wind and enough sunshine to keep us warm. As the days are short around Christmas, the sun was setting by the time we finished our walk.
The area is really nice, there are children's playgrounds near the parking lots and the hiking paths are well kept. It would be nice to visit this area in summer, when all is green.

I made some reference pictures with the setting sun and the clouds and this is the first painting I made after those references.

This was not easy, the lower clouds have a yellow lining instead of the usual white and some of them are really dark, all because of the sun that is setting behind them.
I had to avoid mixing the blue and yellow colours of the sky and add the clouds carefully in order to keep my grey mixture together.
I usually mix grey clouds from French Ultramarine and a brown - depending on the season - and on wet paper the blue granulates nicely, but the brown colour tends to flow a bit more. So if I am not careful I will end up with blue clouds that have a brown lining.

The yellow colour of the sky is reflected in the water, as are the clouds. A bit of wind makes the reflections blurry.
In the water are the remains of some trees and bushes. Now the water level is high, they are drowned and will eventually disappear.

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

Thursday, 26 January 2017

'Sallandse Heuvelrug' - at the woodlands

Our walks in the Natural Reserve 'Sallandse Heuvelrug' were made through a varied landscape. The marked trails we followed always start at a parking place, most of the times with an information center or information point nearby. We always started out in an area of woodland and at some point we came to the moors and the trail always ended at the starting point, so we re-entered the woods near the end of the trail. We like this variation very much. 
There are not many areas of heath in The Netherlands so we like to visit them.

To understand the structure of the landscape I added a passage I copied from the Wikipedia page about the Sallandse Heuvelrug:

"From the Middle Ages onwards the area was used for grazing by sheep and goat, and the upper layer of the soil was removed to use it as fertilizer for the crop fields. In this period, the area became a heathland because of sand-drifting. In the beginning of the 20th century the state started forestry programs, to prevent this erosion and to produce pine wood. The area is well known for its scenery because of its relatively large heathlands."

The second day of our four days vacation was a very foggy day. The mist did not leave the entire day although at some point the sun was more or less visible through the mist.
The reference picture for this painting was made (by me) at one of those brighter moments. We were about to enter one of the areas of woodland and the heath was a bit further away. On the field behind the path are bushes of cowberries and the foreground is mostly moss and lichen. The birch tree is standing all alone, maybe there have been more in a recent past, although that does nor seem very likely as there were no tree stumps in sight.

This scene is much greener than the ones I painted earlier. The moss, lichen and the cowberry bushes are evergreens, the grass in between and the heath in the distance are brown.
The trees of the woodland are faded away by the fog, as are the bushes in the distance.

For this painting I challenged myself to mix my greens from blue and yellow colours. 
I should have done this years ago, this works much better than mixing the ready made green with brown, blue, yellow or red in order to make them more like the colours of nature.

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

Tuesday, 24 January 2017

"Sallandse Heuvelrug' - Twilight

As I told before, we went to our Natural Reserve 'Sallandse Heuvelrug' for a short vacation in the week between Christmas and New Year's Eve. In the four days we were there, we went hiking for three days. Each day had its own kind of weather and the differences were inspiring us to make lots of photographs. 
The first day we were walking in the late afternoon, just before sunset. We had driven to our destination first and thus it was not really early as we started walking. 
We had chosen a marked trail of about 6 km and because we were making so many photographs, we were not making much progress. 
One of the rules about walking in the Natural Reserves in The Netherlands is that you are free to walk on the paths of a Natural Reserve, but you have to leave before sunset. Because it was winter, we made it just in time.
The sky was clear that afternoon and the colours of the sunset were wonderful. I could not help making some reference pictures for the purpose of painting later - back at home.

As this was a twilight scene, I used my Twilight Colours to paint it. I chose to do this painting on a quarter sheet (a full sheet is 51 x 76 cm, usually I use a half sheet, 38 x 51 cm). The thoughts behind that choice are not easy to explain, usually this is a decision based upon the 'feeling' of my subject and most of the times I make a decision that gives me a nice painting as a result.

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

Sunday, 15 January 2017

'Sallandse Heuvelrug' - crossroad within sight

The mystery of the moors in foggy weather really intrigued me. 
Most of the times when we are hiking I am not the person holding and using the camera, this time I made a lot of reference pictures because I kept seeing things that were inviting me to paint.
As it was not only foggy but also cold we did not stop for sketches, only pictures.

At this point we were walking towards a crossroad - as can be seen by the trees standing there. A bit beyond the crossroad the trees were gone again as if only that point was to be made seen by the trees.
In winter the heather plants are dark and brown, the grasses are golden yellow and the trees are dark because of the moist. At this point the sand was a bit red - not yellow or the grey colour I saw in other spots.
Therefore I could use a limited palette of four colours, something I feel very comfortable about. The haziness caused by the foggy circumstances gives me a good exercise in wet-in-wet painting, creating even softer edges than I normally do. Only the foreground is a bit sharper than the rest of the scene, but I really tried not to overdo that sharpness.
I do not have the ambition to make a photo-realistic painting, I try to paint how it felt to be at that spot, at that moment, in that weather, in that season.
With this watercolour painting I think I am very close to what I wanted to paint.

More information about this painting (size, colours and paper used, etc) and the others I made inspired by the 'Sallandse Heuvelrug' can be found at my website 

Wednesday, 4 January 2017

Sallandse Heuvelrug - the road to.....?

In the mist everything feels a bit different compared to a bright day. Maybe I would not have liked the scenes I painted so much when I had seen them on a clear day, with lots of sunshine and the clouds high above us in the sky.
To find that out, I should revisit the 'Sallandse Heuvelrug' on a sunny day, maybe even in summer.
For now it happened to be foggy and mysterious when we walked that path over the moors and I was inspired to make reference pictures or to ask for pictures to be taken (my husband Peter made this one for me) and to make plans for paintings.

This painting was made after I returned home, it is a larger size than the previous ones I posted (with the 'Sallandse Heuvelrug' for inspiration). 
We were not taking the road I painted, so I do not know where it will end. 
The trees are pine trees, planted about a century ago for wood-production purposes. Many of these pines have already been harvested - the stumps in the foreground are the remains of those trees.
Further away may be more trees, bushes or...? It is hidden by the fog.
The grasses and heather on the foreground are in their winter colours, yellow and brown.

For this painting I used the same colours I did before, I only added a green shade for the pines. 

Working on a larger sheet of paper was somehow easier for me than the small sizes, that is probably because this is my habitual size of paper. And being back in my studio was also very nice.
We have made three walks in the Natural Reserve, so I do have some more pictures to paint from, but as my vacation is over I  don't have the time to paint (and post) daily any more.

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