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