Monday, 8 February 2016

Oil pastels

Another oil pastel live portrait session. A difficult material.
 Here also some pictures of the early stages. about 40x60cm, oil pastel.

Saturday, 6 February 2016

Hanau library

Still spending a lot of time in Germany these days, for business. So my spare time is limited, and I can't sketch a lot.
This is a rare occasion where I made a short walk before dinner in Hanau (a bit south of Frankfurt). They have a nice new shopping mall, with a brand new library. One of the most beautiful I saw recently. Architect Schrammel (Augsburg).
The childrens part has these little birdnests, where children can sit quietly and read.
I talked with the nice librarian; she told me the library was inspired by the main library in Delft, which (and so the circle comes round again) is next to where I lived for almost five years during my studies (back in the 80s).

Monday, 1 February 2016

Rolduc crypt

The second the two Sketchcrawl drawings that I made a week ago.
This is the crypt of the medieval Abbey church or Rolduc, dating back to the 12th century or so.
It was a hard perspective to do, but I think I managed well. It came out loose, without losing myself in overcorrect perspective games.

Saturday, 30 January 2016

Portrait in oil pastel

Portrait made with oil pastels. A tough medium to work with.
Also: three in between stages. Rough sketch (left), then adding tones for blocking in (right), washing out with white spirit (bottom), and finally adding details and colours (the large top paiting).

Monday, 25 January 2016

Rolduc Sketchcrawl

Last saturday we went for another sketchcrawl Limburg. This time in the large abbey complex of Rolduc in Kerkrade. We had a nice group together, som 18 sketchers. Some even came from as far a Heemstede and Culemborg. We were lucky, one of the sketchers arranged access to the beautiful Rococo library, one of the most beautiful in the Netherlands. But very difficult to sketch.
Anyway, here is a picture of the group.
Pam, Jos, xxx, Roger, Ruud, Gaston, Peggy, Rene, Gertie, Wendy, xxx, Patricia and Bert. Missing in the picture are Annette and Roger (my brother).

Sunday, 24 January 2016

Jake. 20-01-2016

My newborn Grandson Jake. Drawn when he was just a few hours old. Not the best of my drawings, but how could I resist.

Thursday, 21 January 2016

Miyo. Deceased.

Miyo, our beloved young cat, was hit by a car this evening, and died peacefully within a minute.
We had her since last summer, when she was a tiny kitten.
We will miss her purring, and the way she would sit still on my keyboard and drawings.
May she rest in peace.

Wednesday, 20 January 2016


Jake.  Born today, 3750 grams and looking very healthy.
The newborn son of our daughter Rianne and son-in-law Bob.
As of today Gertie and I are grandparents. A genuine miracle.

Tuesday, 19 January 2016

Alzenau (Germany)

Alzenau in Bayern. Businesstrip with 2 days of meetings and long hours driving cars.
Drawn in the evening, at first there was just enough light to make the sketch. It was very cold, minus 6, and I forgot my gloves. The water froze on my watercolour palette, even WC-pencils did not work properly. So I finished the drawing in  the warm hotel, accompanied by a nice Weizenbier.

Saturday, 16 January 2016

Drawing hands

Exercises in drawing hands.
I filled some 5 sheets with these drawings, all drawn from live models during our portrait and model masterclasses.

I used oil pastels, so no corrections were possible.
Not my favourite material, but sometimes you just have to try something else.

Thursday, 14 January 2016

Cologne (Germany), Hauptbahnhof

Businesstrip to Goslar again. This time I returned by train, which was a six hour journey.
I had a little stop in Cologne, and made this drawing of the square in front of the main train station, next to the medieval Cathedral.
This is what we call "guilty landscape". Hundreds of women (about 500 now and still counting) were sexually harassed on this spot on new years eve. There is a lot of turmoil over the issue in the German media. Also in relation to the Syrain and other fugitives issues, the fugitives got blamed for it.
Anyway, there was a lot of police around tonight, and a few cameramen as well.

Tuesday, 12 January 2016

Calvino: Ottavia

The hanging city Ottavia (aka Octavia).
From "the invisible cities" by Italo Calvino, Chapter: "the thin cities 5"

If you choose to believe me, good. Now I will tell how Octavia, the spiderweb city, is made. 
There is a precipice between two steep mountains: the city is over the void, bound to the two crests with ropes and chains and catwalks. You walk on the little wooden ties, careful not to set your foot in the open spaces, or you cling to the hempen strands. Below there is nothing for hundreds and hundreds of feet: a few clouds glide past; farther down you can glimpse the chasm's bed. 
This is the foundation of the city: a net which serves as passage and as support. All the rest, instead of rising up, is hung below: rope-ladders, hammocks, houses made like sacks, clothes-hangers, terraces like gondolas, skins of water, gas jets, spits, baskets on strings, dumb-waiters, showers, trapezes and rings for children's games, cable-cars, chandeliers, pots with trailing plants. 
Suspended over the abyss, the life of Octavia's inhabitants is less uncertain than in other cities. They know the net will last only so long.

Sunday, 10 January 2016

Sketchcrawl 12: Rolduc Kerkrade

Invitation for another Limburg sketchcrawl: the monastery of Rolduc in Kerkrade.

Thursday, 7 January 2016

Limburg an der Lahn (Germany)

Another business trip to Kleinostheim (a bit south of Frankfurt) yesterday. I heard about traffic jams on the road, and I was tired after a few hours of driving alone. So I decided to go off the motorway, into a town called Limburg an der Lahn. A beautiful old German town with lots of woodwork houses, and a nice Dom on top of the hill. I grabbed my drawing gear and made a sketch of one of the little squares.

It was a dark evening, but I changed it into day (a little artistic freedom). Within an hour I was on the road again. And the traffic jam was gone :)

Tuesday, 5 January 2016

San Wah, Maastricht

San Wah is a little supermarket in Maastricht selling Asian products, located just around the corner of our office. I often get my green tea and Soy sauce from there.
Each morning they bring out these two mean and heavy chinese lions, they have to guard the entrance.
I wanted to draw something today, this was close enough for a quick lunchtime sketch.
The temperature was still okay: 9 degrees here in the south. However, up in the north of the Netherlands they have severe ice and snow problems with minus 10 degrees in Groningen. Unusual for such a small country like ours....

Friday, 1 January 2016

Amsterdam Calender

A new year has arrived. For all of you: the best wishes for the new year. May it be a creative one, with lots of success, good health etcetera.
Here is a drawing that I made a few months ago, but I was not allowed to post it earlier. It's part of a calender for the printerpaper firm "Navigator". My drawing was for the month of January.
The drawing is based of a series of sketches, but is a combination of different places in Amsterdam.
From left to the right: Prinsengracht, Magere Brug, Westerkerk (the Anne Frank house is invisible behind the trees), the corner of the Brouwersgracht combined with bridges of the Leidsegracht, Oude kerk, Oude Zijds Voorburgwal (especially the part of the red light district).
As a student I lived in Amsterdam for some time , the accompanying text was an easy one:
When a visitor walks through Amsterdam, he sees a beautiful city, filled with canals, brick facades, warmly lit shops, red light windows, creaky drawbridges and churches with complicated bell towers.
But that is not why I love Amsterdam: I smell the bakery in the morning, when I pass over a steep bridge on my bike, almost colliding with an old woman selling flowers to German tourists. I feel at home.

Monday, 28 December 2015

Calvino: Eusapia

Eusapia (from Italo Calvino: the invisible cities)

No city is more inclined than Eusapia to enjoy life and flee care. And to make the leap from life to death less abrupt, the inhabitants have constructed an identical copy of their city, underground. All corpses, dried in such a way that the skeleton remains sheathed in yellow skin, are carried down there, to continue their former activities. And, of these activities, it is their carefree moments that take first place: most of the corpses are seated around laden tables, or placed in dancing positions, or made to play little trumpets. But all the trades and professions of the living Eusapia are also at work below ground, or at least those that the living performed with more contentment than irritation: the clockmaker, amid all the stopped clocks of his shop, places his parchment ear against an out-of-tune grandfather clock; a barber, with dry brush, lathers the cheekbones of an actor learning his role, studying the script with hollow sockets; a girl with a laughing skull milks the carcass of a heifer. To be sure, many of the living want a fate after death different from their lot in life: the necropolis is crowded with big-game hunters, mezzo-sopranos, bankers, violinists, duchesses, courtesans, generals--more than the living city ever contained.
The job of accompanying the dead down below and arranging them in the desired place is assigned to a confraternity of hooded brothers. No one else has access to the Eusapia of the dead and everything known about it has been learned from them. They say that the same confraternity exists among the dead and that it never fails to lend a hand; the hooded brothers, after death, will perform the same job in the other Eusapia; rumour has it that some of them are already dead but continue going up and down. In any case, this confraternity's authority in the Eusapia of the living is vast.
They say that every time they go below they find something changed in the lower Eusapia; the dead make innovations in their city; not many, but surely the fruit of sober reflection, nor passing whims. From one year to the next, they say, the Eusapia of the dead becomes unrecognizable. And the living, to keep up with them, also want to do everything that the hooded brothers tell them about the novelties of the dead. So the Eusapia of the living has taken to copying its underground copy. They say that this has not just now begun to happen: actually it was the dead who built the upper Eusapia, in the image of their city. They say that in the twin cities there is no longer any way of knowing who is alive and who is dead.

Saturday, 26 December 2015

Christmas surprise

Another glass object, made specially for Rianne, Bob and our future grandchild.
This was the Sinterklaas surprise present, but it took some finishing. The pedestal was not ready and during mounting the head of one of the objects broke. But I managed to do the repairs, and I was able to present the statue to Bob and Rianne yesterday, during the family tradition Christmas dinner.

Thursday, 24 December 2015

Bauhaus in Dessau (Germany)

One of the advantages of business trips is that sometimes you get lucky and you arrive at places you never expected you'd arrive.
When I arrived at Bitterfeld (Germany, see the last post), I saw the sign next exit: Dessau. Just 20km away.
Dessau is the birth ground of the Bauhaus, and the origin of the Modern Movement in architecture.

Our world would have looked totally different without Bauhaus (for good or worse, that's difficult to say). But for architects it's like visiting the Vatican: here are the origins, here is the center of the universe. For architects anyway :)
I always wanted to visit the place, but it's a long way outside the usual tourist hangouts.
And I was even more lucky: unexpectedly the meeting in Bitterfeld ended early, and the weather was very un-december: 15 degrees C and a feeble sun!
I had a terrific time visiting the perfectly restored buildings and architecture exhibitions. And I could no resist to make two sketches. Even though I will admit that my style of drawing is not really fit for these kind of stark modernist buildings.

Tuesday, 22 December 2015

Bitterfeld - Germany

A lot of businesstrips these days, mostly to Germany. But it means long hours on motorways, even when you drive fast cars.
So what do you do when you sit alone in a restaurant in Bitterfeld (somewhere between Leipzig and Berlin)? You draw what's in front of you: a good glass of local beer and a quite pitiful small Christmas tree.