Wednesday, 20 August 2014

Le Mont St. Michel

My drawings from our holiday trip through France are not in chronological order, but who cares.
I made this drawing on the last days in Normandy, it's the island Le Mont St. Michel. Even though its riddled with tourists, it's still a fantastic town. We spend a whole day there, climbing the steep roads, monasteries and remparts. My company was patient enough to let me draw this scene, as we were sitting on the new (but not yet finished) pedestrian bridge running from the coast to the town.
At least it protected me from being overrun by tourist busses.

Monday, 18 August 2014

La Roque Gageac

We just had a nice lunch with some white wine on a terrace below the rocks, overlooking the river Dordogne. There was a parkbench on the riverbank, and I took the opportunity to make this sketch on location. I had just changed the ink in the fountainpen, but I guess there was still some non-waterproof ink left in the nib. Some linework has bled a little.

Saturday, 16 August 2014

Glass Icarus

I finished the glass object "Icarus" just before the holiday, but had some finishing to do.
Like painting the eye and glueing and treating the cherrywood base.
Here is Icarus in full extent. About 40cm high.
I also fixed the hardstone base of the Chameleon: here you see all recent glasswork objects together.

Thursday, 14 August 2014

St. Pierre at Huppain

A holiday sketch from Normandy. We were staying in a little house in a park at Port le Bessin, in a hamlet called Huppain, just between Omaha and Gold beaches. There was a little church around the corner, St. Pierre, from the 11th or 12th century. One evening I went over for this on-location drawing, trying out my new watercolourpencils with a little water. I tried making subtle tones.
The only thing I forgot, which would have made this perfect drawing evening even better, was a small bottle of wine....

Monday, 11 August 2014

Jorge Royan

Jorge Royan, a collegue architect from Argentina, age 61, died unexpectedly last thursday August 7th.
He was a short period with Urban Sketchers, but left due to differences in opinion. He started a Facebook group called "Sketching Workshop. The aim of the group was learning and improving by discussing each others drawings.
He asked me to join, to post, help and comment on others. Quickly the group developed into a very active community of 150, with activities like Comics (which I hosted), portraits, drawing games, maps, online chats and interviews and many more.
I had long chats with him, but never had to chance to meet him in person.
He left a family of a wife, three daughters and a son. He will be missed.

Sunday, 10 August 2014

Sainte Mère-Église

More sketches from the D-day beaches in Normandy.
We also visited Sainte Mère Eglise, the town where the 101st airborne landed. They are well known because of the (excellent) TV-series "Band of brothers". And of course the part of John Wayne in the movie "the longest day".
We visited the museum there, quite impressive, especially when you realise the gliders were built from a few tubes, plywood and textile fabric. They someone got out alive is a wonder in itself.
Above sketch is the backpack as being worn by a paratrouper. It was on display in the cemetery in Colleville.
The other is the churchtower of Sainte Mère Église, a paratrooper got stuck on the steeple and became deaf of the ringing churchbells. I had full view from a nice sunny terrace on the other side of the street, while enjoying a nice café esprès. What a difference with 70 years ago.

Friday, 8 August 2014

Body Worlds, Amsterdam

Body Worlds (formerly Körperwelten) is an anatomy exhibition in Amsterdam. It used to be a travelling exhibition, which we visited before in Cologne and Antwerp, but it has a permanent location in Amsterdam now.
I would like to state that I have my reservations about this show. They use real corpses, which are treated with a kind of plastic, and then cut up to show the insides. It's hard to realise these have been living men and women. I also would like to add that the persons involved have volunteered to be displayed like this.
Having said this, it's quite interesting to see how we people are built up: it's unbelievable how intricate our body is put together. And how can such a complicated system be reproduced, again and again, generation after generation. And grow, maintain and repair itself.
Each time I see it, I stand in awe.

Anyway, there was an artist day, a special day enabling artists to draw and study the subjects.
This is one of the sketches. Arches paper, 70x33cm, watercolour pencil (Faber-CAstell) and waterbrush.
I had to scan the drawing in parts, and fit them together with GIMP software. Still, the top of the drawing is missing.

Wednesday, 6 August 2014

Ford T 1913

I have a lot more drawings of my Holidays, but here is a quick in between drawing from this morning.
The central library of Maastricht has an exposition on the involvement of Maastricht in the first World War.
The Netherlands were neutral during 1914-1918, but the war raged in full force just 5 kilometers south of Maastricht, across the Belgian border. The German Kaiser only wanted to reach France by crossing Belgium, there was no need to provoke the Netherlands as well. So they sticked to Belgian terrain, even made a difficult and expensive railway just 1 km south of the border at Moresnet.
This model T from 1913 was used for the transport of injured.
The picture shows the materials I used for this one: a Moleskine watercolourbook, a mechanical pencil, a Lamy fountain pen with Noodlers grey ink, and a 12 pan watercolour box (van Gogh).

Monday, 4 August 2014

Elzie L. North, PFC, 116th Infantry, 29th div.

70 years ago a guy called Elzie L. North, age 22, from Duval county Florida, died in Normandy France.
He gave his life a few day after D-day, during the invasion in Normandy.
Just a Private First Class of the U.S. Army,116th Infantry Regiment, 29th Infantry Division.
He is buried in Plot J, Row 18, Grave 14. Among  9.385 others who gave their life to defend our freedom. What can you say if someone is prepared to risk his life for the benefit of others, that he didn't even know, in places that he never heard of.

Saturday, 2 August 2014

Roque Gageac

Les hauts de Gageac. That is the name of the Chambres d'hotes that we stayed in during our visit to the Dordogne valley. The house is located just above the beautiful town of Roque Gageac, just below Sarlat.
It's a beautiful region with steep cliffs, numerous medieval castles, countless caves and baffling views.
And the warm reception we got in this place was staggering.
It's an 220 year old house, beautifully restored and refurbished by the French owners. They have three rooms to offer, one even better than the other. We enjoyed the stay and the warmth of the company of Christine Balhoul and her husband. I can and will recommend this place for anyone up for real French hospitality at its best.

Monday, 28 July 2014


I was on Lourdes again yesterday. We are making a tour around France at this moment. We already did Normandy and will be heading north tomorrow. 

Lourdes is always impressive, to see all these ill and handicapped people get strength out of their faith. And all these young people pushing carts and helping any way they can. Touching. A quick sketch of the grotto of Bernadette with the sacred source.

Thursday, 17 July 2014

Crash MH17

Driving home from work I heard the news from the plane MH17 Malaysian airlines which was shot down above the Ukraine. It started from Amsterdam and had a lot of Dutch on that plane.
Horrible images on the internet, had to rework them in this drawing.
I mean, I have been to the Ukraine a few times, know how the country looks like. I've flown over the area a few times to Asia, and we often travelled with the travel agency that had Dutch passengers in this plane. It suddenly comes near.

Tuesday, 15 July 2014


Another job at the chemical plant Chemelot. I passed this installation this morning, walking from a meeting to our site office. Just enough time for a quick one. Fountain pen ink washed out with water and adding a little colour.

Friday, 11 July 2014

Le Mans 1970

Wanted to draw something this evening. Anything.
I took a picture of a Le Mans 24 hour racing car from 1970 (a Porsche), and tried to draw speed.
I am not sure the drawing really conveys speed, I'll check in a few days.
I even wonder if the choice of watercolourpencil is the correct one.
Sometimes it takes a few days to see clearly if you achieved the goal you set for yourself.

Wednesday, 9 July 2014

Watercolour pencil

Bought myself a good set of watercolour pencils (Faber Castell). Started experimenting with them, based on a picture took a few weeks ago in the Paris Metro. Just an exercise.

Tuesday, 8 July 2014


Busy with all kind of stuff, except Urban sketching or drawing.
I had planned to go out last weekend, but ended up writing the "the hunt for Carlos" comic.
And working on my new stained glass project: Icarus. Making these statues is great fun.

Sunday, 6 July 2014


As you may recall I host the Comic department of a Facebook site called "sketching Workshop". It features a kind of drawing puzzle game called "the Sherlock game". 15 artists make a drawing on a chosen theme in their own style. Like a dangerous woman smoking a cigarette.
The visitors must guess the artists name.
Unfortunately I lack the time to participate, but it's a challenging game.

Anyway, the drawings this time were so good, that they came up with the idea to change it into a comic story.
A James Bond story!
I helped making some in between panels, and rewrote the story and all balloon conversations.

It will be issued somewhere next week, but in the meantime: here is the Teaser Alert.

Thursday, 3 July 2014

The love letter

The love letter. A painting loosely based on a painting by Vermeer.
I posted an earlier version on this blog some time ago, here is the link:
I received some good observations by Beth (from Montreal), which I followed to some extent.
I also posted the painting on another forum (sketching workshop), and even if I did not follow all suggestions, they all made sense somehow. I makes you think, and that's the only way to improve.

The major changes are:
- background: toning down the background and unifying the top with the bottom, getting rid of saturated  red.
- figure: the posture of the maid was unnatural, I made her smaller and repositioned the arm for a more natural look.
- I made the yellow skirt less exuberant and enlarged the letter (the subject of the painting....)
BTW: I observe that the blue lines in this picture come out more saturated than they do in reality, I'ts hard to make good pictures of the paintings I make.

Sunday, 29 June 2014

Jeanette turns 50

The partner of my brother, Jeanette, is turning 50 today. It will be celebrated in a funny dinnershow this evening. Theme: "in search of Caesar". The actors will serve dinner in exuberant clothes while singing childern songs and rock music. Looking forward to it.
I made this surprise present for her: a stained glass figure, about 30cm wide/high. Just a pity that there was no sun today to let in shine brightly through the glass.

Friday, 27 June 2014


Another lunchtime sketch, in the harbour of Maastricht. This is the Eemland, a ship carrying sand.