Sunday, 18 March 2018

Where does inspiration come from?

I thought it might be nice to show where I get inspiration from.

I saw these 2 apple trees during my Sunday morning run last week, on the road between Amstenrade and Merkelbeek.
The right tree has been cantilevered for years, each time I pass it I always wonder why it hasn't fallen over yet, especially when it's in full bloom.


I made these 2 quick ideas the same day (BTW. I must have noted the wrong date, it was the 11th). The left sketch was worked out as a glass fusion item, which I may show later.
The right sketch served as idea for a larger painting.

This is the basis of the painting: cardboard and cement (for tiles), on a wooden board about 50x60cm.

I will paint over it soon. posts to follow.
The painting is supposed to be inspired by Jean Dubuffet.

Thursday, 15 March 2018

High speed train

Visit to Magdebug, Germany. For business. We took the ICE (German high speed train, at times they run approx 250km/hour). I had no time to sketch in Magdeburg itself, so I made this quick one, during a stop before entering some station. I forgot which one, somewhere between Magdeburg and Hannover. I barely had time to sketch the dominant shapes, the rest I did out of memory.

Sunday, 11 March 2018

2 Models

Model painting of Julia.
2 positions, each took one hour to make.
Acrylic, 50x60cm.
The left one looked good as preliminary sketch, but I overworked the actual painting.

Friday, 9 March 2018


A quick sketch of a shed in Stein. 10-15 minutes at most. Not an Urban sketch, I saw this scene during my weekly Friday run (only 8 km this time). A cowshed, on a muddy path near the canal. No way that you could get near this place by car of bike. And when running I don't carry sketch gear. So I took a picture, and drew it at home.

It's the grey season, the frost is gone, and you can smell that the nature is ready for the first days with temperatures of double digits. Can't wait.
On request by Michael: the picture I took.

Monday, 5 March 2018

2 portraits

I am still doing live portrait sessions on saturday mornings. The above is a portrait of Annemiek. I used contrasting colours: red and green, the opposite sides of the colour wheel. Mixed it becomes grey. Trying how far I could go with these colours.

Below a painting of Julia. The setup went pretty well, that's what I show here. Unfortunately the final execution was less convincing.

Thursday, 1 March 2018

2 random sketches

 A few random sketches. The weather is pretty bad: it's freezing, sometimes snow with a hard eastern wind. Not the weather to go out.

I made the left drawing at the Boijmans van Beuningen museum in Rotterdam. Famous for it's old Dutch Masters like Bosch, Breughel and Rembrandt. But also Dali, Malevitch and Ernst.
This is a small painting by Esias Boursse dating back from 1660.  I was fascinated by this painting, a rural scene of a woman washing clothes, a very interesting composition.

The bottom drawing is a lunchbreak sketch. It's a cryptic drawing, with a hidden meaning. A Dutch word with 8 letters. "paasvuur". Referring to local traditions to set fire to stacks of wood to celebrate Eastern.

Sunday, 25 February 2018

Abbey of Rolduc

Visited an exhibition in the abbey of Rolduc, in Kerkrade. It's a very old abbey.
There was an exhibition of art, very interesting. On my way back, I made this little one, rather quick, because it was quite cold.

Friday, 23 February 2018

SS Rotterdam

This a commision that I made the last few weeks. It's based on a 2014 sketch of the cruise ship SS Rotterdam. It's a hotel nowadays.

The original sketch was made on location, but I made it in a sketchbook (A5), not possible to tear it out.
So I made a new version on proper paper, and a lot larger (A3). I am glad to say that the client was pleased with the outcome.

Sunday, 18 February 2018

Michael Lukyniuk, Jorge Royan

The comic "No right turn" is proceeding steadily. Again a few new panels, the first of chapter 8. As you may remember Desirée and Bob climbed the crane to check out the area, looking for Boris and the samurai girl. The first drawing is made by me, unfortunately a sketchers did not have enough time to make hers, so I jumped in.
The second is an adapted one by e late Jorge Royan. I added the silhouette of Boris into an existing drawing.
And the last drawing is by my good blog friend Michael Lukyniuk, from Ottawa, Canada, and his lovely drawing of the boat being lifted out of the harbour.

Thursday, 15 February 2018


Als een reiziger, na drie dorstige dagen trekken door stoffige vlaktes, eindelijk de poorten van de stad ziet, met daarachter de vele op elkaar gestapelde torens met kleurrijk versierde balkons, dan.......
.... ontdekt hij dat elke toren een eigen functie heeft. Een bazaartoren, een herberg, een goudsmederij. De bovenste toren herbergt de bibliotheek. Daarin ....
.... zal hij, evenzeer dorstig van de reis als hunkerend naar kennis, zich kunnen laven aan de boeken, de oude manuscripten, de in verguld leer gebonden folianten, de slordig gedrukte stencils, de half verweerde paperbacks, en naar oud parkament ruikende atlassen, zich lui vleiend in eindeloze kasten, verbonden door trappen en balkons, door bruggen en wenteltrappen. Maar als hij dan deze werken opent ....
.... die hem met een glimlach door de oude bibliothecaris zijn aangereikt ontdekt hij dat op de eerste bladzijde van elk boekwerk een afbeelding van een roos prijkt. Hij vraagt de bibliothecaris naar de betekenis daarvan. De man kijkt verbaasd en ....
.... zal zeggen: "Maar mijnheer, de roos, dat is toch het begin en het eind van alles?". "Waar U een boek ziet, zie ik de dicht beschreven bladeren van de roos". "waar U de zoete parfum van een jonge ontluikende vrouw ruikt, ruik ik de frisheid van de roos". "Waar U de stad .....
.... ziet, zie ik de compositie van de bloembladeren van de roos. Dat was ook het model waarnaar onze stichters deze stad destijds gebouwd hebben".
Hierna verliet ik welgemoed deze stad genaamd Rosamunda, benieuwd naar wat de volgende stad, Tulipa, mij te bieden zou hebben.

Verhaal door Rene Fijten en Clemens Maasen.

When a traveller, after walking three thirsty days through dusty highlands, finally reaches the gates of this city, admiring the many stacked towers decorated with colourful balconies, then...
... he will realise that each tower has a function of its own. The Bazaar tower, a guesthouse highrise, a goldsmith. The highest tower houses the library. There.....
... he will, as thirsty from the travels as thirsty for knowledge, be able to submerge in all the books, the old manuscripts, the foliants bound in gilded leather, the faded stencils, the worn paperbacks, the atlases smelling of ancient parchment, all lazily reclining in endless rows of cabinets, connected by staircases and balconies, catwalks and spiral staircases. But after opening these books....
.... which are handed to him by the old librarian, he will realize that each first page of each book will show the image of a rose. He asks the librarian to its meaning. The man looks genuinely puzzled and... 
.... exclaims: "but Sir, the Rose, wouldn't you agree that it represents the beginning and end of everything?" "Where you see a book, I see the densely lettered leaves of the Rose." "Where you smell the sweet perfume of a young budding woman, I smell the freshness of the Rose!". "Where you see the city"....
.... "I see the intricate composition of the petals of the Rose. That was the model after which our founders built this city." After this explanation I good humouredly left this town called Rosamunda, curious what the next city, Tulipa, would offer.

A story by Clemens Maassen and me. I started with the first sentence, and Clemens did the second, etc. It slowly evolved into a Calvino type of story, neither of us knew where it would lead.....

Monday, 12 February 2018

Optoch va Gebrook

The Carnaval Parade of Hoensbroek. This is the float of the group "De Druim" (the dream).

Themed on Alice in wonderland. It was freezing cold, and it was snowing in between a few sunny patches. Strange weather.

This what reality looked like.

Friday, 9 February 2018

Koerenne op de mèrt

Kowrenne (Cowrunning) has started last evening. The start of Carnaval in Hoensbroek.
Unfortunately it was far too cold to make a live drawing (even though I had my sketching gear with me), we had minus 4 C and a cold eastern wind. So I made this at home while thawing my frozen toes. But I ran for 15 years under such a cow, so I have no problem catching the atmosphere.
Follow the label below if you want to see earlier sketches of Kowrenne.

Sunday, 4 February 2018

Magdeburg Hundertwasser (2)

I noticed that I hadn't posted this drawing yet. It's the other side of the Hundertwasser building, the backside.

I had half an hour left to make the pendrawing before my train would leave.
I totally disliked the actual colours of the building, so I determined to keep it in slightly coloured greytones.
I think it works far better than the other drawing, of a few posts back.

This was also the first time I reused my Lamy Joy with a calligraphy nib (1.5), it had been lying in my desk for years.
Back then it didn't work for me, but now I really liked working with it. So I used it to make the Rotterdam drawing (Piekstraat) as well. Which I even like better!
Funny how you sometimes rediscover materials after time.

Friday, 2 February 2018

Rotterdam, Piekstraat

I was in Rotterdam, yesterday, for the final presentation of a 4 day training in Projectmanagement.
We finished quite early, so I had time to make this sketch at the harbour.
But is was cold, an icy wind was blowing in my back.
It's an old industrial crane, at the river Maas. The other side of the river is where the city center is.

Tuesday, 30 January 2018

No right Turn: Chapter 7 the escape

I am hosting a collaborative Comic, with the much appreciated help of now about 25 artists.

I determine the story and scene, but the artists decide how and in which style to draw.
We have 57 pages already, but we are drawing to the final stages.
Chapter 7 "The escape" is now finished. I will show the new drawings in a few days.

This chapter has contributions of:
Rene Fijten
Jerry Wease
Jim Scheel
Rene Fijten
Laura F. Sfiat
Jorge Royan (deceased, this panel was inserted to honour him)

Thursday, 25 January 2018

Magdeburg, Hundertwasser

Business trip to Magdeburg. There is a Hunderwasserhaus there. In the meantime I visited some of them: in Vienna and Houthem. I am no fan, but his ideas are at least very interesting.
This one is the largest of the Hundertwasser buildings, including shops, apartments, a hotel, restaurants, parking garages and even a theatre. A regular cityblock.
This sketch was made in the evening. The colours are not correct, it was dark by then. The next day reality showed the colour of the building to be light pink. :(

Sunday, 21 January 2018

Urban sketching Maastricht

Urban sketching meeting today, in Maastricht. It was very cold (4 degrees C), but luckily no wind.
And we were sitting a bit sheltered on a covered terrace.
I made this impression of one of the facades of the Market, with a row of old houses.
It took a lot of time to make this, the water would only dry very slowly. But that offered a chance to warm yourself on a hot cup of coffee.

Wednesday, 17 January 2018

Morgan 3 wheeler

A drawing with the same technique. Indian ink, and gouache.
I love that machine, I saw one on the street once: they are tiny and very cramped.

Sunday, 14 January 2018

The Raven

Indian Ink, white and black gouache.
Inspired and based on a painting by Lindsey Kustusch (San Francisco).
I found the image on internet, it was really hard to find the original painter.
She makes a lot of inspiring work.

Saturday, 13 January 2018

Hotel lobby Rotterdam

Travels to Rotterdam. A sketch made in the restaurant of my hotel, while waiting for the dinner to arrive. I did the figure first. Then, after dinner, when the guy was gone, I added the chandelier and painting frame.