Transfer technique again. I transferred rasterized pictures (two of which are my own photographed hands) on a wooden base, and then tried to integrate them into a painting. Obviously this one is called "bird".
It's a difficult but rewarding exercise. When you start you have no idea where or how you end up.
Acrylic on prepared wood, approx. 41x62cm.
Another business trip to Goslar, Germany. Years ago I vowed to make a sketch on every business trip I make, even if it means to rise before breakfast to make one. But this specific morning I had to prepare for the meeting, so I could only make this very quick (and not very good) sketch.
It was made from the hotel window towards the train station on the other side of the street. Hotel Niedersäksischen hof, a very nice hotel.
I seem to be running from one deadline to another.
Last Sunday and Monday I was in Goslar (in Germany, a five hours drive), for the presentation of some new plans. Hardly any time to sketch there. But on my way back I brought a German colleague home, he lives in a little town called Datteln. This is Ruhrgebiet: the old coalmines and steelworks area.
But Datteln has a beautiful "hebewerk": a lifting device to lift ships from one canal into another one. The height difference between the Dortmund and the Dortmund-Ems kanal is 14 meter. These kind of works make an elaborate system of locks unnecessary.
The "hebewerk" was put in operation in 1899, and worked until the late 60s.
Short skirt day. Rokjesdag. That is how this first, beautiful day of spring is called here in the Netherlands.
It just seems all girls all decide to wear skirts today, to treat their legs to some warm sun.
It was superb weather, 22 degrees, no wind, and the air smelling sweet of the blossoming trees.
This was sketched during lunchbreak today, on the bank of the river Maas.
Today we had art class again. With transfer technique (paste a laser print on a surface and start painting while integrating it).
I choose a few loose items: mouth, nose, eye and jaw. As I started I had no idea what to do, I started with an ochre-burnt Sienna background, but that turned out to be too saturated. So I added a white-blueish rectangle to compensate. But the original print was hardly visible anymore.
So I added lines of black Chinese ink, drawn with a twig. That turned out to be okay. I just had to add some red and some accents. Took me two hours to make. Arcylic on board, 42x62cm.
In the end the result reminds me of Dada paintings, like the ones Max Ernst made.
I had to babysit this evening, to Tom, the half-year old son of Tamara, a good friend of my wife. He is such a cute, quiet and lovely boy. And his eyes keep looking around. After an hour he went to sleep, which gave me the opportunity to make these two drawings of him.
Experimenting with new materials. This time "Transfer technique". Use a laserprint copy of a photo, rub the image side in with Acrylic Binder, and glue it on paper (which should have a coat of wet acrylic binder as well). After a day you can rub off the copy paper with some lukewarm water, and the mirrored image is stuck to the canvas. Then paint over it, trying to preserve parts of the original and yet making something new out of it.
The image was based on a combination of two photos I once made in India. The result may not be very good, but it was a first try, and as such worth trying.
Horus came out of the furnace looking great. I am really glad how it turned out. Unfortunately the picture is not that good, I hope to make a decent one after I made the cherry-wood sockle. That will be a challenge in itself, the bottom part will have to be incorporated.
An unexpected surprise, at least one that I had forgotten about.
I recieved a box with 100 postcards from 65 Urban sketchers. A beautiful set in a nice box. With all my favourite sketchers: Rob Carey, Lapin, Florian, Inma, Liz Steel, James Hobbs and so on.
And one of my drawings was in it: the drawing I made in 2009 of the Flatiron building in New York.
They asked for permission of course, but that was more than half a year ago.
It's by the same publisher as the Urban Sketchers book, Quarry Books.
Lunchtime last Tuesday. Beautiful spring weather, too nice to stay behind my desk.
I found this cute old facade just across the bridge over the Maas. I was standing at a busstop, and while I stood drawing an old man chatted me up, telling me that he had been draughtsman in the (famous) ateliers of architect Cuypers in Roermond. Nice to hear these kind of stories.
Firestorm, an impression based on the devastating air raids in World war 2.
I visited an art exhibition in Venlo this weekend. There was work of Jef Diederen on display, and one of his paintings, in red and black, made a huge impression. It reminded me of the old coalmines and cokes furnaces from my youth.
And an exhibition on war and peace, with work of Anselm Kiefer, Ger Lataster and Armando among others. These two impressions came together in this work, where I experimented with red watercolour and chinese ink. Actually this is version 6, the first that I was content with.
In a Moleskine watercolour book A4.
A difficult painting this time. I worked a long time on this painting (made after a live model).
It all had to do with Terry Miura's "lost and found" technique: how far can you go with melting the background into the subject, without losing it's form and meaning. And then bring an accent into the game, like a focal point or light spot.
I was not content with the bottom version, the result after 2 live model sessions. So I reworked it towards the top one. But I am not sure it became better.
If anyone could offer some advice?
My new glass fusion project: Horus.
I posted it on facebook, and Jane Pereira Siebert (from Cape Town, South Africa) commented: "Wonderful shapes! How were you inspired to create this design?". I must say that was a
difficult question. I wanted to start on a new glass object, and
started out with sketching a table with a vase on it. I drew it with
pencil on the back side of an envelope. You can see the original
envelope on below picture. Don't ask me how it
evolved into this bird like object, but I think it has to do with the
fact that I had visited an opera about a Egyptian Pharaoh the night
before, Akhnaten (in Antwerpen, together with my kids, Rianne and Mart). I guess the image of Horus, the Egyptian god with the falcon head subconsciously played a role when arriving at this image. But here is the funny part: I didn't make the connection that evening, the composition just looked like it was supposed to be. I realized the connection to the opera only a few days later.
I was asked to attend a symposium about animal food innovation, organized by "Feed design lab" and Tebodin/Bilfinger.
The reason I was there because I was asked to visualize the outcomes of the brainstorm session.
That was very hard to do, in fact it turned out to be practically impossible. The session took 45 minutes, and there were 7 groups. The groups would be on steam after 20 minutes, so I had only 25 minutes left: that means about 3 minutes per group. To listen, catch the essence, think about an image and sketch it.
In the end I managed 6 images.
As I had to work fast, I used markers. I had not used those since my studies in architecture, back in the 80s. Here is the testimage I made during the symposium. Just within a few minutes.
Another businesstrip, this time for a seminar held in the centre of the Netherlands, in Zaltbommel.
Zalbommel is an old Holland town, located on one of the large streams, the Waal.
After the seminar I had an half hour left before dark, enough to draw and paint this scene of the harbour. But is was very cold, a bit above freezing point, 3 degrees Celsius. This meant the water on the paper dried very slowly and formed pools. It took me another half an hour to get warmed up again.
A business trip to Goslar (Germany) again. As it is early dark, and I was travelling with colleagues, I had no chance to go into town and make a drawing of the beautiful houses over there.
So what was left is this early morning view from my hotel room window. I made this in about 10 minutes, and added some touchups later that day in the car driving home (I was not driving).
I hope to be able to do better sketches next time.