Sunday, 17 December 2017

Urban Sketchers meeting in Maastricht

Yesterday we (well, mainly Ruud Otten) organized a USK meeting in Maastricht.
70 persons attended. I gave a workshop about making "Living lines". The theme was to make sketchers aware of how they use/draw lines when sketching. By using line properties like strength, thickness, dynamics, crossing, or breaking etc, you can improve your drawing, en enhance the story you want to tell. I had a very good group to work with.
The disadvantage is that you don't get to draw a lot. I could barely finish this little house of a lock, next to the river. And then it started drizzling. I left it that way, sometimes you have to embrace chance.
The group.

Friday, 15 December 2017

Rotterdam Maashaven

Made this drawing yesterday morning, looking out over one of the harbours of Rotterdam, the Maashaven.
This was the view from my Hotel room, in the very early morning.

Tuesday, 12 December 2017

Rianne Fijten, PhD

My daughter Rianne presented and defended her thesis yesterday.
As a result she had her Doctorship, PhD. We are both very proud parents.
The thesis was "Translational Research on Exhaled Volatile Organic compounds, from Bedside to Bench". A thesis about data analysing methods to determine the chance of having a particular diseas by checking exhaled breath.

I am proud to say she asked me to design and make the front of the thesis for her.
I will come back on that process later.

We had a terrific day yesterday.

Friday, 8 December 2017


 Monotype is a technique where you put ink (preferably bookprinters ink) on a glass plate.
Then slide a piece of paper on top, and you make a quick sketch on the back.
It's always a surprise what comes out of this.
These are four of the about 20 that I made in about 2 hours.

Sunday, 3 December 2017

Braunschweig and Magdeburg

Gruelling weeks. Lot of travelling, a very heavy project and a training with a lot of homework.
It drains all my energy.
Still, a few sketches that I made this week, during my travels through Germany.
In Braunschweig, while leaving the trainstation, i saw this beautiful old steam engine. I had no time to draw the complete machine, So I sketched a detail.
The next day in Magdeburg, I saw this old lady begging for some money in front of the trainstation.
I did not have the chance to tip her, she suddenly stood up and left quickly (I don't know if that had a reason) just as I was finishing the drawing.

Sunday, 26 November 2017


I am running behind in posting sketches. Far too busy at work and in private.
These are two sketches that I made during my business trip to Rotterdam, last week.
One is the scene in the train, a guy absorbed by his smartphone.
The big one is the old grainelevator at one of the harbours in Rotterdam. The old grain-silos were just across the street from my hotel, at the Maashaven. This is the waterfront.

Tuesday, 21 November 2017

Chemical heat

I pass a chemical plant each morning when driving to work. This morning (it was still almost dark) the sky was lit orange above the plant, they were burning the contents of a chemical installation. They do that in case of an calamity, or when they are cleaning the Process installations for mojor maintenace. Anyway, it's a terrific sight, the flames are 10 meters high, and make a roaring noise.
So I stopped at a parking lot and sketched the scene looking trough the windshield of my car. then I drove on to the office. Took me about 20 minutes.

Saturday, 18 November 2017

Jan van Els

Live Model drawing class.
These are two of four drawings I made this morning.
All with different materials and styles.
Above: watercolourpencil
Below: chinese ink with bamboopen, and watercoour afterwards.

Each took me about half an hour.
Luckily Jan was a patient model.

Wednesday, 15 November 2017

Goslar Liebfrauenberg

Business trip to Goslar, the project there is far from finished. But Goslar is a nice place to have a project: a beautiful old town, a beautiful region and very good restaurants.
Downside: it's a long way to get there, a 5 hour drive.
This morning I rose early to make a sketch, I wanted to do a watercolour. But it was cold, about 3 degrees C, so the watercolour would not dry. You can see the blobbing on the top part of the drawing.
Besides, the scene was probably too complicated, as I just had half an hour available before I had to return to the hotel for breakfast with colleagues.
I tried to improve on the drawing this evening, at home.

Thursday, 9 November 2017

Funeral day

Today we had the funeral of my mother in law, Agnes Abbink-Peukens.
We celebrated Holy Mass in the old Roman Catholic church of Hoensbroek. The church she used to go to each Sunday. May she rest in peace.
I made this sketch of the small commemorative table in the nursing home, where she spent the last years of her file.
The little poem (the last sentences of a longer poem, about Alzheimer disease, by Anja Messemaker) goes like this:
"Please remember me how I used to be.
Then you remember that I still recognize you.
Please remember me how I used to be.
And not how I eventually became."

Sunday, 5 November 2017

Friday, 3 November 2017

Oma Agnes

My mother in law, Agnes Abbink-Peukens, passed away yesterday.
This picture is from a few years ago, how we would like to remember her.
Unfortunately she wasn't even a shadow of her old self anymore.
The stories of her life became as if written in white ink.
She passed away peacefully, while holding the hand of my daughter Rianne, in presence of her beloved ones.

Bevor das Morgenlicht
Dich entführt, dieser Augenblick bricht
Unterschreib mit weisser Tinte
Lass Kleingedrucktes übersehn
Du darfst nicht gehn.
(Herbert Groenemeyer)

Saturday, 28 October 2017

Glass horse

I finally put the glass horse head on a cherrywood sockle.
We cut down a cherry tree in our garden a few years ago. The wood is now dry enough to use for these kind of things.
The piece is now standing on our window sill.

Wednesday, 25 October 2017

Steamboat "Kurtz"

Experimenting again. I saw these beautiful textured watercolours by Chih-Wei Lin (Taiwan). And I wanted to see if I could do that as well. So I made a quick drawing on-the-go of a steamboat of the type that was used on the Congo river. Check of my most favourite novels: Heart of darkness by Joseph Conrad. I called the boat "the Kurtz". Obviously.
The drawing was made with chinese ink and drawn with pointed bamboo sticks. Then I applied the watercolour and added some regular transparent hobby glue (water based Acrylic emulsion). And made textures with pighair brushes. I also tried Acrylic ink, but that didn't work (yet).
I am not there, but I already like the effect.

Tuesday, 24 October 2017

Glass Magpie

My latest glass work. A magpie. With the original sketch.
The piece is finished now, and waiting to go into the oven.
It is an experiment, as I used coloured strips of glass to form the bird. And I used dark colours: blue, red, green glass strips. I am curious how it will look like when the sun shines through.

Sunday, 22 October 2017


Amsterdam, on the "Torenbrug" bridge crossing the Singel.
There is a nice statue of Multatuli. The pseudonym of Erik Douwes Dekker, the best Dutch writer of the 19th century. He wrote books about the side-effects of the Dutch colonisation of Indonesia.
We had beautiful weather, and were sitting on a terrace on top of the bridge. The scene was too nice to pass. In retrospect: it probably was the beautiful warm day of 2017.

Friday, 20 October 2017


I had a very busy week this week. Travelling to Hameln and Magdeburg.
And with my wife a few days in Amsterdam.
We had recordbreaking good weather, unknown for so late in Autumn.
In Amsterdam we were sitting on a terrace on the Rembrandtsplein, when we saw this young woman sitting in the sun enjoying the warmth. Just when I finished she stood up and cycled away, as if she knew I had finished.

Sunday, 15 October 2017

A beautiful weekend in autumn

We had a terrific weekend. The temperature was over 25 degrees C, I can't remember an autumn weekend so warm.
Some trees are coloured, but others are still in full green. The hostas in our back garden (the same name in Dutch as in English) have these beautiful colours, ranging from yellow to ochre, green and terracotta. At least those hostas that were not eaten by snails; we had a plague this year. I killed thousands of them (no joke).

And I cant resist to post a picture of my grandson, Jake, as we visited the fair yesterday. He wanted to go into the Merry go round. An immense joy to see his enthusiasm.

Friday, 13 October 2017


Working on my linework techique.
I used the bamboo stick again. Self cut, out of a deceased pot plant.
I am using a technique that Kiah Kiean used. A friend had a workshop with him in Chicago.
Kiah pours some ink in a small glass jar, and adds some textile (like cotton bandage) to it.
It helps regulating the amount of ink that you take out of the jar.
Still, you have to find out how to work with it: at first clogs of inks get onto the paper, so you always have to figure out which parts can use blotches. Then you draw the greyish lines before the babmboo runs out of ink.
It takes a lot of exercising but is very rewarding.

Wednesday, 11 October 2017

Las Vegas shooting

Sometimes an image becomes haunting.
This drawing is based on a picture that was featured in the newspapers regarding the Las Vegas shooting on Oct 1st. Three festival visitors trying to escape from the gunfire.
It tells more than pictures of corpses or guns.
I did these kinds of drawings before in 2013, a monthly series called Timeline. Trying out what makes an image work. I might redo it. It has a good learning curve.
This one was made in about 20 minutes.