Friday, 23 September 2016

Antwerpen Koornmarkt

Antwerpen, on the Koornmarkt (I think). The last of my series of last week, our Urban sketching meeting.

Wednesday, 21 September 2016

More Antwerpen

This was the Urban Sketching group in Antwerp, with participants from Germany, the Netherlands and Belgium.
The organisation did a good job to find nice central spots to draw (together). We finished the day in a little old square, sipping good Belgian beers and exchanging drawings.

This is a sketch of Marleen Dambrink. This is really funny, six years ago, in the summer of 2011 she was part of our tourist group to visit Indonesia. She saw me sketching back then, but only started drawing herself early this year. She didn't know I was part of USK as well, that was a nice surprise.

The coach was waiting for tourists on the central market place. The south African tourists sitting on top of the coach found me back later, to check what I had made.
Nice conversations.

Sunday, 18 September 2016

Antwerpen USK

Yesterday an international Urban Sketching meeting was held in Antwerp. A joined effort of the USK groups in Belgium (both Wallonie and Flanders), the Netherlands and Germany.

We met in Antwerp, about 60 sketchers, and had a terrific time. So many friends and beautiful drawings in so many different styles.

This is a drawing of one of the many beautiful buildings in the city. A large megalomanic building, filled with numerous and intricate details. Too many to draw.

Wednesday, 14 September 2016

Record breaking September

This September (and all of the summer) was unbelievable, the last few days we had tropical temperatures (well over 30 Celsius). It has never been so warm, so late in the year since recorded history. Yesterday broke temperature records, and today even passed those.
I was sitting under the veranda this evening, making this little sketch of our back garden. Our walnut tree is ready to lose it's walnuts. Hard to imagine that we will be preparing for Christmas in three months.

Monday, 12 September 2016

La piscine des erreurs

Just another fantasy drawing. Called "la piscine des erreurs".
I have no idea why I called it that, itjust seemed fitting.

Saturday, 10 September 2016


In the souks of Marrakech, an old gate. We were there early (10 o'clock, that's quite early for tourists,,,), so the temperature was nice, and it was not too crowdy. While some of our group were doing some shopping, I was able to make this drawing. Unfortunately they switched on the light halfway the drawing (the gallery behind me opened the doors). It made me uncomfortable at painting the scene, the shadow/light effect that had attracted me had disappeared.
It turned out okay I think.

Thursday, 8 September 2016

Zaouiat Cheikh

Zaouiat Cheikh is a small town somewhere along the road between Fès and Benin melal. It's in the plains of the middle Atlas mountains.
We had a little coffee break here, and I took the opportunity to cross the street and make this drawing (in 16 minutes).

As you can see in the real picture, I adapted reality a bit, the area was actually more  hilly than the picture suggests, so I changed the flat horizon for a slight hill.
I also changed a few walls in front, regarding colour and texture, because the drawing needed balancing.

In a discussion on facebook I made this analysis of the compositional properties of the sketch (the top vignette).
You see now why I choose to make the little hill, and why I changed a grey wall into red (on the left side).
The bottom vignette is an alternative composition that I could have chosen for that same scene, but I found the top idea to be more consistent with how I "felt" about the area.
The bottom sketch would have looked totally different.

While drawing, I did not have time to ponder about all these features. But before starting, I did take a minute to determine what I would draw, and how I would treat the scene. The rest came automatically. Once I started, the decisions were simply inevitable.

Tuesday, 6 September 2016

Morocco roads

Just a scene along the roads on the higher planes of the Middle-Atlas mountain regoins. I saw this scene while passing through a small village between Fès and Benin Melal, in the bus.  I drew this immediately after I saw it, straight from memory.
I found it very typical for this region: the overloaded trucks and men drinking sweet tea under the shaded canopies with worn tyres lying on top.

Saturday, 3 September 2016

Day 3&4: faces

Morocco has perfect terraces with perfect coffee. These sketches were made of people I saw on those terraces. In Fez, cafe California and in Azilal, cafe bellevue.
These drawings were made in a few minutes. I used the technique of a renowned water colour painter, David Rankin. He wrote an article called: 5 minute recipe for drawing faces. .
Earlier this spring I had explored and trained his method a little, using pictures. And adapting it a bit to my own taste. But essentially it's all there. Check for yourself.

Thursday, 1 September 2016

day 3: Fès leather workshops

I had been looking forward to see this scene, I had seen pictures of it in travel brochures.
But reality was even better than the pictures: the leather workshops of Fès.
These are the open air pots where they drain and treat goat and cattle leather for weeks. Some of them where white of calcium (more to the left), the ones here were filled with dye.

To be honest, the guide told us about the workshop for a quarter of an hour, but I did not catch anything of his story. After we arrived I immediately occupied a side window with full view, drew out my gear and began to draw and paint frantically. I had no idea how much time I had. Eventually, the group had just left the room when I finished, and I had to run after them to catch up.

As it turned out, the area had just been renovated this spring, so it did not smell much. Others have told me they used to get some fresh mint to make the stench bearable.


Tuesday, 30 August 2016

Fès mosaics

Next stop: Fès. We visited a ceramics workshop, just outside town, where they made tajines (earthen cooking gear) with beautiful and intricate Moorish decorations.
And a mosaic worker, cutting miniscule fitting parts on a circular plate. I managed to make this sketch in maybe 10 minutes, as long as the guide would allow me.
The artisan (his name was Mohammed) liked my drawing a lot.

Sunday, 28 August 2016

Chrysler New Yorker

A very quick drawing of a Chrysler New Yorker, about 1973. I made this a week ago, at  the Cruise-in in Brunssum, but had no chance to post this earlier.

Friday, 26 August 2016

Day 2: Meknes

We spent the hottest part of the afternoon in Meknes, roaming through the souks and market places. All smells and colours, a feast for eyes and nose. We also had lunch there, in a covered atrium, with beautiful decorated walls and ceilings, in Andalusian or Moorish style. I don'tthink I will be abe to retrace that restaurant, Meknes is like a labyrinth.
I barely managed to make the pendrawing on location, the group moved forward far too quickly, I painted it in the hotel later that evening.

Wednesday, 24 August 2016

Day 2: Volubilis

Day 2: it was gruelling hot. Over 40 degrees celsius. The wind was hot in our faces, and very dry.
We drove out to Meknes, and after that to Volubilis, an excavated Roman city.
This is the Basilica (covered market building), as seen from the Capitol.
I drew the plan afterwards, in the bus.
The paper is rather smudgy, that is what you get with travel journals.

Sunday, 21 August 2016

Day 1: Rabat

We drove to Casablanca and visited its Hassan II mosque (the largest in this part of the word). I amde a sketch but it's not worth showing here. Instead, in the early afternoon we drove to Rabat, and visited the old Medina. Very beautiful. But as the group proceeded very fast, there was no time to sketch, only this one of the walls surrounding the Medina.
I made the pensketch while we were waiting for the group to assemble, and cross the busy road to our bus, maybe 2 minutes. Painted it immediately afterwards in the bus.
I could not resist posting this picture, the view over the beach of Rabat as seen from the Medina.

Thursday, 18 August 2016

Allfa Romeo Julia

Alfa Romeo Julia Spider Veloce. 1965.
This beautiful car was standing at a meeting of vintage cars. I always wanted to draw this car, so this was a very welcome opportunity. It was also a rather difficult car to draw, all these curved lines, no room for mistakes.

Anyway, it went well, I am content with the drawing. And so was the German owner.

I made another sketch of an 60's american car, but I'll have to scan and post it later.

Wednesday, 17 August 2016

Day 1: Marrakesh-Casablanca

We arrived in Marrakesh late in the evening on Sunday, we would visit the city at the end of the roundtrip, so we left early in the morning to Casablanca.
Our group consisted of 7 Dutch, of all ages, but our guide was Moroccan: Youssef.
I made this sketch halfway Marrakesh and Casablanca, looking out to the barren fields ridden with cacti, and occasional herded flocks of sheep.
And little adobe (mud) farms/houses, like this one. I saw it when we were slowly driving by (due to road works), but I had my sketchgear ready, and was able to make the drawing right away from memory. It took maybe 5 minutes.

Monday, 15 August 2016


We just returned from a 8 day-roundtrip through Marocco. I will post and tell about the trip the coming few days.
This drawing was made on the Amsterdam airport, while going through the usual waiting hours before departure. I did not want to draw the usual docked planes, and looked for something else.
This Asian woman was sitting opposite of us, concentrated on her cellphone, oblivious of the world around her. Only when I was halfway the drawing, I realised that each time she was texting, she was silently crying, hiding the tears in her eyes. In the end, I don't think she realised I drew her, and obviously I did not want to disturb her further.

Thursday, 4 August 2016

Lunchime doodle

Not much decent drawing lately. I prefer spending the warm long evenings sitting on the veranda with long barbecues with friends and family, or reading good books.
I made this one during lunchbreak today; it was raining a little, so I did not go out for a walk.

Sunday, 31 July 2016

Via Imperiale revisited

Experimenting with drawing with twigs and Indian ink, to achieve a more free style of drawing and painting. Based on a sketch I made earlier this year in Rome. I am not yet satisfied.