donderdag 25 december 2014

Merry Christmas!

Yesterday evening, on Christmas Eve, I was sitting on my sofa with a glass of red wine and I felt really happy. I was thinking about the past year, I was thinking about my friends and family,  the trips I made to Spain, Greece and my 6 weeks stay in the US. The short trips and weekends away with my friends and sister. The time I was able to spend on art and creating, the new techniques I tried and the new things I learned. Yes, I feel extremely content with this year. I hope next year will be great as well, I hope your next year will be as great as mine!

And then I woke up on Christmas Day and checked my Facebook messages. Beside lots of messages from my FB friends (some I have met, some are great FB friends, but all precious to me), I see that Cloth Paper Scissors has used my Mixed Media Santa in their Christmas message and article on their blog. What a great gift!!! So much to be grateful for.

woensdag 12 november 2014

Hi there - I am back

Hi there, I haven't been posting for a while. Last week I got new windows and doors and my house looked like a building site. And all my art supplies were stored somewhere. I could not find anything, I even could not locate my sketchbook ;-). But now the dust has settled and I cleaned my whole house twice, so I should have some time to create again. I am really looking forward to it!

Before the building activities started I participated in the WDE (Weekend Drawing Event) on Wetcanvas. One of the reference images was of a lovely dog. The background is painted red as a tribute to Dean Haven (deano), one of our weekly participants and part of our WDE family, who sadly passed away recently. He always started his weekly painting with a red underpainting. He would have been proud to see all these red underpainted paintings this week!

I used red gouache for the underpainting, the dog is painted/drawn with pastel pencils. In my A4 Moleskine watercolor journal. 

And for the monthly challenge in the Animal forum (Fur, feathers and scales challenge), here is my contribution to the October challenge. It was something I wanted to try for a while. I ripped out a page of a tanned journal and glued it in my sketchbook. I drew the goldfish with a black Pitt pen and a white pen. And finished it with a little bit of rubber stamping. I like the effect!

zaterdag 18 oktober 2014

More sunflowers

This week I have been working on another sunflower collage. The collage is created with handpainted papers. The size of this collage (and the previous one) is 24 x 30 cms, 9 1/2" x 12". Both collages are for sale in my Etsy shop. Please let me know if you are interested.

dinsdag 14 oktober 2014

Getting back into the rhythm

I cannot believe I came home only 2 weeks ago. I have been so absorbed in the daily rhythm, that I almost forgot how it was in California. Well... I know it was warmer there, as I am constantly feeling cold. And I miss the sunshine and the care-free lifestyle. But it is great to meet up with family and friends again. And I just need to make sure I have enough time to create.

Last weekend I met up with the Urban Sketchers Amsterdam, and we went to Artis, the zoo in Amsterdam for a day of animal sketching. I had a great time, and met some really nice people. I sketched in my Stillman and Birn sketchbook, with pencil and later added ink (with my Pitt pens and with the Tombow, my new best friend) and a little watercolor.

And the last 2 weeks I have been working on two collage paintings. I started with the blue apple in Elizabeth St. Hillaire Nelson's workshop and finished it at home. The collage of the sunflower was created last weekend. 

I have registered myself for the local yearly art exhibition at the end of the year. Hopefully I will be able to show some of my new work. I have been in the last 2 exhibitions and there are always lots of people coming to check out the local artwork during the holiday season. Last year I sold 6 paintings (a few monoprints, a pastel painting, 2 alcohol ink paintings and a mixed media collage. Fingers crossed.

woensdag 1 oktober 2014

Home again

This will be the last blog post from my trip to the US. My normal life has started again, and I am even back at work.

Last weekend I attended a 2-day workshop with Elizabeth St. Hilaire Nelson called Paper painting. As I do have a soft spot for collage, this looked liked the perfect workshop for me. And it was! Elizabeth is not only a great collage artist, but also a great teacher and a lovely person. Make sure to check out her blog or take a class with her when you get the chance.

The first day we painted all kind of papers, rice papers, mulberry papers, book pages etc. Elizabeth demostrated all kind of techniques and then it was playtime! The second day we focussed on our collage with our own handpainted papers. We all had to do some homework before the workshop, we needed to bring a 12" x 12" painting of an apple, to be used as underpainting for the collage.

Here is my collaged apple, I am very happy with the end result and will sure use the new techniques in my future work.

And then to say goodbye to California, to summer and to say hello to the Fall/Autumn I will share a last image of the view from the back porch of the cottage in Penngrove.

vrijdag 26 september 2014

Art-is-You in Petaluma

Wednesday my sister Anja and I went to our first workshop at the Art-is-You art retreat in Petaluma. We both picked the same class to start with, 8 Objects - 8 ways from Jane LaFazio. She showed us how to create a journal page with several objects, using several different techniques, from sketching with just a pencil to watercolors etc. It was a great day, and I even met some people I met at the CREATE art retreat in Irvine last year and the year before :-)

At home I finished another page, using only shells.

And I really liked the continiuous drawing exercise. I sketched a sunflower in pen and added the watercolors later. I got the sunflowers from another attendee in class, she bought some flowers for the workshop and gave me the bunch as she had to leave early.

And before the flowers are all wilted.... another sketch in watercolors

A quick sketch of the wine country Sonoma

Yesterday evening we went to the doodle party at Art-is-You. We got a foamboard tile and a pen, and several stencils to use. It was fun, we created, had some lovely cakes (yummie) and had a great evening.
The left tile is mine, the tile on the right is created by Anja.

The next few days we will attend some more art workshops, and then it is almost time to leave.... We will be flying home on Monday. This has been a great trip and I am sure we will be back.

maandag 22 september 2014

Moving on

The last few days in Pacific Grove have passed quickly. My sister and I went on a whale watch trip on Monday and after about 5 minutes we found a large group of whales. A group of about 20 humpback whales, not too far from shore, playing, eating, and lunge feeding (coming out of the water with their mouths open to catch the fish. It was a great trip!!!!!

On Tuesday we took a road trip south, along the Pacific Highway 1. Lots of beautiful views along the way. We saw a large group of whales from the shore, beautiful. When we came to Big Sur we had a great chocolate milkshake before heading back. We stopped for lunch at the Rocky Point restaurant. Marvelous food and views.

Wednesday it was time for our kayak trip in Monterey. We got a flattering pair of trousers and jacket and off we went. The group was not too big, Anja and myself, and a family of 4 from Australia, who lived near the sea but strangely never kayakked before. We saw sea otters, sea lions and seals and lots of birds of course. 

In the last days I worked on 2 larger paintings, both with sea otters.

And after a quiet day, we said our goodbyes to the ocean.... I am sure going to miss Pacific Grove :-(

We made the 3-hour drive to Petaluma an art orientated drive. After one hour we stopped at the Hobby Lobby, after an another hour we made a stop at Dick Blick in Berkeley and then went on to our final destination Petaluma. 

Yesterday I did some sketches with the new Tombow markers we bought, and a little sketch of the kitchen soap. Only today I did a sketch from our back porch, looking over the Sonoma hills.

zondag 14 september 2014


As from yesterday I am officially on vacation :-). No more getting up early to work a few hours in the mornings before leisure time. From now only leisure time.

Tuesday, I did some more sketching. The kelp that is washed upon the beach is beautiful. It does smell a bit... and the flies.... but does make a beautiful still life.

The scenery is changing every day. Tuesday there were many (read hundreds of...) pelicans on the Bird Rock near the Scenic Drive in Pacific Grove. 

and I took the scenic drive in Carmel. Beautiful beaches and houses... 

Then Wednesday arrived and I drove to San Francisco to pick up my sister from the airport. Luckily the flight arrived on time and on the way back she did her first purchase (LOL).

After a quiet day on Thursday, we went to the Monterey Aquarium on Friday and took a boottrip on the Elkhorn Slough yesterday. We saw many sea otters, harbor seals, sea lions and birds. We had a mainly Dutch boat, the captain came from the Netherlands, the oma, mother and daughter were from Dutch origin and us of course. It was 'gezellig'. 

A pile of sea lions 

Sea otter sketches

Today another quiet day, it is Sunday after all. The Pacific Grove triathlon in town, so we are going to take a look. Tomorrow we are going whale watching. Oooops, forgot to tell you we saw already many jumping, breaching and playing whales from the shore last Thursday. 

maandag 8 september 2014

Big Sur and Rocky Point

This week I turned some of my reference photo's into sketches and little paintings. 

I visited the art museum in Monterey, it has 2 separate buildings. One in the city center with beautiful paintings of California. And also two great exhibitions. One from a textile artist called Malin Lager. She makes marvelous portraits and paintings with textile and thread. Very impressive!
And an exhibition of work from Jules Tavernier, he worked as an illustrator for a magazine, but also did some great paintings.

On Saturday I visited the Point Pinos Lighthouse. I looked at the inside of the lighthouse and talked to some of the volunteers on duty. I love how people can be passionate about sharing their stories and knowledge with others. Lovely people!

This sketch is from a buoy that is in the garden of the lighthouse.

And on Sunday I went on my painting trip. There were 2 meeting points and somehow I missed the other people attending. The first stop was at the Big Sur River Inn, a stop along the Pacific Highway 1. The road to Big Sur is beautiful with lots of ocean views and vista's. At the River inn there is a restaurant with a terrace and a lawn with a small river. People sit in the middle of the river in wooden chairs.... I did not see anyone painting and/or looking as a painter, so after one hour I headed to the next stop.

The next stop was at the Rocky Point restaurant. Beautiful setting, lots of subjects to paint. I did a few sketches and then went home, I had enough of the sun and the wind. I took some great photo's so maybe I will make some more paintings later. When my sister comes, we can do this trip again, AND go for lunch at the Rocky Point restaurant. It looked very nice!

The last few days I have been checking the arrival times of the flight from Amsterdam. The flight has been seriously delayed for the last days. Hopefully the flight that my sister takes on Wednesday will be on time! I will pick her up from the airport and we will spend 2 1/2 weeks together. It has been great spending time here in Pacific Grove, and the time spend on sketching and painting. I am already here for 2 weeks, time flies.... But it is also great to share the beautiful sights with someone and I am really looking forward to my sisters arrival.

donderdag 4 september 2014

More watercolor sketches from California

Monday, on my walk to Monterey I passed the Hopkins Marine research center. It is near to the Monterey aquarium and has a lovely secluded beach. The beach belongs to the research center and on the beach were many harbor seal resting, but when I painted the scene I left the seals out. 

I walked around in Monterey, it was very crowded due to Labor Day. I sat outside at Ghiradelli's and had a marvelous chocolate milkshake. And had a lovely talk with a couple from Marina, they were also enjoying the view, the weather and a great milkshake.

Next on my list was a visit to the Mission in Carmel. It is now Tuesday and the weather is not as nice as the days before. The clouds haven't moved anywhere.... and it looks like it is going to rain. Perfect day for a visit to the mission. I sketched the mission in my sketchbook onsite (with pencil) and added the pen and wash later at home.

and I created a little watercolor painting in my handmade watercolor journal from the reference images I took.

Most days I take either a walk or a drive along the coast. There is a beautiful scenic drive just around the corner, leading to Asilomar. There are lots of dunes at Asilomar and a great big beach. Watercolor sketches in my journal.

And lots a birds, and seagulls! This one posing patiently til I was done with my sketch. In pen and watercolor pencil.

It is already Thursday today. Time to think what I am going to do this weekend. On Sunday I am meeting a local drawing/painting group and we head out to Big Sur to do some sketching and painting. Looking forward to that! And I need to get prepared for my sister to come. She will arrive in a weeks time, and I will pick her up from the airport on Wednesday. There are a few things on my list I still can/need do without her, like visiting the art museum in Monterey and then we will focus on doing things we can do together. Like going kayakking, whale watching etc. Oh, and shopping (for art materials) of course :-).

maandag 1 september 2014

Labor Day weekend

This weekend is Labor Day weekend. Lots of people have a long weekend off and go to the coast. The little town is completely jam packed and the beach is crowded. I love the atmosphere, people are picknicking and bbq-ing in the park at Lovers Point and I saw a beach wedding, a birthday party and a family reunion.

Last Saturday I took the Elkhorn Slough safari boat trip from Moss Landing. I was a lovely trip, the boat is a pontoon boat  and it leaves from the harbor in Moss Landing and visits the Elkhorn Slough, a wetland nature reserve. Lots of wildlife to see (and hear... and smell...). Harbor seals, sea lions, sea otters and lots of birds. The kids on the trip get all an assigment, so we have sea otter spotters, seal spotters and every animal we see gets counted and written down and make up some impressive counts at the end of the trip. 88 sea otters, more then 400 sea lions (most of them piled together on 2 pontoons), lots of habor seal and lots of birds.

I started 2 bigger paintings, one from the little watercolor sketch I did in my journal. The size is 11"x 14". The paper is from the same brand I use at home, but it behaves completely different. The pelican is painted on smooth watercolor paper and is difficult to work on. Not sure I like it...

Pacific Grove


And some sketches of rocks with pen in my sketchbook, I added a little bit of watercolor later.

Today I am leaving the car behind, and will take another walk to Monterey on the recreational path next tot the ocean. I might do some people see-ing :-) and go for lunch. I will be back later!