(Click on paintings or drawings below to view larger size.)

Monday, March 20, 2023

Portrait Practice


2. "The Postcard Collector"
20x16 inches, oil on canvas

3. "Portrait with Tree"
16x20 inches, oil on canvas

4. "Portrait no 4"
16x12 inches, oil on canvas
(Private Collection, PA)

I had forgotten what a challenge it was to paint someone who was posing for you. I tried this a few times with some low-end oil paints. They were so smooth, coming out of the tube with the consistency of hair conditioner. Since I continued to use only linseed oil as a medium and brush cleaner, the paint got even more fluid. After three of those, I went out and bought new paint and canvas for a fourth and final portrait. I also took some photographs to help keep track of the pose -- when the subject is moving, talking, and glancing here and there, it helps.

1. "Reading the newspaper"
quick sketch in oil on 10x8inch canvas

Monday, March 6, 2023

Souvenir Series

"Discovering Lucerne"
24x30cm oil on canvas
(private collection, Oakford, PA)
It's been fun painting from photographs in Facebook groups that offer free references for artists. And I also enjoyed painting in response to the numerous photo challenges on Instagram. But there's always that feeling that you are sharing the photographer's vision, no matter how much you alter his image and try to make it yours. I therefore decided to get back to using more personal reference material. First, I got out my photos of our chickens and had a field day with those. Then my photos and oil sketches of the bike path to create a larger studio work. Now something completely different: our family slides.

I've been scanning slides and realized it's become much more convenient to use them for painting once they're scanned. It used to be that you had to watch out not to overheat the slide projector, burn the slides, or contribute to their deterioration through handling (mildew, etc). I remember even trying to paint in the dark with the slide projector on. But with the scanned image, all these problems are history.

"Halloween 1964"
oil on postcard canvas

More to come!

Saturday, February 25, 2023

Along the Bike Path


"The Bike Path"
40x50cm, oil on canvas


I have been looking at this scene for a couple winters now every time I cycle by. Then last week the weather was so nice I stopped and sketched:


The next day, the sun was still out so I brought my paints. Here is the result (touched up in the studio). As I painted, one of the Scottish Galloway cows walked by, adding the perfect touch:

"Along the Bike Path"
20x25cm, oil on canvas
Then, I finally decided it was time to work bigger (see result at top of post). During the January sales I had bought four 40x50cm linen canvases on-line to see which brand I preferred. Well, of the four I purchased, I like De Wieuw's fine grain 300g/m2 100 percent Artist linen canvas best. It might be even better to find a heavier linen but would it still have that fine grain I like?

Thursday, February 23, 2023

Uccle Parcours d'Artistes in April 2023

The "Parcours d'artistes d'Uccle" has a new name: "Meet My Arts". Eighty-six participating artists will be exhibiting throughout the Commune.

I am very pleased to have been allocated a nice space at the residence "Le Hamoir" along with 6 other artists. We will be located on Rue Hamoir, 1, just off Chaussée de Waterloo in Uccle. The location is easily accessible by bus lines STIB 41, DeLijn 136, and TEC 136a.

We will be exhibiting our artwork during two weekends in April.

Mark your calendars:

Friday, 14 April from 18h00 to 22h00 -- includes the Vernissage!

Saturday, 15 April, from 14h00 to 19h00

Sunday, 16 April, from 14h00 to 19h00


Saturday 22 April, from 14h00 to 19h00

Sunday 23 April, from 14h00 to 19h00 





Sunday, January 22, 2023

Chicken Series


"Chickens in Van Gogh country"
50x40cm oil on canvas

"Family Portrait" (TLO and Dina)
50x50cm oil on canvas

Raising chickens turned out to be a fascinating but complex venture. It's difficult keeping just one because they are social creatures and get depressed when alone, but two doesn't work either because they wind up fighting. So, in the end, we gave them away to a local farmer where they are now under the watchful eye of a team of roosters. That works. We bring them treats and can see that they are happily integrated and healthy. Recently, I've noticed there are some little ones that look like them.

TLO ("The Little One"), purchased as a two-day-old chick, quickly grew to become a huge, beautiful chicken. For the TAE charity event I painted TLO from one of my old photos:

"Spring Chicken"
5x7inches, oil on Figueras canvas paper

Monday, January 2, 2023

Instagram Challenges


 "A Winter's Day"
12x18cm oil on canvas panel
inspired by a photo from the Landscape Art Club

I've been following three Instagram challenges that don't disappoint: @landscapeartclub, @foodpaintchallenge and @roomportraitclub. Unfortunately, last spring's @faceportraitclub seems to have disappeared. It takes a while for my oil paintings to dry so I missed sending out the postcard below:

"Christmas at Windsor Castle"
15x10cm oil on postcard canvas
inspired by the Room Portrait Club

This will be for Christmas 2023. 

Roaming the Internet to find subjects I haven't yet had a chance to paint whiles away these cold, dark days of winter. Here's some more snow thanks to the Landscape Art Club:


 "Canadian Trail"
10x15cm oil on canvas panel

"Yellow Lilies"
15x10cm oil on postcard canvas

The lilies were another popular subject at the Landscape Art Club. I painted some as ACEOs as well. Find those and my Food Paint Challenge work here: Smallest Paintings Gallery.

Looking forward to more of these in 2023! 

Happy New Year!

Friday, December 2, 2022

Les falaises d'Etretat

"L'aguille d'Etretat"
30x30cm oil on canvas

I couldn't resist painting another view of the iconic cliffs at Etretat. Since rock formations on the Normandy coast usually have names, I did some research. To my surprise, I found videos of some recent landslides near Etretat. Here -- YouTube -- a young photographer caught some of the action on camera. The town mayor is worried there could be more rocks falling and points out some crevasses in the cliffs. On another video, an expert explains that the entire Normandy coast is threatened by the phenomena, partially caused by global warming.

More on the cliffs:  les falaises tourism

Wednesday, November 30, 2022


40x40cm oil on canvas

There's a Landscape Art Club on Instagram that published some photos of Etretat this week. I've always dreamed of painting there. Well, this was the next best thing: exploring another of Monet's haunts via the Internet. Again, I wanted to stay away from turps. So this is nothing but oil paint and linseed oil. I tried to keep it loose while putting more texture on the surface and used a variety of paint brands -- all the odds and ends that have found their way into my paintbox. For instance, I discovered that the weird Rowney Georgian "flesh tint" was useful on the cliffs. I'm happy with the way this one turned out. 

Thursday, November 17, 2022

Quelque Chose de Monet

"Quelque chose de Monet"
60x70cm, oil on canvas

At the start, this was going to be an exact copy of Monet's "Belle-Ile, rochers de Port-Goulphar". I discovered this series in Denise Delouche's book: "Monet à Belle-Ile". I'd never read such a thorough analysis of Monet's working methods. She includes photographs of the locations he painted so you can see exactly how he interpreted what he saw.

After all my tiny ACEOs, and after watching a documentary on the American abstract painter, Joan Mitchell, I felt the urge to paint big: Arte Documentary on Joan Mitchell

So I prepared a 60x70cm canvas with some extra gesso (the original Monet is a close 65x81cm), selected large brushes and started this with Cobra water-soluble oil paints. For my initial sketch, I tried not to resort to turps or odorless mineral spirits (which, I've learned, also produce toxic fumes even if you can't smell them) but the Cobra idea didn't work. The paint was still oily when I applied the next layer. So I wiped it away with a cloth and just used regular oil paint, applied as thinly as I could. Later I added more linseed as needed. As I progressed I found I liked the airiness of the unfinished copy so I put the book down and just touched up here and there.  

Some notes on Monet's palette:

It's difficult to judge colors from a photograph in a book but I read on line that Monet once revealed his palette: Flake White, Cadmium Yellow, Vermilion, Deep Madder, Cobalt Blue, Emerald Green. Of course, this is a translation which can lead to confusion (ref: Monet by Himself, by Richard Kendall, MacDonald & Co, London, 1989). I'd rather read this in the original because I've learned that the French "Emeraude" is sometimes translated as "Emerald Green" but is in fact "Viridian." Emerald green refers to Paul Veronese green. In any case, the point is that he used a limited palette. Interestingly, he stopped using black paint in 1886, which is the year he painted these boulders in Belle-Ile. I think I tend to mix ultramarine with alizarin to get close to black. But I thought I saw some green in the blacks in the water. Later I was surprised to read painters use green and alizarin to make black. I did that here without knowing. I would like to read "Monet by himself" but the reviews say he doesn't often talk about his technique. 

Working on a canvas nearly the same size as the one Monet used in the field brought me closer to understanding his methods. I could almost feel his concentration and enjoyment, as he strove towards the outer limits of what was then acceptable in the art world and also the urgency of finishing the painting in what must have been very uncomfortable conditions given the wind and ruggedness of the terrain. Wouldn't it be fun to visit Belle-Ile and paint there: Tourist office

Plein Air in Antwerp - Summer 2022

"Antwerp Skyline"
12x22cm, oil on linen canvas
(private collection, Barcelona)
"Het Kempischdok"
20x30cm, oil on canvas panel

"The Bird House"
20x25cm, oil on canvas

I had fallen behind on posting my paintings from the summer. These were all "plein air" in Antwerp. The city skyline is visible from the other side of the Scheldt -- just go to the big ferris wheel and take the free ferry to cross the river. The Kempischdok can be reached with the No.1 tram (stop "Antwerpen ZNA Cadix"). According to Google Maps, the boats in my painting must be from the "Antwerpse Yacht Club". Finally, the Bird House is from the Antwerp Zoo where it's possible to get a yearly pass so you don't pay 30 euros each visit. I brought a stool to paint this location whereas my previous painting ("Day at the Zoo") was painted from a park bench.

"Plein air" painting is a fun challenge: juggling paints, canvas and brushes during changing light and weather conditions. I'd like to do it more often to really get the hang of it and thought I'd start a Facebook group to find other interested painters here (search "Plein Air Painters of Antwerp" on Facebook to join). However, now it's colder and raining out so I might have to wait until spring to start promoting this. Planning group outings might be difficult because you never know very far ahead of time whether it will be raining or not but at least this could be an on-line platform to share our work. In Brussels there's a meet-up group but it seems they haven't been active since 2019. When the weather gets better we could try to relaunch that one too.