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


24x30cm, oil on canvas
(private collection, Brussels)

Virtual Paintout - Arles - November 2011 (first stages)

This month's Virtual Paintout takes us to Arles - Van Gogh country!
I combined my Google Street View travels with a review of VG's paintings, thinking I might be inspired to paint the same scene he had painted or work in his style.

At first I sketched a road in Arles (below) and added a figure I'd seen in Van Gogh's "The Painter on His Way to Work". Link to Van Gogh Gallery

But I wasn't too happy with this scene so I headed out of town instead. Van Gogh's landscapes usually feature fields of golden wheat or corn, workers busy plowing, planting or seeding, etc., but these just didn’t match the barren fields of late autumn I was running across in Street View.
Finally I found a green vineyard with some low mountains in the distance that brought to mind the "Alpilles" which were the backdrop to some of Van Gogh's landscapes during his time in Arles.
Here's the Street View Link.
I decided to base my colour scheme the Van Gogh painting "Cypresses" (shown here):

Well, I'm not sure I succeeded in doing that but at least it was good discipline to narrow down my choice of colours.
Here are the preliminary steps:

I liked the sketch -- sort of looked a little like a Van Gogh to me.

This was a lot of fun but easy to make a mess in the end so I decided to quit while I was ahead.

24x30cm, oil on canvas
(private collection, Brussels)

Virtual Paintout - Sardinia II - October 2011

This is my second contribution to the Virtual Paintout for October. I have not moved very far from my initial spot on this road in Sardinia overlooking Lago di Cucchinadorza but I think I managed to get a better reproduction of my drawing this time by taking a picture rather than scanning, following the suggestion of a fellow VP artist. I have since realised that most of the images I submitted were photographs and not scans (since they were usually oil paintings). I am also experimenting with various papers for my Faber-Castell Polychromos. This was my first drawing in a giant "Peacock Heavy Weight Wire Bound Sketchbook" (from the back-to-art-school sales in September). Although it was fun to work on a BIG drawing for a change (12" x 16.5" or 29.7 x 42 cm), I found the paper a bit too smooth for these colored pencils. Getting the right combination of pencil and paper is mindboggling. Back to the drawing board!

Here is the link to the scene that inspired this drawing: Google Street View Link

"Sardinia Landscape"
29.7 x 42 cm, colored pencil

Virtual Paintout - Sardinia - October 2011

This is a quick message to provide anyone interested with the URL address of the Google Street View photo that I used in creating the above drawing. I worked on this over the weekend (it's raining here in Brussels now) and just submitted it to the Virtual Paintout

Google Street View Link

8.5" x 11", colored pencil (Polychromos) in Canson Sketchbook

Château de Wolvendael - 2 Octobre 2011

I had to take advantage of the fantastic weather this weekend to start a painting in the park.  I was sitting right in the sun and it was so hot - I really must try to find a big hat so I can see something next time I do this!

"Chateau de Wolvendael - automne"
20x25cm, oil on canvas

Virtual Paintout - New Orleans - September 2011

Google Street View

I've never been to New Orleans but have been visiting the city using Google Street View because it is the subject of this month's Virtual Paintout. At first I tried looking up addresses I'd heard about but nothing came of that since places had either changed or were obscured by passing cars and so forth. Meanwhile I began to notice these amazing trees whose branches reach clear across the street (see the link above). 

Graphite and colored pencil
8x11inch Canon One sketchbook

Virtual Paintout - Fairbanks AK (II) - August 2011

This afternoon I took out my pastel pencils, which I (also) haven't used in a long time, and tried them out on another Alaskan scene where these caracteristic rows of trees are reflected in a lake. See the Google Street View here .
Google says the address is approximately "Interstate a-4 / Jeannette Way, Fairbanks, Alaska, United States".

"Jeannette Way"
11.5 x 12.5 inches, pastel pencils on paper

Virtual Paintout - Fairbanks, Alaska and Points North - August 2011

I think Bill Guffey chose a cold spot on purpose for our summer paintout this August. However, the weather here in Brussels has been worse than what I'm seeing on Street View Alaska! It rains nearly every day and people have been wearing winter boots and trench coats recently. Hopefully August 15th marks the start of our real summer.

Meanwhile, I decided to take out my pastels and see if they hadn't dried out (they seem to still be usable). I was also eager to try out the colored paper which was part of my birthday present from my daughter. I don't think I've ever used pastels on colored paper before. I was planning to do a few quick sketches of this road that I found between Fairbanks and Prudhoe Bay (Dalton Highway)and then decide which view to paint in oils but I'm not sure I'll get any further than this.

"Points North"
12.5 x 8.5 inch, pastel on orange paper

First impressions of Bristol

Before I try to "finish" these and risk ruining them in the process, I'm posting my oil sketches of Bristol in the UK where I just spent a week:

That's the University of Bristol at the top of the hill.

Cabot Tower.

View of the harbour near the Watershed.

Castle park.

Bristol, UK

The Mshed museum and harbour (oil pastel).

Virtual Paintout - Jersey - July 2011

I found these blue flowers in front of St Matthew's Catholic Church along La Rue Bechervaise. They are called "Hortensia" in French.

Here's the link to the Google Street View: GOOGLE

"St Matthew's, from Rue Bechevaise"
20x20cm, oil on canvas

Studio Atelier June 2011 Painting Project

Here's my submission for the Studio Atelier painting project this month "The Bearded Iris".
Barb Benik posts a new photo for artists to paint every month or so (http://studioatelier.blogpot.com/ ).

My painting is about 4.5 x 4.5 inches this time, yet I still practically missed the deadline!

"The Bearded Iris"
4.5x4.5cm, oil on canvas
(private collection, Brussels)

Virtual Paintout - New Zealand - June 2011

"Near Kiwi Road"
24x30cm, oil on canvas

Virtual Paintout - New Zealand - June 2011 (first stages)

June's Virtual Paintout is in New Zealand. I've never been there but it looks beautiful. The challenge this month is the lack of colour in the Google Street View shots, but I'm having a great time anyway. Below are stages 1 and 2:

Here's what it looks like in Google:
Near Kiwi Road

Studio Atelier May 2011 Painting Project (first stages)

Well, this is as far as I got on Barb Benik's Studio Atelier Challenge (see her photo on my TV above). But I plan to post the completed painting soon!

May 2011

The weather has been exceptionally sunny and warm this April and May. Wish I'd done some painting on location. Unfortunately, I've only managed a couple of colored pencil drawings:

I'm also eager to paint the Studio Atelier Sunflower photo this month and something on the Riviera for the Virtual Paintout. Here are my preliminary sketches using Neocolour IIs and pencil:

1) café in Nice, 2) house on Route Stratégique, 3) La Place Masséna

La Foire de Saint Job à Uccle

(cette année:  Samedi 19 septembre 2015)

Every year in September a big open air market is held on Place Saint Job. Farmers show off their livestock, there are rides for children, a band parades through the streets and stands offer info about the community. For a few years I took part in an event for artists that coincided with the market. Here are the paintings I produced "live" from my stand the day of the market:

"Pasta Commedia" (2005)
oil on canvas
(private collection)

"Foire de St Job - 2006"
oil on canvas
(private collection, UK)

"Foire de Saint Job - 2007"
40x40cm, oil on canvas

Virtual Paintout - Japan - April 2011

This is my "Postcard from Mount Fuji". It's a tiny painting (10x15cm) as I didn't have much time but I nonetheless wanted to post something this month for Japan. Here's the link to the Google Street View: Google Street View

I checked illustrations of Mount Fuji on the Internet because I wanted to include some Japanese characters: Hokusai

And finally, if you are wondering what I was trying to say, here's a clue: Clue

"Postcard from Mount Fuji"
10x15cm, oil on canvas
(private collection, Brussels)


After trying to find the ideal spot to paint in Cape Town for the Virtual Paintout last month and finally giving up simply because time ran out, I'm now travelling "virtually" through Japan. This month's assignment is very difficult in the face of the trajedy that has overwhelmed that country. Yet I want to find something bright and positive with lots of colour. Right now I'm hesitating between a typical view of Mount Fuji or a street scene from Tokyo where Google seems to have captured yellow Gingko trees in the fall.

Meanwhile, I've been updating my "Copies of Famous Paintings" page. I've decided it's time to dust off everything I have on my walls -- a sort of "Spring cleaning" before I get involved in painting again. The Cezanne below ("Le déjeuner sur l'herbe") was the first copy I'd ever painted at the museum. I signed up to be a "copiste" at the Musée de l'Orangerie back in 1986 and was allowed to paint on weekday mornings as long as I observed certain rules (for instance, the painting could not be the same size as the original).

My copy of Cézanne's "Déjeuner sur l'herbe"
30x40, oil on canvas

I was disappointed with this copy because the green paint cracked a bit in the upper lefthand corner, but it wasn't easy getting every painstakingly-placed brushstroke to look like it was freely applied. I was more careful with my next copies. Working at the Musée de l'Orangerie was great because it was quiet. Here's my second try (Claude Monet's "Argenteuil"):

My copy of Monet's "Argenteuil"
oil on canvas
(private collection, Boston)

My third museum copy was another Cezanne:

My copy of Cézanne's "Pommes et biscuits"
oil on canvas
(private collection, Paris)

See my "Copies of Famous Paintings" page for my next Cézanne, "Paysage au Toit Rouge", also copied at the Musée de l'Orangerie.

When I tried to paint a Georges de la Tour at the Louvre, I was in for a shock. Huge crowds shuffled past me daily as I worked, and at one point an entire class sat right down next to me while the professor gave a 20-minute lecture on the painting I was copying (including some commentary about my supposedly bizarre painting methods which didn't match medieval techniques!). Yet, working from the original is an exhiliarating experience which also makes you realise just how bad the colours are on most reproductions.

My copy of De la Tour's "Tricheur à l'as de carreau"
(private collection, Colming)

Studio Atelier February 2011 Painting Project

"Water Lilies"
Oil on canvas, 9 x 13 inches

(private collection, Brussels)

Studio Atelier February 2011 Painting Project (first stages)

Below are my preliminary sketches for the Studio Atelier challenge (see link towards bottom of sidebar). Not sure if I'll manage to get an oil painting done by next Sunday. This month we can choose any of the previous images posted on the site. The water lily photo is beautiful but why does Pacman keep coming to mind?!

Faber-Castell Polychromos in

Winsor & Newton 8" x 11.5" Sketchbook

Here's a link to the Studio Atelier challenge where other artistssubmitted their interpretations of the same photo:

I've also had fun trying out different colored pencils on the red boulder photo. First with Derwent Artists pencils:

Above using Faber-Castell Polychromos and black ink
Both in 7x9.5inch handmade sketchbook

Here's a link to the Studio Atelier page where other artistssubmitted their interpretations of the same photo:

In the end I decided to paint the water lilies (see next message).

water lilies

Virtual Paintout - Romania - February 2011

The ride through the mountains on the DN 12C was breathtaking. I had a hard time deciding where to stop and paint but finally settled on this spot: Google Street View

"Driving along the DN 12C"
24x30cm, oil on canvas

Virtual Paintout - Romania - February 2011 (first stages)

I've run across some amazing scenery in Romania and couldn't wait to get started. Here's my first day's work. I'm also excited to be painting my first snow scene.

Progress was rapid because I'm using a small canvas again -- no time to complete a big one right now as I'd like to finish at least two paintings this month. I also tried to spend more time at the beginning deciding exactly what I wanted to do. Hopefully that will speed things up too.

Day 2: I finished this painting today (see next post) and I’m happy with the result but it’s brought to mind three things I want to remember for next time: 1) I like working on a very smooth canvas like the one I used here; 2) I prefer them bigger however; and 3) I should try to get the tones right before putting in too much detail -- that’s always been my downfall.