Month: April 2020

Van Gogh Starry Night

Van Gogh and my favourite paintings

Van Gogh art contest

Last week I posted a drawing of mine on Instagram and Facebook, based on a painting of Van Gogh.
I made this piece as a contribution to an art contest organized by the Van Gogh Museum and Royel Talens. Here I could win a prize like nice art supplies from Talens or a Van Gogh monopoly game.

One of the requirements to join was to write below the Instagram post why the painting you chose inspires you. As I was writing this, I found out that I had a lot more to say about the painting so I decided to write a blogpost about it.

Wheatfield with crows

For the contest I chose a painting that is actually on display in the Netherlands. In my opinion this is the most beautiful painting made by Van Gogh that you can find in the Netherlands. It is a painting with a threatening, dark sky. I see a clear night sky with two moons or maybe two large bright stars. The sky is painted in a lot of different directions which gives it the illusion of movement from the left side of the painting to the right side. The colours vary from light blue to almost black.

The rest of the canvas, two thirds, is wheatfields and roads. At first glance, you see yellow fields and brown roads. But if you really start to look at the colours, you see what a true artist Van Gogh was. He can perform magic with colours; he makes you think you see gold fields of wheats but you’re looking at a lot more. In the wheats you can find black, brown, orange, white and a lot of different shades of green and yellow. In the roads you can find the same colours and more, like aquamarine, bright blue and turquoise.

In the wheatfields you can find just as much movement as in the sky. You can see Van Gogh understood the world because the wheats have shorter movement than the sky. In the sky you can see large quantities of air being moved around but the wheats can only stretch as far as they are long.

The sky and the wheats don’t necessarily give this painting a grimm feeling. This is, in my opinion, because of the flying crows. They fly along in the direction of the wind. I think I recognize this feeling. I remember stormwinds blowing cold but not too cold, refreshing but ruthless. As if it is trying to pull the thoughts from your mind. I can imagine that a wind like that can scare crows off.

This painting gives me a sense of peace and quiet. To me, this painting is the moment right before you feel like that. Do you know the feeling that you want to get a breath of fresh air in the first autumn storm to clear your head? This painting has the same effect on me as a storm like that.

Starry night, my favourite

There is a painting I find even more impressive than wheatfields with crows: starry night. This painting seems simple and blue but it’s not. In this painting you might be able to find a hundred different shades of blue, different shades of green, yellow and red. There is black and white and orange.

The reason I did not choose this one for the contest is because I’ve never had the privilege to see this in real life.

One of the things I like about this painting are the lines. Van Gogh has a fantastic way of painting a certain direction and make shadows. Because of the way he paints, you can easily see what’s in the front and the back, what is left and right. He has found a way to make planes and lines like each other. The lines are the planes and vice versa.

This one gives me a pleasant feeling too. In the sky you can see the high winds, winds that can blow without being slowed down by something. Next to that, you can see the moon and the stars shine bright in the sky. But at the same time, this looks like a reflection in water.

Van Gogh directs your attention to the sky by painting two thirds of sky and only one third of houses, mountains and trees. The houses are there, like we can now never take a picture of a landscape in the Netherlands without seeing something build by humans. But they fall between the trees and the mountains, like they aren’t important right now.

The tree in the front is like you expect her to be. As if you are sitting on a hill or mountain with a pretty view over a valley but there is always something in your line of sight. This somehow helps you to look at everything far away. It gives some extra perspective. Because you can see something close, you are reminded how far away the far away is. And because the tree is painted darker than the sky, your eye immediately goes to the sky.

The feeling I get from this painting is peaceful. As if it is telling me that I don’t need to worry right now. It’s the middle of the night. All the worries and reality will be there in the morning. For now I can just breathe in the clean night air, feel the grass between my toes and fingers and stare at the sky.

Van Gogh Korenveld met kraaien
Van Gogh Starry Night
Harry Potter

Harry Potter Handlettering

Harry Potter and I

I consider myself as a Harry Potter fan but as you might know until a couple of months ago I wasn’t a big fan of reading. I’ve read one Harry Potter book and even that is not true because I had an audiobook. The rest of the story came to me through Daniel Radcliff, Emma Watson and Rupert Grint.

I can loose myself in the first couple of movies and I can mouth almost all the words. Until movie six. There, the movies get more tense and I can’t see Harry as a little boy anymore. I always have a hard time watching the last couple of movies and I even stop watching after 5 or 6.

A while ago, there was an expo on Harry Potter. Joek and I went there and we had a blast! We tried as hard as we could to not spend all our money in the gift shop at the end and I think we did alright. We bought a couple of sweets and the Marauders Map. I can’t wait to live in a little home together with Joek and see this map on the wall every day.

The assignment

I’ve been asked to draw at least two quotes for Sandra.

The first quote we talked about was one of Hagrids: What’s commin’ will come and we’ll meet when it does. It sounds like a wonderful quote and I had to look up what it’s about. I already wrote that I didn’t read the books. This is clearly a quote from the books or I would have recognized the lines.

The second quote was one of Dumbledores. This one I do recognize clearly from the movies: Happiness can be found even in the darkest of times. If one only remembers to turn on the light.
I remember this one so clearly because I’m still amazed by how well this one is laid out in the movie. The image on the screen fits so remarkably well with the lines!

The assignment is to write those on a parchment like background and keep it simple and clean.

Plan of action

Sandra showed me a font that she would love to see. It turns out that this one is available as a free download. This makes my job a lot easier. Unfortunately, I’m afraid it will look too simple and make the image look less than it could be.

That’s why I plan on making a test text. One with the font and one drawn by me.
I’ll send Sandra this image and let her decide what she likes best on her wall.
When I’m done drawing, I’ll send everything to the printers and let them print and cut everything the way I want it.
Then Sandra and I need to think about a frame and once that is done, I’ll send her everything and hopefully I can show you the end result in no time. But for now you’ll have to do it with a picture of the first movie.

Harry Potter
Blog tekenen: waar was ik gebleven

Drawing: where was I?

New year, new chances

It has been busy the last couple of months. Not just at work but in my personal life as well. I don’t live in Haarlem anymore. I have a new extra job that gives me more financial security but takes up so much time that I can’t give workshops at the moment. This is a big part in the reason why I haven’t written any blogs lately. Now that it feels that I have time again, I’m ready to write you a new blog every week.


I may not be giving any workshops but I still have some assignments going on. One of them is already finished. I would love to write about what I’ve been drawing but I can’t. I’m waiting on the green light of the ones who gave me the assignment.

In a blog some time ago I wrote that I’m illustrating a book. I’m still working on it. I took a break from drawing it but now with the corona crisis I’ve got more time to draw.

And I get to work on my handlettering! This is drawing letters and texts. It is not the same as calligraphy, the art of fine writing. Handlettering is about creating a pretty image, a great composition, etc., as you would expect from a drawing.

A new job

I just wrote that I’ve found a new job. Since a couple of weeks I work at Coornhert Gymnasium in Gouda. I’m the substitute teacher for the art lessons of a couple of classes.
I think it’s fantastic to work on my own speciality again, have my own classes again. It’s wonderful to see the progress the kids make and build up a connection with my students.

I notice I don’t want to choose between what my heart wants to do (give workshops, etc.) and being an actual teacher. But I did. I chose to work in Gouda. For now I have to say goodbye to giving workshops.
But it gives me a lot of joy to see what the kids are drawing, what they come up with. They can suddenly make huges steps forward and make a friendly chat at the same time.

Missed assignments

It is lovely to be in front of a class again. But this is a reason I ‘lose’ so much time in education that I have to force myself to say no to fun assignments.

Ondine de Hullu asked me to draw for her again. I did this before, as you can see HERE. Ondine, she always has a plan. And with the plan comes a schedule. This works great, because you know exactly when you should be done and how much time you can spend drawing. The downside is that if you don’t have enough time in a week, you don’t have time for her projects. Luckily she found someone else and I hope that this person will give her a just as pretty result.

Blog tekenen: waar was ik gebleven
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