Category Archives: painting

New abstract painting series


Square-abstract---Willem-art

Train of thought
Oil on canvas
20x20cm

This is the first in a series of new abstract paintings I’m working on. Most of these paintings begin as a color study.

I mix color harmonies on my palette, then I brush on patches of color and let the colors dictate the outcome.

Hands study

Hands study after Anders Zorn Willem-art 600

I painted this after reading about the swedish painter Anders Zorn on the internet.
This is a close up of one of his paintings.

I made this fairly quick without a detailed drawing underneath. Would Zorn draw a detailed charcoal drawing first, or maybe paint over a loose underpainting?

It’s not nearly as good as the original but at least I got a feel of the painting style.

Self-Portrait

Self-Portait-Willem-art-600

I signed up for a drawing course last weekend, but unfortunately there were not enough participants and the class was postponed.

So I decided to lock myself up in the studio a few hours to paint a self-portrait, and learned a great deal that way too.

This time I wanted to start without an underdrawing – and without measuring – to see if I could still get a likeness that way.

With raw umber and lots of turpentine I just started drawing the shapes and blocking in the shadows. I used a limited palette of cadmium red, yellow ochre, raw umber and ultramarine blue.

I like starting loose and painting fast and I think I succeeded in getting a likeness.

The portrait needs some more work though. I’m not entirely satisfied with the skin colors and I feel there are to many hard edges.

Here are some photo’s of the painting in progress:

Self-Portrait-a-Willem-art-600

Self-Portrait-b-Willem-art-600

Figure sketch

Willem-art-figure-sketch-back-600

Figure sketch in oil paint on canvas paper.

Painted loosely after a demonstration from the book “Figure Painting step by step” by Wendon Blake.

I used rembrandt paint for this painting: Cadmium Red, Raw Umber, Yellow Ochre, Ultramarine Blue and Titanium white.

A Work in Progress

Landscape with trees WIP willem art

Landscape with trees

A large oil painting I’m working on at the moment. I had this idea for some time to paint a Van Gogh inspired landscape on a wide canvas.

The foreground and the trees need some more work and I’m experimenting with different type of brush strokes.

Gouache Portrait Illustration

Gouache portrait painting


I love illustrations from the 50’s, and the artists from that time often used gouache paint.

After browsing through some old car magazines, I wanted to try and paint a portrait in gouache.

I always found the paint a little difficult to work with.
Oil paint stays wet much longer and that makes it easier to blend and to make soft edges.

For this illustration I used heavy canvas paper.

I had used gouache before on watercolor paper, but never really liked the results. The paper seemed to absorb the paint too much.

I’m not yet getting the smooth blends I’m after, but I feel that moving the quick drying paint around is easier on canvas paper.

Portrait Painting in black&white oil – PART II

This is part II of my attempt to paint a black&white portrait as shown in the book “Creative Illustration” by Andrew Loomis.

In part I I finished the charcoal underdrawing.  In this post I’ll show some photo’s of the beginning of the painting stage.

The black paint I used is a mixture of Ivory black (a blue and cool black) and Burnt Umber. I pre-mixed four values: An almost white gray, a light grey, a dark gray, and an almost black gray.

1. I started blocking in the darkest parts and the background.

2. Adding the whites and a light gray for the skin.

3. Adding more details on the hair and face.

I felt this was a critical moment in the painting, how to continue?
You can see how the painting turned out in the upcoming part III.

Portrait painting in black&white oil – PART I

I’m a big fan of the art books by Andrew Loomis. Every time I read “Creative Illustration” I find something new and I often think: “Why didn’t anyone show me this before?”

On page 116 he writes about a painting technique he calls the soft approach. Large tones are painted in directly and edges are softened immediately. After that details are added while the paint is wet.

I have drawn quite a few portraits in pencil and charcoal that turned out well, but I find portraits in color still difficult to do. Taking one step back to black and white paint is a good exercise.

This is the first of three blog posts of the painting in progress.

I started with copying the charcoal underdrawing on Canson Figueras oil paper. This paper has a linen-like surface and can be painted on with oil or acrylic without further preparation.

I made the drawing fairly quick. Looking back I found that it is essential to take the time to make an accurate drawing first. My aim was not to get a perfect likeness, but next time I will be more careful to get the proportions right. I always seem to have problems with the jaw line and had to correct this later on while painting. Checking the drawing in a mirror is something I should do more often.

Another problem came up while fixing the drawing. The paper doesn’t absorb the fixative very well and  the charcoal started running. I quickly laid the drawing on the floor to let it dry. Lesson learned: It’s better to spray on three or more very light coatings than one.

Ready to start painting in the next part!

Portrait+in+Oil5

Portrait in Oilpaint

Portrait+in+Oil5

This is one of my first attempts in portrait painting in oil. I’ve been drawing many portraits lately in charcoal and pencil, but painting in oils is something completely different.

For this painting I didn’t start with a drawing, just blocked in the general shape of the head and painted from memory. It seems to work better this way for me; drawing masses with the brush as opposed to starting a a painting with a detailed drawing in pencil.