Thursday, 31 December 2009

The Insect Circus visits The Hague

Gezicht op de 'Kop Van Jut' Carnivale, Huygenspark, Den Haag
oil on canvas board
18 x 24 cm (7.5 x 9.5 inches)
painted on location - 29/30 Dec 2009


For the 1st time in The Hague, The Insect Circus, the main attraction of the Kop Van Jut Carnivale, puts on a delightful fun show, with acrobats clothed in the most colorfully detailed insect costumes imaginable. The action is going on inside the tent, however, il pittores imagination takes flight with this ostentatious Fellini - like setting. Afforded by the warm display of lights and artifacts, nestled in the heart of the extremely cold and damp Dutch capitol. I couldn't figure out why an English Circus Company performing in Holland would choose to have the Italian flag prominantly displayed? Oh well,..... thought it contributed nicely to the whole color scheme, and besides, I'm Italian. The greenish/yellow light, bouncing off the trees in the background, also have a harmonizing affect on the painting.

For your pleasure, an image of what was going on inside the tent.

Tuesday, 29 December 2009

South Beach covered in Snow.

Zuiderstrand met sneeuw
oil on canvas board
18 x 24 cm /( 7 x 9.5 inches)
painted on location - Tues 15 Dec 2009

Sorry, not at all a wet painting, this one. For technical reasons, I was not able to send this out 2 weeks ago, thus here you have it now. Notwithstanding the Sun shining in its full glory, it was still the coldest day of the year. It dawned on me while I was painting this scene, that it was not snow covering the sand, but frozen dew! To give you an indication of how cold it was, this was painted at 1.30pm, (remember dew is formed between nightfall and morning, and usually evaporates with the Sun's first rays).

The figures (and dog) on this work are so small, it was a challenge to properly photograph. However here is a detail, just the same.

Saturday, 19 December 2009

A Place in Leiden, # 8/2009

View of Nieuwstraat & Burgsteeg
oil on canvas
40 x 30 cm (16 x 12 in.)
painted on location - Mon 14 and Thurs 17 Dec 2009

Painting donated

I have decieded to call this body of work, A Place in Leiden, and this being the 8th painting that I've made, on location this year, thus the title. Setting myself up on the corner of Middelweg and Nieuwstraat, I chose to capture this quaint winter scene, totally ignoring this huge monumetal church, which I,ve just hinted at on the extreme right. Thanks to Mother Nature, we have been gifted with a fresh clean layer of that fluffy cold white matter, commonly known as snow! Most of the country goes in a panic mode, but il pittore, packs his gear and takes delight in bringing you an a fresh update, here in The Lowlands. For your viewing pleasure, a detail.

Thursday, 26 November 2009

Trouwestraatje, Leiden

Wedding Lane, Leiden
oil on canvas
60 x 120 cm ( a fair size)
painted on location in 8 sittings, 27 Oct. - 25 Nov.

private collection, Leiden

A funny name for a painting, but indeed on that ornate lamp pole next to the vibrantly colored tree, is a little sign with that street name on it. Couples get married in the monumental building which happens to be the City Hall, they then come out that door which you can see at the top of the steps on the far left, and usually walk down the small lane to take pictures at the canal. The young lady who gave me this commission, not only got married at this location, her soon to be husband, proposed to her on that very terrace which is featured under those crimson and violet parasols. To make the scene pleasurable to the viewer I decided to work in this panoramic format, capturing that delightful play of light on the buildings to the right. The bridge with the canal also adds a sweet accent, I believe. Just for the record, we have been having mostly not so pleasant weather here, this cordial lighting situation captured only happened for a total of about 3 hrs, at various times, while on location. That represents less than 15% of the actual time I was painting. Oh yes, by the time I finished the piece there might have been approx. 35 leaves left on that majestic looking wonder of nature, stalwartly positioned admist a bustling city center here in The Lowlands. For your convenience, a detail.

Wednesday, 11 November 2009

Our Cafe with The Pillars, Bergen NH

Ons Cafe/Restaurant met de Pilaaren, Bergen NH
oil on canvas
40 x 60 cm
paintd on location - Sun 18th and Sun 25th Oct 2009

It was during the Kunst10Daagse in Bergen that I painted this and the previous posting. With the event of an Art market taking place around the old center of this quaint village, I couldn't help but be a part of what was going on. With the Sun sometimes breaking through the thick layer of clouds, I decided to capture such a moment, as contrasted to the study, which depicts the same scene with a more defused light, and different people, of course. You might wonder, why the traffic pole? If you look closely, you should see that it helps in defining space. One should be able to imagine empty space between the pole and the building. Remember I'm working on a flat surface, it's all an illusion! I made a painting of this scene 2 yrs ago, if you interested you could view it, just klick the link, village scenes, on the right coloum, on my weblog.

For your viewing pleasure, a close detail. Check out the face of a young lady between the back of the heads of the female couple.

Monday, 9 November 2009

Study for, Our Cafe with The Pillars, Bergen NH

Studie voor, Ons Cafe Met De Pillaren, Bergen NH
oil on canvas
18 x 24 cm
painted on location - 25 Oct 2009


A mother with her sleeping child, people walking about at the art market in Bergen, add life to make this autumn scene here in The Lowlands welcoming. The Cafe/restaurant is already decorated for the approaching holiday season. This town is a favorite location for tourists, located only 7 kilometers from the Sea, and surrounded by a lush forest, which make up the dunes. It is host to many art markets, of which I also take part of during the summer months.

Thursday, 5 November 2009

Koornbrug en Vismarkt fountein, Leiden

Corn Bridge and fountain, Fish market, Leiden
oil on canvas board
18 x 24 cm
painted on location, in the rain - Tues 3 Nov 2009


Well here you have a real wet painting from the lowlands! Obviously I'm back in Holland, have been since about one month. This is the 4th painting I've made since my return, and I'm also working on a large comission, near this location. I was restricted from working on the big painting, due to the rain of course, thus thought I'd knock off this little guy! Thanks to an overhang of a shop, I was able to keep myself and the painting dry. In the middle forground, you see a rather long stone table, next to a fountain that is protected by a iron gate. In the centuries past, this location was host to a live and bustling fish market, the fish were cleaned, with pumped in fresh water, and cut on this very piece of stone. Four pedestrians, a man riding a bike, a barge floating on the Rijn, (used in good weather as a cafe terrace), warm enchanting colors of the ever approaching winter add character and charm to this picturesque little scene, on a gloomy autumns day.

Monday, 2 November 2009

Il Duomo di Catania, Sicilia

St. Agatha's, The Cathedral of Catania, Sicily
oil on canvas board - 24 x 30 cm
painted on location - Thurs 8 Oct 2009 

On Sicily’s east coast, Catania has been the prize of a stream of empires over the centuries, from Greeks to Romans to Arabs to Normans to Spaniards, to name just a few. But more devastating than invaders has been the city’s geography: It lies at the foot of Mount Etna, Europe’s largest and most active volcano, which completely destroyed the city with earthquakes and lava flows in 1693. Afterward, it was rebuilt in the baroque style (with creative use of lava) for which it’s today famous. It is also known as, "the black city". This is due to the fact that the streets/sidewalks and many of the monumental buildings were made of the readily available lava stone, which of course is black. The Piazza Del Duomo is a World Hertiage Monument, thus it is protected. But of course Mount Etna has its own rules, and when she decides, nobody can stop her! Thus because of this city, Horace, the Greek Philosoper was inspired to write the saying, Carpe Diem . Which translates to, seize the day , (trusting as little as possible in the future.)

A picture of the subject, taken shorly after I finished my painting, which I started late in the afternoon.

Thursday, 29 October 2009

Il Duomo, Taormina, Sicilia

Cathedral San Nicola di Bari, by night
oil on canvas  - 30 x 40 cm
painted on location - 7 Oct 2009

This is a must visit location for anyone going to Sicily. Located high on a steep mountain slope, one is enriched with such magnificent views of not only the lustrous Mediterranean Sea, but also that beauty, known as "the sleeping giant", Mount Etna. The worlds most active vulcano, and one of the biggest. I found out from the owner of our Bed & Breakfast that Taormina became known to recent visitors, (18th century + onwards) by a German landscape artist who had an exhibition of the paintings he made at this location in a prominant Paris art gallery, which stunned the Parisian public. They refused to beleive that such a landscape existed. Which at once offers tropical vegetation, with ruins of the Golden Greek Era, and topped of with a snowcapped active vulcano in the distance! This awakened the curiousity of the Parisians, who sent a delegation to confirm this surrealistic scenery. It soon became one of the hottest tourist locations of southern Europe. Since I was down there painting myself, thought this would be nice to share with you all. A picture for you to see for yourself what I was inspired to paint.

Monday, 26 October 2009

Sciacca, Sicily, fishing port with sunny street scene

Entrance to fishing port, early morning
oil on canvas board
24 x 30 cm
painted on location - 7 Oct 2009


Sciacca (prenounced shi-aka), ia a picturesque seaside town built on rocky cliffs that overlook the Mediterranean Sea on the South - western coast of Sicily. It is famous for its many artisan shops which specialize in ceramic ware/tiles, its Thermal Spa complex, and its fishing fleet . There are hundreds of fishing boats, of all sizes and colorfully decorated, that moor in the port. Excited about what I saw, I first decided to make a quaint simple composition of an alley way in the old fishing village, with a play of mid afternoon sunlight(painting featured below). Then the following morning, whilst my colleagues were still enjoying the comfort of their beds, I was out there capturing the early morning sunlight affect on the port. With the moon still in view, the warm hues from the rising sun on the horizon, a soft yet colorful enhancment to the cool blue hues reflecting on the seas surface. Two boats returning with their catch, one boat heading out, with a flock of seagulls following, to pick up any leftovers.

Old street scene, Sciacca
oil on canvas board
30 x 24 cm
painted on location - 6 Oct 2009


A detail of an alleyway in the old fishing village shown on the bottom right corner of the above painting. That pile of lit up greenish/yellow object is actually a fishing net, being dried out.

Friday, 23 October 2009

View of Petralia Sottana & Street scene Petralia Soprana

Oil sketch of Petralia Sottana
oil on canvas
18 x 24 cm
painted on location - 5 Oct 2009

We were en route to this quaint village, from a good afternoons work at a village even higher in elevation (painting below), when Dimitrios suddenly decided to pull over the van and suggest that we paint the village with the affect of the sitting sun. Am glad he made that decesion, all our efforts were worthwhile, at least I was happy with mine. This was the only place we stayed at that didn't have a view of that shimmering blue of the Mediterranean Sea. However the vistas were no less spectacular, with amazing skies and valleys covered in rich soil, hosting all sorts of crops and trees.

Street leading to Cathedral, Petralia Soprana
oil on canvas - 24 x 18 cm
painted on location - 5 Oct 2009

Again, the play of light is what inspired me to tackle this rather commonplace view. However the ceramic detail of that church tower, also spoke to me. It had just been restored, and the other tower, to the left, which is not in view, was in restoration. Covered with more than a 1000 multicolored handmade pointy ceramic tiles, I felt it deserved il pittore's attention. These twin villages are located in the interior of Sicily, just off the main highway that leads from Palermo to Catania.

Tuesday, 20 October 2009

Il Duomo di Cefalu & Case antice nella Baia

St. John's Cathedral at dusk, Cefalu, Sicily
oil on canvas - 40 x 30 cm
painted on location - Sunday 4 Oct 2009, (early evening)

Cefalu is famous for its monuments, and this is probably the most famous example. Built by The Normans(1016 - 1194), one of the most ancient Cathedrals of this period, it still retains its natural beauty, mainly due to the fascinating color of the yellow ochre stones, which are found in abundace on this Island. As I started to paint this scene, the light was so intense on the facade of the structure, I was at once troubled with the thought of, "how the hell am I going to get that vibrancy on my canvas?"..., it eventually got softer and for certain moments, the stones seemed to glitter a most unusual golden light, wonderfully magical, to say the least. One does not even need to enter this place of worship, in order to have a spiritual transcendent experience, at least not in my case. The Statue of St. John(appropriately a Norman Saint) is the one featured on the far right.

and early the next morning....

Charming ancient houses along the Bay, Cefalu
oil on canvas - 24 x 18 cm
painted on location - Monday 5 Oct 2009

The Sunlight is just starting to make its access on the slowly awaking village. Il pittore is out there, capturing that soft golden light in time to render its magical affect on the scene at hand. As the English painter, John Constable once said, "Light governs everything." He couldn't be more right, especially on this Island. A slight reflection on the turquoise/greenish salty water, harmonizes carefully with the yellow/greenish forests being lit up on the gentle mountain slopes, behind the village.

Monday, 19 October 2009

Historical Centre, and the Sea at Cefalu, Sicily

Old Center of Cefalu, as seen from the beach
oil on canvas, 20 x 40 cm
painted on location - Sunday 4 Oct 2009
This is the destination, I especially wanted to visit. As it said in the Lonely Planet guide book, a postcard perfect village . I already new that, as I have seen pictures from this town, years ago. What also attrachted me to this place was to be near the Sea. After this painting was completed, as I was pouring with sweat, from the warm sun on my skin, I didn't hesitate for a second, and went for a swim. Afterwards, I made a small seascape which is posted here below. We all had a tastey warm lunch at a beachside cafe, after a great session of painting. A close up of those two towers which form part of the cathedral is going to be my next posting.

Friday, 16 October 2009

View of Palermo, from the Port

Center of Palermo, as seen from a Pier
oil on canvas
20 x 40 cm
painted on location - Sat. 3 Oct 2009


Just a detail of the harbor, as it is enormous, hosting all kinds of sea going vessels; from elegant cruise ships to cargo ships of all sizes from far off destinations. As is demonstrated in this scene, no modern buildings, the highest towers, belong to cathedrals, and the splendor of nature engulfs the city, in an harmonies balance. And this is what adds to the charm of this Island, it still retains its uniqueness. Most of the structures are beautiful monuments, too good to knock down, and rebuild. In this city, as in most locations here in Sicily, Mother Nature decides, when it is time for a face change. And it comes in the way of an earthquake, for example; but also an eruption from the worlds most active vulcano, "The Giant Etna", can cause untold damage. Oh yes, I forgot to mention, the next envading culture, will also have to leave its trademark! If you don't know it already, Sicily has gone through at least 8 or 9 different invading forces, such as the Greeks, the Phoenicians, the Romans, the Normans, just to name a few.

Wednesday, 14 October 2009

Mercato del Capo, Palermo, Sicily

Vegetable vender and street scene, Capo Market, Palermo
oil on canvas,
30 x 24 cm
painted on location - Sat 4 Oct 2009


We arrived in Sicily, just after they had a few days of rain and high winds. You will not be seeing to many clouds in this series, but these featured on this painting ad a nice accent to the many colors of this exotic and truely colorful fruit,vegetable, fish and meat market. Nestled amount narrow accent streets with worn down buildings, the strong sunlight higlights objects, which have inspired me to set up at this busy location. Whitin minutes I had a crowd of about 24 kids and adults, making all sorts of enquiries. I could easily go back and just spend a week painting in this location!

Tuesday, 13 October 2009

Painting/Vacation Sicily Oct 2009

Wet Paintings made in Sicilia
cover of pizza box
40 x 30 cm

not for sale

Ciao a tutti, Hello everyone.
Just back from a fantastic week of Sunshine and warm weather, affording one with beautiful scenes of villages, cities, landscapes and seascapes. Great people, lively and friendly....and the food, well the food,..... divine, tasty, unbelievably nurturing... worth a trip to Sicily in itself. Along with my good friend Dimitris, and two of his friends from Colorado, USA, Kim and Andi English. The following 12 postings will be of work made on that trip. Why the pizza box? As most of you know, il pittore works in oils. Now this presented me with a logistical problem, moving them around, as we just stayed one night per location, apart from Palermo, the starting point. If you follow the sequence of numbers after the dotted locations, you should be able to figure out our journey, which ended up in that enchanting black city, Catania. Why black, you might enquire? That city was completely covered in firey lava two times in the 17th century, taking the life's of more than 50,000. They then rebuilt it with the hardened lava, which of course is black. Thanks to the skillful driving of Dimitris, and the navigational competence of yours truly, we managed to cover a vast amount of area, in a relatively short time. Most of the locations were on the coast, however a detour to a mountain top village, was quiet refreshing and offered some wonderful vistas. Here are some pictures for your enjoyment.

View of Cefalu from the beach. Taoromina, the Duomo with my night painting on the easel. And a painterly picture of my colleauges from Piazza del Duomo, Catania.

Saturday, 10 October 2009

Panoramic View of The North Sea #7, 2009

A Nice Autumn day at Southbeach, The North Sea
oil on canvas,
30 x 150 cm
painted on location - Thurs. 24 Sept 2009  -   SOLD

Sorry folks, this is not really a wet painting, as it has had more than enough time to dry up! Made the day after the previous posting, and lucky it was, as it has been pretty rough on the North Sea, since then. This work is now on display at an exhibition, I was invited to participate in, in the European Patent Office, in Rijswijk. Finally decided to paint in one of the many oil tankers, that are anchored, just off the shore line, awaiting to get their marching orders, I suppose.
A grouping of vaporous clouds in the forground, add a nice accent to this spacious seascape.

Wednesday, 30 September 2009

Panoramic View of The North Sea,#6 2009

Soft light on an Autumn's day
oil on canvas
30 x 150 cm
painted on location - Wed 23 Sept 2009  -  SOLD

We have been fortunately blessed with some rather lovely Sunny mild days here in The Lowlands, and of course who is going to be out there, capturing that world renownd Dutch Light? You guessed it, il pittore. These large panoramic format paintings end up looking so small on these postings,(I hope you know that all you have to do is klick on the image and you get a larger version), thus I feel somewhat obligated to include these two details below. I think that boat is fishing for grabs, not entirely sure, anyway it made a good model as it kept going back and forth, in the space captured on the canvas.

Monday, 28 September 2009

View of South Beach, The Hague, XXL

A Beautiful Autumn Day, at the beach
oil on canvas
50 x 150 cm (rather large format)
painted on location - Fri 18 Sept 2009   -   SOLD

Well the end of the season, is fastly approaching, thus I'm out there whenever I can afford the time, and with the assistance of Mother Nature, (whenever She decides to treat us less fortunate dwellers of The Lowlands, to some healthy rays of Sunlight), doing my thing, bringing you the situation in a pictorial manner. Purely for the pleasure of your eyes, and for me, the satisfaction of knowing I'm further along in what has become my Lifes purpose; Bringing to you beauty in a pictorial form. Now beauty can be found almost anywhere, as long as Man, (or more specifically Men, don't put their minds and hands on things as they were meant to be, by design of Nature). Being at the right place at the right time, has a lot to do with it. Thus sometimes, not always, I like to think of my paintings as little mircales, that pass through my efforts, leaving me with feelings of enormous gratitude, for that faultless Creative Energy which unfolds everywhere.

Detail featuring Strand Pavilijoen De Kwartel

Thursday, 24 September 2009

The North Sea, Wijk Aan Zee, 2x

High winds with Kite surfer
oil on canvas
24 x 30 cm
painted on location - Sunday 13 Sept 2009


Windy conditions are common on the North Sea, surfers love it! Me, I take what nature gives me, and I do the best I can with it. Protected by this huge metal object on the beach, I got down as low as possible, and made 3 paintings(the third one I'll post another time). Most of the sand that the wind generously tossed on the surface of the canvas will fall off eventually, a trademark of a plein-air painter I suppose.

Sailing the High Winds
oil on canvas
40 x 120 cm
painted on location - Sunday 13 Sept 2009


Although this looks smaller on your screen, it is actually 5x bigger than the one above. Interesting color of the water, especially when the sky finally broke open, and the light from the sun had a stronger influence. It is difficult to see, but there actually is a sailbot on the horizon.

Tuesday, 15 September 2009

The Windmill in Wassenaar, Holland

Het windmolen van Wassenaar
oil on canvas
18 x 13 cm each
painted on location - Thurs. 10 Sept 2009

Private Collection, Florida, USA

As you can clearly see the 1st one was made up close. A nice play of light happening, due to the cast shadows from the wooden fixtures attached to this fascinating structure. 2nd painting was made from a distance of about 70 meters. This residential area is loaded with a wide variety of healthy and mature trees, which add a nice accent to the red roof tops.

Friday, 11 September 2009

Beach Cafe, 'De Branding', Noordwijk Aan Zee

Twee schilderijn van 'De Branding', Noordwijk Aan Zee
oil on canvas
40 x 60 cm (each)
painted on location - Tues. 8 Sept 2009

Private collection, Florida, USA

It is funny, on my last three painting sessions I've made 2 paintings at a time! (Next posting will also feature 2 works). This scene was requested of me from a family that are going away, moving to America. I was so grateful for the heat wave that came rather unexpectantly, earlier this week. It was so hot, had to work under a parasol. Firstly, for the shade it provided on the canvas, secondly, to keep me from getting a sunstroke! It is amazing how intense the blue of the water can become, when there is little wave activity, on the surface. Due to the extreme heat you have the mist effect hanging over the horizon, which add lovely warm nuances to the composition

Thursday, 10 September 2009

De Mark, Breda (Ginneken), Nature reserve

two small studies
oil on canvas
13 x 18 cm / 13 x 18 cm
painted on location - Sun 6 Sept 2009


I was invited to take part in a plein-air painters festival, at this location, a few days ago, thought I'd share these quaint little pieces with you. They were painted simultaneously, (side by side on my easel). Whilst I was in the process of making these, I had to think of John Constable (19th century English master painter), who, in his lifetime, made several small studies of only clouds, which are a delight to look at, if you ever get a chance. I couldn't help but feel, that perhaps, just maybe, his spirit might have payed me a little visit and somehow guided my brush. We are all brethern, us fellow painters, at least I certainly have faith in this.

Friday, 4 September 2009

High winds off the North Sea, The Hague

Wind kracht 5, Zuiderstrand, Den Haag
oil on canvas
24 x 30 cm
painted on location - Fri 4 Sept 2009


Man it feels good to be back on location! Not a nice day to take your kids for a fun afternoon on the beach, but for a plein-air painter, you couldn't ask for better subject matter. It was so windy I had to get as low as possible, in order to paint this spectacular view, a gift from Mother Nature, Herself. The wind blew sand about, everywhere, thus also on the surface of this little canvas.

Wednesday, 26 August 2009

Homage to Ary Scheffer, Dordrecht

Homage aan Ary Scheffer te Dordrecht
oil on canvas
60 x 80 cm
painted on location - 15/16 Aug 2009

Yet another scene at the Place D'Ary art manifestation in Dordrecht. This painting is not yet complete, will finish it on location, on the 5th of Sept. However thought it a good idea to keep you posted as to my activities, in these days. For you that live near Amsefoort or The Hague, I will be attending a kunstmarkt in Amesfoort at the Emiclaer Winkelcentrum on Sat 29th, then on Sun the 30th will be on the Lange Voorhout in The Hague at the Kunst and Antiek Markt. Hope to meet some of you at these locations.

Friday, 21 August 2009

Impression of Place D' Ary, Dordrecht

18 piece band on the Scheffersquare, Dordrecht,
oil on canvas
40 x 50 cm
painted on location - Sat 15 Aug 2009

private collection, The Hague

Here you have yet another impression of the work I'm producing at the art event in Dordrecht. Couldn't resist painting this rather unique scene, with all the band members dressed uniformly, combined with the white of the canopy of the stage, makes the rhythm of this composition interesting. This painting was sold minutes after I signed it to....., you guessed it, an enthusiastic member of the band.

Saturday, 15 August 2009

Panoramic view of North Sea #5 09

That notorious Dutch Sky
oil on canvas
20 x 140 cm
painted on location - Thurs 13 August 2009 -  SOLD

Yes ladies and gentlemen, that infamous Dutch sky. A marvel to look at, with only the slightest amount of can find all sorts of shapes and formations. Great subject matter for taking pictures with a camera, but try painting it, your looking at a challenge, believe me. They are moving across the sky so fast, one has to just start building up a composition, and as hard as it is , just stay with it, and use the new coming clouds as reference only. Thus the situation captured on this canvas takes place in only a few transient moments, however it took me at least one hour to get that sky to work out on the canvas.

Wednesday, 12 August 2009

Panoramic view of North Sea #4 09

A Sea with muscle
 oil on canvas, 20 x 140 cm
painted on location - Tuesday 11 August 2009 - SOLD

Have decided to build up this panoramic view series, thus was glad that yesterdays windy conditions, allowed for this scene to happen, here at the beach, in The Lowlands. Colors of the water varied greatly, with this stunning vibrant olive green showing up every now and then, as the light broke through the thick mass of clouds. It eventually cleared up and became a beautiful afternoon full of sunshine. These very long paintings unfortunately are reduced to a rather minimal size, thus a couple of close ups.