The making of a painting

(This a repost from a blog of december 2010. Click on the pictures  to enlarge)

Yesterday I started on a new painting and I decided on photographing the various phases of the painting proces. Might be interesting for the reader and for me to check how the unconcious proces of inspiration takes place.

I started out on a canvas of 115 x 140 cm. Beginning is easy. With all sorts of media like paper, thick paint, cement and other secret alchemistic substances, I fabricate an underground, with gives structure to the skin of the painting and gives me a starting point to work from. No plan, no color, just a little bit of form and structure and a silent state of mind. Before going any further it has to dry.


Now the real work begins. The first brushstrokes will set the outcome of the end result. Oh dear, where to begin? And with what color?

This is the first moment of many of just sitting and watching and waiting until the urge to get into action becomes irrisistable. It is not so much a decision of the mind, it’s my body, hands and eyes that suddenly spring into action. OK, “burnt sienna” it’s gonne be over there just a bit to the right of the centre… And here we go…


I’m quite satisfied with the beginning. Used some yellow, a bit of pink, some more burnt sienna and a lot of white and some black airbrush.
I’ve got movement, I’ve got some color, and I’ve got depth by the blacks. And most importantly I’ve got that tingling sensation deep inside me that I’m of the ground, I’ve cleared the tower so to speak and I’m heading full trottle into the unknown, onto the pathway of ecstacy. The mind is silent, I just exist by notions of form and color and deep down inside there’s the longing for a vista that I want to see unfold before me. It is not so much of a vision I see before me, it’s more of a taste, like tasting color and form.
There are many, many ways to go from here, the doors of perception are wide open. Painting is about making decisions. Let’s lean back for a while and see where we have come just now.


Sitting, watching and waiting. I know what I want to make visible. I want to create a landscape of exhilaration, of ecstacy, a way out of the grey dullness of modern life, I want to make a connection to the almost forgotten sacred sensation which lies at the heart of human life.

Ok, big words, I just want to make a good painting…
I just want to see all those colors and forms and innate harmony in a dazzling array before me to tell me that what I’m doing is worth the effort. I’d like to get inspired and energized by looking at it. And hope to communicate that sensation to others.

Arrived at the midway point. Ego begins to interfere. From here on changes will be minor or wrong. Have to watch my steps. Not enough light yet, but that’s for later. Decide to do some work on the middle upper and lower part. I want to bring in the gold but can do no more at this moment. The paint has to dry first… Sort of half way, but still a way to go.


Gloomy december skies these days. Hardly enough light to paint by and I don’t like to work under electric light due to the richness of color I wan’t to achieve in my paintings. Did some work though when it cleared a little.
Enhanced the light and colors here and there and applied some gold pigment.
I’m not satisfied with the composition though but at the moment rather unsure how to make it right.

Made a detailed photograph of the middle part of the painting to get some idea of the structure on the canvas.


Finally today this gloomy december weather cleared a little, enough to paint by. Put nr 422 (no title yet) on the easel and the whole process of watching and waiting starts all over again. I’ve got light, I’ve got color and I’ve got movement but I still miss something in the composition. I guess for me that’s always the hardest point.
And I’m scared shitless to start and make a move that probably destroys what is already there… Don’t know where to start but I’m positive about feeling that it is not finished yet. And I’m also convinced that all the ingredients for a truly good painting are already there.

Well, I got a computer, got Photoshop, let’s delay the moment of decision, of true painting and see what we can come up with in the virtual world. I should like to do something about the composition and I want a bit more color, just a hint a blue here and there.

After a while, this is what I what I came up with, just bits and bytes but sometimes it helps to break the moment of indecision and give me new starting point.



Put on some Harold Budd music, my all time favourite when it comes to ambiant music. Very atmospheric, colored, great to paint by, to concentrate in the moment. Sitting and watching again, with the digital image I made in photoshop in the back of my mind (or eyes).

Ok, got to translate my Photoshop actions into real paint, which is of course impossible. But that is no problem. The digital processing just gives me a hunch how to proceed and what it might look like.
I’ve decided on blue. The painting leans too much on all the reds and yellows. And I guess I want to make a warm, shining summerly-like colored painting due to the overcast skies of lately.
That’s the real beauty of painting. I can make the summersun shine in winter…

Out of some cerulean blue, a bit of white, purple and grey I mix a color that I hope will do the job. Here we go again and for real now.


Better but not satisfied yet. The blues are to pronounced. Have to bring them down in a way. Been enhancing the lights and colors also. Put in some grey here and there. Composition is much improved. I like the lines from bottom right to upper left and vice versa which give an impression of going up.
Applied some more gold pigment here and there to enhance the sensation of light.

And here comes the true joy of painting. Now, so close to completion I’m dead sure of every brushstroke, of every little change I make. It’s just this little moment in time when everything falls into place, when it feels like I’m guided from above… Ending is as easy as beginning in a way; isn’t that a great metaphor of life?

Think I’m finished now. Have to sign, varnish and frame it though.

A friend of mine suggested of putting the painting on sale to the highest bidder after finishing, right here and now. Great idea; as a one time exception you can start bidding from 1250,- euro’s which is about half the prize you pay in any gallery of mine. You can contact me by email: or through my website. Before purchasing you can of course see the painting for real here in my atelier in Basse and then decide if you really want to buy it. Dimensions: 115 x 140 cm, mixed media on canvas, framed.

Auction will be open until the 4th january 2010.

That’s when Galerie de Vlaming is coming to collect a number of my paintings for the Kunstsalon Eindhoven where they will be on show and for sale from the 28 – 31 of january 2010.


3 reacties op “The making of a painting”

  1. Telkens ik je schilderijen binnentreed word ik zo ontroerd door het mysterieuse kleurenspel dat je creëerde.
    Neem het mij niet kwalijk maar de tranen lopen over mijn wangen, zeker niet van verdriet maar van een soort geluk- ervaren. Kon ik toch ooit de kans krijgen je werken in de realiteit te zien (ondergaan). Ik geraak er zeker nooit meer bij. Sorry en tevens bedankt voor deze schoonheid.

  2. Dank voor je mooie reactie Suzanna!

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