Thursday, September 26, 2013

Stuck on a painting

These last few weeks I’ve been working on a painting for the December issue of ‘Atelier’, a Dutch art magazine. They invited a number of painters to take pictures of the different stages of a painting and explain their technique. Ofcourse I said yes when I was asked (vanity, oh vanity…), and now I’m struggling with a painting and a deadline (October 1st).

The problem with these situations (similar to a commission) is that you loose the freedom to totally change direction when you get stuck. How many times did I not grab a big brush and covered the panel (or parts of it) with a fresh layer. It often presented me with new options. Options I wouldn’t have seen, had I tried to remain in control.

The problem with this particular painting was the blue of the sky. It needed a soft quality, that I just couldn't get right. Not a saturated blue, but a toned down milky blue. I finally found a solution by mixing transparent white with a hint of prussian blue. I applied it on top of the initial blue in a transparent layer and that began to look like it.

This was about a week ago and I thought I was looking at a finished painting. I started taking pictures for the article, but again I struggled with the blue of the sky. It had a green hue and even Photoshop couldn’t help me out. So I asked a photographer-friend to give it a shot and the results were still not okay. Now I’m thinking that the photograph is not the
problem, but the painting itself. Anyway, please take a look at it and tell me what you think…

Beach In Winter
50 x 65 cm


  1. beste JanHendrik,
    wanneer ik de foto zie op deze blog vind ik niet dat de lucht te groen is. Natuurlijk is mijn kijk op dit schilderij niet dezelfde dan jou, als maker. Ik ben er van overtuigd dat je de juiste beslissing zal maken wat betreft de kleur......
    gr. Peter Dijkhuis

  2. Beste Peter,
    Dank voor je bemoedigende opmerking. Het schilderij ziet er nu al weer anders uit. Ik heb het blauw van de lucht toch nog wat zachter gemaakt. Zal het binnenkort online zetten.

  3. Hello JanHendrik,
    Beautiful Paintings !! The only thing I thought when I saw your painting (and im not sure if this is just because of the photo) but I initially thought it was a landscape. The sky looks fine, but the beach has a very green look to it, which threw me off. But then again, I am no expert.... just an amateur point of view. Best Regards, Jacqui, South Africa

  4. Hello Jacqui,
    Thanks very much for your comment. I can imagine the misunderstanding. The beach is a little greenish indeed, partly because of the picture (in reality it has a brown hue) and partly because of the time of day, just before sunset, with the sun in your back. The light is low and the beach, the dunes and even the sea bath in a color totally different from their usual color.
    In the meantime I've been working on the painting, yet again... For the latest version, please visit the recent work section of my site ( It's the second painting. Let me know what you're thinking!