Friday, January 17, 2014

The Ruysdael Project (2)

View of the Vlieland Lighthouse, 120 x 160 cm, oil on panel

You may wonder where the lighthouse is. It's the dot on top of the dune in the centre of the painting. I'll help you out.


There it is. It's been quite an experience, this attempt to paint a tribute to one of my favorite landscape painters Jacob van Ruysdael.The hardest part was the landscape itself. It had been a while since I painted a panoramic view like this. One of the things I stumbled into was how much detail I should add (in particualr in the foreground), and at the same time not loose track of the big picture. 

I decided to go with the pointillistic approach: painting dots in different shades of green on top of the underpainting. That worked really well to light up certain areas, but I was looking for more refinement. So I paid a visit to my local retailer and I found a fantastic brush: a core of sable hair with squirrel on the outside. Squirrel is often used for water color brushes, because it retains a lot of water. In this brush it serves as a reservoir for the sable. It enabled me to create a network of subtle lines in the foreground, just like I wanted. 

 In my previous post I told you I wasn't sure about the water, but in the end I decided to keep it. It connects the sky to the landscape. In one of Ruysdaels Views of Haarlem (he made several) there is water too. Happy coincidence. 

I just finished a 2 minute Youtube video showing the different stages of the painting. I also posted a bigger picture on my website (, with more up close details. In April 2014 it will be part of an exhibition in the Møhlmann Museum (The Netherlands).

Let me know what you're thinking!