Wednesday, October 28, 2015

Commissions, yes or no?

Dunes with Tulip Fields, oils on paper, sketch, 30 x 40 cm
There was a time when I took no commissions. Had some unpleasant experiences. People sometimes have only a vague idea of the kind of painting they're looking for and they want you to surprise them ('the freedom of the artist'). I went along with that a few times, only to find out the painting was not at all what they expected. Awkward situations, so I simply said 'no' for quite some time.

Detail of the sketch
Since a few years I use a different strategy, or rather two different strategies. The first one goes like this: when I feel challenged by the idea of a buyer, I accept the commission, but the client is under no obligation to buy the painting. This way I keep my freedom and hopefully it will be sold, if not by the client, maybe by someone else.
In the second strategy I let the buyers (it's very often a couple) in on the process. To do so, I must first get a clear idea of their wishes. Next I make an oil sketch on paper and mail them a picture. I will incorporate their comments and after their consent I make the painting in oils on panel. When it's done, they're
obliged to buy it.

Tulip Fields, finished, oils on panel, 50 x 70 cm
This summer I did a commission for a dune landscape with tulip fields. It's quite a common  combination in Holland, but it's not a subject I would have thought of myself. I liked the idea, mostly because of the challenge of using bright, primary colors. I did some research and came up with an oil sketch on paper. After consulting the client I added a shed at the far edge of the field, used to store the bulbs. After their okay I did the detailed painting on 6 mil MDF board.

When you compare the sketch and
the painting on panel, you may not
see a lot of difference and on your
computer screen that's true. That's
why I added details of both the sketch
and the finished painting.
Detail of the finished painting

Saturday, October 17, 2015


My work looks pretty detailed, when viewed on a computer screen. In reality it's not as detailed as you'd think. In reality I don't paint every tiny wave. To be honest I'm not that patient. I try to find a 'handwriting' (by lack of a better word) that suggests detail rather than actually depicting it.

Let me give you an example. The painting below is a big one (120 x 160 cm). I added the black boxes to indicate the position of the details. As you can see it's a mess of dots and specs on a rather dark background.

Ocean with Evening Clouds, oil on panel, 120 x 160 cm

Upper box

Lower box

For more details, please go to the 'recent work' section of my web site ( Just below each work is a 'detail' box,that zooms in on the painting.

Thursday, October 1, 2015

Online sale

I just returned from a short vacation on one of the Dutch Wadden Sea islands. Fantastic clouds and the occasional shower, my favorite kind of weather. I came home with a load of inspirational pictures. The downside is, I didn't have a lot of time to write an article for this blog.

In my previous blog entry I told you about the oil sketches on paper I've been working on. The sunset painting below is an example. I posted some of these sketches on my online sale page. If you're interested, please go to

Sunset with Landwash, oil sketch on paper, 30 x 40 cm

The response to the free 20 minutes tutorial was great. By the way, the offer still stands. Please send an email to and I'll mail you a link to the tutorial. In the September 16 blog you'll find a link to the Youtube trailer.