(Click on paintings or drawings below to view larger size.)

Virtual Paintout - Kinmen Island - August 2014

It's not easy fitting everything in during the summer months.  After missing July's VPO in Greece (despite having picked out a few spots on the coast), I didn't want to let Kinmen Island slip by too, so I took advantage of this rainy weekend to finish a tiny painting today.  For someone who's just experienced the worse August weather on record here in Belgium, it's surprising to see umbrellas open in bright sunshine. In fact, bright sunshine itself seems a bit unreal.
This group is visiting the Shuitou Deyue Tower, which is part of a historic buidling complex highlighted in the guidebooks.

oil on canvas

Late Monet

Time to start painting again.

In Monet's later work, the subject matter practically disappears. Last time I had not painted in a while, I took a 30x30cm canvas panel and tried to recreate the colors from one of Monet's 1922 series, "The house from the garden":

I wouldn't call this a copy because I didn't follow the brushwork very carefully but it was a great loosening-up exercise. When I'm not painting every day, I need something like this to get back into it more efficiently.
Afterwards I worked on a small canvas I had started when the Virtual Paintout was in Croatia.  It's a far-cry from a Monet but I think what I accomplished was better than what it might have been without the start-up exercise.

"Croatian mountain landscape"
oil on canvas
24x30 cm

This time I was planning to select another Monet when I saw sunflowers on sale at the supermarket. The temptation was too great; I went out and bought a bunch.  Then, once you have cut flowers in the house, the clock starts ticking and there's no time to dabble in late Monet.

"Five sunflowers"
oil on canvas panel
It took me a long time to get this to work because I started out too fast. I've been sketching recently and so I think I was looking for immediate results and failed to spend enough time planning the design. But a bouquet of sunflowers is so uplifting and motivating that you don't give up too quickly. In fact they are still in perfect condition so I'm off to try again from another angle.

Virtual Paintouts

For the moment, my recent submissions to the Virtual Paintout and links to the Street View scenes that inspired them are only posted on my Flickr account:

Virtual Paintout Album on Flickr

Virtual Paintout - Slovenia - March 2014

I was surprised to find images of the autumn in Street View Slovenia. 

When Bill Guffey revealed the Virtual Paintout destination for March, he mentioned flowers and springtime, so I was looking for a scene along those lines when I ran across this vineyard, photographed in October.  

Location link:  Velike Malence

Needless to say, I had to stop in my "virtual" tracks and get out my paints right away!

Since I have not posted recently, I was anxious to finish this oil sketch today but hope to get back to this again next weekend.

Oil on 8x8 inch canvas

Virtual Paintout - Iceland II & III - November 2013

More stress-free travel via Google Street View, where I'm now discovering the Westfjords region of Iceland and worked on these two small oil sketches.  I had forgotten how different it felt to paint on a hard panel with a smooth finish. 

Above: "The Westfjords", oil on 10x15cm canvas
Below: "Driving to Isafjördur", oil on 13x18 cm panel

Virtual Paintout - Iceland - November 2013

This month the Virtual Paintout is taking place in Iceland (that is, we are painting from images of the country found in Google Street View). In my "virtual" travels, I stumbled upon the Skógafoss waterfall, which seems to pour out from a gigantic "fold" in the earth. I think I would enjoy trying this again using a different format but I also want to leave time to paint the famous Eyjafjallajökull volcano ... and possibly even learn how to pronounce it!


Oil on canvas

Le Kauwberg 2013

Two small canvases painted on the Kauwberg site in Uccle.

Le Kauwberg, mai
10x15 cm, oil on canvas

Le Kauwberg, août
15x10cm, oil on canvas

Château de Wolvendael - August 2013

At the beginning of August, I took my paints to Wolvendael park and captured the reflection of the château in the pond. My previous painting (see below) was also done on a hot sunny day but the water was covered with algae at the time. I checked back and was surprised to discover that I had painted it in October 2011.

With summer drawing to a close, it's nice to be reminded that we may still get some beautiful weather in the fall - even in Belgium!

both paintings:

oil on 20x25 cm canvas

Virtual Paintout - Detroit - August 2013

 I guess I was initially struck by the similarity of this building to the one I had just been drawing in Brussels (my Brussels sketch)Industrial architecture from the past is so painterly -- so many different colors on the faded red brick facades. In Brussels they've converted the 1810 "Moulins de Ruysbroeck" into impressive lofts. When I researched my Detroit building, I was surprised to find lots of articles on the Internet.  Known as the "Globe Trading Company building", it is charged with history as it was formerly part of the huge Detroit Dry Dock Complex where Henry Ford once worked as an apprentice before getting involved in cars. Sadly, I also found photos of its recent demolition. I guess it was too late and too expensive to renovate.

"Globe Trading Company" 5x7 inches
Oil on canvas panel
Private collection, USA

I was inspired to paint another industrial landscape in Detroit when I stumbled on Alfred Street -- with its bright skies, clouds and vivid colors -- located in the Eastern Market district.

"Eastern Market District"
6x8 inches
Oil on canvas panel
Private collection, USA

PS:  This is the first time I have submitted three paintings (the maximum allowed on VPO) since my first Virtual Paintout in May 2010! I've posted the other painting ("Heading downtown") on my Flickr account: 

Virtual Paintout - Charleston SC - July 2013

Bill Guffey selected Charleston, South Carolina, for this month's Virtual Paintout. I've never been there but it looks like a beautiful city. I thought it would be fun to start by painting one of these horse-drawn carriages in the historic district (Link). Meanwhile, I've had my television on all day because it's the Belgian National Holiday (21 July) and the country also has a new King Philippe today, following the abdication of his father, Albert II. So when I checked the name of the Charleston Street I was painting, I was surprised to find out I was on King Street!

"King Street"
oil on 10 x 15 cm canvas