Mandarin Ducks in an Asian Landscape

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Floral Triptychpn (Bloemen Drieluik)

What better than receiving a request to draw a floral triptych of lush spring flowers during the Corona lockdown? After the monochromatic under layer, working on these large Arches sheets (41- 61 cm), adding many layers of colour, felt like wandering through a lush garden. The contrary was true. We were home most of the time, our city turning into a ghost town with museums and botanical gardens keeping their doors locked. Going to the supermarket and making a daily walk through greener parts of our area was all we did. I bought new green plants and planted some extra … Continue reading Floral Triptychpn (Bloemen Drieluik)

Dutch Heritage Nieuwe Gracht Huisjes (Utrecht)

Follow the progress that I make drawing three lovely houses located at the Nieuwe Gracht, Utrecht. This large drawing demands much patience because these three pearls are full details. I will update this blogpost regularly. For videos on this project, … Continue reading Dutch Heritage Nieuwe Gracht Huisjes (Utrecht)

The Sorcerer of Trois Frères, Ariège France

Let me introduce The Sorcerer discovered in 1960 in Ariège, France. He has been regarded a mythical figure, a shaman, leading a ritual dance. The fact that he directly looks at us as if he is interrupted, is remarkable. Why … Continue reading The Sorcerer of Trois Frères, Ariège France

Hercules Statute Utrecht Netherlands

In my hometown of Utrecht, on two Rococo houses alongside the ‘Nieuwe Gracht’, stands Hercules holding the sky onto his shoulders. The ancient story goes that Hercules has taken up the firmament for Atlas allowing the old Titan a brief … Continue reading Hercules Statute Utrecht Netherlands

Holly or Ilex

Holly has a strong cultural resonance. We use it as a Christmas decoration since the Victorian times. In pagan times, it was customary to bring holly boughs in to decorate the house. Holly was a powerful fertility symbol and was supposed to protect a family against ill-fortunes. Holly planted near a home was regarded as a safe guard against poisoning. It also provided protection from lightening. During Yule, we bring holly in our homes to remind us that green foliage will return when the darker days grow shorter. Every year I send so many Yule or Christmas cards and every … Continue reading Holly or Ilex

Desborough Iron Age Mirror Drawing & Essay

In 2017, I followed ‘Who were the Celts?’ at Oxford Department for Continuing Education. I enjoyed it fully although it was a time consuming course. The grey mass inside my skull felt ignited and many synapses were acting like happy … Continue reading Desborough Iron Age Mirror Drawing & Essay

Two Mandarin Duck Couples

I like to show you two different mandarin duck drawings. In traditional Asian culture, mandarin ducks are believed to be lifelong couples, unlike other species of ducks. Hence they are regarded as a symbol of love, affection, and fidelity. The first drawing is titled Matchmaking in Heaven. It shows a mandarin duck couple in a lotus pond. It is a softly rendered watercolour drawing. The pond is calm, lotus flowers are growing and so is the bond between this duck and drake deepening. The duck and drake have just decided to take a swim. They will look for food, synchronized as … Continue reading Two Mandarin Duck Couples

Forest Scene: Mandarin Ducks Resting on a River Bank

The mandarin ducks (Aix galericulata) have carefully chosen a place to rest. They seems to blend in with the dark background, thus if necessary, they will respond quickly by taking to the waters and thus escape predators. The river is calm, the forest is rich in sounds and smells, and all is well. The reflection of the lovely couple is visible in the calm water. Birds are flying over.  The duck and drake have just decided to take a rest and have already positioned themselves on the bank. The duck is checking the left, the drake checks the right, if … Continue reading Forest Scene: Mandarin Ducks Resting on a River Bank

Bruntenhof Gate Utrecht

My ‘Gate to Heaven’, a lovely gate is located not too far away from my home, at Bruntenhof, Museumkwartier in Utrecht. In real, there is no flower vase, just pavement in front of this gate. I received some feedback, stating: ‘There is a great difference between a photo of this gate and your drawing. A photo shows beautiful stonework but you have drawn something dreamy and poetic. The gate has become a portal to another world. You can walk through it and find yourself in a Medieval landscape with knights and dryads‘. I think the feedback itself is rather poetical, … Continue reading Bruntenhof Gate Utrecht

Auguste Rodin & Camille Claudel at Three Inches Challenge

Participating in a creative challenge is about exploring new drawing skills. A challenge needs to be a challenge, doesn’t it? I found Three Inches, at #mindfulartstudio of Amy Maricle, which is about working on 3 square inches. I decided to do a study of Auguste Rodin and Camille Claudel’s artwork. The insight that I gained confirms that I am not fascinated enough by human anatomy, despite hugely admiring Rodin and Claudel’s work. Nevertheless, I liked the challenge as a welcome break from my current obsession with antique drawings of beautiful classical buildings and romantic landscapes. Thank you & till next … Continue reading Auguste Rodin & Camille Claudel at Three Inches Challenge

Crossed Bison of Lascaux: Art Study Through Drawing

The two bison of Lascaux (Dordogne, France) are eye-catching cave paintings made about 17,000 years ago. I liked them because they are testosterone filled beasts but at the same time, they look cute with their large, round bodies and skinny legs. During my study of this painting, I found five interesting features. First, the two bison have open mouths. Their open mouths play a big role in the story that is portrayed. Combined with their posture, one almost must conclude that the bison are running away with great urgency. Their open mouths seem to be the result of a fight … Continue reading Crossed Bison of Lascaux: Art Study Through Drawing

Rachel Ruysch and Prosperous Floral Bouquet Studies

I have studied some Dutch Golden Age painters in the past, and Rachel Ruysch (1664-1750) was one of my favourite painters. She painted very well, but she also had ten children! It bemuses me how one can paint so exquisitely and have ten children (therefore a minimum of ten pregnancies). One may assume that she died a tragic and premature death, but she did not. Her dated works establish that she painted from the age of 15 until she was 83. When it came to her household, though, she had help, because she could afford it. But I am not planning … Continue reading Rachel Ruysch and Prosperous Floral Bouquet Studies

Abundant Acanthus; A Lovely Gift for a William Morris or Plant Loving Person

‘Abundant Acanthus’ with plant motifs by William Morris and me. Here are the ‘work in progress’ photos and musings. I have drawn this large graphite drawing with so much pleasure despite that I became dizzy from all these swirling botanical patterns. But isn’t elegance worth a bit of suffering? Take care and don’t forget to water your plants during the summer heat. Paula Kuitenbrouwer At Etsy At Instagram   Continue reading Abundant Acanthus; A Lovely Gift for a William Morris or Plant Loving Person

New Work in the Making

I am working on the successor of ‘Praising Plants‘, ‘Ode to All Oak Trees‘ and ‘Sophisticated Succulents‘ and returning to William Morris for inspiration. For years, William Morris didn’t appeal that much to me because I was still under the … Continue reading New Work in the Making

Commission Postage Stamp (Postzegel Tekenopdracht) and Cancellation Mark

Do you remember that I designed a Postage Stamp with two swans, a lotus flower, and a dragonfly? I used them on my correspondence. I added one on a postcard from Oxford to my father in the Netherlands. It received a Royal Mail cancellation mark, which feels like its design has been approved by Royal Mail standards. (I know, cancellation stamps are automated, but let us pretend it was done by a stereotype old man sitting at a wooden desk, carefully inspecting all letters one-by-one). Paula Kuitenbrouwer At Etsy and Instagram       Continue reading Commission Postage Stamp (Postzegel Tekenopdracht) and Cancellation Mark

Prehistoric Women Figurines

To deepen my understanding of female prehistoric figurines, I have set out to draw a few of them. Clockwise starting with tge middle-lower sitting woman, you find Courbet Venus, carved in a seated position, about 14.900 years old. Followed by the Venus of Polichinelle, carved in green steatite, 27.000 years old, found at Grimaldi. The strictly stylised engraved Lalinde Venus (there are more than one) found in Gönnersdorf in Germany, in Abri Murat and Gare de Couze in France, Pekárna in the Czech Republic, and Wilczyce in Poland. Stone Age. Further clockwise; Venus figures from Wilczyce, followed by another Gönnersdorf … Continue reading Prehistoric Women Figurines

York Minster Cathedral Drawing

This is a drawing that I made while staying in an apartment opposite of York Minster (Cathedral). I enjoyed studying all York Minster’s wonderful, elegant, and whimsical details with and without binoculars. I was especially charmed by some stonework that wasn’t symmetrical and I thus set out to capture it by standing in front of the window, drawing without a ruler. Later I used a ruler but only a little to keep the spontaneity of this elegant drawing. I apologise for the darker photos as I planned to place the drawing so that the façade of York Minster is visible … Continue reading York Minster Cathedral Drawing

Ode to All Oak Trees

Ode to all Oak Trees After my ‘Praising Plants’, a large graphite drawing that was sold rather quickly, I decided to continue with botanical theme-drawing and thus I designed ‘Ode to All Oak Trees’. This drawing has a large oak tree as it centre piece, decorated with William Morris botanical motifs and leaves freehand drawn as its border. In spring a single oak tree produces both male and female flowers (catkins). The acorns are its fruits. We use both the acorns and cupule for crafts while jays eat them and squirrels store them for the winter. Oak wood was often … Continue reading Ode to All Oak Trees

Cernunnos Inspired Stag in Ancient Worlds

The oldest (Celtic) god is Cernunnos, depicted with the antlers of a stag, seated cross-legged, associated with animals, and holding or wearing a torc (is a large rigid or stiff neck ring in metal, made either as a single piece or from strands twisted together). Not much is known about Cernunnos but interpretations identify him as a beneficent god of nature, life, or fertility. I find it interesting that Cernunnos is half man, half stag. We clearly like to relate ourselves to such a magnificent animal. It looks well built yet elegant, noble and humble, strong but vulnerable. I remember driving … Continue reading Cernunnos Inspired Stag in Ancient Worlds

Bookplate History Books Ex Libris

I drew an engaging Ex Libris is for those who study, love, writes or owns (history) books. Or books on Prehistoric Peoples, Celts, Anglo Saxons, Viking, Medieval or Renaissance books. It shows many areas of interest starting at the Prehistory (top), following anti-clockwise with Saxon-Viking, Medieval and Renaissance border.  The inside patterned border is in style with the outer border; upper part shows an Celtic interlace pattern, followed by a Saxon pattern in the Saxon-Viking area, a Medieval, and elegant Renaissance pattern. The bookshelves show special areas of interest too: the top book shelf shows history books on prehistory. They … Continue reading Bookplate History Books Ex Libris

CUSTOMIZED EX LIBRIS or COMMISSIONED BORDER FOR CERTIFICATE

I have drawn with Derwent graphite and Graphitint a border for an Ex Libris, a book plate, that can be used for other means as well. I enjoyed making this border so much and it ignited my imagination. This happened … Continue reading CUSTOMIZED EX LIBRIS or COMMISSIONED BORDER FOR CERTIFICATE

Postage Stamp Design

    Recently, I found out that one can buy online postage stamps. It is very handy but such ‘post stamp’ appears to be a sudoku-like 9 square code that you pen down in the upper right corner of an … Continue reading Postage Stamp Design

Art Nouveau Ex Libris Commission

    With much pleasure, I designed this Ex Libris or book-plate in Art Nouveau or Jugendstil style.  I consulted art books that I had almost forgotten about and I enjoyed updating my knowledge of the Art Nouveau movement. I decided to draw a tree, a window for (your) name, hills, a stream, and of course some embellishments. Paula Kuitenbrouwer At Etsy   Continue reading Art Nouveau Ex Libris Commission

Graphite Drawing: In Praise of Plants

This is a large graphite drawing (about the size of A3) beautifully and softly rendered, titled ‘Praising Plants’. I have set up this drawing as a way to show gratitude towards (house) plants. They provide us with oxygen, hence the text ‘Thank Your for your O2,’ a word rhyme that names oxygen by its element. Instead of drawing plants in pots, I have used a frame decorated with Ginkgo leaves. These leaves are found near Ginkgo trees, often in growing in botanical gardens or in Asian cities. Inside the border, I have added two plant motifs, Acanthus and Pimpernel Bay-leaf … Continue reading Graphite Drawing: In Praise of Plants

The Woman or Mother of Willendorf

The Venus of Willendorf was created circa 28.000-25.000 BCE, in Lower Austria. I have drawn it from 3 sides. It is an 11.1-centimetre-tall (4.4 in) and I made sure that the Venus of my drawing is exactly 11.1 centimetres tall. What do you see? You see a faceless woman with large breasts, big hips, missing feet, and two tiny arms resting on the Venus’s breasts. Such unevenly distributed body fat is rare unless a disease is featured. But even if a diseased woman is shown, we can not function without a face and it is much better to have feet. … Continue reading The Woman or Mother of Willendorf

Man of Mander

To reconnect with nature and with the past, we recently visited a few burial mounts near Ootmarsum in Twente (NL). This is a protected archaeological site and visiting this sleepy site feels as if one enters a thin place. Here was found the ‘Man of Mander’, a shadow figure in stone (body imprint in stone) of a person almost of 2 metres tall and having no feet. He has probably been a Stone Age hunter or farmer. As a burial gift, for the Afterlife, he carried a stone arrow head. Why his feet are missing asks for careful analysing. One … Continue reading Man of Mander

Prehistoric Hands Invite and Confirm Communication with the Dead, by Paula Kuitenbrouwer

Synopsis: Prehistoric positive and negative hand-prints weren’t made by accident, they tell a story of communication. Red hand stencils testify of prehistoric peoples attempting to contact deceased tribal members; white hand images mark successful communicating with the dead. Positive hand-prints … Continue reading Prehistoric Hands Invite and Confirm Communication with the Dead, by Paula Kuitenbrouwer

Stonehenge Essay

For me it is a great honour that my essay on Stonehenge was re-blogged on Wiltshire Local History Forum. I hope you will have a quick look by clicking on the link. https://wiltshirelocalhistory.org/2017/05/22/stonehenge-through-art/ Should you be interested in reading my essay ‘Stonehenge through art’, I am willing to print it and send it to you as you are probably like me not willing to read long pieces from a screen. One should sit down with a cup of tea, a cereal bar or a bar of chocolate and have some intellectual quality time by reading instead of being distracted by … Continue reading Stonehenge Essay

Ma, a Japanese aesthetic principle, in my three bird drawings

I’d like to show three paintings in which I have incorporated Ma, a Japanese aesthetic principle. Ma is described as ‘an interval in time and/or space’, thus referring to empty spaces, vagueness or abstraction. Empty spaces, in which nothing seems to happen, are full of possibilities. How do my three birds deal with Ma in their portraits? For my portrait of Magpie, Korea’s national bird, I added orange colour to compensate for a magpie’s black and white plumage. To stay close to her Korean habitat, I decided to position Magpie on a colourful and fruit-bearing persimmon branch, heavily laden with … Continue reading Ma, a Japanese aesthetic principle, in my three bird drawings

Koi Carp, Koikarppi, Cyprinus carpio, Koi fiŝo, Niŝikigoi, 비단잉어, Carpa koi

  Koi carp, or more specifically nishikigoi are a group of fish that are ornamental varieties of domesticated common carp that are kept for decorative purposes in outdoor koi ponds or water gardens. Koi carps are mesmerizing. People are willing to pay big money for a pretty carp fish. An ‘Agasi’, the blue koi,  is particularly pretty. I think I know why. Some time ago I sat next to a large pond that was filled with koi with beautiful colours and patterns. I looked at them and looked at them. I sat and sat and got mesmerized. I asked myself … Continue reading Koi Carp, Koikarppi, Cyprinus carpio, Koi fiŝo, Niŝikigoi, 비단잉어, Carpa koi

The Soul: Painting the Unpaintable

The Soul: Painting the Unpaintable On an altarpiece owned by the Catharijneconvent Museum in the Netherlands, we see Mary and Gabriel; an Annunciation, of course. But the Annunciation is shown in so many paintings that it requires us to make an extra effort to see how remarkable this painting is. Let us talk you through it. This is a Flemish altarpiece dating from the late Middle Ages. The painting is about an episode in the Bible, yet it has subtle emotions. If it had been a Renaissance piece, the emotions would be expressed in full; Mary’s body wouldn’t be so … Continue reading The Soul: Painting the Unpaintable

Portret van Martinus Antonius Kuytenbrouwer

Portret van Martinus Antonius Kuytenbrouwer by Johannes Christiaan d’Arnaud Gerkens (1833- 1892). Click here to see it enlarged in the archives of the Rijksmuseum of Amsterdam. The portrait shows a good looking young painter. The painter looks down, which is a bit unusual but his facial features stand out wonderfully. The portrait looks almost modern because of the large blanc space. This causes the viewer to focus on M.A. Kuytenbrouwer’s face, which is a handsome face. With the many cross hatches, the drawing looks professional and quickly set-up. However, M.A. Kuytenbrouwer’s left shoulder hangs a bit too low. The large … Continue reading Portret van Martinus Antonius Kuytenbrouwer

Guido Reni (Bologna 1575-1642) St Joseph with the Infant Jesus

Guido Reni (Bologna 1575-1642) St Joseph with the Infant Jesus Guido Reni lived from 1575 to 1642 and painted mostly in Rome. He ran a busy studio engaged on commissions from many Italian cities. Born in Bologna into a family … Continue reading Guido Reni (Bologna 1575-1642) St Joseph with the Infant Jesus

Motherhood by Kuytenbrouwer

Martinus Antonius Kuytenbrouwer (1777-1850) was a Dutch soldier and painter of  animals and landscapes. His first exhibition was held in 1813 in Amsterdam followed by more successful exhibitions. Horses played a major role in his work as a painter, most likely because as an officer he dealt with horses daily. M.A. Kuytenbrouwer was a member of the Utrecht Society of Arts and Sciences and the Royal Academy of Fine Arts in Amsterdam. He married Johanna Sophia Gijsberta Kolff in 1798. Their son M. A. Kuytenbrouwer Jr. (1821 -1897) became a painter too. A total of 24 works are known by … Continue reading Motherhood by Kuytenbrouwer