Classical Drawing with Bamboo Frame: work in progress

My Bamboo Framed Classical Drawing steadily grows. It shows rich floral embellishments. It will take some time for me to finish this composition. The next step after finishing this composition, is adding colours. As there are so many details and shadows, adding colours will take as much time as its graphite-phase. Meanwhile, I keep wondering, whose name or which text will I later add to the two areas that are left open. Which quote will fill in the upper box? A Latin quote? Will it become a richly decorated Ex Libris (book plate)? The centre will be filled with a large floral bouquet. I will offer this drawing on Etsy as a commission. It will need final touches, i.e. a personalised text and name, but having so little to add, this drawing will come in handy for a buyer who needs a lovely commission without a long wait. I always carefully plan my drawings, but this one deliberately lacks premeditation. Up to now there are no preliminary sketches…it is just going with the flow of inspiration.

Paula Kuitenbrouwer

Visit my portfolio on Etsy and @mindfuldrawing on IG 

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

Abundant Acanthus

‘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


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 influence of my study of Dutch Baroque floral painters. They, as no one else, could create depth and a feeling as if you were looking at a real bouquet. They positioned their composition in such way that a large flower vases, with all seasonal flowers, would stand proudly on show and you could -in your mind- walk around it. You would admire not only the flowers but also water-drops and insect that rested on big and small petals. But, of course, you were looking at an illusion. Dutch floral painters studied flowers, one by one, made sketches on them, and then set up a composition as if all flowers were all in bloom at the exact same time, which is never the case in nature. A wonderful illusion; a much admired illusion. William Morris looked one dimensional compared to these baroque painters, yet, I learned to see that compared to many modern flower designs, Morris certainly isn’t one dimensional. He may not create as much depth as I would like to see, but he weaves flower stems, creating the feeling as if you are in nature and looking at bushes, trees, and flower beds. Some flowers are near, some further away.

My drawing will have another lovely title using again a two word alliteration. You are invited to guess. However, before doing that, one needs some botanical knowledge and isn’t that not exactly what makes us love William Morris? He educates and inspired us with his design, botanical knowledge, and colourful palette.


William Morris mainly scatters and extends broad leaf foliage, flowers, and sometimes animals for the purpose of creating a repetitive, yet not too repetitive, wall paper design. There is a difference in what we expect from wall-paper, a painting, and from a mural. We expect a mural to trick us like Harry Potter on Platform 9 ¾ : we like to run into the world that is suggested by a mural. Wall-paper, on the other hand, aims at supporting the design and décor of a room. Wall-paper must suggest less depth than a mural or painting, but more than a brick wall, by weaving the stems of flowers and using the technique of foreshortening, Morris does exactly that however not overly.

I have yet many white spaces to fill up with my own designs; this way of freehand drawing is enjoyable. 

Paula Kuitenbrouwer   At Etsy & Instagram

Commission Postage Stamp (Postzegel Tekenopdracht) and Cancellation Mark

Poststamp with Cancellation Mark by Royal Mail

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




Sophisticated Succulents

After ‘Praising Plants’ followed ‘Ode to All Oak Trees’. Allow me now to present ‘Sophisticated Succulents’.

This softly rendered graphite drawing shows Living Stones, Echeverias, and String of Pearls succulents, plus many more. Of course, setting up this composition made me buy a few more succulents which was part of the joy of drawing this ‘desert garden’. Initially, I wanted to add the title ‘Sophisticated Succulents’ in classical, elegant letters but then I thought no. Succulents aren’t elegant. They are cute but basic, strong and bulky. They spend all their time surviving harsh conditions. Thus, I added a letter type that resembles their shape; basic, cute, bulky, as if full with stored water. I am always amazed and delighted how much thinking goes into a square inch of detailed drawing.

What is your most inspiring succulent related place? A desert? A shop? Mine is the Desert Garden of the Schönbrunn Palace in Vienna.

Paula Kuitenbrouwer

On Etsy

On Instagram

P.S. Voor mijn Nederlandstalige lezers: mijn meest recente artikel in het Boeddhistische Dagblad is hier.

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 figurine. Then, Petersfels Venus that is made of jet, circa 15. 000 BP- 2.000 BP. Another Gönnersdorf engraving and last, Venus from Nebra, 15.000 years old, animal bone.

It makes you wonder, doesn’t it? You can’t possible blame prehistoric peoples for a lack of body diversity. But why the concentration on bellies and buttons, and why are heads and feet missing? Most look either emaciated, nursing or pregnant. Are some suffering from chronic diseases? Did it matter how a female looked like, or was the first piece of bone or stone vaguely resembling and therefore symbolising a (perhaps departed) woman okay for whatever ritual? Do you find them uncomfortable? Some look crudely abstract, others are enchantingly elegant, as if they are the first sketched outlines of ballerinas in action. I have chosen an ochre background as this pigment was hugely important to prehistoric peoples.

Paula Kuitenbrouwer

at Etsy

At @mindfuldrawing on Instagram

Commissions welcome: contact me at

Appreciation, Reviews, and Succulent Drawing in the Making

Etsy sent to me a notification that I was advised to share. Apparently, I’ve earned 30 five-star reviews on Etsy, which delights me. I remember that I started with a too proud attitude and limited myself to freehand drawing. Now, being older and wiser, I find more satisfaction in drawing commissions. There is so much pleasure in receiving a photo of my drawing beautifully framed in a house somewhere far away. Building work based on a creative skill takes decades.

Etsy 5 star

After drawing ‘Praising Plants’, which was sold in no time, I decided to continue with botanical themes. ‘Ode to All Oak Trees‘ followed soon after and currently I am working on a drawing with succulents. It is such fun because I like succulent plants. Not only because they look cute but also because they can weather me, that is, my lack of knowledge of how to take care of house plants. Succulents seem to be ‘Paula Proof’ and grow and bloom regardless of too much or too little sun, water or love. I have some very moody plants too; they communicate with greater urgency because they have large green leaves and are therefore depend more acutely on the right amount of sun and water. When they drop their leaves, I spring into action, but a good home plant caretaker would give water before they scream for hydration. Sorry, sorry. They do not die on me, so don’t worry.

Succulents Work in Progress on Arches Paper
Succulents Work in Progress on Arches Paper

I hope to gain more 5 star reviews as I keep on expanding my portfolio on Etsy. Should you have a favourite plant and you would love to have a creative design-drawing of it, contact me at

Paula Kuitenbrouwer

At Etsy

At Instagram

Articles on Delicious Old-Fashioned Graphite Pencils

blogheader2.jpgOn our way from the UK to the Netherlands, before boarding the ferry in Hull, we drove past Derwent Street, which made me realise that Derwent is British. Of course, I knew this for a long time, but with Brexit looming, it made me realise that my favourite pencils will increase in price due to post-Brexit tariffs. Some will deny this, but the UK will never get a better trade deal than it has now.

Having arrived home happily, I read two articles on the BBC news on pencils, which I like to mention for my (coloured) pencil art friends.

The article titled ‘Have we all underrated the humble pencil?‘ shows a lovely photo of the oldest known pencil in the world, found in a timbered house built in 1630. The other article reports on the ancient pencil war between the German Staedtler and Faber-Castell, two other much loved and used pencils.

I have no article on Luminance, the Swiss made richly pigmented pencils by Caran d’Ache, but I need to mention these as I have used them with much pleasure. Recently, I needed a very good gold pencil and wasn’t happy with what the above brands offered. Sybille Kramer, my Italian art friend, came to the rescue by sending me the best gold coloured pencil that I have ever used, which is a Neu Jolly Superstick Kinderfest.

Paula Kuitenbrouwer

At Etsy

At Instagram







York Minster Cathedral Drawing

b8fad007-ef2a-4ba9-9879-47168204b4ddThis 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 in the background, thus photographing against natural light. The drawing is done on white (slightly off white) high quality paper and the drawing is light, elegant, and softly rendered. For ornithologists, boy did we enjoy the peregrine falcon family! Two parents and four juveniles exercising flying around the north east tower delighted us. For these birds, York Minster is a perfect natural rock formation surrounded by food (street pigeons).

This drawing is a special gift as there is only one and there are no copies available.

Artist info: Derwent graphite, fixative Winsor & Newton. Frame it with a mount and you have a lovely ‘Memory of a Minster’, or ‘Detail of a Cathedral’. (I know a Minster and Cathedral aren’t the same, yet many use both terms).

Paula Kuitenbrouwer

at Etsy

This drawing at Etsy