Finished Merel's portrait today, wow, it's like she's back! I am so
happy with this painting. When I added the last highlights in her eyes
and painted her whiskers she came to life, and I cried. Merel, I miss you.
Worked some more on Merel's portrait, far from finished but getting there, I think.
I already like her somewhat stern expression which was her random look.
Haven't payed much attention to the rest of her body yet just added
some highlights and shadows. Will let it rest for a few days now to look at it fresh after the weekend.
a wonderful day working on my new paintings today! It was raining which
makes my studio feel cozy, put some up beat music on and painted the
day away. Loved it! First day working on Merel and I think I came
far in just one day, already love her expression and color balance. Far
from finished but I'm not in a hurry. Worked on the horse too, started
detailing which is always tricky not to get muddy and lose spontaneity
but I'll be careful. Put some of the other painting up for style
reference. Tomorrow is another day!
can't have just one painting on my easel at the same time and while
working on the horse (which I have to put away for a while every now and
then) I decided now is the time to pay tribute to my Merel who passed
away last December and whom I still miss every day. First layers to
establish composition and feel but already I see her. Working after an
iconic photo of Merel on her high chair where she felt safe and could
oversee the livingroom and watch the world trough the window. Every
morning while I brushed my teeth Merel would jump on the back seat of
this chair for hugs and cuddles, that's how we said goodmorning and
started our day. I'll show photos of the progress, should be a special one.
Wanted to do something on a flat surface again and discovered that from
all farm animals I never painted a horse. First explorations of the
anatomy and feel of a beauty I once took photos of. I'll keep you posted
about the progress!
Yesterday my client received my version of her handsome and sweet tabby boy Ozzy which I made by request one month ago. She is touched and loves this 3D life size portrait of her special boy.
Eventhough Ozzy was getting older no one could know that he would leave
while my portrait of him was in transit; Ozzy unexpectedly passed away
of a sudden illness one week ago. It makes this commission even more special for me.
Hadn't sold any of my miniatures in a while but today three of them have found a new home! It's always extra special to work on my minis again, like seeing old friends. Looking forward to be painting this trio so they can travel to California later this week.
I'm still working on the new 3D portrait of Ozzy; the handsome brown
tabby, I got an order for the green Winter cat Noël. It's more economic
to cast multiple copies so I decided to create a Spring version too.
I've got a green cat for every season except for Spring. So here we go!
listing shots is the least fun aspect of the whole process, I feel.
Even though I love to take photos, taking these images is a pain most of
the time. It depends on the subject, is it flat, 3D, big, small, matt
or glossy... so many different parameters make or break a good listing
photo. I'd love to take shots in natural day light but you can't
depend on that in Holland so I use lamps and adjustments on the camera. I think it worked again this time. I'll touch the photos up and prepare the listings tomorrow.
An annoying thing happened yesterday, I varnished Jelle and Timmy with
the varnish I always use, Talens/Amsterdam Acryllic Varnish Matt, though
a new unopened bottle. It turned out extremely glossy, spoiling the
overall look of the sculptures. I sometimes use glossy for the eyes
alone but this time what should have been a matte finish was terribly
glossy. I was bummed. I searched the
internet and found good tips, instead of dulling it down with a brillo
pad I repainted them with Windsor and Newton Acrilly varnish Matt which
worked perfectly! Phew! I wonder what's going on with my regular
varnish, they either changed the recepy or misslabeled the glossy
bottle? Quite frustrating, though for some sculptures a more glossy
finish is acceptable, these portraits really don't need all that extra
Update I've been in contact with the manufacturer of the varnish and it appeared the shop sold me a different kind of the varnish saying there wasn't a difference between the two brands (Amsterdam and Talens, same manufacturer). They will send me a new bottle of Amsterdam Acryllic Varnish Matt for free and requested I'd return the used bottle of Talens Acryllic Varnish Matt. So it's now clear what the problem was. I'm thankful and relieved. Thanks Royal Talens!
I'm actually amazed how much they resemble the real Jelle
and Timmy considering that the basic sculpture is the same (I'll put a
photo of the boys in the comments for comparison). I'm quite happy, the
painting is much more impressionistic than my regular sculptures but
resembles my painting style on canvas. I guess it's a natural evolution
started with Merel and Ratje's sculpture. I'll leave these two for now and will continue with the black tuxedo Puck. We'll see how I feel in a few days. Stay tuned!
First stages of painting, still rough and not nearly ready, but I'm so excited about this progress!
Planning to paint our Timmy, Jelle and Puck on these but I can paint
any kind of marking on the sculpture so anyone can request a custom made
kitty! More soon!
Outer shell finshed too! First time
for me working with plaster cloth, using it wasn't difficult but it
took forever to dry! Not sure why it took so long, it[s just plaster and
fabric which should have set within the hour, this took one whole day. I've build it up in three layers, not too thick but sturdy enough for this use. Now on to making the first cast!
I placed the outer plaster cloth shell on a bed of rice to
stabilize the mold when pouring the Duracast (stoneware plaster).
I sat the silicone mold inside the outer shell, ready for casting.
I poured the liquid Duracast inside the mold, adding the hanging hook at the same time.
identical copies of the original sculpture (first one). The silicone
mold is sharp and every detail is visible. I'm impressed this brush-on
technique gives the same results as making a solid mold. Next: letting
the Duracast cure for a day or two and then finally painting!
Instead of making a solid silicone mold I'm going to
brush it on this time, creating a flexible skin. I think a solid mold
would work too but the ears are sculpted slightly inward which could
cause a problem releasing it from a solid mold. I'll brush it on in three layers creating a thick skin which I will reinforce with plaster cloth once dry. It's an experiment but should work. Besides releasing the cast easier it also saves a lot of silicone. Wish me luck!
I've added the first layer with a brush, pushing the silicone in every nook and cranny.
After the first layer cured untill sticky I added a
second layer. I've applied two thick layers of silicone and I think/hope
I can get away with it before I add the protection plater cloth. I'll
leave it to set overnight. Stay tuned!
Brushing the silicone onto the cat sculpture to create a mold worked
purrfectly! Today I'm going to reinforce the mold (which is too flexible
to use this way) with plaster cloth, making a rigid cast around the
silicone mold. I really like this technique, going to use it a lot
more. It's much more messy than pouring but doesn't take lots of
silicone making the mold smaller to store.
I think I'm finished. I'm quite happy now. After yesterday's update I worked on his cheeks and eyes and lower jaw, well actually on everything Eventhough I liked the smooth surface I added a bit more texture
because that will make the painted version more interesting. Like in the
green cats I want to let the paint speak and not paint fur and too many
details. I also carved the pupils for the first time. I'll let him dry
out and may work on him a little bit more but I can't wait to make a
mold and start producing him!
I wanted to keep the surface rough at first
but the more I looked at it the more it reminded me of the 1960s bronze
baby heads which I didn't like at all! So I changed my mind and started carving, sanding and smoothing it out.
I'm glad that I did because I can put in a lot more personality. He's
still very basic without features of expression but that will come. I
was stuck but I feel I can continue now. Very slow process this time but
I think he's worth it.
had much time recently to work on the new cat relief but I've picked up
my tools again this week. Still in the sketching phase and deciding how
naturalistic it will become but slowly his (I think it's a he) features
Our old buddy Puck had surgery last week (he's recovering well) but his
vet is sadly leaving the clinic later this week. To say our thanks for
her care for Puck and his family over the years I decided to make a
special 'My Tummy Hurts' box which I am sure she will love.
wearing the e-collar to prevent him from touching the stitches. He has
to wear the cone and medical-shirt for 12 days and is a good patient.
His sister Trijntje looks after her brother purrfectly.
'My Tummy Hurts' Puck's cat treats box in the making.
The thank you box for Puck's vet all finished (I'll put something sweet inside too).
I'm still sketching and let the cat tell me
what s/he wants to become. I was planning to make a sibling to my green
cat but somehow I like this rough surface. We'll see, have to let these
new layers set before I continue. It's an adventure for sure!
signed up for an 'Art and Food' fair in September and want to emphasize
my animal portraits and photography so I'm working on promotional
material (flyers, banner, business cards, website etc). Great fun but a
lot of searching in the archives, can't believe how much I've done these
We moved to Friesland in May 2001 and when we arrived at our new little
farm we found a sweet tuxedo cat already living there, he was a stray
cat that got along with our then two cats Ratje and Merel. We decided to
adopt him and named him Foppe, a typical Friesian name, and so Foppe's
Acre was born.
The first year we settled in and made it our home,
the second year we adopted more animals and in the summer of 2003 we
asked my brother and family to look after our menagerie while we went on holiday. As a present for my brother I painted this dish in Oklahoma City, USA.
It was in a little shop that offered customers to paint blanc pottery
they had on sale, have it fired and collect it the next day. I
remember sitting at the kitchen table at my parents-in-law sketching
this scene of all our animals, the next day we went to the shop and I
retraced it onto the dish. It took a couple of hours to paint but it was
fun though. The scene shows our cats; Ratje, Merel, Foppe, Trijntje,
Puck and Iris, our sheep Eddy and Patsy, our geese Hans and Grietje,
Rudie and Felix and our Muscovies; Saartje, Snuggles, Socks, Slimmetje,
Saffy and Sophie, and our house. My brother and sister-in-law loved it and still treasure it today.
Later I drew a new version and have used it ever since for all kinds of
promotional things. Over the years many of the original crew has moved
to Foppe's Acre in heaven and some new residents appeared but this
illustration will always have a special place in my heart and it's where
Foppe's Acre Originals began.
Some of you already guessed what would appear on my table after the
last post and it's not really a surprise of course; a new kitty!
This is the first modeling session, I'll let the clay firm up a little
before I continue not to loose these features which I already love. I
think this will become a handsome sibling to my green cats!
finished Molly's miniature portrait this week and not only am I very
happy with how this sweet wee Papillon lady turned out but Mim, my
client, is also in love with it.
It was a joy and a privilege to paint Molly and I hope she will bring
Mim many smiles every time she looks at it. Thanks for this joyful
Timmy and Tommy are sound asleep and don't yet realise that their box is finished. I'm happy with this version, I think the colors of the box really enhance the kids coloring. Available in Foppe's shop.
Timmy and Tommy treasury box coming along nicely. I have to squeeze in a few hours to work on it every day as soring has
sprung at Foppe's Acre and there's lots to do in the yard and gardens.
It feels good to be physically active again after being cooped up inside
all winter and it gives me new perspectives and fuels my inspiration! I
feel some new work coming up soon!
been a wee bit quiet on these pages because there's not that much to
report. Ever since my kitty Merel died I'm in a slump as far as creating
new pieces are concerned, inspiration seems to be far away at the
moment. I'm working on my commission of Molly's portrait which is
going to be precious and decided to paint another Timmy and Tommy box
but other than that nothing new I'm afraid. I'm sure it will come
once Spring really springs, I'm running on solar power normally and
living in Holland means you can't really rely on that. So please be a little more patient, I hope to surprise you (and myself) soon! Happy Spring!
Finally after three weeks of ordering today the round 20cm diametre box
for Merel and Ratje arrived! I was about to cancel the order but I
can't find this size online anywhere so had to be patient. Can't wait to
finish it now and put all Merel and Ratje's treasures inside. Stay
reorganizing my studio I finally found these lino blocks again! I
thought I'd lost them forever but they must have fallen behind some
books almost two years ago. I've had peope inquiring about this duck
print but didn't have any in stock, so now I can finally reprint and