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A Commissioned Piece

This pastel drawing ‘Dwy Galon, Un Dyhead – 14-07-20 (Sold)’ is a commissioned piece. The welsh art collector already bought ‘A Day at the Beach – 16-03-19 (Sold)’. He also bought ‘Estate Oosterbeek – 17-03-15 (Sold)’ and ‘Estate Oosterbeek – 15-07-14 (Sold)’. You may call him a true collector and I am grateful every day to have my art hang in his premises. One time he mailed me with the request to do something special. He and his wife own a cottage in Wales. They must have thought of a pastel drawing in the style of the Oosterbeek pastels. Hence the request to make one. Yeah, another challenge I gladly picked up.

Something Different from Trees and Women

I never did a cottage, Usually it is either trees or women. It is often with commissions like these that I come to study things I normally do not make. Strutinizing the structure of the stones brought me a lot. Totally different from dutch bricks that are backed off in industrial furnaces. These structures are more irregular, almost organic looking. You could say that the main objective was to keep a sturdy look on the cottage. The eventual goal was to picture an iconic image of the countryside and its rural aspects. Simply fine detailing it to the max just wouldn’t do. It would not have conveyed the rough romantic edge that comes with living outside a city. That’s easier said than done by me as a city dweller. Upon my word, I never had the pleasure to be in an actual country house like this one.

Artistic Approach

Executing this one in pastel wasn’t very difficult. Quickly I got perspectives right. The stones weren’t much of a problem really. Flowery structures were. Not because of my capability of capturing them but the level of abstraction. At all costs didn’t I want them to draw too much attention. Only slightly indicate them by some swirly strokes. Hence they came late in the game, after all diagonal hatched strokes had been laid. A fun project!

Pastel drawing on Canson Mi-Teintes Touch paper (47 x 62 x 0.1 cm)
Artist: Corné Akkers

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Website link: https://corneakkers.com/2024/05/18/arendsdorp-17-05-24/
Printable: https://corneakkers.com/product/printable-arendsdorp-17-05-24/

A Challenge Really

This graphite pencil drawing ‘Arendsdorp – 17-05-24’ an attempt to capture intertwining foliage. In my art statement to ‘Japanese Garden 1 (2014)’ I already mentioned Camille Pissarro. In my eyes he was one of the best in capturing these transitions. Not easy though. That’s why this sketch, however small it is, took me quite some time. Strange how this goes. A previous drawing ‘Mariahoeve – 03-05-24’ almost seem to draw itself but this one didn’t. Albeit it was a lot of fun searching for a good result. The trick is to capture a fairly bit part of all tonal nuances in the foliage. That is, without turning it into one big rubble pile.

Abstraction & Art

In abstraction lies art and this also counts for this one I guess. Working in monochrome there’s a lack in colour that would normally set off forms clearly. Yet another obstacle in avoiding aforementioned rubble pile. The solution was to exaggerate tonal differences a bit. Even though my hatched strokes style is perfect for depicting landscapes, a lack of tonality can kill it all. All in all a great experiment and challenge. Totally different from my last one, called ‘Beek – 09-05-24’. But that is how it goes. Often I vary and that’s much against better judgment of so-called art experts such as coaches and gallery owners. They want to to have only artists showing a distinct style. That makes it all the more fun because I don’t follow rules, even though I was a lawyer once.

Arendsdorp

The actual spot is a great little estate not far from where I live. It’s tucked away in the Benoordenhout district, here in The Hague. Not a place that you happen to stumble upon by chance. It’s a park like there are so many others around here. Some meadows, groups of trees and a few canals. Locals walk the dog there. However, when sunlight backlight trees then you got me going. Actually it’s the same park as depicted by me as ‘Park Hoog Oostduin – 14-09-22’. That’s situated more to the right of where you look at in the drawing. It’s the same park nonetheless.

Pitt Graphite Matt pencil (Faber-Castell, 14B) drawing on Winsor & Newton paper (10.5 x 14.8 x 0.1 cm)
Artist: Corné Akkers

Sales info: original (if not sold), prints & printable - visit my website:

Website link: https://corneakkers.com/2024/05/12/beek-09-05-24/
Printable: https://corneakkers.com/product/printable-beek-09-05-24/

Liberation Day Walk

This graphite pencil drawing ‘Beek - 09-05-24’ is a bit of cubism placed in atmospheric depth. Last weekend I went out to spot some sceneries with my dad. Playground: Berg en Dal and Beek-Ubbergen. We parked on the Rijksstraatweg and walked our way up to the Filosofendal. That was last May 5th, Liberation Day. Not a particular beautiful day though. In the beginning it was cloudy and I saw dark clouds start appearing. Later that walk here comes the sun. Suddenly there was enough sunshine to took some great reference pictures of treescapes and hills. There was also Huis Wylerberg that caught my attention. Surely gonna make some of that villa in the next future. Perhaps even doing a pastel on a spot I discovered. There, in a meadow, you look right over the house and the Ooijpolder. That will be later. First, my artistic considerations as to this.

Kethel

Walking back to my car there was this beautiful willow tree with some houses in the background. Immediately I thought of a previous treescape I made, called ‘Kethel - 13-07-19 (Sold)’. This time I thought the triangular roof shapes were in perfect contrast to all things circular in the tree. Maybe this one turned into something more realistic. At least less abstract than the Kethel piece. However, there is plenty of abstraction, especially in the foliage and little branches. In the end I toned down the houses and the tree in the back on the right. They asked for too much attention. It’s always hard to finetune these things. Too much and it will be in competition with the main theme. Too less and you cannot have secondary stuff support that main theme efficiently. All in all, a nice experiment and a bit back to cubist styling again.

Pitt Graphite Matt pencil (Faber-Castell, 14B) drawing on Winsor & Newton paper (10.5 x 14.8 x 0.1 cm)
Artist: Corné Akkers

Available as original (if not sold), prints & printable. Visit my website for more information:
Website link: https://corneakkers.com/2019/07/05/wijk-bij-duurstede-13-05-19/
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In the Middle of the Netherlands

I came to visit Wijk bij Duurstede, a small city near Utrecht. Just outside the city center there is this park towards the river Lek. When you enter it you immediately see the park is actually a former bastion. In the middle there are the remnants of a once bigger castle Duurstede. It’s everything one can expect from a medieval castle. There’s a moat, a keep and a perfect preserved round Burgundian tower. Not the first time I’ve been there but the first time there wasn’t a lot of sunshine. As a discipline of the light I need the atmosphere around objects to be bright and dark.

Majestic Things

So there it was, the second time there was plenty of sun and for that matter also cast shadows. Next, let me tell you about a challenge each artist faces trying to capture majestic things. Buildings, trees, castles and what not can look very smallish if rendered with harsh contour delineations. The trick is to put them into context with surroundings. Therefor I didn’t fine detail the tower in order to keep it at some distance. By doing less I tried to make it appear to be larger, taking Monet’s message (Rouen series) to heart.

Hatched Strokes

Just as in the previous drawing of Veere I kept this one in my hatched strokes style. I experienced this suits me best to do landscapes and cities with. Especially in small format like A5 and A6 forms look not too small as explained in the previous paragraph. One could say these have become a style in their own right. Surely way different from all things cubist and surrealist I create as well.

Graphite pencil drawing (Pentel 0.5 mm, 3B) on Canson Bristol paper (10.5 x 14.8 x 0.1 cm – A6 format)
Artist: Corné Akkers

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Estate Reigersbergen

This graphite pencil drawing ‘Estate ‘Reigersbergen’ – 16-05-20’ is a bit of impression, executed in my hatched strokes style. My mind is back on landscapes again since my last drawing ‘Model Session – 14-05-20’. I liked laying down these hatchings in the female form so why not in trees again? You can spot them returning in Marlot – 11-04-20 but that was a small A6-size one. De Hofvijver – 20-03-20 (Sold) is A4-size and that is what I longed for this time. Besides that, there’s not something to do really since the virus started to kick in. Don’t worry, I have not taken ill, yet. Still not teaching though and therefor l trade lockdowns for landscape so-to-say.

Corona Days

These Corona days I wander about the region like I am used to. Nothing changed in this respect and it’s something I am used to during Sprintime. Moreover, I am more than happy that we in The Netherlands have at least some freedom of movement. Besides that the end of our ‘intelligent lock down’ is in sight. Soon I can start to teach but first draw this one. I was attracted by the slanted angular structures of the willow trees. They suit my opposite hatched strokes quite nicely. It represents a spot close to where I live, called ‘Estate Reigersbergen’.

Favorite Spot

In the distance the treeline belongs to Huis Ten Bosch, where king Willem-Alexander van Oranje-Nassau and his family reside. This estate ‘Reigersbergen’ is one of my favorite spots in The Hague. It has all a man could wish for, woodlands, pastures, cows, forests and parks. Just around the corner to where I live. That’s the wonderful part of living here in The Hague.

Graphite pencil drawing (Pentel 0.5 mm, 3B & Conté graphite pencil 4B) on Canson Bristol paper (21 x 29.7 x 0.1 cm – A4 format)
Artist: Corné Akkers

Website link: https://corneakkers.com/2019/07/13/kethel-13-07-19/
Printable: https://corneakkers.com/product/printable-kethel-13-07-19/

Tree in Bloom

When I returned to my car from my trip to Kethel, Schiedam, Netherlands, I saw this beautiful tree in bloom. Sometimes you look for grand things and the little all of a sudden pop into your eyes when least expected. The actual tree was in no interesting area but the very shape struck me by lightning. I took a picture and decided to do it only now (in summer). Live sketching can be overrated. It so happened that I do not have some pencils, paper and a camping chair at hand. Furthermore, I regularly see so many motifs that I cannot draw all at the very spot. From the moment I took this picture I planned to do this anyway, live or not.

Encapsulated

The last time I visited this beautiful little village was in Spring when I drew my first graphite pencil drawing ‘Kethel – 22-04-19’. Unfortunately Kethel has been completely surrounded by apartment buildings. The crazy thing is that first I could not find it at all. I had to climb the roof of the local supermarket in order to spot the top of its bell tower. Then I saw it was completely encapsulated by modern architecture. The village has managed to keep its original character though. Now looks like an open-air museum that is cherished like a dear gem.

Roundism

I tried to capture the flow of the flowering tree and of course in my roundish style. I thought of a couple of recent landscapes I did in that style. Beek – 11-06-19 was the last. Finally I feel this one hits the right spot. Is more profoundly roundism and it expresses exactly what I tried to convey. That was a rhythym of broken curves, thick and thin. Lucky for me someone else catched my drift so I sold it quickly.

Graphite pencil drawing (Pentel 0.5 mm, 3B) on Winsor & Newton paper (10.5 x 14.8 x 0.1 cm – A6 format)
Artist: Corné Akkers

Venus Lamenting - work in progress - day 39. Steadily growing.

The elaboration of my graphite pencil drawing 'Venus Lamenting - 13-01-23 in oil.b

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Website link: https://corneakkers.com/2021/06/08/maassluis-08-06-21
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An Incredible Search
This graphite pencil drawing of Maassluis is an inbetween exercise. I find myself in this incredible search for capturing the cubist essence of Geesje Kwak in oil. Depicting this city is somehow similar in design and ambition though. Lately I am fantasizing about combining ‘realism’ or whatever realism might mean to an artist and my personal roundism style. I find myself curiously related to the buddhist at the hotdog stand ordering one with everything. Maybe it has something to do with having explored many styles such as realism, impressionism, cubism and then some. Why wouldn’t I want exactly that: one with everything?

Maassluis
Even though Maassluis is not far away, I never visited the place until some years ago. That is when I made my first drawing of the place. The mindset I had was to render the trees cubistically. I kept other elements such as the buildings, ships and water realistic or impressionistic at least. This way the cubist tree becomes an integral part of the realistic depiction rather than an annoying deviation from it. That is my aim at least and it is for the spectator to judge.

Progression
Surely I can see I progressed in techniques and artistic conception from then on. Drawings from the recent past look more elaborated like Park Leeuwenbergh. The reason can be found in either taking more time and patience to work things out or getting conservative. By the latter I mean that each style can start with a rough edge. As time goes by one tends to fine polish it, extending the possibilities within that certain style to the max. That is, until everything has been squeezed out and becomes almost rendered in a reserved way. Obviously I hope that will not be the case in the current situation I am in. I like to progress from here and pick up the joy of sketching and find stuff anew. Anyway, that will be for and be judged upon later. First I have to return to Geesje Kwak and start a new drawing to kill the time when I am not behind my easle.

Graphite pencil drawing (Pentel 0.5 mm, 3B) on Talens Bristol paper (21 x 29.7 x 0.1 cm - A4 format)
Artist: Corné Akkers

Sales info: original (if not sold), prints & printable visit my website:

Website link: https://corneakkers.com/2021/11/03/aachen-03-11-21
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Visiting Albrecht Dürer

Sunday last October 17th in Aachen my parents and I visised the once-in-a-lifetime exhibition of Albrecht Dürer and contemporaries. Crime scene: Suermondt-Ludwig Museum at Aachen, Germany. Aachen always is a enchanting place to visit with its Aachener Printen and of course to follow Charlemagne’s footsteps. They are scattered all over the place and imprinted in the Aachener Dom and the Aachen Cathedral Treasury (Domschatzkammer). When in Aachen I never went to the very museum before. It resides at the outskirts of the old centre and it is not a logical place to visit except for special exhibitions. And so there was one! Never before were there so many of his works in one place after he died. Do you want to know a secret? I was a little bit jealous of his drawing skills. How was he able to draw such thin lines?

Aachener Dom

Before visiting the museum we went for a little stroll around the cathedral, also not to miss out on those Printen! Walking full circle there it presented itself: a lovely side view I remembered from earlier trips in 1991 and 2004. Dürer’s works still messing with my head I recalled he did a drawing of the cathedral too (in 1520) I could see from his drawing he held a higher vantage point and farther away. The fun part is it looks exactly the same 500 years ago as it still stands today. There was a bigger tower on the Palatine Chapel though.

Artistic Approach

Surely I had to do my best because, compared to Dürer’s works, I have broad shoulders to stand on. Studying his very drawing I saw he had a rather linear approach. That is where I could beat him at his game. He did not know anyting about impressionism and so I rendered my graphite pencil drawing in this style. It is a perfect way to suggest lots of details without actually having to depict them. Throwing in details is a precarious matter anyway and easily leads to a messy impression. The sun was just above the cathedral’s nave and so the mass of the architecture appeared dusky anyway. It was perfect for my impressionistic aim.

The Suggestion of Lots of Details

With the refined graphite pencil techniques of Geesje Kwak – 08-10-21 still in my fingers this one was not very difficult. It took a lot of time though. Many people would think drawing all those details takes pain staking skills. Actually it is the absence of details and only the suggestion of them that is difficult. What is need is a subtle draftswork in order to keep an even tonality all across the building structure. That takes time and muscle control.

Abul-Abbas

Low and Behold! On the actual square in front of the cathedral I thought I saw Abul-Abbas, Charlemagne’s elephant for a moment. What I liked about those Germans the most is that they worship their Elephant God. They

Website link: https://corneakkers.com/2024/03/05/neo-deco-05-03-24/
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Back in 2014

This oil painting ‘Neo Deco – 05-03-24’ is an elaboration of my pastel drawing ‘Cubist Nude – 28-03-14’. One I was bound to elaborate at some point. I remember I made that one on a whim at Brugman, Voorburg where I teach. Probably a quick sketch before art class. Sometimes those are the best, feeling free to experiment. Now, 10 years later it was about time to set it loose on linen. Little did I know working on a larger scale offers many new challenges.

Scaling Up, Troubles Bound

You see, scaling up this artistic motif didn’t satisfied me and it wasn’t that much bigger. Canson pastel paper is 50 x 65 cm and this painting measures 60 x 80 cm. However, after transferring basic proportions I thought the result was looking rather meager. Or was the result looking rather similar to the pastel drawing I already made in 2014? I don’t know really. Such things just happen when you use a motif a second time around. All bets are off. The trick is to find something new, in spite of the attraction of the initial drawing. There was some added value to be found.

Enter Color

Terrific to see how color also influences form. This female form demanded more forms this time but these weren’t supported by the monochromy I had in mind. Initially I had planned to execute it in blue only but it didn’t work for me really. Enter color and that always means a whole new ballgame. Blue needs orange. These two are complementary vibrant but also a bit boring, so green and pink were added. After a while I realized I had to change, even add forms as well. That was necessary balance all the different colored patches. Hence another jigsaw puzzle like the struggles I face completing ‘Nina – 12-10-23’. All-in all I’m happy with the balance in saturated and non-saturated colours.

Oil on linen (60 x 80 cm)
Artist: Corné Akkers

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Website link: https://corneakkers.com/2023/03/20/delft-19-03-23/
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Preparatory Trip

This graphite pencil drawing ‘Delft – 19-03-23’ is based on a trip to that city only yesterday. You see, I was visiting the place with my parents in preparation of our visit to Amsterdam. Sunday the 19th that was, visiting the Rijksmuseum for the big Vermeer exhibition. The Prinsenhof offered a great exhibition on the times of Vermeer in Delft. After the visit to the museum we were passing by the Old Chuch, also called the ‘Old John’. The weather wasn’t particularly nice, yet not so cold anymore. Occasionally there was a reasonable amount of sun though. Suddenly I saw a motif that attracted me. A dark side in the canal, some shadows around the bridge and some branches contrasting the man-made church structures.

Honoring Vermeer

Since I fancy doing landscapes latety why wouldn’t this scenery be a perfect follow-up to the last one? For no particular reason I didn’t do much drawings on Delft yet. However, I love the place and it’s close to where I live. My only one was a surrealist drawing from 2017. Time to straighten this out and do a second one. Besides that, it’s Vermeer’s Year. About time to honor him. Soon weather conditions will improve and trees will be in leaf again. Delft will be so much more fun then.

Four Key Elements

When I come to think of it, I’m always attrackted to four key elements in a drawing. These are: the play of light and darkness, a landmark like a building, vegetation and water reflections. Trees only, especially in leaf and tightly packed, can pretty much amorphous. Buildings only can look a tad liveless. Therefor I like the very interaction between them. They give me repetition in variation and variation in repetition. Reflections in the water is a sort of bonus. Surely, things reflected in water can look mysterious. In a way water serves as a gateway to other dimensions. Can you detect them within yourself?

Graphite pencil drawing (Sakura 0.5 mm, 4B) on Winsor & Newton Bristol board paper (21 x 14.8 x 0.1 cm – A5 format)
Artist: Corné Akkers

Website link: https://corneakkers.com/2022/08/21/art-deco-nude-20-08-22/
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Third One

This drawing ‘Art Deco Nude – 20-08-22’ is the third one in a row inspired by a Walter Bird photograph. However, after the last graphite pencil drawing ‘Roundism – 17-08-22’ I felt it was time to vary in style again. Strange how my inner urge works that way. So, straigtness instead of roundistic shapes. With both I have the intention to suggest roundness in shapes though. Perhaps my Roundism variations only get a bit more decorative. Maybe that’s is why I like to change. I don’t want Roundism to become over-zealously and explode into sheer exuberance. It could only lead to a collapse under its increased pumped up mass like a star becomes a black hole.

1938

In my last statement I already mentioned I was going to do another picture by Bird’s. There also was a different reason to do so. I recognized the model in the reference picture. She was the same I used for my oil painting ‘Loving the Alien (2011) (sold)’, sitting at the same cube. Back then I didn’t take notice. Consequently that also must be Walter Bird’s picture, even though the title to the picture suggests it’s from 1938. I always thought it was a contemporary photograph because it looks so modern. Immediately I have my oil painting ‘Homage to Alma Tadema – 02-08-22’ in mind. The reference picture from that one also looked very modern, as if taken yesterday. Could it be that all great works of art keep on looking contemporary? They convey beauty as infinity.

Composition

Being the photograph as it is, perfect, it seemed impossible to add something. Of course the model is perfect as such, being slender and well proportioned. It is exactly that I set out to put the stress on. Hence the vertical and the emphasis on the feet and hand in straight planes. I did a bit of elaboration of facial features because those were a bit too dark in his photo. It also counterbalance the impressive feet.

Pitt Graphite Matt pencil (Faber-Castell) drawing on Hahnenmühle paper (24 x 31 x 0.1 cm)
Artist: Corné Akkers

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Website link: https://corneakkers.com/2024/02/16/third-rock-from-the-sun-15-02-24/
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My Compliments

This graphite pencil drawing ‘Third Rock from the Sun – 15-02-24’ I wanted to create for a long time. However, caught up in some projects in oil I had some time to think about the execution. First, let me start with complementing model Nina and her photographer. You probably know her from the series I made last year. If you like you can visit her website. She had a new photoshoot published and I saw one photo that got my attention. What a great lighting and thanks for letting me use it!

Rembrandt’s & Vemeer’s Legacy

Living in The Netherlands it’s imposssible to escape the legacy of Rembrandt and Vermeer. Surely not the inventors of chiaroscuro effects but they took lighting to another level. So no surprise there they are world famous. Consequently I became fascinated by the light too. So much so that I dedicated almost my entire work to it. So there it was, a great model, great lighting and now a theme. Deviating from the picture I felt was necessary. It always does because sheer copying isn’t my bag. This was the first time after ‘Neo Deco 18-10-23’ I used bristol paper again. I had it in me to combine that to the slightly angular approach I used in ‘Nina – 12-09-23’. This way I could use all the fantastically highlighed elements without the necessity to invent nifty cubist forms.

The Whole World in Your Hands

As always, whilst drawing I came up with an idea. Instead of the motorized house buddy she was holding in her hands I thought of mother earth. If you have reached this section of my art statement you most certainly care for environmental issues as well. Sometimes you have to listen to the universe. And so it came to be halfway through the drawing I listen to a news item on sea level rise. As artist I can be powerful and highlight that topic for a change. Not the first time though and perhaps you remember ‘Yeast – 18-09-19’. There you have it, the whole world in your hands AKA The Third Rock from the Sun. Threat her carefully!

Graphite pencil (Faber Castell Pitt Graphite Matt pencil 14B) drawing on Talens Bristol paper (21 x 29.7 x 0.1 cm)
Artist: Corné Akkers

Website link: https://corneakkers.com/2024/02/10/den-haag-09-02-24/
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My First One This Year

This graphite pencil drawing ‘Den Haag – 09-02-24’ is my first one this year. Last one I made on Christmas day. In between I completed 4 oil paintings and I got quite the hang of it. However, after linen I also crave for painting on wood panel again. Those are in the process of layering them with gesso. Time to do a drawing again and why not one of good ol’ Den Haag, my residence. You can browse through my series on this city if you like. Throughout the years I made many.

St. James’ Church

In the centre there she stands: the Great Church or St. James’ Church. In town I often pass it by and especially during summer it creates spectacular vision. That’s due to cast shadows and segments of the roof glowing in the sunlight. This phenomenon always makes me stop for a second and I sometimes take a couple of pictures. Capturing the beauty of it all and promising myself to use it for an artwork one day. This is such a day.

Not the First Time

Not the first time that I drew this particular church. In 2015 I made a pastel. This time the angle was steeper. The effect of the light on the roof tiles and the zigzag pattern reminded me of the appearance of a jagged knife. First I thought of a rather cubist or abstract approach but soon I realized that wasn’t quite suitable. You see, the walls are not particularly attractive, rather flat. So no exciting patterns such as in my drawing of the St. Bavo of last year. Instead I kept it quite simple, just an impressionst view and of course an elephant. Not the first time that one came about.

Graphite pencil drawing (Faber Castell, Pitt Graphite matt, 14B) on Winsor & Newton Bristol board paper (21 x 14.8 x 0.1 cm – A5 format)
Artist: Corné Akkers

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The Infinite Waves of Eternity – 06-02-24

Contrasting Colors

This oil painting ‘The Infinite Waves of Eternity’ might look like something you have seen before. That’s right. It’s an elaboration of my graphite pencil drawing ‘The Infinite Waves of Eternity - 15-06-19 (Sold)’. Now it was time to convert it to color. Again I chose for subtle shades between complementary and therefor contrasting colors red and green. Students I often tell about comparing colours with human relations. These contrasting colors and mixtures of them create a maximal bandwith of relations and therefor emotions. To me it was necessary for what I had to say and that’s a lot.

Kizette

However, it is also an ode to Kizette, daughter of Tamara de Lempicka. The latter, to whom I already declared my eternal artistic love. That much is obvious. So I present you a chain of thoughts I had. The head in aforementioned drawing I wasn’t particularly happy with and I thought I could do a better job. Goldilocks this time perhaps? Ringlets could match the golden ratio curves in the waves and body perfectly. That thought led to Kizette. Googling her I saw pictures of Madonna in her glory days during her ‘Blond Ambition’ tour. Then I realized her hairdo was a perfect match to Tamara’s kid. She adores De Lempicka as well. Hence, the female’s head looks a bit like Madonna’s and the hairdo got more styled cubistically.

Art Statement

As to artistic considerations the drawing necessitated me to think and invent further. In my art statement to ‘Neo Deco - 05-01-24’ I quoted Oscar Wilde on ‘Life imitates art rather than art imitates life’. This statement is stuck in my throat as a hot potato. Somehowe it keeps popping up as a guideline for my own art. All these styling and swirls I made throughout the years must be for a reason, wouldn’t you think? Surely it had to be me picking up the gauntlet. So here’s my statement. In this postmodern world we created everything can be manifested. Consequently no one can make heads or tails of it. Anything goes. T.V. and the internet flood us with a rubble pile of nonsense. Such is also visible contemporary art. Not me, I want to create beauty and show people infinite waves of eternity.

Oil on linen (60 x 80 cm)
Artist: Corné Akkers

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Pittoresque

As you may know I often wander about and astray through landscapes I have never been before or in this particular case I know all too well. This village is not far away from Nijmegen, where I was born and raised. Upon my word Batenburg is a quite pittoresque village along the river Maas. Even though I drew my home town Nijmegen before but hardly any village in the neighborhood. Time to change that.

Castle in Ruins

There lay the ruins of Batenburg Castle and it so happened I saw them on a lovely sunny day when I went to my parents. The tree line at the left serves as an introductionary repoussoir delineating the castle ruins on its right. There were some strong tonally dark blocks underneath them. What I liked about the scene was the lighter bricks creating a stripy rhythym. They gave me some clear visible structures to get hold of. After all, because of the heavy back lighting the scenery was already was very dark. Nevertheless, I love these kind of types of light above depicting a landscape in full display of it. The moat surely is a bonus because it doubles all forms reflected in them, in reverse. That’s the secret to drawing or painting water.

Graphite pencil drawing (Sakura 0.5 mm, 3B) on Canson Bristol paper (21 x 29.7 x 0.1 cm - A4 format)
Artist: Corné Akkers

Sales info: original (if not sold), prints & printable - visit my website:

Website link: https://corneakkers.com/2023/12/31/berg-en-dal-30-12-23/
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What Color Can Do

This pastel drawing ‘Berg en Dal – 30-12-23’ is the second of new pastel editions to an ever growing series. The one I completed last December 19th exceeded my expectations. Frankly, I didn’t think I could add more to the reference drawing I made in May. Then you can see what color can do. After my Christmas drawing of December 25th it was time to get back in the saddle again. Nothing else to do either. Outside there is a nasty gloom and I like to avoid fireworks at all costs. This way I still have my eyes and hands on January 1st. Really, it’s a travesty indeed. People buy for 100 million+ euro here in the Netherlands. Foreigners often are surprized when they come to visit us. They say it looks like a war zone at 12 o’clock. Poor Ukrainian refugees. Those millions were better spent in the Ukraine!

Driving Force

Couldn’t this one major driving force: to create art and offer people perspective on beauty? By all means, my pastel chalks are way less expensive than a regular portion of fireworks. Another advantage: my colors don’t fade away instantly. Flares of color in the sky do. With this pastel I also want to convey another idea. Beauty isn’t about spectacular pops that rip open your eardrums but in silence. Hence my latest creation that speaks for itself. A wandering beauty silently expressing captivating colors. New Year’s resolution that now occurs to me: spend more time in nature.

A Blank Spot

The reference drawing I used for this one I completed on November 2nd. Even though that one was impressionist rather than cubist I decided to turn another way this time. Lately I feel I also have to delve into the process of abstracting landscapes in pastel and oil. Somewhat of a blank spot in my oevre. I always have considered my pastels more suited to create impressionism than cubism. Maybe that has got something to do with a specific aspect. Broken hatched strokes create these impressionistic views better than other mediums. On the other hand I always feel myself much of a cheat doing big planes with chalks. That’s easy and perhaps I fear of delivering sloppy and hasty work. Cancel fear for 2024 I’d say and try it anyway. This pastel of this beautiful scenery in Berg en Dal is a first start.

Pastel drawing on Clairfontaine Pastel Mat paper (69.4 x 49.8 x 0.1 cm)
Artist: Corné Akkers

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Website link: https://corneakkers.com/2023/12/26/duivelsberg-25-12-23/
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Newest Addition

This graphite pencil drawing ‘Duivelsberg – 25-12-23’ is my newest addition to my ever growing Berg en Dal Series. Last pastel was great to do and I am inspired enough to expand the series with new ones. The scenery has everything a landscape artist could wish for. Even little creeks with wonderful water reflections run through it. I’m very much an advocate of this region. I often dwell here except for today. Which is Christmas by the way. It’s gloomy outside so I’d stick to an earlier reference photo I used for this one.
Drawing During Christmas

Last works consist of two pastels and an oil painting. ‘Sinterklaas in Voorburg – 03-12-23’ was my last graphite pencil drawing. That’s due to my intention to take up my pastel chalks once again. Sometimes you simply forget about a certain medium. With one in progress I feel confident to do a little sidestep in graphite again. Besides that, I’m with my parents now and t.v. shows don’t attrack me that much. What can an artist during such a holiday than to sip on an Irisch coffee and simply draw?

To the East

Last artworks handling this area were situated in the west. I thought it was about time to do a sketch of the Duivelsberg to the east of Berg en Dal. You might remember the scene. ‘Beek – 21-07-19’ is made live on just about the same location as this one. The dominant tree in the middle of the drawing is the same anyway. There is this path that leads to the Filosofendal. From that I took a picture in the direction of this very tree.

Artistic Approach

As to my artistic approach there was a nice distribution of tonal values I could work with. In the front there were many nice dark tonal regions. These are the leafy structures in the upper part of corner and the lower part formed by the path. The aim was to make this one not cubist as the previous but impressionist. These decisions came on a whim really. I think I fell in love with the smashing chiaroscuro depiction. The tonal distribution in the picture lends itself to impressionism more than to abstract forms cubistically. I’m glad I can handle, together with surrealism, all these styles. I hope I put a distinct mark on all these three and people will be able to acknowledge that.

Graphite pencil drawing (Faber Castell, Pitt Graphite matt, 14B) on Winsor & Newton Bristol board paper (21 x 14.8 x 0.1 cm – A5 format)
Artist: Corné Akkers

Available as original (if not sold), prints & printable. Check my website for more info:

Website link: https://corneakkers.com/2023/12/20/berg-en-dal-19-12-23/
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Berg en Dal – 19-12-23

Another Go in Pastel

This pastel drawing ‘Berg en Dal – 19-12-23’ is an elaboration of a graphite pencil drawing from May this year. After Golden 13-12-23 I wanted to do something different. Maybe altogether doing landscapes in pastel is on my mind again for quite a while now. My Series under the same name I sold out long ago. They are scattered over the whole word: China, America and Europe. Perhaps you remember Dali and Picasso, two great artists who were commercial talents as well. It’s obvious I love Berg en Dal so much and all pastels have been sold. Why combine these two facts and have another go?

Cubism

Back in 2014 when I made these pastels I was only discovering and forging my cubist style into roundism. That is, with regard to the female form. Later I started to apply cubism to cityscapes and landscapes as well. An example is the Schiedam Series. Well, preliminary work has been done already in this particular case. I liked the concept that much I decided this to be the kick-off for additions to the series.

Approach

Setting out proportions and forms was easy. Colors aren’t, obviously due to their relative character. That is why I decided for a save bet: pink and purples, orange, blue and green. So two cool and two profound warm colors. The trick is to not explode into colour saturation too much right away. Softening those later is quite a drag. Soft pastels like Schmincke simply don’t allow much of a second coat on top of a first. So, walking on the brink for me. Got that right, then I found some colored patches in the background too protruding. Contour delineations were to harsh. I soften them by rubbed them together. Finally I topped it off by enforcing some linear structures in the trees in the front. Surely I don’t think I can improve it now so I stopped.

Pastel drawing on Clairfontaine Pastel Mat paper (69.4 x 49.8 x 0.1 cm)
Artist: Corné Akkers

Visit my website for sales info (original (if not sold), prints & printable):

Website link: https://corneakkers.com/2023/12/04/sinterklaas-in-voorburg-03-12-23/
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Refurbishing

This graphite pencil drawing ‘Sinterklaas in Voorburg – 03-12-23’ is my first one after I my big operation on my website. It doesn’t happen that often I skip a beat. That is, not producing a drawing or painting per week but once in a while it does. Last one was ‘Clingendael – 15-11-23’. You see, I was working on refurbishing my website for months now. That is finished now. If you want to, you can have a peek and let me know what you think. Back to drawing because I missed that most intensely and I even have an oil under way.

Sinterklaas in Town

Saturday 18th November after art class I had another cultural activity. I had to attend a concert of the Voorburgs Vocaal Ensemble in the Koningskerk at 3 PM. Time for bite to eat in advance and so I went straight into the Herenstraat. I didn’t realize Sinterklaas (dutch Santa Claus) was in town. Many children all dressed up reminded me to that fact though. There he was, walking down from his steamboot into the Kerkstraat. However, it was raining cats and dogs. On a whim I decided to take some photos. In front of Restaurant Barquichon he stopped in front of a group of children to greet them. Off I went to the concert and forgot about the pics I took.

Elections

That was until after our elections for a new parliament last November 22nd. Now there is this guy called ‘Geert Wilders’ who won the elections. Many kicked up a lot of fuss because his ‘party’ doesn’t take our constitution too seriously. His programme show a lot of topics possibly conflicting with democratic principles. One divisive factor is the wanted return of ‘Black Pete’, the loyal Servant of Sinterklaas. Wokers and anti-racists fought for de-blackening him because of the association with our national slavery history. Not Wilders. He suffers from the Golden-Age syndrome and wants a return to traditional values. The old times were the best and so Black Pete is back on the menu.

Innocent Children’s Festival

These times are troublesome. Many in The Netherlands fear Trumpian situations. Maybe even a political pull to the right like in Slovakia, Poland or Hungary. I am one of those many. On the other hand I don’t like movements like ‘Kick Out Black Pete’ and wokers. They lay claim to the most political correct opinion nowadays. Before you know it, Pete has to be contracted as an employee with social benefits, health insurance and above all, equal to Sinterklaas. Preferably white and perhaps Sint black for a change. An innocent children’s festival attacked by both sides. Isn’t that what’s going on? There is no middle way it seems. Everything is shredded to pieces by extremists. I hope this drawing will remind people of the innocence and joyful character the concept of Sint and Piet

Available as original (if not sold), prints & printable. Learn more:

Website: https://corneakkers.com/2023/11/16/clingendael-15-11-23/
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A Bit of Mystery

This graphite pencil drawing ‘Clingendael – 15-11-23’ is the second impressionist drawing in a row. Last one of Amsterdam already was devoid of any cubist styling. This one is no different. The scenery is different though. This one stays close to home. Clingendael is just around the corner and I often dwell there. Luckily it offers all nice essentials a park can offer: trees, meadows, a mansion, water and reflections. Especially those I like the best. They are a bit of mystery. What is reflected is different from what lurks beneath. I always have to think of ‘De Koele Meren des Doods’, indicating reflected light on lakes, canals and ponds. The living light is on one side and in the depth darkness and death as two flipsides of a coin.

A6

It so happened to be that I forgot to bring along my A5 sketchbook to Brugman where I teach. I had some time left before art class started so I bought myself an A6 one. Actually it was quite some time ago I worked on this small size paper. Probably in 2019 when I also made some impressionist ones of Kethel and Amsterdam that I even sold. Due to the size and the resolution of the paper you get these incredible grainy textures. It almost works like a impressionistic filter. Something hardly to overstate because that’s the very thing I want for landscapes in general. Often I see contour delineations in works of others too harsh and defined. Therefor I always take good care to avoid these. Rather avoid too many details but only suggest them such as leaves on a branch. This one I completed in one go.

Graphite pencil drawing (Faber Castell, Pitt Graphite Matt, 14B) on Winsor & Newton Bristol board paper (21 x 14.8 x 0.1 cm – A5 format)
Artist: Corné Akkers

Available as original (if not sold), prints & printable. Visit my website for learn more:

Website link: https://corneakkers.com/2023/11/09/the-magere-brug-in-amsterdam-09-11-23/
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Clueless as to Female Forms

This graphite pencil drawing ‘The Magere Brug in Amsterdam – 09-11-23’ is rather realistic looking but let me explain why. Of late I started sketching urban sceneries and landscapes again. St.-Bavo in Haarlem – 03-10-23 was the first one in a while. In the meantime I am racking my brain on what to do with the female form next. Art Deco, neo deco, roundism and/or cubism paired to surrealism and impressionism, I don’t know. I have made so many of them. It’s only natural to shift from bodyscapes to landscapes and back once in a while. There’s also another reason. I started again with my In Hoc Signo painting. Lots of work to do. Creating these A5-size sketches is a break from the grand tale I try to play out on wood panel.

Amsterdam Trip

This having said, there are plenty of artistic motifs to work out. A graveyard of pictures in my archive I took throughout the years, doing citytrips and walking in nature. So it happened I walked out the Hermitage Amsterdam one time, now called H’Art. There I visited a Rembrandt and other old 17th century dutch old masters exhibition, coming from St. Petersburg. Going for a bite-to-eat in the centre I had a lovely view on the Magere Brug (Skinny Bridge) afterwards. In the back the Amstelsluizen were visible and behind them the Sarpathistraat. I liked the stacked outlook of all three structures and thought I’d turn it into a drawing one day. That was this day.

Impressionist Only

My last drawing ‘Berg en Dal – 02-11-23’ already was more impressionist than cubist. This one totally is devoid of any form of cubism. I intented a sort of cubist styling though but soon realized that was not in the books this time. Simply because the scenery looked rather flat. Also because I feared abstracting forms stacked behind eachother would deliver me only some kind of amorphous rubble pile. Instead I turned to regular impressionism or realism for that matter. I kept the bridge, buildings and trees in the back rather sketchy and vague. Therefor the Skinny Bridge stands out more, just like the canal boat in the front. Fun to do and this style reminds me of younger days when I sketched in the surroundings of Nijmegen.

Graphite pencil drawing (Sakura 0.5 mm, 4B) on Winsor & Newton paper (21 x 14.8 x 0.1 cm – A5 format)
Artist: Corné Akkers

Availabe as original (if not sold), prints & printable. Visit my website to learn more:

Website link: https://corneakkers.com/2023/11/02/berg-en-dal-02-11-23/
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A Perfect Mixture

This graphite pencil drawing ‘Berg en Dal – 02-11-23’ is a sort of mixture of cubism and impressionism. Less abstracted than the previous one but more cubist than the one before. That was my very aim. I’m still searching for the perfect balance between both styles. In fact, throughout the years my quest has been to prevent people from detecting a certain style. In the past I have been accused for being the new Picasso. In earlier days: “Hey, your style resembles Edward Hopper’s or Dali’s”. More than any other artist I long for creating a style to call my own, like Van Gogh or Cézanne did. My gut feeling still tells me to let both styles converge so they cancel eachother out, becoming one entirely new. What do you say? I think, it’s the only way to come up with something new.

The Very Spot

The motif is situated in Berg en Dal, Gelderland, Netherlands. At least, I guess it is. I couldn’t see it clearly on the map. I think Beek-Ubbergen is just around the corner. In fact, the very spot is at the end of the second-last path to the right from the Rijksstraatweg. There is this white house you can see behind the dominant tree. They rent it out as a vacation home. Anyway, the Duivelsberg is to the left and it’s a lovely valley that I frequently visit. Nearby I made a small drawing in 2019.

Grainy Structure

I like how the Winsor & Newton paper reacts to the Pitt Graphite Matt pencil made by Faber Castell. It’s rather grainy. When I draw a plane I can either rub it out or enjoy the ribbled structure. It favors an impressionist look but it’s still good enough for cubism though. These kinds of paper are conducive to vague contour delineations in the back. That’s something harder to achieve using Bristol paper. Its structure is rather dense and suited for fine detailing. Hence, there is a nice sketchy feel to these kinds of drawings. Don’t you agree?

Graphite pencil drawing (Faber Castell, Pitt Graphite Matt, 14B) on Winsor & Newton Bristol board paper (21 x 14.8 x 0.1 cm – A5 format)
Artist: Corné Akkers

Sales info: original (if not sold), prints & printable - visit my website:

Website link: https://corneakkers.com/2023/10/31/berg-en-dal-30-10-23/
Printable: https://corneakkers.com/product/printable-berg-en-dal-30-10-23/
Something More Cubist

This graphite pencil drawing ‘Berg en Dal – 30-10-23’ is my next one in the series of the same name. Doing the last one I really got the hang of it. That one was rather impressionistic than cubistic but I really don’t mind. I like the result nonetheless. However, a former drawing lingered in my mind, a scenery much more abstracted. That’s how it goes, from a more realistic approach to abstract. Years ago I also drew a cubist forest in the same municipality. It happens to be that I found the perfect reference picture. Therefor I was very eager to turn it into something beautiful.

Sparkling Diamonds

You see, last weekend I went to the actual place. There I took some pictures of wonderful hillsides with trees in Autumn colors. Not the abovemeant picture though. That one I took in the Summertime. It was in my folder of ideas on my computer still waiting to be used. The actual scenery was full of leafy structures. I believe it’s somewhere between the Jan Dommer van Polderveldtsweg and the Boterberg. Though leaves light was scattered across a narrow path lingering through the hills with tall trees marking it. They resembled sparkling diamonds waiting for me to pluck them with a pencil.

Blinded by the Light

My cubist forest interpretation of the Valley of the Philosophers from 2015 was done in the same style. Personally, I think this one might be a more refined. There are plenty of cubist planes alright but when I compared the two I spot differences. Planary distribution is more subtle without getting to fragmented though. It’s what you see when you walk down a leafy path anyway. Sometimes you almost get blinded my the light, disturbed by restless patterns of dark and light. What do you say, does it lean more to the impressionist side than cubist? Not that I care much.

Graphite pencil drawing (Faber Castell, Pitt Graphite Matt, 14B) on Winsor & Newton Bristol board paper (21 x 14.8 x 0.1 cm – A5 format)
Artist: Corné Akkers

Website link: https://corneakkers.com/2023/10/25/berg-en-dal-25-10-23/
Printable: https://corneakkers.com/product/printable-berg-en-dal-25-10-23/

A Sort of Try-out

This graphite pencil drawing ‘Berg en Dal – 25-10-23’ puts me back on track. Lately I was planning to do some more cityscapes, treescapes and landscapes. Throughout my career as artist I consider, together with my cubist female forms, them the cement of my art. Surely, once in a while a bigger painting comes up. That’s the grand tale I have to tell from time to time. This little drawing at hand I completed today by definition is a sort of try-out. I like to experiment with slight changes in style in order to see if can get away with it.

Boterberg

You see, I drew one last May, almost the same spot. In Berg en Dal, Gelderland, Netherlands that is. I was curious if I could get the same quality again. I liked it and I like the very spot that is most dear to me as well. Same treelines and hilly outlook, slightly differently rendered though. We are talking about the Boterberg, part of Beek-Ubbergen. Higher up it could be Berg en Dal. I’m not sure. As stated before, dutch hills in the eyes of foreigners look ridiculous. However, any elevation in The Netherlands is good enough to spend some time on. Besides that, I don’t need extented forest like the Big Sur, California. I was there once and it seemed I could get lost there forever. The hills outside Nijmegen offer me just the right amount of artistic motifs.

Impressionism or Cubism?

As to the style, I must confess I didn’t get a cubist quality again. Although there are some cubist or roundistic elements in it, I missed a couple of big trees. In the other drawing there were some big striking trees at the right. Somehow I felt a more abstract cubist approach wouldn’t work in this one. I feared the scenery otherwise would have become a bit too much amorph looking. The artwork tends more to impressionism than cubism. What do you think? Last but not least, the shadow in the lower left corner is me. I remember I felt like one of those small figures straight out of a Caspar David Friedrich paintings.

Graphite pencil drawing (Faber Castell, Pitt Graphite Matt, 14B) on Winsor & Newton Bristol board paper (21 x 14.8 x 0.1 cm – A5 format)
Artist: Corné Akkers

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