Common mistakes in composition

Dead point in the compositionAbout composition: Never put your subject right in the centre of the canvas. A composition is rarely successful in this way because here is the dead, boring point of the painting.


Basket with pomegranates. Focal point in the centre of the image.

Pomegranates on the blue tablecloth in our kitchen

A better composition?


    Posted in About painting, Our kitchen garden, Uncategorized | Leave a comment

    Portrait painting & music

    A short message in this mid-week post. In some of my portrait painting videos, the music is provided by my cousin Will Sophie.  For those who want to learn to play guitar like Will: that is possible. Check out his video, really great. I wish you lots of success Will.

    My cousin Will teaching how to play Southern Rock Licks

    My cousin Will teaching how to play Southern Rock Licks

      Posted in Music, Personal, Uncategorized, Video Tutorials | Leave a comment

      Mum, I wanna be a carpenter!

      As a young child I knew what I wanted to be. Not a fireman or a pilot. I wanted to be a carpenter. My neighbour was a carpenter and it seemed to me the best job in the world. When I told this to my mother one day, she replied literally, “No, Ben, you can do more.” However, I wanted nothing else. With my very first pocket money I bought a bag of brand new nails at the hardware store. I had seen my dad always dabbling with these bent, rusty things that needed to be straightened. All that fiddling, not my thing. No. I had made up my mind. I wanted to tackle things rigorous from the start. But… I did not become a carpenter.

      My self built studio. Paterna 1997

      My self built studio. Paterna 1997

      Eventually I went into art, portrait painting. And devotedly. It’s come to dominate my life as I wrote you last week. But besides painting I did however teach myself carpentry as a hobby. Once in Spain, I got the opportunity to build my own studio. And I seized this chance with both hands. From the first construction drawings to the building itself. The masonry, the welding work, the plumbing, the electricity, and of course the carpentry, everything done by myself, albeit with the help of my wife. It has become a perfect studio and a wonderful workplace. That was fifteen years ago. Recently we moved to an other place and I work in a different studio now. Strangely enough I don´t miss my old studio. Maybe the building process itself was more important than the finished result (traveling is better than arriving, so it often goes).

      Ps: the work on the family portrait is progressing.

      Below more pictures of the building site.

      building an art studio

      Building my studio.

        Posted in About painting, Long time ago, Personal | 1 Comment

        Don´t marry, he said…

        “If you are planning to make a living out of art, I have to warn you, it might consume you completely. It will confiscate your life and hinder any relationship. In fact, Ben, it is wise not to marry.¨ These are the words of Beatus Nijs, my art teacher. I was fifteen years old and did not really understand the meaning of his ardent advice. I was a boy. Almost fifty years later, casting my mind back, I recognize some truth in this statement.

        Sunday working?

        Sunday working?

        The large painting that I am busy with, sequestrates me completely, and not just when I’m painting. Also when I am eating, when I go shopping, or taking the daily walk with my wife. Continuously the work is in my mind. For me it´s no problem but for people around me it certainly is. I am not very sociable. However I’m glad I never followed Beatus´s advice. Of course.

          Posted in About painting, Personal, Uncategorized | 4 Comments

          Portrait painting: handiwork

          painting hands


          This week I am busy working on the family portrait I told you about last week: many hands, and that is really where I enjoy myself.  So, literally handiwork. However, I have to be careful that drawing attention to them will not distract too much from the faces! By all means there is still a lot to be done. To be continued…

            Posted in About painting, Uncategorized | 1 Comment