Graphic Eilandje

Being an expat is an every day adventure. Saying all-too-frequent good-byes is one of it's highest price tags.

After moving back to "home", one of my expat friends found herself very much missing her days on Antwerp's Eilandje. She saw my Graphic Orchids, and asked if I could create an artwork for her entryway in the same style as way to honor her time in Belgium. I said, "Yes, of course!"

After several trips into the city, I had many ideas: a collection of boats, dancing cranes, a close-up of a female statue, an interesting building in the distance.... but an iconic image of the MAS (Museum aan de Stroom) kept standing out in my mind. I love how this area balances old and new, natural and contrived, bold and subtle.... it really tells an interesting story about Antwerp. So I sketched my heart out.

Graphic Eilandje, charcoal sketch
Graphic Eilandje, pencil sketch

Graphic Eilandje, charcoal sketch
Graphic Eilandje, test painting

The final image balances elements of all the sketches. Realism is juxtaposed with the half-formed. Bold blocks interplay with soft curves. Crisp details draw the viewer in, while rough suggestions give the picture its sense of completeness. The painting is in a way, a portrait of my dear friend: strong while sweet, bold while subtle, ambitious while fostering the best in others.

Graphic Eilandje, oil and pencil on canvas, 60x80 cm

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