The aquarelle sketches are studies for the 'metamorphosen' portraits, they are various takes on the approach of how to paint a person. Watercolor on 80g paper, A4 all made in 2018.

Portrait sketch 18 aquarel on paper A4 2018
Portrait sketch 19 aquarel on paper A4 2018
Portrait sketch 20 aquarel on paper A4 2018

Portrait sketch 21 aquarel on paper A4 2018
Portrait sketch 22 aquarel on paper A4 2018
Portrait sketch 17 aquarel on paper A4 2018
Portrait sketch 16 aquarel on paper A4 2018
Portrait sketch 1 aquarel on paper A4 2018
Portrait sketch 15 aquarel on paper A4 2018
Portrait sketch 2 aquarel on paper A4 2018
Portrait sketch 3 aquarel on paper A4 2018
Portrait sketch 4 aquarel on paper A4 2018
Portrait sketch 5 aquarel on paper A4 2018
Portrait sketch 6 aquarel on paper A4 2018
Portrait sketch 7 aquarel on paper A4 2018


I will write more about this when I am further in my investigation, but as a start I want to share this information. Antwerp 23 November 2018.

Yesterday evening I installed a simple projector with a lamp, mirror and two lenses on an image of a hand. The hand was projected on the wall and with some clay I tried to sculpt a copy.

My simple set up, with a projected hand on the wall.
Here is what I experienced:
  • to add little pieces of clay isn't working, as the image of the hand floats in thin air and will not take shape on bits of clay.
  • to put a big cube of clay in front of the projector, adjust the lenses for a clear image on the clay and then remove the clay where the image doesn't show works. 
  • The technique is simple: you free the shape out of the cube.
  • The darker the projected image the further inwards your sculpture.

In about 15 minutes I got this result.

  •  It works as a visual aid, but you still need all of your skills to make a proper shape. The clay will fold and crumble without reinforcement.
  •  I used an atypical photo, with a strong contrast, to retest with a normal photo would be interesting.
  •  adjustments in distance between the projector and the sculpture blurred the image and the more the image is blurred, the harder it is to follow it with the clay sculpting.
  • A hard white flat surfaced material would be best to get a clear image, like marble.

The use of visual aids has been researched and explained by David Hockney in his revealing book about secret knowledge:
I like to compare these techniques with buying a computer, it helps if you want to achieve something, but it won't make great art for you.

Drawing of a sculpture, a study.

The idea of sculptors using visual aids came to me while I was studying sculptures from the middle ages in one book and sculptures by Rodin in another book. There are stunning similarities between these sculptures and Hockney's timeline of lifelike images in paintings. I started to think of Ingres and Delacroix and what kind of sculptures were made then.

As a painter I don't feel the need to invest a lot of time in sculptures, however much I like it as an art form. With little skills and no experience I could do the test just to find out how the process would work. The result is: it works. Don't expect magic.

The most wonderful result of Hockney's book 'Secret Knowledge' is that now painters don't need to believe the supernatural genius myth. Today many people still believe the idea that all you see in the Louvre and Gemäldegalerie is a combination of hard work and being a genius. If we would know how it is done, we can actually appreciate the artist for their choices and results.

Some people might argue that you can also make highly realistic works by training and working hard. This is true, but the point is that with a projection you can aid yourself and skip the hardship of trying so hard. What might take years can, with a little help, be achieved in minutes.

Like I said, it's a tool, and a good one, since it puts an end to the need to make something life like. When you know how it is done, you can move on to new interesting works. Just like with paintings, once you know 'how' you can move on to 'what I really want'.


In a small street in the busy part of an end-of-the-eighteenth century district of Antwerp is an iron gate, behind the gate is a garden with some new architecture. Behind wooden façades are studios, and one of those sunk rooms is my studio. This part of town used to be the working district for linen dyers, the garden would be for bleaching and cleaning and a brook would flow under my studio.

© Babo
Yoko Enoki and Ada Van Hoorebeke in front of Yoko's studio, it is built over a brook in the hills in Japan.

We lost the beginning a long time ago, and our new project starts in the middle. The folding of geography is the theme of our new collaboration:

Yoko's studio, Tokyo

Open Studio's 2018

For the event of 'Open Studio's 2018' Yoko and I present our collective studio. Her work is next to mine and the studio space is shared. It is our studio now, in the Bloemstraat in Borgerhout.

We are painters and friends and have our own style. I met Yoko while she studied painting in Antwerp, and her work reminded me of Japan. I was two years old when I first arrived in Japan, and in the past ten years I have frequently visited Tokyo, by coincidence as it happened.

me, probably in 1982.
Yoko's studio in Tokyo
The moss shop, Tokyo.
For Open Studio's 2018 we present the shared studio, where we both have the opportunity to show our work. It seems such a normal thing to do, but in fact it is crucial to have the opportunity and keep an art practice that is relevant and in connection to other artists. To make this international, even intercontinental, is a project worth to continue.

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