All posts in painting


New paint tests of “new” coal = new project. Exciting!


It’s been a long time since I wrote anything here. Reason: I’m too busy to sit in front of my computer. And when I do take some rest, sitting behind my computer is not exactly my idea of relaxation. In short: personal point of improvement ;-)

What I have done so far besides renovating our house during the weekends and days off, move twice, and clean up the incessant stream of rain that continues to pour in as long as the roofer doesn’t get here to do his job…
painting in my amazing new studio. And rushing outside every time the sun wants to shine for a moment, to wash, grind and sift coal.

I am testing “new” coal: coal from Eisden, the easternmost coal mine of Belgium. In preparation for a new project that is very exciting for me. I will hopefully tell you a lot more about it soon.

Update 17/11: o ooooh. I told the whole story on instagram, but I still have to add it here. On its way!


Start of the largest painting I ever made, in a hidden corner of the coal preparation plant: Artist Residency week 5

April 31, mo

Today I can start my first “really big” painting. I never had the chance before to make such a large painting, but I wanted this for years. Happy! This one is 2m x 2m50.

I moved to the other side of the shaft tower. Over here the floor is flat, that’s good because now I can walk backwards without stumbling over the train rails.
The view is also (more then) suberb, and…. No one can see me 😁. I’m hidden now for all visitors, love it!

May 1, tue

People often ask: how do you start with a painting like this? Simple: I just take paint and a brush :-). And in this particular case: curse a bit in the inside because I made my paint a little bit too dark.


May 2, we

May, 6° C …. Damn cold! This is the first day that I actually took a break at noon to go the sauna. (There’s a swiming pool with sauna here in be-MINE).
My back hurts sooo much, it needed to warm up. Luckily the sun came through in the afternoon.

This is the fast forward version of today…

versus the slow truth

May 3, thu

Did I already mentioned that I’m working in a really HUGE building? 😉All of the sudden, that large canvas doesn’t seems to be so large at all.

Putting things in perspective seems to be today’s theme ;-)

May 4, fri

I worked late last night. It’s going well, I have a clear picture of this painting in my head.

Also today was a productive day :-)

Roundup Artist Residency Week 5

I finally started my first really big painting, and it goes well: I’m happy! The format suits me, and I am completely at ease in this new place. Nice :-)


About letting go of fear and moving out: this was my Artist Residency week 4

April 23, mo

Today I ‘ve let go of fear, and I simply painted. Man it felt great! I kept it modest and not worked opaque, but still, I feel that I have finally painted again, phew!

An Vnderlinden schilderij in opbouw tijdens Artist Residency week 4

April 24, tue

I have worked really well today. My first large painting is “restored”. I had messed it up yesterday, it’s OK now. It is a lot darker now, finally! Almost finished.
Charbon de Beringen, An Vanderlinden

Today I have also (finally) really taken care of the 3 small paintings that I am working on. I hope it is dry enough tomorrow, it looks promising.
3 kleine schilderijtjes in opbouw tijdens An V's Artist Residency week 4

April 25, wed

The next days, a film crew will be shooting a soap at this location. I promised them to pack my things. I had not really thought about how to move that carpet … :-D :-D
Once at home I still had the feeling that I was eating dust. I’ve put all my clothes directly in the washing machine, and myself in the shower for an hour.

April 26, thu

So this is my home for a few days. As I expected, I’m feeling comfortable inside my “paint office”. Look, I even have a nice carpet in here :-D.

The film crew of the Flemish television soap “Familie” is working nearby. To be honest: I never saw even one episode, so I don’t have any clue who the f**ck “NIKO” is, and why somebody is desperately screaming to find him. I do know they had to shoot that particular scene many, many, many times 😜
I looked it up yesterday: it was on view the first week of september.

April 27, fri

A very nice side-effect of that film crew being here, is that be-MINE removed the fences halfway the unloading floor. The alarm is still on so I can’t go any further then usually, but the view is so much nicer. I’ve already taken lots of pictures today, and I guess I will take some more :). Soooo beautiful.

And have a look how everything changes when the evening light kicks in. I’m so in love with this building

Losvloer kolenswasserij Beringen, april 2018, foto An Vanderlinden

Losvloer kolenswasserij Beringen, april 2018, avond, foto An Vanderlinden

April 28, sa

The evening light was also outside very beautiful yesterday :-). I went for a walk on the slagheap after work.

Schachtbok Beringen in avondlicht, foto: An Vanderlinden


Roundup Artist Residency Week 4

In the end: the relief :). My first big painting is finally finished. Finally! The second is completely different but that was mentally necessary. That one is not finished yet. Also worked on the 3 small paintings. Productive week eventually.

Lijm gesmeerd en steenkool gestrooid op mijn doek tijdens Artist Residency week 4

Schilderij "charbon de beringen 1" An Vanderlinden


Unwanted visitors. Even twice. Artist Residency week 3.

April 17, tue

For the first time sunshine in the evening: this light is mesmerizing. I see things I never saw before. Suddenly colors appear in the back of the building, gorgeous! I really love this light.

 losvloer be-mine

April 18, wed

Wonderful weather today. Sun and warm. Too much sun, unfortunately. The unloading floor is very nice, but it is difficult to work where I stand, I have to install me differently tomorrow. A lot of messing around today because the sun was making a difference on my canvas. But I amused myself, so blissfully without cold!

April 19, thu

Finally spring! Or will I call it summer? It is sunny, 28 ° (!) , and there is a blissful warm breeze. I had my lunch outside outside on the slag heap :).

anv terril zicht op be-MINEANV 20180419 terril Beringen

April 20, fri : unwanted visitors

I was terrified last night! Normally I have to stop working at 6 pm because from then on, I am alone on the site, the offices and the mining museum are closed. If I want to stay a little longer, I have to inform the people of be-MINE. Yesterday I did so for the very first time, I told them I would like to stay until 8 pm.
A quarter before 8, I just started packing my things, the alarm goes off. That means that there are burglars in the building. I heard stories about both copper thieves and urban explorers. From the first category I am afraid. I feel a lump in my throat from fear. What should I do? They may also think that I caused the alarm myself by entering an area where I’m not allowed to.

I send a text message: “The alarm goes off. It is not me who’s causing it, but I am still in the building.” A little while later the alarm stops, and I get a phone call: “I am looking at the camera images right now. I see people. They are just teens, 2 girls and a boy. I think the alarm scared them off, they’re probably running away.” Almost at the same time I hear outside a girl screaming “the alarm goes off!”

Thought to go for a swim, but only felt like a drink afterwards.

ANV 2018 04 19 losvloer be-MINE

April 20, fri

I brushed my painting clean this morning. Yesterday I scattered unsieved coal on a layer of glue, by there is not much left of it. Mostly dust actually. It was not my intention that the surface would be full of grains, but I had expected more of it. No problem, so I learn again.
anv steenkool borstelen

April 21, sa : unwanted visitors, again.

Highlight of the day (NOT): Unwanted visitors, again. This time it was a group of elderly people. One of them wanted to know if it’s Art that I am creating. I tend to ignore his question, but he really needs an answer. He asks a second time: “Is this art?” His wife, embarrassed, smiles an apology to me, and says to him: “of course it is. Mondriaan, that’s also with a lot of squares, and that’s also art.”
But the man isn’t satisfied as long as he doesn’t get an answer straight from me. “Is this art?”, he asks me for the third time. So I answer: “Yes sir, this is Art.” That’s the answer he waited for. His most disapproving gaze is my part.
“But that doesn’t mean that you have to like it.” I add, while I turn my back.
I know I shouldn’t care, but I feel like crying.

anv taking distance flat work 2018 04 20

Round up Artist Residency week 3:

I’ve worked extensively. Painted many thin layers. Still not good. I’m getting frustrated. I’ve painted during many hours the last 3 weeks, and there’s still not one painting OK.
Conclusion: I do it the wrong way. It is too complicated.
I have to try to get everything in balance. I’m thinking way too much now. I want to “just” paint, amuse myself, have fun doing it. But I’m afraid.

Schilderij CDB1 in progress, An Vanderlinden


Artist Residency in old mine building Beringen

part 1: The most beautiful and blackest pigment, comes from …
part 2 : Coal preparation plant Beringen
part 3 : Artist Residency in old mine building

An Vanderlinden during her Artist Residency in the coal washing plant of Beringen
When I wrote about my visit to the coal preparatioin plant in Beringen at the end of March, I was not able to tell you everything. Now I am. Well, almost everything ;-)

In love with the coal preparation plant

As I wrote at the time, I am really crazy about mine buildings. I love that atmosphere, the space, the mysterious light … the whole history of it gives so much inspiration. Whenever I am in such a building, I just want to stay there and paint. During my tour of be-MINE, I fell so much in love with the release floor, that I said that aloud. “Then you have to submit an application”, was the answer.

Permission Artist Residency

I asked permission to make paintings on the release floor for a number of months, with the coal paint I was developing. The Beringen coal would eventually be processed at the place where it was originally brought up.

About 3 months after I officially asked my question, I received permission from be-MINE. Very exceptional, because normally that area can not be used without supervision. Sometimes dreams come true.


The agreement contained some conditions, including that I should not receive visitors. This for safety reasons. Press / media attention was allowed in the end, as you noticed in a previous message. At first I was a bit disappointed because I wanted to shout it from the rooftops. But once at work, I was happy, even very happy, that no one could come to disturb. I was happy that I was not allowed to share stories and photos here and on social media. That gave me the peace I needed to focus solely on my paintings. I started to paint almost daily, often on weekends. From morning till evening. For 4 months eventually. It was very, very intensive, but oh so blissful.

Follow the report

Every day I took photos, and occasionally I wrote something to be able to report afterwards. As from October 1, I start here, and on instagram and facebook, to show you what happened during these 4 months.

My story is told in February. At that time, you can come and see my paintings in real life. They will be exhibited from February 10 to March 3, 2019, in cultural center Casino Beringen (Belgium). Save the date!


Charbon de Beringen : Artist Residency in coal washing plant

You already knew that I make paint from coal, since you’re following this blog.
The end of march, I revealed that I’m working with local coal to make the darkest black paint.

But what I didn’t told you yet, is that I was preparing my Artist Residency at that time. For 4 months, I had the most beautiful, inspiring studio I can imaging.

Local TV station TVL came to pay me a visit

so did the internetgazet:

Both links are in Dutch, but you’ll get the picture.

My eternal thanks to be-MINE for giving me permission and their kind support,
and a very big thank you to all former miners who dug up this beautiful coal.


Coal preparation plant Beringen

part 1: The most beautiful and blackest pigment, comes from …
part 2 : Coal preparation plant Beringen
part 3 : Artist Residency in old mine building

Mine shaft Beringen - So I saw coal lying on a place that I could not reach, and popped the question, to be-MINE. If I please could collect some coal, because I want to use it in my paintings? Turned out they already knew my work, so that was allowed. Even more: I got a whole guided tour through the buildings, on the way to better coal than the one I had seen from the outside.

I’m really crazy about these old coal plants, so I was high for at least a week afterwards, from all the places I’ve seen with a safety helmet on my head.
Actually, I’m high again whenever I look at the photos I made that day. Even though most of them failed because of being taken too quickly and enthusiastically :).

But the best is yet to come: the coal, because that’s what it was all about. Coal from Beringen, the city my parents originated from. Coal from the coal mine in whose hospital I was born.

I got a few “types”, different thicknesses of coal. On sight this coal does not really look black, it is not really dark. “That’s dust,” I think, so I start by washing the smallest coal. Funny though, washing coal that you have received from a coal-washing plant. Even funnier was that the rinsing water was so thick that it did not run through the sieve, but remained on top of it. It looked like mercury. This is probably due to the magnetite that was added to the water in the coal washing plant in order to separate the coal from the stones, but I deviate.

Coal from the coal preparation plant of Beringen - AnV.besmall pieces of coal from Beringen -

So I washed the coal, and let it dry. It still looked as light. Afterwards I grinded it to powder, added some products and rubbed it into paint.
Pigment paste made with coal from Beringen - AnV.beMy blackest coalpaint -

Black paint. But really black paint. Much blacker than the color of the dry coal suggests that it could ever be. So black, that I started to wonder …

Do you remember the tests I was talking about yesterday, to make paint as black as possible? Guess what else is blacker than coal that has been dulled by mixing chemical products?
Exactly: coal from Beringen. :-)

Blackest coalpaint tests by An Vanderlinden

Since then I have been “slightly” possessed by this coal from Beringen. I stand up with it, and I go to sleep with it. Hours and hours and hours I’ve spent on testing, because with this, I really want to paint. I’ll tell you more about that soon. I am still trying to summarize it …. and that’s a hell of a job itself ;)

AnV background image