All posts in project coal


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


“ART Connects (?), Across Borders” – Expo in De Kantfabriek, Ninove

Sorry for the lack on blog post lately. I’m working (more then) fulltime in my studio and haven’t seen my office for a while.

Latest news: I’m participating in the group show “ART Connects (?), Across Borders” with my ceramics. The location is “De Kantfabriek” in Ninove (BE), that’s an old lace factory.
The opening show where you’re kindly invited to, is Thursday, May 31st.
The works of art I’ve seen from the other participants today are really marvellous, so don’t miss this show!

Me, I’m showing for the first time my favorite black painted ceramic Saint Barbara. I already miss her in my home, but you can take a look at here for the next month. Be kind to her: she’s fragile, and she doesn’t want to be touched without white cotton gloves. She will bite you if you act otherwise. And if SHE doesn’t: I will. That’s a promise.

affiche “ART Connects (?), Across Borders”

“ART Connects (?), Across Borders”

with Ilan Weiss | Nicolas Baeyens | Julie Scheurweghs | Feline Minne | Gino Rizzi | Caroline Vandenbouhede | Marijke Henkens | An Vanderlinden | Anna Gray | Hilde NIJS |

Openingshow Thursday, May 31st, 20:00
with Art Critic/Poet Inge Braeckman, Percussion duo As One, filmschool Narafi Brussels with sci-fi shorty “Brick the wall”

EXPO untill july first, every Saturday and Sunday from 15 – 18 hours.

De Kantfabriek, Burchtstraat 4, Ninove, Belgium


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 ;)


The most beautiful and blackest pigment, comes from ……

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

I talk a lot about paint over here, which I’m making from pigment-ground coal. But what I didn’t told you yet, is with which coal I’m doing all these tests. Not all coal is the same you know. Far from.

From Semple’s Black over coal from Zolder to weird tests with purchased coal.

kibble coal from Zolder - anv.beMy collaboration with Semple’s search for the blackest paint possible for everyone (except Anish Kapoor), was the beginning of my “coalpaint story”. I started experimenting with coal from Zolder. That paint was dark brown. Then I tried anthracite. The result was a neutral black paint. Mixed with Semple’s Black 2.0, it was the blackest existing paint. Until here you were up-to-date.

But I wanted to make the paint more black. The more light something absorbens, the darker it seems. A matt surface absorbens light. But the antracite I used, shines. A shining pigment reflects the light in stead of absorbing it. I should be able to fix that…

tests manipulated coal pigment-

Fix it, like in: trying to make the coal mat. For this I did the most idiotic tests: Mixing coal with White Spirit, with turpentine, with Ammonia, with … all unhealthy stinking products, which deprived the coal of its luster. I transformed the matted coal into paint, hoping to get the black paint even blacker. And that worked. The difference between the paint results was by far not as big as the difference between dry pigment, but it was there. A lot of hassle. And really not healthy. Good for a test strip, not for producing.

But because of the color difference between Zolder’s coal and that of the purchased coal …

I became very curious about what color the coal of Beringen would give. Below the washing plant, I could see piles of coal, which I would really like to have. But the site was closed with fences, and there was a warning sign that there’s camera surveillance. Damn.

If there is something that I learned in 2017

then it is, that if I really want something, I just have to dare to ask. The answer is surprisingly often yes, and I am incredibly happy about that.
The rest you can read tomorrow :-), in part 2.


Best wishes!

Black / Best wishes for a Brilliant 2018! Have a happy and healthy New Year!

Used paints:
– base/background = regular paint for art (Golden Carbon Black matte Acrylics)
– black = AnV’s blackest coalpaint
– wishes for = Stuart Semple’s Black 2.0
– brilliant 2018 = AnV’s glossy coal


To all (former) miners:

have a nice St Barbara feast!

ceramic artwork respresenting Sint Barbara with a mining lamp.

“In the name of my father, my grandfather and their friends” (f1/02)
Acrylic paint, coal & stones from the slagheap on ceramic, 2017

I made this ceramic in 2012, but I didn’t like the glaze … so I upcycled it ;-)
The stones are from the slag heap from Beringen. (I was born a stone’s throw from that slag heap ;-)


Black Friday?

Oh well, that’s just an ordinary day in my studio :-)

Black paint tests AnV.beBlack paint tests

So yes, I’m still trying to create the nicest black. I have a very beautifull, very dark one, with a velvet structure. I absolutely love it. And it’s really really black. Now I’m trying to find the best way to produce it, because I have big plans for next year, and I’ll need a lot of this paint.

AnV background image