Plein-air pen and wash on paper


Welcome to my site

Most of my sketches are started with pen and ink on paper depicting a framework of a scene. A lot of scribbles define the outline of shapes and their relative proportions compared to surrounding features in a particular view of  a landscape, cityscape or a still life. Then comes the fun part. Filling in areas with parallel lines, more scribbles or solid black renderings to add depth to the scene.

Nanaimo Boat Yard

Even more pleasure is derived from applying watercolour pigments  to create  light and dark shapes, and of course, colours; and like magic, a collection of lines is transformed into an array of surfaces to give a three dimensional illusion of the subject.

As I live in Nanaimo, my drawings illustrate, for the most part Vancouver Island landscapes, urban settings and vistas. I like the watercolour on paper medium as it is versatile for use on location in all kinds of environments.  I have made sketches  in the car during cold or rainy weather and even made sketches in my kayak when conditions were favourable.

Nanaimo-Stone's Marina 2 (Small)

Stone’s Marina

I learned to draw from real life during my vocational training in the Netherlands many years ago. Drawing on location is a challenging activity and a skill that can be acquired by anyone; learning to paint and to colour on the other hand, is a lifelong endeavor that can be both pleasing and trying, but always captivating. The transparency of the medium allows me to keep the sketches “loose” or “sketchy”, leaving some room for viewers to supplement my interpretation of a scene with their own feelings or experience.

I thank you for visiting and would welcome comments you may wish to make on my sketches.


John Hofman, Nanaimo BC

250 755 1757




11 thoughts on “Introduction

  1. Fantastic John. Really enjoyed viewing you work! Bob Evans. Kelowna.


  2. Love your work, John. Wonderful detail but still loose and painterly. Jan Evans


  3. Thank you for describing your process. I carry a sketchbook everywhere and hope to eventually be as loose as you are while making a scene vivid. (I won’t live long enough, I’m sure — your work speaks to years of application.)


  4. How do I sign up for your blog? I don’t find a mechanism for giving you my email. thanks.


  5. It’s great to discover your work through Doodlewash, John. I really like your style which also resonates with me because I live on the Lower Mainland and make regular trips to the island where I have family. Your drawings of the ferry terminals and Granville St. Bridge are amazing — your engineering training definitely shows!! What you do in Nanaimo, I’d like to do here in New Westminster but I’m still working on my drawing and painting skills. As Julia says above, there is no widget for subscribing to your blog by email — it would be nice to get updates via email as you post.


  6. Beautiful Work, highly inspirational.


  7. John, you’re always such an inspiration! Thanks for sharing these great images!


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