I arrived home yesterday and well it looks nothing like this.
Filed under: photography, travel | Tags: amsterdam, construction, nemo, photography
It is always worth demanding the bus driver drop you off ‘in the middle of nowhere’ despite their incredulity. The middle of nowhere being under a train bridge fifteen minutes away from city center. It’s a pleasure to discover the construction and demolition that’s constantly happening behind the sweet facade of this historical city. I’m heading to Rotterdam in the morning then to Berlin In two days. Short trips will hopefully still allow a peek behind the tourist districts.
Across the other side of the world I just discovered that Rowland S Howard has passed away, so out has come the Boys Next Door, Birthday Party and his beautiful solo work.
And here is more balloon puppy to brighten our days after sad news.
Artis Zoo one of the oldest and largest zoos in Europe. A showcase of colonial trophies thrown into a jarring landscape of frozen moats and skeletal trees. A sense of melancholy permeates the landscape in which animals appear to stagnate in boredom. A place that is stunning in its contradictions and juxtaposition.
The clouds parted revealing a sunny sky crisp with cold. The entire park is covered in a sheet of ice. Walking in the frozen trails of others, carefully stepping from one frozen footprint to another to aid stability. A glowing pink spot drew my eye to a puppy gleefully sliding along the frozen lake in pursuit of his balloon. I stayed watching just long enough to witness the inevitable bursting of the balloon.
Filed under: drawing, surrounds, travel | Tags: amsterdam, drawing, graphite, snow
The last few days have been spent in the kitchen. There have been braised greens with pasta, cauliflower soup, tomato eggplant pasta sauce, caremalised onion and pumpkin tarts and stewed apples to eat on pancakes and stirred into porridge for breakfast, all homemade. I am surrounded by pubs, cafes and restaurants but I feel no need to eat out when I can cook whatever I desire.
As well as in the kitchen I have been working at my desk filling another tiny piece of paper with thousands of greylead marks to make a picture. Grappling with flat skies, rippling water and complex rigging I think I’m managing alright.
A completed drawing to be tucked inside the blue map cover once it is a cover. The contents of the book are taking shape in my mind. Not all the drawings will have a maritime focus but they will be of places and things that recall dutch colonial history. I believe the ladies at my local art shop think I’m quite strange, recently I bought four different pencil sharpeners at the same time, not all sharpeners are made equal and you never know till you try them so I hedged my bets. Drawing may be slowed down over the next few days as I’ve hurt my back and sitting for long periods is uncomfortable.
I have developed a bit of a fascination for childrens parks while I’m here. There’s something about the geometric shapes and brilliant colours against the gloomy background.
Walking through the first snow this morning I headed to the docks around the unfortunately closed maritime museum. Enveloped in a curtain of fog were ships appearing straight out of history including a full scale replica of the Dutch East India Company ship The Amsterdam. The Amsterdam was wrecked on its maiden voyage in 1749 after the black plague broke out on board, mutiny occurred and finally the rudder broke off before the ship was hit by a storm.
I’ve begun a drawing of maritime imagery, hopefully with more to come.
Filed under: book binding, drawing, travel | Tags: amsterdam, colour pencil, drawing
Another pencil drawing in my book is done, abstracted geometric shapes create a flat plane in the somber background. Walking around the northern canals recently I discovered jetties of tall ships, tiny row boats and the occasional pile of maritime detritus.
I’ve been spending a bit of time in the kitchen lately cooking pasta bakes, roasted vegetables and tiny batches of cookies.
My most complex embroidery destined for a book cover is completed. Taken from a map drawn by a dutch cartographor of the newly discovered Hollandia Nova and Dutch East Indies. Embroidered in the deep cobalts and pristine whites of delftware, a style imported and copied from China and Japan. A map of a maritime history directed by trade and discovery.
The cover and book itself will not be assembled till I’m home in Australia with access to all my materials. I’m yet to begin drawings for its interior so it’s contents are still illusive in subject and nature, water and ships will likely be involved.
Filed under: drawing, photography, travel | Tags: amsterdam, rembrandt park
Stunning winter light illuminates the gaps between bare branches, a perfect day for strolling till your legs ache. More drawing to come and a near complete embroidery.