Drawing in Amsterdam

August 7th, 2017

Amsterdam is a city with so much to offer. Following a visit to the Jean Dubuffet exhibition at the Stedlijk museum I sat in the Rijks museum garden. The Rijks building is beautiful and houses an amazing collection of paintings including (my favourites) The Nightwatch by Rembrandt (1642) and The Little Street by Vermeer (1658). I enjoyed the sun and watched passersby and tried to capture the building and atmosphere in my A3 drawing pad.

I then walked around aimlessly on the look out for a good spot. I like to find places that have a good vantage point so I can look down and draw. I do ask bar/cafe owners/ security at buildings sometimes if I can draw. In the Netherlands people don’t mince their words so I have had a few unfriendly ‘no’s however I’ve met many very friendly people who are happy to let me draw. One such person gave me access to the university library on the first floor overlooking the Spui. I drew the buildings, trams and tourists below trying not to rustle my bag and hoped my ink pens didn’t squeak too much.

Afterwards followed the canal and sketched the distinctive gabled houses. My pens were running out. But I liked the effect.

Amsterdam Skyline

April 10th, 2017

I had a lovely day on Saturday. On a previous visit with friends and family I’d visited Nemo (the brilliant Children’s Science museum) and The Sky Lounge. On this occasion I returned alone with my sketch books in tow. The Sky Lounge is close to Amsterdam central station and has a great view across Amsterdam towards St Nicholas church. I ordered a coffee ( Not cheap at 7 euros 50 a pop although you did get a couple of sweet bites including a tiny macaroon for that!) It wasn’t busy so I could easily select a spot and sketched looking out towards the city. I had bought my larger A3 book on this occasion and so glad I did as I ran out of pages with my A4. It made me stretch myself more as I generally feel more comfortable with the smaller format. When there is so much to see I tried to be selective, using more gestural marks and washes to indicate buildings. I liked all the high rise buildings in contrast to the old ones. After the visit to the Sky Lounge I strolled over to Nemo. It had certainly got a lot warmer since I arrived. I’ve a museum card and it’s great. I wish we had something similar in the UK . Pay 60 euros and you get into most museums and galleries in the Netherlands. Sometimes this includes unexpected places such as botanical gardens. I sat on the third floor by a window, plugged myself into my iPod and looked out across the bridges towards the central library and the eye catching Chinese restaurant. I struggled a bit with the bridge tbh and started and stopped a few drawings before settling on a composition. A fun day and I’ll definitely be returning.

 

Hortus Botanicus Amsterdam

January 17th, 2017

Travelled to Amsterdam at the weekend. I like visiting the Jewish museum and I discovered that the Hortus Botanicus is nearby. Probably not the best time of year to visit but the glasshouses had lots of palm trees and plants to draw. The spiral staircase lead to a good view too. I went outside when there was a break from the rain and drew one of the glasshouses through the trees. The sky was grey but it didn’t put me off  drawing outside and experimenting with blue and purple tones. That was until the clouds opened and I didn’t have any choice but to run for shelter!

Amsterdam

April 22nd, 2016

A beautiful sunny day in Amsterdam. Arriving at Amsterdam Central Station I walked towards the Central Library to get a good view of St Nicholas Basilica. Often I draw in my small sketchbook first. I can play around with composition quickly with a few marks. If I don’t have a  time limit I can start off a bit tight and generally my drawings loosen up the more I do. It’s always busy in the area with commuters and tourists arriving and departing. Also the cyclists, trams, buses and cars passing by. Afterwards I followed the trail of tourists towards Dam Square. Had planned to visit De Nieuwe Kerk and perhaps visit the current exhibition but sketched the fun fair instead.

Den Hague

February 7th, 2016

Had a lovely time in Den Haag.  Met a Girl with a Pearl Earring and a Goldfinch (at the Mauritshuis). We enjoyed a coffee at a new coffee shop/library on Noordeinde. So cool it doesn’t have a name . . .yet!

Enjoyed sketching the interior. Loved the colourful orning, lighting, 60’s record player and old school side tables and arm chairs. Unfortunately became so engrossed in my drawing that my coffee went cold. (not the first time nor the last!)

Schipol airport

April 1st, 2015

Awaiting flight from Amsterdam to Gatwick. A fair mount of hanging around so took the opportunity to sketch the departure lounge and travellers.

Boekenmarkt, Amsterdam

February 14th, 2014

One of my favourite places to visit in Amsterdam is the book market. I spent some time sketching here a while ago. Conveniently there are benches nearby so you can sit and have a break (or sketch ofcourse!).  There’s a great range of books here. I often like flicking through the art books and old exhibition catalogues. In this print, one of the booksellers is looking through a portfolio of artwork.

I’m returning to Amsterdam next week so looking forward to spending more time in the city. (And celebrating Anitas 40th birthday!)

Amsterdam cafe

May 25th, 2013

I’ve been proofing a new cafe scene. I’ve printed a few cafe interiors but I felt I really wanted to do a larger linocut of my favourite Amsterdam cafe. I’ve spent many hours here chatting, drinking and eating cake. I love the central wall with all the colourful posters.

Amsterdam sketching

December 31st, 2012

Had a lovely Christmas in Holland. Fitted in a couple of drawings of the Concert Hall and the Stadhouderskade whilst in Amsterdam. Looking forward to returning in 2013.

Have a HAPPY NEW YEAR!

Stedelijk

October 7th, 2012

The Stedelijk museum, Amsterdam opened it’s doors a couple of weeks ago after years of renovations. It was my first trip on Saturday and had a great time. Busy but not overcrowded and enjoyed walking through the permanent collection featuring work from the 1870’s to the 1960’s. Among the highlights, large scale work by Chagall and artists by the Cobra Group. Really enjoying the wall paintings by Karel Appel and there’s a wonderful wall drawing by Sol Lewitt (2003). Colourful stripes running in different directions instantly uplifting visitors.

On the ground floor there’s also a Design collection featuring industrial design, graphic art and applied arts. The layout reminded me of the Copenhagen design museum. Great posters, furniture, ceramics and glass.  The postwar modernism section particularly inspiring. Focus is international but there’s a particular emphasis on dutch influences notably work of the De Stijl group from the 1920’s. A personal favourite “Harrenstein Bedroom”, 1926, by Gerrit Rietveld.

Another highlight is the amazing tapestry in the entrance of the museum by Petra Blaisse and Marieke Van Den Heuvel. I assume made especially for the museum. Fits perfectly in the space.

http://www.stedelijk.nl/en