Sunny Amsterdam

July 29th, 2011

At last, the sun has finally come out! I was in Amsterdam early with my laptop as I was planning on doing freelance work at the Public Library. Before it opened I walked around the Central Station and did a little sketching toward St Nicholas church. It’s a stunning building standing tall amongst all the surrounding redevelopment work.  I saw a good spot where the taxi boats were stationed. Very quiet with two empty plastic chairs on the decking. I love it when there’s somewhere to sit! I made myself comfortable, started sketching and the friendly taxi rank owner came over and handed me a coffee. It came in a plastic cup, with a powdered milk sachet but it was very thoughtful of him. I played around with different compositions in my sketchbook. I particularly liked drawing the towers and central window.

Then I moved on toward the library. I leaned against the wall to avoid obstructing tourists rushing towards the station and drew the cyclists and trams. I enjoyed drawing all the overhead cables and signs too. I also sat on a step and sketched towards Central Station before going to the library.

In just a couple of hours, I met so many friendly people who came over to chat. An english lady with her grandsons, a spanish tourist (we talked about the weather) and a talented musician who kindly gave me an old tshirt to mop up the mess I made with a leaky blue pen.

Rainy days in Copenhagen

July 26th, 2011

Had a great break in Copenhagen, despite the weather!
After crossing the road from the Central Station, the entrance to Tivoli immediately draws you in. The amusement park was built in 1843 and so it’s interesting to see some of the old attractions and rides as well as the new ones. Horrendously busy though. Huge queues for all the rides. Not the biggest fan of fairs so happy to find a quieter spot and sketch the pretty boats and passers by.

Cycling is definitely the best way to travel. Highlights include stopping off and enjoying the view at the Playhouse by the harbour. The Norrebro area of  Copenhagen has a more creative and student feel to it with some great shops and cafes. Personal favourites include Karmelleriet, a caramel workshop with a chatty owner and the ceramic studio/ shop of Inge Vincent ( www.vincents.dk/).  In the Vesterbrogade there’s the Designer Zoo  (www.dzoo.dk/in_english.html) which has some fantastic contemporary design. There are a number of retro shops selling lamps and furniture from the 50’s and 60’s. Notably Arne Jacobsen and  Poul Henningsen whose designs are also celebrated at the Design museum.  Poul Henningsens lights can often be seen overhead in many of the shops and museums. Stunning!

It rained continuously for 5 days and so much time was spent stopping off and drying out at coffee shops. Spent a fortune on coffee! Note: drinking in Copenhagen is very expensive ( approx £6 for a beer and £5 for a latte). Here are a few of my sketches done at the Cafe Paludan (http://paludan-cafe.dk/ ). Returned here a number of times. The cafe is part library although not much reading was done, mainly sketching and talking. Loved people watching. Young men with beards all the rage here and some very good looking people.
Another recommendation is The Royal Cafe. (www.theroyalcafe.dk/#) in the centre of town does tasty and beautiful ‘Smushi’.

One evening it rained so heavily we took cover in a Jazz bar. Great music and fitted in a few sketches.

Some great galleries too. As well as the Design Museums, I visited Louisiana Gallery of Modern Art which is a 30 mins train journey from Copenhagen. The gallery overlooks the sea which makes it’s location as memorable as the paintings and sculpture. The Henry Moore and Calder sculptures look amazing in this setting. Currently showing a great exhibition of David Hockney’s ipad drawings. Visited The National Gallery of Denmark too with an exhibition of  wood cuts from the 16th century to the present day. Right up my street! I really like the work of Tal R a contemporay danish artist whose work was exhibited alongside his carved woodblocks.

Thanks to Jane at Bold and Noble for the mention on her great website and blog. (Dated 13th July)
http://boldandnoble.com/blog/

Rainy day in Gent

July 13th, 2011

Went with a couple of friends to Gent. They had work commitments so parted late afternoon and met up later. In the meantime, I went sketching. Unfortunately it coincided with a downpour of rain. I waited and waited and it would not stop! Took cover in a cafe and drew the Bestand church and people passing beneath their umbrellas.

The cafe closed so my comfy stool was taken away. I walked on and dashed across the road to take cover. Skidded in the middle of the road and almost got run over. Very embarrassing! Ok but v wet. Went to pub, sat and sketched view and sampled a couple of local blond beers. Houblon Chouffe very strong! Drawings got looser as I enjoyed listening to the music; Roxy music, David Bowie and some 80’s classics. Then friends turned up!

Wimbledon tennis

July 5th, 2011

Made it to Wimbledon again this year. Very lucky last year to get women final tickets through the public ballot. This year, also happy to receive entry ticket’s to grounds and number 1 court. Sat on Henman Hill to watch the Nadal v Djokovic final along with thousands of others.  Bit of a squeeze but got a good spot and there was a great atmosphere. Enjoyed picnic with wine in the humid heat. Before I got absorbed in the tennis, I did a few sketches.

Lino printing

July 5th, 2011

I’ve been back to the Ink Spot Press. Having fun with colour, printing a new Brighton lino cut.