Leiden Botanical Gardens

I’ve been becoming more and more interested in gardens. It may be something to do with the sunny weather when gardens often look their best. In Leiden there is the Hortus Botanicus and I’ve visited a number of times. I had done a few small drawings here whilst my daughter slept in her buggy. Then I returned to do some larger drawings. Every time I visit I seem to spot something different. There is so much to draw upon – the plants or flowers, sculptures, observatory or even visitors lounging by the pond or walking along the winding path.

Rotterdam: Hotel New York

It was lovely returning to The New York Hotel for a coffee and tompoes on Saturday. Situated on the River Maas and built in 1917, it was the former head office of the Holland America Line and the last spot for many Dutch immigrants who set sail for North America. It’s now surrounded by skyscapers and has been converted into a cafe restaurant and hotel and still retains much of it’s original charm. I walked over the Rijnhavenbrug to the Kop Van Zuid. The harbour district has been regenerated since I was last in Rotterdam. It’s a great spot to hang out and draw the New York hotel. I included some of the water taxis that travel to and from the centre of town (and to Veerhaven). I later sat in a cafe on a mezzanine and watched the visitors having lunch and drinks outside with The New York hotel in the background.

Utrecht flower market

I visited the Utrecht flower market on the Janskerkhof on Saturday. There was a great atmosphere and an amazing selection of flowers and plants. I sat with a coffee for a time and watched the visitors and then stood amongst the shoppers and sketched very quickly. Can’t believe the drop in temperature! I should have worn an extra layer. I left with a large bouquet of flowers and these drawings.


Spent a relaxing week in Germany and some time in the Rhineland. Weather was variable – snow, sleet, rain and a little sunshine! Not ideal for drawing outside but grabbed a few moments. Here are a couple of drawings from Saarburg. Loved the hilly landscape and St Laurentius church standing tall. Interesting to see all the surrounding Mosselle vineyards. Very picturesque (even in the rain!)

We spent a sunny day in Bonn and took a break in the Bonn University botanical gardens. Very distinctive pollarded trees lined a path towards the main building and lots of students and young families relaxed on the lawns. This time I had some help from my assistant.

On our last day, we visited Cologne. I could have spent alot more time here. Museum Ludwig is very close to the stunning Cathedral. Amazed at how quiet it was. A fantastic selection of work by Picasso and German Expressionist painters. The view from the second floor was also very good so I got my pens out and drew the view towards the Rhine river and Hohenzollern bridge.

I often do a couple of drawings. A small one and then a larger drawing if I have time. It was nearing closing time and I had a warden standing over me so I had to be quick!


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.

Leiden Rooftops

I’m always on the look out for a good view. I recently parked in a multi storey car park close to Leiden market and loved the view from the top. I decided to return when I had the opportunity. It was a windy day so I made sure I brought my cap as well as my trusted water colour pens and pastels. I have a slight fear of heights and although not very close to the edge I felt giddy arching my head to look at the buildings and people below. Here are a few of the drawings I did. I distorted some of the perspective on a couple of the drawings. That’s one of the best things about drawing on location.