Category: Amsterdam

Amsterdam summers day

After two gallery visits, it was time to enjoy the sunshine. Found a bench and enjoyed the view. (I moved a chair to fill a space – artistic license!)

Then sat by the canal and enjoyed another . . .

Walked to the Central Library for a bite to eat and a quick read of the english newspapers. Looking forward to returning for the Olympics!

Amsterdam galleries

The Jewish Museum is one of my favourite museums in Amsterdam. Currently there’s an Emmy Andriesse (1914-1953) exhibition. She was one of the twentieth century’s leading Dutch photographers and had great personal courage, working illegally as a photographer and evading capture during the Nazi occupation. The exhibition  includes photos of street life, the Second World War and Liberation of Amsterdam. Her pictures of the Dutch Hunger Winter of 1944-45 are particularly poignant.

I wasn’t familiar with William Kentridges work until now. I was amazed at ‘Black Box/Chambre Noir’ It has to be seen to be believed! A mechanical theatre which incorporates mechanical figures performing against a projected backdrop of beautiful animated charcoal drawings and written historical documentation. The music is taken from Sarastro’s aria and  ‘The Magic Flute’ and works so well with the imagery.  This is Kentridges response to the the consequences of German colonialism in Africa and the genocide of people in German South West Africa between 1904 and 1907.

Whilst passing the Rembrandt museum, a poster caught my eye. I made a diversion and visited what turned out to be Wendelien Schonfeld’s work. The exhibition shows mainly her wood cuts. Amazing work! I really like how she combines traditional and contemporary elements in her work. Really vibrant and interesting to break down the different overlapping colours. My favourite pieces are the simpler pictures, particulary of buildings and swimmers on a raft. Very inspiring.

Amsterdam Central Library

I’ve been back at the library this weekend. Enjoy reading all the english newspapers and browsing through the pages of the ceramic and design magazines. I took a seat in one of the comfy pod chairs on the second floor. Had originally thought I’d sketch the view towards the Nemo museum but then started looking more closely at the architecture and then the visitors. People were very preoccupied in their reading so it was a great opportunity to draw them.

I experimented with the shapes and composition. Liked how there were fragments of scenes as my view was obscurred by the pillars and exposed levels.

Printmaking in Paris

At the Van Gogh museum, there’s currently an exhibition showcasing over 100 of the gallery’s best prints. Many of them date from the end of the 20th century when Paris was crazy for print!  No longer reproductions of paintings, these prints were seen as original works of art in themselves. Some big names and big, colourful posters. Including eye catching Toulouse Lautrec posters and illustrated theatre programs.

Loved the vibrancy of Henri Gabriel Ibels designs. Both Pierre Bonnards lithographs inspired by Parisien street scenes and Bonnards french interiors retain the spontaneity of original drawings. The woodcuts by Felix Vallotton for the Paris Worlds Fair in 1901 and his book of 30 scenes on public disturbances are fantastic. Just wish I could have picked up the book and flicked through the pages.

Get your skates on!

I’m in Holland and it’s absolutely freezing! No chance of taking my gloves off to sketch outside in this weather. Over the weekend I’ve enjoyed sketching ice skaters from the comfort of a warm flat. It’s amazing the number of people who have turned out to skate on the frozen canals and rivers. It’s really lovely seeing so many children wrapped up warm and enjoying themselves. Fun to draw friends playing ice hockey and children being towed on sledges. A really good atmosphere!  It reminds me of the wonderful winter scenes by Bruegel.

Amsterdam Central Library

Not quite so windy today. Started off at Princes Island. I love this area of Amsterdam. So much character with converted warehouses, pretty bridges and boats on the canal. Sketched quickly before a downpour of rain. I wasn’t feeling particularly inspired to draw but I sat down on a bench and looked ahead of me. I love sketching because it makes you look and you start noticing things that you would normally overlook. When I started drawing I sketched the houses and then noticed a heron and a coot. Then a pigeon appeared. Not very prominent in my drawing as I dashed off to take cover. Will return.

Rain subsided and sketched towards the station.

Then walked to the central library. Laptop in bag too and took a few breaks to draw. I sat in the library cafe on the top floor. There’s a  bar near the food area and so I sat on a stall with a coffee, listened to Goldfrapp on my ipod and sketched the food on display and the visitors. A few people even ducked when they saw me sketching as they didn’t want to get in the way!  I enjoyed sketching the rows of milkshakes with straws and the surrounding fresh fruit.

The library and cafe was really busy today. I quickly sketched a group of students reading on a table. As soon as I started drawing, half of the party got up and left so I drew from memory.

Gemeente museum

Visited the Gemeente museum in the Hague on Sunday. Currently ‘Paris: City of Modern Art’ is showing. The Centre Pompidou in Paris has loaned over 40 works which makes for a good show. Visitors wont be disappointed as many big names are featured including Matisse, Picasso, Braque, Leger and Dubuffet. The exhibition shows a broad range of paintings dating from 1900-1960. There’s even a Pop Art room which appears a little out of place considering the exhibition title. Less well known artists  such as dutch painter Bram Van Velde caught my eye. Really liked his vibrant, abstract and colourful drawings from the 1950’s and 60’s (shown here) and earlier figurative paintings.

There’s also a ‘Fashion Loves Art’ exhibition which I really enjoyed. The highlight for me was a small room dedicated to Sonia Delaunays fabric designs. Amazing timeless designs that’s she did in collaboration with Metz and Co in the late 1920’s and early 30s. She completed more than 2000 fabric designs varying from classic patterns to floral motifs and geometric designs.  Highly recommended.