in the lyngen alps, norway

bird-skull mountain
[I don't know its real name, but this seems an appropriate moniker]

We recently made a trip to the Arctic Circle in search of the Aurora Borealis. The brief glimpses we had of this awe-inspiring phenomenon were beautiful and mesmerising, but during the ten days that we spent in the frozen north we weren’t lucky with clear night skies (so hope to return in the future for more Aurora action!)

The landscape of Norway’s Lyngen Alps area in late March – snow-covered mountain peaks, reflecting fjords, complex icicle structures, and early colourful signs of spring contrasted against the predominantly white backdrop – is breathtakingly beautiful and unlike any other landscape I have experienced…

in the lyngen alps, norway

reflecting fjord

in the lyngen alps, norway

sámi turf house

in the lyngen alps, norway

repeating patterns

in the lyngen alps, norway

elemental

in the lyngen alps, norway

chibi totoro fondly recalls childhood vacations on hokkaido

in the lyngen alps, norway

buried

in the lyngen alps, norway

unexpected flashes of colour

in the lyngen alps, norway

purple & chartreuse

in the lyngen alps, norway

turquoise & norway blue

in the lyngen alps, norway

husky pup in the sunshine

in the lyngen alps, norway

views from our temporary home

in the lyngen alps, norway

rorschach test

muji notebook (amsterdam)

When my friend Yoko visited Amsterdam in August last year she suggested that we embark on a fun sketchbook/notebook collaboration: we’d start with two blank Muji notebooks (we chose these for their convenient-to-post-internationally size and unintimidating brown kraft paper pages) and we’d slowly fill them with whatever we fancied, sending them back and forth between Amsterdam and Tokyo. I thought it was a great idea and was particularly enamoured of Yoko’s ‘rules’ for the project… namely “No Pressure. No Rules.”

We’ve exchanged the notebooks a couple of times now and it’s always extremely exciting to find a notebook-sized package from Tokyo waiting on my doorstep! The suspense on opening, and the pleasure on seeing Yoko’s latest entry (and interventions with my previous entries), is singularly exciting!

I hope to document the project here as it progresses… and as we’ve been at it now for several months I have a bit of catching up to do! This blogpost includes pictures of our first entries (from way back in September/October last year) from two separate notebooks.

muji notebook (amsterdam)

notebook [amsterdam]* work in progress

My first entry was made around the same time that I was working on this print and it features one of the little Dutch canal houses that I drew for the print. I took the opportunity to have some paper-cutting fun as well, and something vaguely reminiscent of a ‘Delfts Blauw‘ porcelain plate emerged.

muji notebook (amsterdam)mujinotebook_amsterdam03

Synchronously, Yoko’s first entry (in the other of the two notebooks) also features some Amsterdam canal houses…

muji notebook (tokyo)

muji notebook (tokyo)

notebook [tokyo]* (all artwork by yoko hayashi)

… and a grey cat I’m sure I recognise :)

muji notebook (tokyo)

(artwork by yoko hayashi)

muji notebook (amsterdam)mujinotebook_amsterdam04

my studio assistant makes himself useful again

" "

* For my own reference: ‘notebook [amsterdam]‘ denotes the notebook that started its life in Amsterdam, and ‘notebook [tokyo]‘ denotes the notebook that started its life in Tokyo… simple!

 

sky above amsterdan

sky above amsterdan

winter trees & snowy owl, artis, amsterdam

winter trees at sunset  |  snowy owl

I recently popped across the road to visit my neighbours, in search of inspiration for some wolf drawings I’ve been working on. The wolves were very obliging…

wolf, artis, amsterdam

handsome wolf

… but seeing these majestic, naturally broad-ranging creatures in captivity rends my heart (as is always the case when I visit my neighbours), though they seem content enough?

wolf paws, artis, amsterdam

powerful paws

Having gathered sufficient source material and inspiration for my drawings I proceeded to get entirely side-tracked admiring the feathered residents of Artis and the intricate calligraphy of the winter trees silhouetted against the late afternoon gloaming. Some of the birds pictured here are permanent (enclosed) residents, but others seem to come and go as they please… presumably returning for the free food and the general gezelligheid.

greater rhea fresh hay bath, artis, amsterdam

the greater rhea enjoys a fresh bed of straw!

grey heron & snowy owl feathers, artis, amsterdam

grey heron | snowy owl detail

winter trees & jackdaw, artis, amsterdam

jackdaw

winter trees & greater rhea feathers, artis amsterdam

silver feathers (greater rhea)

gannet (?) & winter trees, artis, amsterdam

northern gannet

heron silhouette & winter trees, artis amsterdam

heron-on-high

golden goose and duck feathers, artis, amsterdam

golden goose (and duck) feathers

"you talkin'to me" - gannet (?) & snowy owl, artis, amsterdam

“you talkin’ to me?”

beach boulders, paternoster, south africa

beach boulders & sand ‘cables‘, paternoster

barnacles and sunset, paternoster, south africa

barnacles & a liquid sunset, paternoster

euphorbia and lion's head, cape town, south africa

euphorbia ingens | lion’s head

devil's peak and lush arbor, kirstenbosch, cape town, south africa

part of table mountain’s eastern face (window buttress or fernwood buttress?) and devil’s peak & a lush arbour, kirstenbosch

clouds over table mountain and sunset view from signal hill, cape town, south africa

clouds envelop table mountain & the sun sets over
the atlantic ocean (view from signal hill)

cape town cbd @ sunset, south africa

cape town cbd at dusk, view from signal hill

gulls and mountains at buffels bay, cape point, south africa

gulls & mountains, buffels bay, cape point

cape chacma baboon and turquoise ocean at buffels bay, cape point, south africa

cape chacma baboon & a turquoise sea, buffels bay

I was very lucky to have a wonderful mid-winter injection of southern light and colour! Then, on returning to Amsterdam a week and a half ago, I quickly succumbed to a nasty northern ‘flu bug… and am just starting to feel human again now. How has 2014 been treating you? Very well, I hope!

some of my work, available on etsy
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Photos on Flickr

'Octopus & Anemones' Screenprint

'Octopus & Anemones' Screenprint

'Octopus & Anemones' Screenprint

'Octopus & Anemones' Screenprint

'Octopus & Anemones' Screenprint

'Octopus & Anemones' Screenprint

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