You are currently browsing the category archive for the ‘amsterdam’ category.

As September slides into October, heralding the rapid advance of autumn, here’s a quick round-up of the colours of my Dutch summer…

colours of a dutch summer 2016

being away at peak seedling planting time meant no vegetable growing adventures for me this year, but my mini rock garden, and the allium bulbs I planted in the autumn last year, put on a very good show!

colours of a dutch summer 2016

august mid-morning moon  |  laser 3.14‘s perceptive brand of street poetry

colours of a dutch summer 2016

gira loves this beautiful blue shweshwe duvet cover (made by my super-talented mum)… i suspect it might be because he knows how good he looks on it :)

colours of a dutch summer 2016

soft pink early morning views from the studio

colours of a dutch summer 2016

leiden is rocking the pink too!

coloursofadutchsummer06

lotus @ hortus botanicus, leiden

colours of a dutch summer 2016

gingko  |  venation

~ and you don’t get greens like those above, without a bit of the below ~

colours of a dutch summer 2016

lush

colours of a dutch summer 2016

flying things
street art in leiden  |  stained glass window designed by willem bogtman, haarlem, 1920’s (as seen at the ‘living in the amsterdam school: designs for the interior 1910-1930‘ exhibition at amsterdam’s stedelijk museum)

colours of a dutch summer 2016

everyone loves the sun(flower)

colours of a dutch summer 2016

rainbow cherry toms, ready for slow-roasting

colours of a dutch summer 2016

blue-eyed visitor at my studio window  |  radiant brickwork, amsterdam

colours of a dutch summer 2016

brick gables, haarlem  |  beautiful berries (buds? anyone know what this fascinating plant is?)

colours of a dutch summer 2016

to the beach!
kite-flying  |  fallow deer grazing on the verdant dune grasses at zandvoort

colours of a dutch summer 2016

grey is a colour too

colours of a dutch summer 2016

au revoir summer!

Haarlem, Summer 2015

[haarlem]
geveltuin, blue hydrangea  |  full moon, after magritte

Having friends or family to stay is always a great excuse to explore locally, to take time out to notice details of one’s everyday surroundings in a way one might not normally do. We had a lot of fun with our summer visitors exploring, amongst other Dutch cities, our new(ish) hometown (Haarlem) and our (very nearby!) old hometown (Amsterdam). Here’s a summery glimpse of these two fine cities…

Haarlem, Summer 2015

[haarlem]
headless lion  |  red door

Haarlem, Summer 2015

[haarlem]
friendly faces

Haarlem, Summer 2015

[haarlem]
huisjes and hollyhocks

(do the houses imitate the beer… or does the beer imitate the houses?)

Haarlem, Summer 2015

[haarlem]
a tasting  |  a truth

Haarlem, Summer 2015

[haarlem]
oak (wijngaardtuin)  |  lavender (hofje van oorschot)

Amsterdam, Summer 2015

[amsterdam]
the anatomy lesson

Amsterdam, Summer 2015

[amsterdam]
turtle, seahorse, yarn bomb

Amsterdam, Summer 2015

[amsterdam]
disembodied jib  |  petunia-tastic hanging basket

Amsterdam, Summer 2015

[amsterdam]
good grub @ foodhallen

Amsterdam, Summer 2015

[amsterdam]
local brew  |  eye lights

Amsterdam, Summer 2015

[amsterdam]
canis minor, or a plutoid?

Amsterdam, Summer 2015

[amsterdam]
easy riding hells hound

Amsterdam, Summer 2015

[amsterdam]
watery gevelstenen

Haarlem, Summer 2015

[haarlem]
a bit of boating (on the spaarne river & bakenessergracht)

Haarlem, Summer 2015

[haarlem]
clover gevelsteen  |  strawberry geveltuin

Haarlem, Summer 2015

[haarlem]
city gardens (hofje van oorschot & luthers hofje)

Haarlem, Summer 2015

[haarlem]
window shopping

Haarlem, Summer 2015

[haarlem]
decoy

Haarlem, Summer 2015

[haarlem]
… and finally: RIP
this beautiful tree, as seen from my studio window at the end of may, came crashing down (along with some 400 other trees in haarlem) on the 25th of july, during what has been described as “the worst summer storm since records began”… it was a magnificent tree and is a very sad loss indeed.

" "

approximate translations & explanations of dutch words used above:

gevelsteen – ‘gable stone’, a carved and often colourfully painted stone tablet set into the wall of a building, serving to embellish and memorably identify the building. Introduced in the second half of the 16th century they became less widely used with the advent of house numbering during the 18th century, but the tradition certainly lives on and ‘gevelsteen spotting’ can be a very visually rewarding pursuit!

geveltuinen – literally a ‘facade gardens’ (I don’t think there’s a succinct or elegant english translation?) are bright and beautiful mini-oases of green flanking the building facades and pavements on residential city streets, planted and cared for by the streets’ residents. And I discovered this summer, my first living in this city, that Haarlemmers sure know a thing or two about creating charming geveltuinen :-)

" "

February is upon us already and I still feel like I’m scrabbling to catch up with the second half of 2014. Moving home can do that to you, apparently. I have moved between countries and continents in the past but this last move – just to a new city, and not even that far away, in the same country – really seemed to take its toll (go figure?!?). Anyway, while I scrabble, I’ll focus my next couple of posts on some fun projects from the latter half of last year that I’m not quite ready to assign to the trash heap of history (i.e. the dark and dusty, forgotten crevices and black holes of my computer’s hard drive ;)

ink your skin, amsterdam

ink your skin, amsterdam

First up, a tattoo design requested by a friend: he wanted a design inspired by cherry (sakura) blossoms and, as a ‘design brief’, wrote a brief ‘personal history’ describing the meaningful and important life experiences each blossom in the design would signify. It was a pleasure to work with someone who knew what they wanted (and, perhaps more importantly, why they wanted it) on this very permanent design.

Here are some work-in-progress pictures of the design, ranging from the very stylised to somewhat more naturalistic…

sakura tattoo design

sakura tattoo design work-in-progress

He chose for a smoother, more stylised version of the gnarled and knobbly qualities of ancient cherry trees – which gave me lots of opportunity, while finalising the design, to draw the fluid, serpentine lines I so enjoy drawing!

sakura tattoo design

sakura tattoo design

We opted for a deeper, redder colour than the soft pinks and whites usually associated with cherry blossoms, and the ‘branch’ has been designed to ‘grow’ over time, i.e. to seamlessly continue up the arm so more buds or blossoms can be added in the future (as those important life experiences stack up… as they are wont to do :)

During the design process we checked in with the tattoo artist who would be doing the actual ‘needlework’ (Mick at Ink Your Skin) to ensure the design could be feasibly translated into ink on skin.

And then it was time for my friend to take the plunge! I tagged along for moral support and, as it wasn’t my skin being pierced between 50 and 3,000 times per minute by a super-sharp needle, I really enjoyed observing the tattooist at work (steady hands and steady eyes a must!) and learning more about the skin-inking process.

getting inked

remarkably relaxed under pressure!

sakura tattoo

freshly pressed

ink your skin, amsterdam

customised vinyl critter and airbrushed mandala painting
in ink your skin’s window gallery

You can find Ink Your Skin here or at Kerkstraat 115, Amsterdam… if you’re looking to get your skin inked!

I’m in the process of packing up to move home and studio to a new city (albeit a nearby one) and it’s proving, not surprisingly, to be a time-and-energy-consuming process. Luckily I have a very attentive project manager keeping me on my toes…

gira - packing project manager

project manager gira oversees the packing process from atop a pile of boxes

In between house-hunting (& finding :), renovation work (& countless trips back and forth between Amsterdam and Haarlem), packing, and all the other stuff of life I’ve spent some enjoyable time finally completing my ‘noir’ specimen collection with this moth print

lepidoptera (noir) - limited edition screenprint

It’s printed in a limited edition of 13 (plus 1 AP) and completes this collection, made a couple of years ago…

specimen collection - limited edition screenprints

At that time I printed the moths as a four-colour screenprint, but I experienced some technical ‘snap-off’ problems when printing them, and also wasn’t fantastically happy with my colour choices – I felt the crisp, graphic lines of the original Indian ink drawing would be more satisfying as a one colour print (I’m a sucker for the graphic simplicity and velvety tactility of dense black screenprinting ink). Not wanting to waste those dud four-colour prints, I stained them with tea and set them free…

tea-stained moths

moth-bombing in the ardennes

in the hills above la roche-en-ardenne (ardennes, belgium)

moth-bombing in berlin

in st. elisabeth cemetery (berlin, germany)

moth-bombing in cape town

in tokai arboretum (cape town, south africa)

(and in several other places I no longer recall)

If you would like a single specimen or collection of your own, all of the (still available) prints from the ‘noir’ and colour series can be found in my Etsy shop. (I’ll temporarily close the shop from 19 September until ±1 October ± mid-October while I move etc.)

And now I must dash as I think I can hear my project manager calling…

gira - catnap

False alarm! He’s having a well-deserved catnap.

sky above amsterdan

sky above amsterdan

some of my work, available on etsy
support worldwide wild cat conservation

instagram

A couple of weeks ago, during a particularly stressful time, we were asked by our neighbours to kitten-sit while they were away for a few days... turns out kitten therapy was just what we needed #purrs 😺 Today I downloaded these pics off my SLR and thought I'd share 'em here... because everyone can do with a bit of kitten therapy in their lives! #kittens #kitten_therapy #grey #sansa #british_blue #black #jax (scroll right for Jax!) Summer solstice sundowner, 22h05, 21 June #summer_solstice #northern_hemisphere #sunset #sundowner #brouerijtij #beer #ijwit #thirst_quencher #sandy #beach #parnassia #north_sea #ocean #netherlands Last night’s summer solstice sun sinks slowly into the misty North Sea #summer_solstice #northern_hemisphere #sunset #soft #mist #north_sea #ocean #beach #parnassia #netherlands Jellyfish silkscreen print detail… #screenprinting #silkscreen #screen_printing #printmaking #ink #work_in_progress #drawing #handdrawn #stippling #jellyfish #cnidarian #tentacles #oral_arms #pattern #tangle #intertwined -o- https://tinyurl.com/yclpowve Detail of a recently completed screenprint, entitled ‘forest fauna’, on Fabriano’s beautiful ‘Blu Notte’ (Blue Night) Tiziano pastel paper #handmade #screenprint #silkscreen_print #printmaking #fabriano #italian_paper #texture #ink #white #blue #forest_fauna #bat #bird #graphic #pattern #intertwined #organic #flora Jellyfish ascending... #work_in_progress #screenprinting #screen_mesh #film_positive #exposed_screen #printmaking #drawing #handdrawn #jellyfish #tentacles #oral_arms #pattern #tangle #intertwined

Archives

%d bloggers like this: