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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!

angelic gira, wise graf

… but definitely worth a try

rotterdam, 31 december 2015

an ox-alien

Here we are, already in the third week of another new year! I hope it has been treating you well so far… and that in 2016 we can all be kinder to each other.

On 31 December 2015 the sun was bright and the sky was blue (a good omen for the new year ahead?), so we decided to take advantage of this winter clemency, laced-up comfy boots, and bade farewell to the old year with another visually rewarding city wander through the streets of Rotterdam… where lively street art, dynamic architecture and evocative tall-masted boats abound, and on this gloriously bright last day of the year all in vivid technicolour.

rotterdam, 31 december 2015

apparently rotterdam’s quirky ‘cube houses‘ are intended to represent trees, with all the houses clustered together making up a wood, but to me they seem to be inspired by that simplest (but undeniably classic) of Dutch bar snacks… the kaasblokje

rotterdam, 31 december 2015

lasers from on high
(probably wise to keep that window closed!)

rotterdam, 31 december 2015

firebird
(details from the garden wall mosaic community project)

rotterdam, 31 december 2015

beautiful bugs

rotterdam, 31 december 2015

abundant growth

rotterdam, 31 december 2015

no cat can resist the mighty allure of… STRING

rotterdam, 31 december 2015

vanishing point

rotterdam, 31 december 2015

go green… ride a bike

rotterdam, 31 december 2015

1991 mural by little-known dutch ceramics & textile artist harry boom (1945-1995)… so much more interesting than damien hirst’s tedious spot paintings!

rotterdam, 31 december 2015

hypnotic

rotterdam, 31 december 2015

beautiful beryl bay… a perfect spot to curl up with a good book and a cuppa!

rotterdam, 31 december 2015

alliteration

rotterdam, 31 december 2015

witty?

rotterdam, 31 december 2015

weight(less)

rotterdam, 31 december 2015

quayside

rotterdam, 31 december 2015

and when, in the middle of the afternoon, the sun begins to set and the winter chill really kicks in, one must seek appropriate fuel!

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 :-)

" "

Gent, Belgium

The images above bring to mind an entranceway to a tea party hosted by The Hatter & the March Hare and, if slightly more amber-hued, the road to the Emerald City…

… and Belgium’s Gent is kinda magical that way. Revisiting these photos taken on a two day visit to the city last month I’m reminded of Gent’s many storybook qualities. While we were there the ominous-looking stormy summer skies added a gratifyingly brooding quality to its atmospheric architecture and cobbled medieval streets. But it’s not all gloomy Gothic stonework – bright bursts of colour and contemporary character abound. It’s a fascinating place… and the beer’s not bad either.

Gent, Belgium

spired, steepled, stained

Gent, Belgium

knotted sanctum

Gent, Belgium

magic number

Gent, Belgium

blue hide  |  delirious pink elephant

Gent, Belgium

passionate vine  |  sinuous mosaic

Gent, Belgium

city’s skin

Gent, Belgium

summer greens

Gent, Belgium

luchador ligature

Gent, Belgium

chair stare

Gent, Belgium

hollyhock cyclops

Gent, Belgium

third eye

Gent, Belgium

loaves & fish

Gent, Belgium

literary leanings

Gent, Belgium

“the wool is thataway!”
(gent’s 14th century textile industry hero, jacob van artevelde, points to england)

Gent, Belgium

façades

Gent, Belgium

parrot parlour

Gent, Belgium

faded flourishes

Gent, Belgium

harlequin house  |  chimay triple – everyone’s favourite tipple?

the wonderful photo manipulations (titles unknown, my labels: ‘luchador ligature’ and ‘third eye’) were seen at superette and were made by atelier l’ami

some of my work, available on etsy
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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

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