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autumn mists, haarlem

autumn mists
(early morning view from my studio window)

As October’s Autumn mists roll in I’ve been giving some thought on how best to ‘winter ready’ our little patch of potted paradise on the roof: four floors up and facing the North Sea it’s likely to be more than a tad exposed to the imminent icy elements. But before I burlap wrap and mulch and push pots into little huddles like so many Emperor penguins I’m taking a moment to fondly remember the verdancy, vivid colours, and bountiful harvest of our compact roof garden’s first summer…

roof terrace garden, summer 2015

vegetable patch at sunset, late august

roof terrace garden, summer 2015

spring onions & crazy carrots!
they certainly wouldn’t have passed the EU’s daft
‘general marketing standards’ regime…

roof terrace garden, summer 2015

… but they had plenty of character

roof terrace garden, summer 2015

and, along with the leeks, were delicious!

roof terrace garden, summer 2015

tomatoes, growing…

roof terrace garden, summer 2015

… growing

roof terrace garden, summer 2015

gone

roof terrace garden, summer 2015

broccoli, not everyone’s favourite vegetable…

roof terrace garden, summer 2015

… but beautiful when it bolts
(as mine did, practically overnight, during a mini heatwave in july)

roof terrace garden, summer 2015

deadheading the rhododendrons  |  baby’s breath (gypsophila)

roof terrace garden, summer 2015

japanese maple  |  lavender

roof terrace garden, summer 2015

catnip (nepeta cataria)

Nature is, without a doubt, the biggest source of inspiration for my work and it has therefore been a privilege and a great pleasure to have had the opportunity (for the first time) to plant veggies from seed, to watch them grow and flourish, to enjoy the fruits of our combined labours, and indeed to observe them go to seed or die back as summer segued into autumn.

In addition to the veggies I’ve also enjoyed getting to know other, non-edible plants. As a first time gardener the learning curve has at times been steep and my favoured (lazy?) approach seems to be one of trial and error. But the gardening bug has most certainly bitten and I’m very much hoping I can keep some of them alive through the winter. I’m looking forward to observing the seasonal metamorphoses to come…

roof terrace garden, summer 2015

roof garden skyscapes
(late summer/early autumn evening skies)

autumn mornings, amsterdam

… are producing some beautiful skies.

autumn mornings, amsterdam

And the gulls lining-up along a nearby rooftop each morning never fail to make me smile. Somehow they manage to appear very purposeful and quite desultory at the same time – comrades gathering at the (proverbial) water-cooler for an amiable chinwag about everything and nothing much at all.

autumn mornings, amsterdam

There is drama…

autumn mornings, amsterdam

autumn mornings, amsterdam

and pattern…

autumn mornings, amsterdam

autumn mornings, amsterdam

autumn mornings, amsterdam

and pleasing early morning stillnesses…

autumn mornings, amsterdam

autumn mornings, amsterdam

autumn mornings, amsterdam

I do love autumn!

… of colour awaited us when we took our ‘annual autumn bike ride’ (it seems to be becoming a tradition around here :) along the Amstel River to Zorgvlied Cemetery on Sunday morning. Autumn in Amsterdam in all its bedazzling, breath-taking beauty!

I spent most of last week at ‘my’ printmaking studio (the Amsterdams Grafisch Atelier) working on a couple of new silkscreen prints. I hope to show the results of those efforts here just as soon as there’s enough good light in these currently rainy parts to take some decent photographs (fingers crossed I won’t be waiting until Spring 2013 ;)

I took a few breaks in-between pulling prints and cleaning screens to wander around the AGA’s winding-down-for-the-winter garden, and to admire the magnificent seeds and pods artfully strewn across a weathered wooden table by a giant horse-chestnut tree. Nothing says Autumn quite like glossy brown conkers!

Gorgeous, glowing autumn colours at Zorgvlied Cemetery, on the Amstel River

When one is in need of a nature-fix but doesn’t have the time or opportunity to escape the city, urban cemeteries are often wonderful places to find an unspoilt natural enclave. Zorgvlied is no exception, and is always a beautiful place to experience autumn unfurling in all its kaleidoscopic glory. The pleasant and meandering bike ride along the Amstel River, to get there, doesn’t hurt either :)

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

instagram

A post in honour of this little fella, who would have been celebrating his 6th birthday today. We still – and always will – sorely miss the tummy-tickles and all the good times we shared together. Happy birthday Gira! #gira #rip #best_fur_buddy #studiomate #cat #russianblue #greeneyes #grey #furry #stretch #catsofinstagram #fuckcancer
When the furry host at your temporary AirBnB lodging doesn’t want you to leave… #attemptingtopack #suitcase is futile! Thanks Mustard, aka The Colonel, for the warm welcome and fond farewell #mustard #ginger #cat #airbnb #capetown #southafrica #catsofinstagram
Powerful, compelling work by Zanele Muholi, from her 'Somnyama Ngonyama' (Hail the Dark Lioness) series. -- 1. ‘Thembeka II, London’, 2014, 50 x 46 cm, Silver gelatin print 2. ‘Somnyama Ngonyama II, Oslo’, 2015, 50 x 43.6 cm, Silver gelatin print - #zanelemuholi #photographer #visualactivism #art #portrait #selfportrait #blackandwhite #photography #zeitsmocaa #contemporaryart #museum #capetown #southafrica - @muholizanele @somnyamangonyama -
The new Zeits MOCAA (Museum of Contemporary Art Africa) building in Cape Town is an extraordinary architectural intervention/renovation (by Heatherwick Studio) of a decommissioned 1920’s grain silo complex. I particularly like the many-paned windows, which bring to mind the compound eyes of insects, and offer wonderful multifaceted views over the city and its iconic mountains. - #zeitsmocaa #contemporaryart #museum #capetown #architecture #heatherwickstudio #tablemountain #devilspeak #southafrica #africa #window #multifaceted #pattern #blue -
Weird & wonderful rock formations and epic vistas at Stadsaal Caves & Truitjieskraal, deep in the Cederberg mountains - #cederberg #mountains #caves #rocks #sandstone #erosion #cederberg_wilderness #capenature #stadsaal #stadsaalcaves #truitjieskraal #southafrica #hiking #chibi_totoro #landscape #nature #texture #colour #form -
Rocking rocks! Luminous lichens! And other textures, colours and patterns ‘collected’ over three days' hiking in the Cederberg mountains - #rocks #sandstone #erosion #mountain #cliff #lichen #protea #cederberg #hiking #southafrica #nature #texture #colour #pattern -

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