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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!

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)

plaid sky

early morning sky with vapour trails

When the atmospheric conditions are just right the early morning sky visible from my studio’s east facing windows can be a veritable web of vapour trails (I don’t see or hear the planes… but I guess they’re always there even when their trails aren’t visible). The patterns these trails create against the blue and golden gradations of a winter’s sunrise have a certain beauty and appeal and they got me thinking about, and playing around with, plaid / check / tartan patterns… made out of early morning sky, vapour trails and Photoshop. Fun!

plaid sky

source sky image #1

plaid sky pattern

pattern derived from this source

plaid sky pattern

turquoise & red colour variation

plaid sky pattern

red & turquoise colour variation

plaid sky pattern

red & turquoise detail (look at all those little crisscrossing vapour trails! :)

plaid sky pattern

variation: “blue neon”

plaid sky pattern

variation: “dark matter”

plaid sky

source sky image #2

plaid sky pattern

pattern derived from this source

plaid sky pattern

variation: “rose tinted check”

plaid sky pattern

variation: “indigo diagonal”

The below animated GIF (9 frames in total) gives some indication of the (Photoshop) processes involved in creating these patterns:

plaid sky pattern construction

plaid sky pattern

another variation on the pattern created in the preceding animated GIF

Producing patterns in this way is a great way to learn more about how colour and tonal variations can impact on a design, and it is endlessly entertaining – I could spend days wandering this rabbit hole… but I really should get back to drawing wolves and jellyfish (more on those in due course).

sky above amsterdan

sky above amsterdan

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!

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instagram

This magic has just started to unfold in the ‘garden’ on our little roof terrace. Methinks spring has most definitely sprung! #spring #lente #blossoms #plum (?) #pink #petals #stamens #delicate #growth #seasons #cycle_of_life #roof_garden #haarlem Dawn colours #dawn #silhouette #dome #cathedral #kathedralebasilieksintbavo #studio_view #rooftops #haarlem Dressing W-A-Y out of my comfort zone for the “glitter and glamour” themed wedding party of friends tonight. Gulp… they say it’s good to step outside one’s comfort zone now and then, right?! #shimmery #sequins #glitter #festive #ottodame #not_black #colour #pattern #texture This is Henk... just one of the many good reasons to go and get your hair cut @jill_and_sisi (Admiraal de Ruijterweg 221, Amsterdam) #henk #puppy #dog #super_soft #super_cute #jill_and_sisi #pattern #sunshine Full moon rises over the silver hills… (or, much more prosaically, simply a sleeping cat and the negative shapes left behind on a spray painting ‘drop cloth’ :) #magic_in_the_mundane #cat #fur #silver #grey #black #monochromatic #pattern #shape #spraypaint The bike lane… #symbol #icon #infographic #design #bicycle #emblematic #netherlands #bicycle_culture #cycling_infrastructure #ride_on

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