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'Open Tuinen' Amsterdam (14-16 June 2013)

cloud gazer, aeromancer

For us gardenless urban dwellers, when summer garden-envy kicks in, an opportunity to have a good old snoop around other people’s gardens can be pretty irresistible! Luckily, for three days each year during Amsterdam’s ‘Open Tuinen Dagen‘, this snooping is sanctioned and entirely above-board. This year it was held 14-16 June, and it’s always a pleasure and a surprise to encounter the ‘secret gardens’ and verdant lushness that lie behind the city’s stone and brick facades…

'Open Tuinen' Amsterdam (14-16 June 2013)

'Open Tuinen' Amsterdam (14-16 June 2013)

'Open Tuinen' Amsterdam (14-16 June 2013)

'Open Tuinen' Amsterdam (14-16 June 2013)

'Open Tuinen' Amsterdam (14-16 June 2013)

'Open Tuinen' Amsterdam (14-16 June 2013)

'Open Tuinen' Amsterdam (14-16 June 2013)

'Open Tuinen' Amsterdam (14-16 June 2013)

'Open Tuinen' Amsterdam (14-16 June 2013)

'Open Tuinen' Amsterdam (14-16 June 2013)

'Open Tuinen' Amsterdam (14-16 June 2013)

'Open Tuinen' Amsterdam (14-16 June 2013)

'Open Tuinen' Amsterdam (14-16 June 2013)

'Open Tuinen' Amsterdam (14-16 June 2013)

'Open Tuinen' Amsterdam (14-16 June 2013)

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[the bear, csi guy and fawn sculptures are by marjolijn mandersloot.
unfortunately I’m not able to credit any of the others pictured!]

Planning to include an armadillo in a drawing I’m working on I went in search of a live model at Artis, Amsterdam’s zoo and my neighbour (in the mornings we hear the Japanese macaques excitedly chattering over their breakfast, the midday trumpeting of an Asian elephant will always seem surreal, and as evening approaches the Californian sea lion often likes to engage in a bit of twilight barking).

this is a sunbather’s contented yawn, not a bark

Unfortunately (for me, but perhaps not for the armadillos*) Artis have none in residence. So, instead of a life-drawing session, I took in the beautiful grounds – lush and dripping with green (the positive result of lots of summer rain!), visited a few of my furry favourites, and purposefully avoided the big cats (*I’ve no doubt said it before, but I have mixed feelings about zoos and hate to see the larger beasts, feline or otherwise, pacing their enclosures. However I am also aware that, as humanity continues to destroy creatures and their habitats, many zoos are performing important educational and conservation work).

red ruffed lemurs enjoy the sunshine on their open island
(it’s great to be able to get up-close-and-personal with these beautiful animals – no fences, cages or glassed enclosures separate you from them)

a heap of gundis and a pair of fennec foxes bask in the (simulated) desert heat

green, so…

… very green

meerkats (or stokstaartjes in Dutch)
impossible not to grin like a crazy person in their energetic presence

and the red panda has a fancy new house!
he was curled up on a branch high above his plush new abode and had no interest in obliging this snap-happy fan – so, in lieu of the real thing, here are two ‘artists’ impressions’…

l. red panda, from the dunny endangered series 2009, by mr. shane jessup
r. red panda jungle munny, painted by me while waiting for other things to happen, way back in 2009

If you live in the 13th-17th Century castle pictured below (and apparently somebody does!) near Epen, in the Netherlands’ southern-most province of Limburg, then the answer is very green indeed!

We recently returned from several excellent days of walking in Limburg and parts of the Belgian Ardennes. Living practically below sea level (e.g. Amsterdam’s Schiphol Airport is 4 metres below sea level) sometimes has me yearning for higher ground – the gentle hills of Limburg and somewhat more rugged hills & mountains of the Ardennes were just the lift (pun intended) I needed.

These pics are from a late afternoon/early evening, and a morning, wandering in the astonishingly verdant heuvelland near Epen, Limburg.

Chibi Totoro approves of the ancient mosses in Epen’s woods

matching cat and cow (at dusk)

good country to be a ruminant

extraordinary qualities of light

horse hills

crucifixes (affixed to trees, barns, fenceposts and just about anything else ‘affixable’) are a very common sight in these parts… there’s no mistaking you’re in the Catholic South now!

shelters in the woods

decision time

ramblers’ rewards

Pet cemetery, nestled into the hillside in the woods surrounding Dunster Castle,
Somerset, England.

[Photos from summer 2009]

I recently spent a week at the Amsterdams Grafisch Atelier* working on several new screenprints. Some new black and white beasties in bottles and, a departure for me, something in colour – bright oranges and yellows to be precise…

Once I’ve sorted through the teetering pile of prints I brought home with me after 4 intensive days of printing I hope to post some more images here… but in the meantime please join me for a stroll through the AGA’s delightfully rambling, overgrown backyard. After plenty of sunshine and thirst-quenching summer rain it’s a riot of growth and colour, and a perfect spot to take a breather between pulling prints.

* Not having the space or necessary equipment for screenprinting in my own home studio it’s wonderful to be able to make use of the AGA’s facilities. If you’re looking for somewhere to work on your own printmaking projects here in Amsterdam then the AGA’s fully-equipped studios (lithography, blockprinting, etching, silkscreen printing [including textile printing] etc.) might be the place for you! More info can be found on their website (and if you don’t live in Amsterdam but fancy the idea of living and working here for a short-term period you could apply for an artist’s residency at the AGA :)

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

copyright

All images and words on this site are © suzanne norris / sakurasnow unless otherwise specified.

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A gift from a friend @jessebreytenbach a couple of years ago, this tiny, beautiful artwork has taken on a deeper poignancy and significance… [Artist: Stephanie Simpson @me_and_norman] - #stayhome #isolation #art #hope #collage #foundtext #goldleaf #gold #crescent #moon #spring #blue #sky #birds #seagulls #soar -
There’s a cat among the pigeons... A very good reason to #stayhome Be safe, be well. - #idiom #pigeons #cat #grayson #grey #greeneyes #ThinGreyDuke #onelungedwonder #MegaLung #GraysonTheGreat #socks #catsofinstagram #catsofholland -
Venetian grafica, part II - #venice #winter #urbanenvironment #streetart #graffiti #urbanart #vermeer #scubamask #architecturalsculpture #stonework #pinecone #water #reflections #canals #seaweed #shrine #jesus #lion #planetearth #strongman #flare #emergency #climatechange #pattern #texture #colour #art - Credits: The ‘woman in scuba mask’ street art is by Blub, based on Johannes Vermeer’s ‘Girl with a Pearl Earring’ c.1665. Other artist’s unknown (to me). - [Photos taken in November 2019, shortly before this vulnerable, fascinating city was once again flooded, and long before Italy went into the current lockdown state]
Venetian grafica, part I (part II to follow, because Venice is an incredibly visually rich place – what textures! what colours! what magnificent, ancient urban decay! – and I was incapable of culling my photos down to just the ten permitted by IG in a single post!) - #venice #urbanenvironment #streetart #graffiti #urbanart #architecturalsculpture #stonework #medieval #embellishment #grotesque #chimera #water #reflections #canals #damp #edvardmunch #scream #selfie #baroque #vivaldi #scubamask #violin #owl #tourist #raven #plaguemask #pattern #colour #art #climatechange - Credits: The ‘man with violin’ street art is by Blub, based on an anonymous portrait of (probably) Antonio Vivaldi c.1723. Other artists unknown (to me). - [Photos taken in November 2019, shortly before this vulnerable, fascinating city was once again flooded, and long before Italy went into the current lockdown state]
The only thing crazier than one one-lunged-wonder is two one-lunged-wonders! - #grayson #onelungedwonder #MegaLung #ThinGreyDuke #GraysonTheGreat #doppelgänger #doublevision #tightsqueeze #thecrazies #grey #cat #greeneyes #darkroom #blackoutcurtain #window #reflection #russianblue #catsofinstagram #catsofholland
Glasgow grafica… - #glasgow #scotland #winter #urbanenvironment #streetart #graffiti #urbanart #mural #mushrooms #amanitamuscaria #highrise #highway #creatures #animals #cat #entangled #yarn #birds #beak #steeple #sandstone #gardenshed #hedgehog #treeskeleton #silhouette #concretejungle #pattern #colour #art - (December 2019)

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