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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)

During our various city wanderings this past summer we encountered lots of fine, furry felines. In celebration of today’s autumnal equinox, or vernal equinox if you’re reading this in the southern hemisphere, (and because there simply aren’t enough pictures of cats on the internet ;-) here’s a glimpse of how Holland’s urban kitties while away their lazy summer days…

the cat days of summer

listening to the symphony in his head
[haarlem]

the cat days of summer

ziggy stardust *
[haarlem]

the cat days of summer

21st century broomstick
[haarlem]

the cat days of summer

heatwave face
[gira @ home, haarlem]

the cat days of summer

puny humans!
[leiden]

the cat days of summer

lunch leftovers?
[leiden]

the cat days of summer

aahhh, that’s the spot…
… wait, where are you going? I have so much more to give!
[haarlem]

the cat days of summer

yellow eyed yogi
[haarlem]

the cat days of summer

hangin’ out on his hog
[haarlem]

the cat days of summer

siamese twins
[leiden]

the cat days of summer

just chillin’
[haarlem]

the cat days of summer

ginger repose
[top: leiden, bottom: haarlem]

the cat days of summer

happy equinox, folks!

* although Bowie’s eyes are technically not heterochromic the moniker “Ziggy Stardust” seemed to suit this elegant fella very well

RIP Casey Copperfield
This post is dedicated to the memory of Casey Copperfield,
beautiful kitty of blog friend Carol

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 :-)

" "

summer outtakes, amsterdam 2013

happy right here…

It has been a super-busy summer – filled with lots of work and welcome visits from distant friends and family – and the (imminent) arrival of the autumnal equinox has taken me somewhat by surprise! Here are some outtakes from this summer past in Amsterdam*…

summer outtakes, amsterdam 2013

green man

summer outtakes, amsterdam 2013

lazy days, watchful gaze

summer outtakes, amsterdam 2013

all aglow!
[‘frank by the river’ silkscreen print, by the brilliant jim woodring]

summer outtakes, amsterdam 201316

a seasonal neighbour attends to some housekeeping  |  eye-popping poppies

summer outtakes, amsterdam 2013

soft pink

summer outtakes, amsterdam 2013

supersoft!

summer outtakes, amsterdam 2013

patterns emerging

summer outtakes, amsterdam 2013

beasts of the urban jungle

summer outtakes, amsterdam 2013

london police, hands up!

summer outtakes, amsterdam 2013

watching the boats go by

summer outtakes, amsterdam 2013

double vision

summer outtakes, amsterdam 2013

the magical light of long summer evenings

summer outtakes, amsterdam 2013

august sun, august moon

" "

* all pictures were taken in amsterdam, except the totem pole detail (“watchful gaze”) – that stands outside the rijksmuseum volkenkunde in leiden

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

instagram

Good morning moon, good morning cumulus congestus #moon #morning #clouds #cumulus #blue #sky #dutch_sky Some tigery goodness in honour of Global Tiger Day today! A day held annually on 29 July to raise awareness for tiger conservation around the world.
I made this screenprint several years ago to raise funds for wild cat conservation organisation Panthera (@pantheracats). You can support the crucial work they do at www.panthera.org, or if you fancy one of these screenprints they’re available to buy in my shop – I donate 100% of the proceeds of every sale to Panthera (www.etsy.com/shop/sakurasnow)
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#tiger #big_cats #wild_cats #endangered #conservation #panthera #panthera_tigris #leopard #panthera_pardus #panthera_pair
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#donation #screenprinting #silkscreen #serigraph #zeefdruk #screen_printing #printmaking #handmade #ink #pattern #stripes #spots Rainbow over Haarlem, shortly before last night’s big, beautiful thunderstorm arrived #rainbow #haarlem #storm_clouds_gathering #moody #sky #clouds #colour #summer #thunderstorm #dome #verdigris #cathedral #kathedralebasilieksintbavo #studio_view #rooftops #netherlands A very happy 54th wedding anniversary today to my magnificent Mum & my dashing Dad!
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#mum_and_dad #happy_anniversary #1960s #classic #style #1960shair #lookin_good #family #old_family_photos #sepia #black_and_white #patina Luminous jelly bells! Jellyfish silkscreen print detail…
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#screenprinting #silkscreen #serigraph #zeefdruk #screen_printing #printmaking #handmade #ink  #glow_in_the_dark #GID #phosphorescent #jellyfish #cnidarian #bells #marine_bioluminescence  #pattern #black #green #glow
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https://tinyurl.com/yclpowve I am indebted to the always inspiring artwork of 19th/early 20th Century German biologist Ernst Haeckel. These recent pop-up interpretations (by Maike Biederstädt) of various plates from Haeckel’s masterpiece ‘Art Forms in Nature’ (‘Kunstformen der Natur’, published between 1899 and 1904) are very cool! Swipe right to view ‘em all (six images in total). Japanese woodland spirit, Chibi Totoro, particularly likes the ‘forest’ of sea anemones (5th image :-)
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#ernst_haeckel #art_forms_in_nature #kunstformen_der_natur #biology #natural_history #marine_biology #sea_creatures #creatures_of_the_deep #octopus #octopus_vulgaris #red_starfish #asterias_rubens #acanthophractida #cyrtoidae #radiolaria #protozoa #sea_anemones #actinaria #chibi_totoro #popup #pop_up_book #maike_biederstädt #paper_engineering #prestel #pattern #texture #form #design
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‘Ernst Haeckel Creatures of the Deep: The Pop-up Book’, by Maike Biederstädt, published by Prestel August 2016

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