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rotterdam geometries

soaring  |  ponderous

rotterdam geometries

propped  |  aslant

rotterdam geometries

highly strung

rotterdam geometries

perched

rotterdam geometries

mellowed

rotterdam geometries

guided

rotterdam geometries

ingenious  |  hypnotic

rotterdam geometries

sheathed  |  rationalised

rotterdam geometries

dwarfed

rotterdam geometries

dappled  |  faceted

Pieter Bruegel (I), The Tower of Babel, c.1565

… and that first ever ‘wolkenkrabber’*
pieter bruegel (I)’s “the tower of babel” c.1565
as seen at rotterdam’s magnificent boijmans van beuningen museum

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the buildings and structures pictured
(in order of first appearance, and if known) are as follows:

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* wolkenkrabber – excellent dutch word for skyscraper, literally ‘cloud(s) scraper’ – beautifully visualised in bruegel’s 16th century tower of babel painting

 

On a recent day off we took advantage of the fine spring sunshine and made the brief 42 minute train journey to Delft. Despite its proximity, famous blue ceramics, and Vermeer connection I hadn’t visited the city before, and was hopeful to catch a glimpse of that particular quality of light and shadow so singular to Vermeer’s paintings.

      Johannes Vermeer, View of Delft, c. 1660 - 1661

view of delft, johannes vermeer, c.1660-1661

view of delft, april 2015

views of delft, april 2015

However, the uncharacteristically clear blue sky and intense spring sunshine had other ideas… and made for far less subtle, but equally rewarding, colours and contrasts.

view of delft, april 2015

delft blue

view of delft, april 2015

play of light & shadow

view of delft, april 2015

building bling!

view of delft, april 2015

for the cows
(as a vegetarian i find the consumption of veal [kalfsvlees] one of humanity’s more dismaying culinary practices… but i’m not averse to a nice bit of art deco stained glass typography!)

view of delft, april 2015

blue segues into green

view of delft, april 2015

city garden

view of delft, april 2015

magnolia, grape hyacinth

view of delft, april 2015

gateway to oz?

view of delft, april 2015

beneath our feet – spring growth, and a handpainted
reminder about what’s important embedded into the pavement

view of delft, april 2015

paparazzi-ing the locals!

the sleeping city, limited edition screenprint

‘The Sleeping City’ is the silkscreen print I completed recently (and for which the drawings in an earlier post were made). It was inspired by a slightly disquieting, though strangely invigorating, dream I had in which a ghostly, glowing thylacine-headed dragon-creature twisted and turned its sinuous body across the dark night sky above a silent, sleeping Amsterdam. I have long wanted to make drawings of Amsterdam’s iconic canal houses and this perplexing dream gave me the nudge I needed. Of course I couldn’t draw the beautiful step, neck and bell gables as they actually are – I wanted them to appear slightly ‘other’, to give them a dreamlike quality… gables for an alternative-reality Amsterdam. The octopus gable and the dragon were particularly fun to draw – I love making drawings that allow me to lose myself in their intricate twists and turns… so much so that I’m sometimes reluctant to resurface!

the sleeping city, limited edition screenprint, detail

In the dream the city’s slumbering inhabitants were oblivious to the creature’s presence (which, although not malignant, was also not entirely benign). But not everyone slept through this anomaly… Amsterdam’s cats – shape-shifters and dimension-skippers one-and-all – were awake to commune with the strange apparition in the sky.

the sleeping city, limited edition screenprint, details

I have no idea what this dream meant, if indeed it meant anything at all, but it did provide me with some fun material to work with!

the sleeping city, pots of ink

As I generally favour working in black & white, colour-mixing the inks for this print was quite a challenge – I really wanted to capture the harmonious, almost monochromatic midnight-blues, purples and ghostly-glow qualities of the dream, but also wanted enough contrast for the individual elements to have the graphic impact I was after. So I worked with tints and shades of a single colour (that ‘midnight-blue’ I’ve mentioned) – and for the colour layers that called for a more translucent quality, I added lashings of transparent base to the ink.

the sleeping city, limited edition screenprint, details

I chose to print on a coloured paper (Fabriano Tiziano 160gsm pastel paper in ‘Danubio’) as I wanted the elements to emerge from a darker ground, to appear out of ‘the night’ as it were. Printing such a relatively complex (seven-screen, five-colour) print on coloured paper was a first for me and doubtless increased the colour mixing challenges, but generated some very interesting effects. The image disappears almost completely in very dim light, but in brighter light elements positively *pop* off the page – it therefore seems to shift & change in the fluctuating light and as a result replicates a certain surreal quality of the dream that inspired it. I’m fascinated by these temporal effects of colour, light and darkness and will definitely be experimenting further, in future projects, with printing on different coloured papers.

Here’s a little animated GIF showing random snippets of the process, including some of the film transparencies created (from the drawings featured in my earlier post) for the seven separate print layers, exposure (of these transparencies) onto screens, ink/colour mixing, test prints, the print at various stages of completion and finally cleaning/reclaiming the screens at the end of the process.

the sleeping city, limited edition screenprint, process pics

And here is the print, temporarily framed and hanging on my studio wall, to give a sense of scale (those are standard sized postcards on the pinboard to the right). It’s available now, in a limited edition of 45 pieces, in my Etsy shop.

the sleeping city, limited edition screenprint

Now to put Kronk‘s yeti back where he belongs, before his temporary displacement angers him…

yeti screenprint by kronk

… oops, too late!

wip drawings

Some work-in-progress drawings, made for a silkscreen print I completed recently…

wip drawings

As always, my studio assistant’s assistance proved indispensable…

wip drawings

And he was very obliging when I needed some elegant-feline-silhouette source material…

gira's silhouette

wip drawings

wip drawings

I hope to upload some pictures of the completed screenprint, just as soon as I’ve sorted through the backlog of photos amassed while I was offline

… a tad gothic, and a bit baroque.

Middelburg, Zeeland, Netherlands

part of the vast (mainly?) 13th Century Abdij (Abbey) complex, as viewed from the 90 metre high ‘Lange Jan’ (‘Tall John’) tower
(207 tightly spiralled stone steps later… phew! but worth the climb)

W-a-y back in June, when we had visitors staying with us, and which now feels like a million years ago, we headed south (and west) to the province of Zeeland where we overnighted in its fascinating and ancient capital, Middelburg (it’s been around in some form or another since the late 8th/early 9th Century).

For someone who likes to ‘collect’ patterns in brickwork, architectural embellishments, and other small details and textures of the urban environment it was a very rewarding two days wandering.

Middelburg, Zeeland, Netherlands

the imposing (even when partly obscured!), octagonal Oosterkerk

As is my wont (I know, I can’t believe I just said that either) I snuck a few peeks into people’s windows… and I liked what I found.

Middelburg, Zeeland, Netherlands

an excellent italian greyhound?

Middelburg, Zeeland, Netherlands

all the pretty horses

Middelburg, Zeeland, Netherlands

beautiful green glass

Middelburg, Zeeland, Netherlands

a cityscape cross-stitched in ‘delfts blauw‘ coloured thread

Middelburg, Zeeland, Netherlands

fruits, ripe for the picking (oil paintings by Karin Körver)

Middelburg, Zeeland, Netherlands

wonderful tiles, above the bakery

Middelburg, Zeeland, Netherlands

and some (not very) patient bread-lovers, outside the bakery
(they could hardly contain their razor-fanged glee when their human pal emerged and the much-anticipated bread treats were proffered!)

Middelburg, Zeeland, Netherlands

time for a pit-stop:
a local brew, and a perfectly poured glass of jenever

Middelburg, Zeeland, Netherlands

darkly brooding dome
(also part of the Abbey complex, which was built, rebuilt, amended and appended over hundreds of years between 880 and 1712. Massive damage was incurred as a result of Luftwaffe bombing in 1940 and much of the Abbey, and indeed much of Middelburg, underwent reconstruction and restoration after World War II)

Middelburg, Zeeland, Netherlands

stone bones, fruit ‘n veg (adorning the baroque-style Oosterkerk)

Middelburg, Zeeland, Netherlands

minty-green leadlights, eye-poppingly fuchsia fuchsias
(if that is indeed what they are, gardeners?)

Middelburg, Zeeland, Netherlands

red!

Middelburg, Zeeland, Netherlands

perfect geometries… in turquoise, black and yellow

Middelburg, Zeeland, Netherlands

rich, luminous colours
an emerald green houseboat and a (predominantly) purple geveltuin

Middelburg, Zeeland, Netherlands

and, unexpectedly, a little piece of the Australian outback

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.

instagram

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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