Amsterdam Vacation Redux

A visual recap of my Amsterdam vacation

The 3 days I spent in Amsterdam on vacation, commonly called “Venice of the North” where I found time to sketch as well as eat, drink & relax.

Thoughts that come to mind:

Sketch at YYJ, ballpoint pen, Moleskine journal
Sketch at YYJ, ballpoint pen, Moleskine journal
Waiting out a layover in the Calgary Airport
“From where I sit”, waiting out a layover in the Calgary Airport YYC.
Travel journal beginnings, ballpoint pen and collage.
Travel journal beginnings, ballpoint pen and collage.

 

Amsterdam Rush Hour
Amsterdam Rush Hour
Late night sketch, Concert Hotel, Amsterdam. Watercolour  ink, Moleskine journal.
Late night sketch, Concert Hotel, Amsterdam. Watercolour ink, Moleskine journal.
House of Bols
House of Bols Cocktail Museum, Hall of Taste to test your senses.

 

House of Bols, samples: 2 types of Genever, Passion fruit and Yogurt liqueur.
House of Bols, samples: 2 types of Genever, Passion fruit and Yogurt liqueur.
 Sketch on Van Baerstraat, Amsterdam. Watercolour  ink, Moleskine journal.
Sketch on Van Baerstraat, Amsterdam. Watercolour ink, Moleskine journal.
Museumplein Ice Skating, Amsterdam
Museumplein Ice Skating, infront of the Rijksmuseum, Amsterdam
Eurasian Magpie, Corvidae, Pica Pica. Watercolour  ink, Moleskine journal.
Eurasian Magpie, Corvidae, Pica Pica. Watercolour ink, Moleskine journal.
Reypanaer Cheese school, Amsterdam
Reypanaer Cheese school (with wine pairings), Amsterdam
Amsterdam Canal Houses
Amsterdam Canal Houses at twilight.
Amsterdam canal house sketch, mixed media.
Amsterdam canal house sketch, mixed media.
Amsterdam Light Sculpture
Floating light sculpture in the canal, Amsterdam.
Amsterdam Canal Houses
Amsterdam Canal Houses

 

Amsterdam Canal Houses
Amsterdam Canal Houses

Amsterdam canal house GIF

Amsterdam Canal Houses
Amsterdam Canal Houses

Breathing Space in Barcelona

The haunting of history is ever present in Barcelona. I see cities as organisms, as living creatures. To me, Madrid is a man and Barcelona is a woman. And it’s a woman who’s extremely vain.

Carlos Ruiz Zafon

After our days in the urban core of Amsterdam huddled winter clothes, we found some space to breathe.  We spent 5 sunny December days in this hot spot of Spain rambling down and hiking up A LOT! but we made up for the exercise with generous amounts of food & wine.

Charming views were at ones disposal every other city block. For example, this time-worn church that reflected it’s warmth into the courtyard where we lounged over espresso & tapas.

14th century Catalan Gothic church in Barcelona, Spain
14th century Catalan Gothic church in Barcelona, Spain

My Sketchbook came in handy many times during our European jaunt. Many hours were spent waiting for planes, trains &  automobiles. I packed a travel size kit of art supplies for moments such as these.

Sketch at El Prat airport, Barcelona. Ball point pen, Moleskine journal.
Sketch at El Prat airport, Barcelona. Ball point pen, Moleskine journal.

Gaudi, Gaudi, Gaudi, & Gaudi. The Catalan architects influence is evident throughout Barcelona. It was underfoot in the walkways and countless buildings as well.

I was amazed with the architecture and craftsmanship at the Ssagrada de Familia!
I was amazed with the architecture and craftsmanship at the Sagrada de Familia!
Gaudi designed these chimney pots for Casey Milan to look like the helmets of knights.
Gaudi designed these chimney pots for Casey Milan to look like the helmets of knights.
Paving stones on Las Ramblas, Barcelona
Paving stones on Las Ramblas, Barcelona

We couldn’t get around and see all of the sites but tackled as many as we could! I’ll come back. 

Next stop: Bulgaria! Our objective there is to spend time with our friend Amalia who moved to Sunny Beach a few years ago with her husband Matt. 

Rome: Virtual Paintout

Piazza del Paradiso, Virtual Paintout
Piazza del Paradiso, Rome, Italy (coloured pencil & watercolour) for the Virtual Paintout.

 

I participated in the Virtual Paintout again this December. The area to focus on was Rome, Italy.

Every painting is a voyage into a sacred harbour.

Giotto di Bondone

I have never been to Rome but as I have recently returned from Amsterdam, Barcelona & Paris. I can imagine to a small degree what it could be like: Narrow, cobbled streets lined with tall antiquated buildings (by my Victoria, BC standards, where some of the oldest buildings are 135-140 years old. Only babies by European or Asian standards!) in various states of decay/preservation, with cafe tables in every other doorway. I’ll get there eventually but for now, this surrogate ramble through the medium of Streetview with have to suffice.

While doing research for the Virtual Paintout the contrast of warm stucco against the cool sky caught my eye this time around. I also like the the negative space, the slightly cock-eyed “X” of the sky.

If your curious to see a glimpse of how Piazza del Paradiso appears in Streetview, click the link here, but remember you’ll need to crank your head way up to get the perspective.

 

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Vritual Paintout
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Artist’s Playroom
Paint Party Friday
Paint Party Friday

 

Virtual Paintout Ireland, Dreaming of Grand Houses, Forests & Lakes.

Virtual Paintout Ireland

Muckross House, Virtual Paintout Ireland
Muckross House, Virtual Paintout Ireland
Muckross House

I participated in the Virtual Paintout Ireland this month. The area to focus on was County Kerry.

It  was very easy to “wander” the streets and pathways for hours through Google Streetview this month. It seemed every time you turned a corner that there was another beautiful lake, a fine old pub, stone cottages, and little churches overlooking another pastoral scene.

I chose another tall building, maybe I’m attracted to the distortion of the upward angle.

Muckross House is located in Ireland’s  Killarney National Park and was built in 1843  for the politician Henry Herbert.

Muckross House, County Kerry Ireland as seen through Google Streetview.
Muckross House, County Kerry Ireland as seen through Google Streetview.

If your curious to see a glimpse of how Muckross House appears in Streetview, click the link here


 

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Traveling the world -virtually!

 

Nils Ericson Central Train Station. Watercolor and sepia, Virtual Paintout
Nils Ericson Central Train Station. Watercolor and sepia ink on 90 lb. hot press paper.

Gothenburg, Sweden is on the other side of the world from me &  I have never had the pleasure of visiting there but it is this University town where my brother in law lives & works which is why this months Virtual Paintout Challenge caught my attention.

“A good traveller is one who knows how to travel with the mind.” -Michael Bassey-Johnson

A few months ago I found this particular painting challenge which Bill Guffey began in 2009. The idea intrigued me and I have been meaning to try it but this month location gave me the extra motivation to finally put pen and brush to paper.

The general concept of the Virtual Paintout challenge is to use Google Street View as source of inspiration and reference for painting and sketching. No matter where in the world you live, if you are lucky enough to have access to the Internet you can cruise the streets from the view point of a camera mounted on the roof of a Google car. While you certainly have plenty of urban scenes to choose from there are also rural landscapes,  people or animals to be discovered too.

For the last year I’ve been practicing my urban sketching locally so I thought I would be up to this challenge. Once I zoomed in on the locale selected what I came across was very intriguing.  I was cruising the streets,  peering into alleyways and parks,  glimpsing people having lunch in outdoor cafés,  passing cyclists and wondering “Are they going to work or school? “. Part of the test is deciding on an image and while you can submit more than one entry they all that you limit it to three per month.

Shall I do another or wait to see what neck of the woods Bill chooses next?

Check out Bill Guffey’s site. :

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P.S. I came across this article after I did my painting.  They’re so tempting I’m going to need to try some of them too!

http://mentalfloss.com/article/51904/16-amazing-places-visit-google-street-view