Local Heart, Global Soul

January 27, 2017

Who Needs Glass and Steel When You Can Have Structures Like These?

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

Regular readers will know that Himself and I have one trait very much in common: we appear to have been born with no sense of direction whatsoever.

Our navigation skills are legendary, in a manner that usually involves laugher and disbelief (and sometimes a few face palms) rather than any echos of awe.

During the summer of 2016 we needed to drop Little Mr off to an event on the German Dutch border and instead of keeping within the Netherlands, we accidentally took a wrong turn and ended up in the German town of  Isselburg-Anholt.

We had been searching for somewhere to have lunch, so after realising our mistake we figured that lunch in Germany would be as good as lunch in the Netherlands, stayed and several side streets later found a restaurant.

After we had eaten we headed back to the car and attempted to leave town. This involved more wrong turns and a messy reverse out of a narrow street that Our Lady of The Tom Tom assured us was a two way street, but that the signs on the lampposts assured us wasn’t. Luckily my instruction of “take the next left” was quickly met with Himself’s “Can’t“, and since the street was little more than an alleyway, and deserted, no danger was involved.

Our biggest issue was that several years ago we swapped our tiny Peugeot 206 for a seven seater vehicle and one thing that longer cars are not good at, is reversing out of narrow European alleyways where the layout is as crooked and pieced together as the dwellings built over the centuries around it.

There was no pavement to speak of, doorsteps were right on the street,  vehicles parked as close to the buildings as they could physically manage and still allow exit of the occupants.  Cars vied for position, their drivers expert in squeezing into the smallest space possible, everyone folding in their wing mirrors on the street side so a single vehicle may inch past. The line of the buildings was not straight, nor therefore was the road.

Himself executed a three point turn, which was actually a six or seven or maybe nine point turn, the sensors at the front at rear of the car peeping alarmingly rapidly as we inched back, then forwards to complete the manoeuver.

A small group of German locals watched our progress from a little distance, glances in our mirrors told us that they were taking an interest but they quickly looked away when I looked directly at them. Our tight U-turn completed, we drive past them and aim for the main street. More “One Way” signs greet us even though Our Lady is telling us otherwise.  Another side street looks like a short-cut to our desired direction, we take it and as it dog-legs around to the right we suddenly find ourselves driving in a circle with no side roads to offer any escape.

When I met the gaze of the group of locals as we passed them a second time, this time they were all grinning, and waved.  They pointed to the place where we first tried to exit and then to the left instead the right that we had taken the first time. With a thumbs up and a grin reply, I signal our Thanks and against the wishes of Our Lady of The Tom Tom we headed in the opposite direction of where she wanted is to go.

After half a kilometer a re-set got us back on track. Because of this we needed to back-track a little and turn around on a larger road. Himself opted instead to turn right into a small lane where there was no traffic and we could turn around more easily. At that moment I spied this rickety old structure, filled with wood, charming, age unknown but full of character.I love buildings like this… rustic in the extreme, it half looked like the wood being stored inside was holding the pla ce up. I snapped off a few photographs of it and a brick building next to it that is definitely older than it first looks for my archive files.  Who needs glass and steel when you can have structures like these?

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

December 11, 2016

These Paintings Plumb Blow Me Away…

Just as I did with the other “Parels” (Pearls) artist Mirelle, with Ingrid I am saving the best until last. The level of detail in these paintings is something that no photograph can do justice to. You could say that I am “plumb blown away”.

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

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(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

December 10, 2016

Mastering The Old Masters…

Continuing with yesterday’s post, a photographic post detailing The Hague artist Ingrid’s studies of the old masters. The idea of making detailed copies is so that the same techniques can be learned, and judging from these photographs, Ingrid is making a rather good job of mastering the old masters.

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

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(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

December 9, 2016

Visual Notes Keep A Record Of Works And Progress…

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

At the end of summer I visited Ingrid, another talented artist showcased in the Hague’s  “Parels” (Pearls) Day, where on this occasion the neighbourhoods featured are the “Flora en Faunawijken” (Flora and Fauna) districts.

As I mentioned in an earlier post, this means all of the streets in these neighbourhoods are named after fruit, trees, flowers etc.

The fold-out map in the Parels booklet lists all of the addresses that can be visited on Parels Day and whilst there were a vast range of hobbies and exhibits to choose from, I thought that getting through two, possibly three in the day would be more than my limit, so went with the artists I liked the most.

Ingrid, like Mirelle in my previous posts, is taking classes in the techniques and styles of the old masters, and if you like a very high standard in your artworks, neither of these ladies disappoint.

What they also have in common is that they make workbook photograph albums of their works, of  “exercise” pieces, documenting works in progress and the finished articles.

These visual “notes” are very important, not just as a method of detailing the techniques covered but also as an inspiring reminder of how the works improve with time and practice. Of course some of the finished pieces go out to friends and family or might be a commission so having a record of work you may not see often or even again is important, whatever your hobby.

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

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(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

December 8, 2016

Amazing Paintings Of Flowers…

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

Earlier this year several neighbourhoods of The Hague celebrated “Parels” (Pearls) Day, an open day where local community places and individual people put their hobbies and passions on exhibit to the public.

I have missed a heap of these since I first found out that they existed, including several close to me, so when a friend put the booklet for this one into my hands I was determined to try and get out and see some of the exhibits.

As per recent blog posts I started off at the home of a lady called Mirelle, an artist currently taking classes in the techniques of the old masters.

Afterwards, Himself arrived to pick me up and bring me to my next destination on my list, a lady called Ingrid.

In the same way as my posts on Mirelle I have deleted Ingrid’s last name and her address for reasons of internet safety.

Should anyone be interested in obtaining a commission piece from either of these ladies I could give them your details and let them contact you directly. Once at Ingrid’s home and as soon as I saw and recognised some of  her work, I quickly discovered that she and Mirelle are members of the same art course.  Both ladies have put their own style onto the techniques of the old masters, Ingrid having come into oil painting by way of earlier starting out in watercolour. Nowhere more can this difference be seen than in her amazing paintings of flowers…

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

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(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

December 7, 2016

An Invitation To Enjoy …And Drool For Yourself.

The last pieces by artist Mirelle, when I visited for “Parels” (Pearls) Day were, I think are matter of saving the best until last.  The level of detail that she has managed to incorporate into her work is breathtaking and for a detail fanatic like me: absolutely divine. To be honest I could probably dribble on for ages, gushing about, this, that, and well, everything. The superlatives would be flowing like crazy and you would soon start to wonder if I was sane (if you don’t already). Instead I will just invite you to enjoy… and drool for yourself.

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

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(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

December 6, 2016

Brings Not Just Delight To The Eye And Hand, but Also To The Soul…

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

Back to my topic of a few posts ago, I am visiting one of the “Parels” (Pearls) artists, a very talented lady called Mirelle.

She is taking a specialised art class that follows and learns to replicate the techniques of the Dutch old masters.

Some of the paintings she has done have been worked on and built up over time towards the end product, and rather wisely she had the idea of taking step-by-step photographs of the process.

Then in another piece of inspiration she had these photographs put into photo books, the type that you make yourself and take in to be printed.

This means that she has an easily accessible “workbook” of sorts that not only reminds her of the steps she needed in order to replicate the process, but also a memory of works done.

Also included in her books were photographs of individual finished “studies”, everything from the parts of the face, instantly recognisable as Vermeer’s “Girl with the pearl earing”  also his “The kitchen maid”, and other works by Rembrandt and Reubens.

Mirelle was surprised and delighted that I named many of the face part paintings by artist immediately but understood when I told her I had studied both practical art and art history, so knew many old masters well.

I think it is a brilliant idea to keep photograph album books detailing the evolving status of the works, especially because in her case she also does work on commission and no longer owns all of her pieces.

There was only one painting I did not recognise, (Mirelle filled me in but I forgot to write it down and forgot because concentration is difficult).

That painting was of what may have been a bishop or cardinal dressed in black robes (…don’t cardinals always wear red or crimson?) and it’s a formal portrait. The man’s right hand is relaxed and open, his left draped in a relaxed pose over the edge of a large leather or velum bound book. Mirelle’s studies concentrated on each of the hands, I love the detail, not only in the hand but also in the book and lace cuff of his shirt. I’m in no current state to take a class like this, but if I were I would be jumping to do it, learning more about this style and technique would be not bring delight to the eye and the hand, but also to the soul.

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

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(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

December 4, 2016

The Rose-Hips Are Gone, But In Their Place…

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

My first visit on “Parels” (Pearls) day was to a lovely lady called Mirelle.

Her full name and address were given in the Parels brochure and she was happy to have her photograph taken for this blog post but, still this is the internet, so erring on the side of caution I have edited out her full name and address.

Should anyone be interested in contacting her for a commission, I would be happy to pass your details on to her so that she could contact you directly.

When I first flicked though the brochure that advertised each of the events and locations, I saw this image, did a double take and went back to it.

I expected the glass with the green rose-hips (if that is what they are) to be a photograph, but was in for a pleasant surprise when I started to read and saw that this was a painting and the artist adores the hyper realistic paining genre.

I went along hoping to get a close up look at this rose-hip painting but Mirelle no longer had it.

Luckily there were plenty of other paintings and artworks to catch my eye, everything from sketches and personal portraits of family members, to studies of various techniques from the Dutch old masters. For instance, Mirelle has made paintings of old Delftse porcelain, others of still life with a skull, a painting of her mother in costume with friends (painted from an old family photograph). Small paintings of boxes, large ones of beetles and roses. It’s hard to know where to look first. The work is amazing…

artist-mirella-2q-small

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

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(photograph © Kiwidutch)

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(photograph © Kiwidutch)

Mirelle…

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

December 3, 2016

Painting The Town…

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

Being largely confined to the four walls of home can make you more than a little stir-crazy sometimes since you slowly get cut off from the outside world.

Himself has to juggle being the family taxi driver and the drug-free, clear headed listening brains in my many medical appointments, keep up with work, extended family duties, drive kid to sports, clubs and social life events, and then do housework and cooking.

I help out with cooking, laundry and supervising kid homework as much as I can, but even so, Himself certainly does the lions’ share of the work.

When he is really busy and there is nothing I can help with, I don’t want to heap more on his plate by asking for a car rides somewhere, help getting in and out of the house or anything else that would make his work load even heavier.
I do not get to step outside of the front door, often for more than a week on end which can get me down sometimes.

Luckily I have good friends who keep me up to date on events that are worth an outing so every now and again, for which I am very grateful.

Different neighbourhoods in The Hague have their own versions of  the “Kunst Route”  (Art Route)  Statenkwartier which I wrote about a few years back (link at the bottom of this post). This is where people display their art and hobbies in their own homes on a sort of “open day”, but also that it’s a coordinated thing, so up to sixty homes will be open on one day.

I’ve been meaning to go for ages but so far other appointments have gotten in the way. Earlier this year my intended visits around the Statenkwartierwere set aside because of my mother in laws serious dip in health, and whilst I was disappointed, Family comes first.

It was therefore a lovely surprise when a friend informed me that another neighbourhood also hosts a similar event, and passed on the brochure. Called “Parels” (Pearls), the  neighbourhoods covered are the “Flora en Faunawijken” (Flora and Fauna), so this means the districts in which the streets are named after fruit, trees, flowers etc. There is a fold-out map in the back and a list of fifty-two addresses that can be visited on their Open Day.  There are not just paintings to see though, the Open Day covers everything from sculpture to space saving eco-gardening, from hedgehog rescue and quilting to puppetry and medieval music recitals. I aim to try and visit several of them and be inspired by what artistic endeavours are happening right here in my own city…

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

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(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

Psst, Wanna Come Home and See my Etchings?!!!

December 1, 2016

Holding Out As Autumn Arrives…

Following yesterday’s post, it was not only the busy bee collecting pollen that captivated my interest in our friend’s garden this summer.  I was also interested in the artistic merit of the forms and patterns of many of the leaves and flowers and I want to build up a more detailed reference file for my drawings. I found the different colours and shapes appealing but also had as much interest in the insect eaten leaves of one poor plant as I did in it’s healthy uneaten neighbour. This second half of my photographic series is a record of nature a week or so before the warm weather literally switched itself off, the winds turned around and started to come from the west and the north and the last fruits of summer held out as autumn arrived.

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

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(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

 

 

 

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