Thursday, January 28, 2010

Moleskine: Ink & Colored Pencil Sketches from Antwerp, Belgium trips

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While I was in Antwerp, Belgium, I did do some sketches (or drawings, whatever you want to call them) in what I call my Places Traveled Moleskine . This little moleskine is designated for my various travels to various places when I take short trips - Berlin trips are also in this particular moleskine.

All of these were done, on site, during my December trip, 2009 and January trip, 2010. I did do some filling in of windows in one of these sketches/drawings while I had some downtime in the hotel room and that roof of the building that looked like a pineapple. So many windows to do and empty spaces annoy me no end, which is my personal problem - I suffer from "horror vacui" (literally: fear of empty spaces, also known as cenophobia), a medieval artists' affliction . You should see my studio - well, maybe not! LOL !!

So, here they are .... sorry, there are no larger sized clicking anymore, you can thank the image thieves for this change to my blog

artwork copyright Judith Nijholt-Strong
sketches L to R:
Christmas Tree on the Meir in Antwerp - Dec. 2009
Interior of Restaurant Aurelia in Antwerp - Jan. 2010
Single Birthday Rose from the Surprise Bouquet in Antwerp - Jan. 2010


artwork copyright Judith Nijholt-Strong
images L to R:
Buildings Near the Grotemarkt in Antwerp - Jan. 2010
Tram Riders in Antwerp - Jan. 2010
Christmas Decorations in the Feestzaal - Antwerp, Dec. 2009


artwork copyright Judith Nijholt-Strong
images L to R:
Leonidas Chocolate Hearts on the Table - Antwerp, Jan. 2010
Cupola of a Building on the Meir - Antwerp, Dec. 2009
Hotel Room Interior - Antwerp, Jan. 2009

For those sketches/drawings, I used:
- A small Moleskine Sketchbook.
- Sigma Micron Pigment pens of varying sizes (permanent black ink).
- A very small set of Copic Markers (I only have 4 colors and one colorless blender marker, just testing them out).
- Some Caran d' Ache Pablos and a few Prismacolor colored pencils, that I had with me.

I packed light for these short trips - didn't take the whole studio with me...LOL. I found the colored pencils blended very well with the alcohol based markers. I also used a Copic Colorless Blender Marker on the colored pencil areas, which worked very well indeed. Being alcohol based rather than water based, the Copic Markers did not ruin the surface texture of the paper and that's a good thing, in my opinion.

Been thinking of doing the scene of the fancy buildings near the Grotemarkt (the one with all the windows) over again on a bigger sheet of paper - then I can frame it. Probably will take me forever to complete, what with all those windows and ornate bits to do again! heh heh. Those buildings are amazing in real life, so fabulously Baroque with all their ornamentation and each a different roof top.

Having enjoyed using the Copic Markers so much for sketching, I'm now going to expand on the colors I have ... I want more! :o) However, I don't think I'd recommend, or use, them for a real proper drawing (one intended for sale or to frame) because I'm not sure how long the colors will last, some colors may be rather fugitive when constantly exposed to light. Though, I would use the Copic Colorless Blender Marker as an aid in doing a full colored pencil piece.

So, it's on to February and something for Valentines ... hmm, like those chocolate hearts or maybe some markers (though not made of chocolate, of course!). ;o)

tot ziens,
Judy
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Saturday, January 16, 2010

St.Carolus Borromeus Church - Antwerp, Belgium

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Time for some photos, and a short film (both of which I made in December), of the beautiful Baroque era, Saint Carolus Borromeus Church in Antwerp. This church was built by Jesuit monks in the 17th century, between 1615 - 1621. The exterior and interior of this church were both partly designed by Antwerp's famous Baroque era master artist, Peter Paul Rubens. His contribution is most evident on the exterior decorations and the interior main alter... elaborate, to say the least!

photo copyright Judith Nijholt-Strong
Saint Carolus Borromeus Church - exterior
Antwerp, Belgium - December 2009

Main alter decorated for Christmas. I think, but am not sure, that is a painting by Peter Paul Rubens over the alter. I need to do a little research on that to be sure.... though if not a Rubens, I'd be surprised.

photo copyright Judith Nijholt-Strong
Main Alter Saint Carolus Borromeus Church
Antwerp, Belgium - December 2009

A view of the ceiling above the main alter.

photo copyright Judith Nijholt-Strong
Saint Carolus Borromeus Church - ceiling view above main alter
Antwerp, Belgium - December 2009


Gallery over the main section of the church. Due to recontruction work going on beneath this area, the gallery was inaccessible. This church has suffered two horrible fires, the last one being as recent as August 2009 - fortunately, none of the masterpieces in the church were damaged or destroyed. Would have been cool to get a picture from up here though ...

photo copyright Judith Nijholt-Strong
Interior Gallery - Saint Caroulus Borromeus Church
Antwerp, Belgium - December, 2009

Carved decoration on the wooden front door of the church - view to the old city library building across the square in front of the church.

photo copyright Judith Nijholt-Strong
St. Carolus Borromeus Church - Main Door
Antwerp, Belgium - December, 2009

This is the short film - I shot this from the square in front of the church. I do not know the composer nor the title of the piece the street-violinist is playing ,though it is lovely music and lucky that I captured it on this film! (please pardon the odd sound at 18secs., I couldn't remove it... oh well.)
video
film copyright 2009, Judith Nijholt-Strong
St. Caroulus Borromeus Church - exterior view
Antwerp, Belgium - December, 2009

That's all for now! I'm off on a return trip to Antwerp next week ...( it's my b'day week this time!). Be back blogging when I return. While I'm away, Sacha should be busy playing with all the cat toys she received for Christmas... lucky (and terribly spoiled) cat! ;o)
tot ziens,
Judy

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Tuesday, January 12, 2010

Drawing/Sketching buildings with too many bricks!

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Drew these while up in Lemmer, Friesland over the holidays.
copyright Judith Nijholt-Strong
Houses on the Schans - Lemmer, Friesland - Netherlands
pen & ink with watercolors in Moleskine sketchbook

So, hmm, I live in the land of interesting buildings - but most of them are made of bricks (dutch = klinkers plural, klinker singular)!
Fun to draw, but I need a lot of practice! Where to begin, where to stop?!

And then there's all the streets (straten plural - straat singular) that are paved with cobblestones (also called klinkers in dutch) .... uh-oh.

Well, they say; "practice makes perfect"... lol
tot ziens,
Judy
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Saturday, January 9, 2010

Ukraine has talent ... I'll say!

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This is a video of the winner of "Ukraine's Got Talent", August 2009. Kseniya Simonova, 24 yr old Ukrainian artist, uses a giant light box, dramatic music, imagination and "sand painting" skills to interpret Germany's invasion and occupation of Ukraine during WWII.

It's a long video, but do watch it as it's well worth the view:



Simonova brought the judges, and the audience, to tears during this performance. There are other videos on YouTube of her amazing skill with just sand and a light box!

IMO, this is far better than all those wannabe *pop stars* trying to hit the money note. And it's drawing too, how cool, is that?!

I remember watching the television as Sylvia Hitchcock, a junior art major from Alabama, won the Miss USA pagent of 1967 with her unique *talent* display of her painting a canvas on stage. Hitchcock went on to also win the Miss Universe pagent of 1967. I was just a kid in high-school at the time, but I wanted to go on to major in art at university (and I did). I'll never forget how "cool" & inspiring I thought it was that Sylvia had won the Miss USA contest with her art as part of her beauty.

tot ziens,
Judy

P.S. Thanks Elaine, for bringing this to my attention! :)
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Wednesday, January 6, 2010

Driekoningen 2010 ... Three Kings 2010

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Today is the feast of Driekoningen (Three Kings, Los Reyes Magos, or Epiphany). Since I've written about the Driekoningenfeest (feast of the Three Kings) twice before on this blog and do not want to repeat myself, I thought I'd show this painting The Adoration of the Magi by the Dutch Baroque Era painter from Utrecht, Hendrick ter Brugghen - and tell a little about him.

Hendrick ter Brugghen
The Adoration of the Magi , 1619
Oil on canvas, 134 x 160 cm
Rijksmuseum, Amsterdam -Netherlands

Hendrick ter Brugghen (1588-1629) belonged to a group of painters from Utrecht who were inspried by the work of the Italian painter, Caravaggio. This group established what would later become known as the " The Utrechts School", or as they are better known, the "Caravaggisti" (followers of Caravaggio). The most famous Utrecht "Caravaggisti" are Hendrick ter Brugghen (1588-1629), Gerrit van Honthorst (1590-1656) and Dirck van Baburen (c. 1595-1624).

At the age of 15, ter Brugghen left for Rome and spent 10 years admiring/learning/emmulating the work of Caravaggio, with particular interest in Caravaggio's technique of chiaroscuro (the dramatic use of lights & darks in a painting). It is said that ter Brugghen may have met Caravaggio in Rome and studied under him for a time, until Caravaggio fled Rome (in 1602) on a murder charge.

When Hendrick ter Brugghen returned to Utrecht, by all accounts, he did quite well for himself as an artist. He painted what is known as "genre paintings" or scenes of musicians and drinkers, as well as biblical scences. In my readings, I discovered there is a lot of conflicting information on just where in the Netherlands ter Brugghen was born (Deventer, Den Haag, or Utrecht?) and whether or not he was a Catholic (not that that should matter, imo). However, he definitely lived, prospered well, married and died in Utrecht. His funeral took place in the Buurkerk which is in Utrecht's old city center, and is now the National Museum Speelklok tot Pierement (Music Boxes to Street Organs).

According to records in the Utrecht's archives, ter Brugghen lived somewhere in a neighborhood known as “Onder de Snippenvlucht” (Under the Flock of Snipe (wood cocks)) and was along the Oudegracht (old canal) that runs through the center of the city. According to one account I read, the Snippenvlucht was somewhere between the Stadhuisbrug (city hall bridge) and the Bezembrug (broom bridge). I'm not sure where this might be today, though I think it's somewhere near the Camera/Studio cinema which faces the Oudegracht and is near Stadhuisbrug.

However, below is an old drawing of the area with the arrow pointing to what is said to be the area where ter Brugghen lived.

Anonymous: Oude Gracht (Bakkerbrug-Stadhuisbrug)
c. 1660, pen drawing, 23.5 x 16.5 cm
Municipal Archives, Utrecht.

I'd like to try to find this area - it's quite possible that some houses may still be there ... hmmm. I have, in the past, found the remains of the studio of another of Utrecht's famous master painters, Abraham Bloemaert (Dutch Mannerist & Baroque Era painter, ca.1564-1651) and there's the house on the Wed (near Utrecht's Dom tower) that was once owned by Gerrit van Honthorst (Dutch Baroque Era painter, ca.1590-1656) ... so, who knows!

If you'd like to read my other posts about the tradition of Driekoningen (Three Kings) you'll find them here: Driekoningen

Oh! if you make a "Galette des Rois" (Cake of the Kings), send me some! ;o) ... just kidding.

tot ziens,
Judy
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Friday, January 1, 2010

Happy New Year, 2010 - Gelukkig Nieuwjaar, 2010 ... Bring on the Oliebollen!

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photo copyright Judith Nijholt-Strong
Warm Oliebollen in Antwerp

Wishing everyone a 2010 as "sweet" as the powdered sugar on an oliebollen. :o) Happy New Year! - Gelukkig Nieuwjaar!

(No!, I didn't eat all of those oliebollen ... I had help *wink*)
tot ziens,
Judy
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