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Thursday, 25 April 2013

European Art

While I was in Europe I realized that there is art everywhere. Every square has a sculpture, every town has a church which is ornately adorned, ceilings in buildings are painted with scenes. Even things as functional as a bus shelter have been turned into art. This isn't as apparent in Canada as I found in Europe. They have a much longer history than our young country so much of the architecture and sculpture is very old however they also have more modern works of art displayed as well. Their art is not just for Galleries but is very much a public expression of creativity. Often the public art serves to commemorate someone or some event.

A bus shelter in Holland. It did happen to be raining when we drove by.

This had no inscription but I found it really interesting. It is a more modern sculpture.

An interesting sculpture found in the square in front of the Sint Jan Cathedral in 's-Hertogenbosch. The inscription beneath the sculpture says "Europa laat zich niet ontvoeren" "Europe will not allow itself to be kidnapped".

I also met up with a cousin through marriage who is also an artist and works mainly in stained glass. His work is very beautiful. As many artists do, he dabbles in other media and had been working on renovating his bathroom. When we walked into it, it looked like something from an HGTV show. He had embedded beads and tiles into cement on the ceiling and walls and put a large round skylight into to ceiling. It was quite interesting and beautiful although not quite finished.

Paris is a very artisitic locale. It was here that we were overwhelmed by the artistic architecture and interior decors.


And of course there were artists everywhere.


This was a small watercolour I bought from one of the artists in Montmartre. It is the view from where we were  standing when we purchased the painting.
It was all quite inspiring!

Thursday, 18 April 2013

My Dad's Art

My father has also been an artist, not of profession but as a hobby, and it is from him that we, his children, have received our creativity. My dad has always sketched and made drawings. His medium of choice for painting was oil paint and I remember the smell of linseed oil in the house when I was growing up. He mixed this oil with his paint to get it to the consistency he liked for painting. More recently, before the Alzheimer's Disease, he was learning to use watercolour. He has not painted or sketched in the last few years. It is sad to see that the Alzheimer's has taken that away from him. So it is special that his paintings are being returned to us.

From the Netherlands to Paris

This blog comes to you from Paris, France. But before I get to Paris, I'll share some art from Holland.
This is a small watercolour of heather near Epe where we were staying.
I left it as a thank you card for the proprietors of the bed and breakfast we stayed in.


This is a watercolour sketch of the shed in my cousin's back garden.

 We are also transporting some of my dad's paintings back to Canada. There is only one sister-in-law on his side of the family still living (an aunt of ours), whom we have visited with. She's over 90 years old and still in good health and of sound mind. It was really nice to see her again. Dad had, over the years, given some of his paintings to his siblings and now that they are no longer alive, those paintings are being given to us, his children.

Friday, 12 April 2013

Epe photos

This is the mill in Epe with the silo on the left. Our room is the middle set of windows.

This is the atelier or studio space in the mill.

This is gallery space 

Thursday, 11 April 2013

Blogging from Europe

This blog comes to you from The Netherlands; the town of Epe in the province of Gelderland, to be exact. I'm on my yearly visit to my dad and the weather is typically Dutch - wet and gray. However, the weather man says we are in for temperatures of 19 on Sunday.
When I'm in Holland I usually rent a small farm house to stay in but it happened to be booked so I had to find something else. Sometimes when we are forced to get out of our routine and do something different we experience special blessings.
I found a unique lodging very close to where my dad and step-mother live (about 5 or 10 minutes walk). The lodging is a renovated grain mill complete with silo. Our room is located inside the silo. It has everything you would need in it; bed, table, sitting area, kitchen, bathroom. It is quite cozy.
We are treated to a fantastic breakfast each morning of warm buns, hard boiled egg, cheese, meat, yogurt, musli, fruit, tea, coffee and loads of little extras. They also gave us a small bottle of red wine to enjoy in our room. This place is called "de malerij" or the mill and is not only lodging but also houses space for an art gallery and studio or "atelier" where workshops are held or you can use it for individual use with permission. I didn't bring a lot of art material with me this time but perhaps on future visits, I'll plan for some serious art making here. This place is a special blessing during an, at times, difficult visit. My dad's Alzheimer's Disease is not progressing quickly, which is another blessing, and he seems genuinely pleased that my sister and I are here.

Well, it seems, I am having trouble uploading my photos so I'll have to do that when I am back at my computer. I have found some time for one sketch so far and hopefully will complete a few more before I return home again

Thursday, 4 April 2013

Honing my Skills

As I don't have any major projects on the go, I thought it was time to brush up on my skills. Since I have been doing the majority of my work with fabric lately, I wanted to exercise my watercolour paint and brushes. I went through some of the photos I took on my visit to the Yukon and decided that before Spring hits (when I might be more inspired to do flowers), I would try my hand at painting snow and ice. Below is my process.
The sketch on watercolour paper

Washes of colour in the sky and water

With the colour in place I now glaze over areas to make
them more pronounced

Sunrise over the Yukon River
 I also want to continually improve my drawing skills, especially portraiture. This drawing of my grandson was challenging in that the proportions in a child's face are different than that of adults. So what I knew to be true in an adult portrait didn't work for this one. I was constantly measuring distances between features and having to make changes in order to come up with a reasonable likeness.
Initial sketch and placement of features

 When I showed it to Paul, he knew exactly who it was so I guess I was successful in creating a likeness of him.