"Paintings have a life of their own that derives from the painter's soul." Vincent Van Gogh

Sunday, May 29, 2016

Sammy, Breitner and Albert Cuyp

Sammy-A Connoisseur of Comfort / oil on linen panel / 12x16

 Completed this morning, my friend's cat  Sammy catching some zzzz's!

While we were in Amsterdam, the Rijksmuseum had a Georges Breitner exhibit of 20 paintings and sketches in his Girl in a Kimono series. They are all thought to be of one model, Geesje Kwak and were painted between 1983 and 1896.  Interestingly, Breitner and Van Gogh met and spent some time sketching together outdoors. But apparently Breitner never liked Van Gogh's work stating, "I can't help it, but to me it seems like art for Eskimos, I cannot enjoy it. I honestly find it coarse and distasteful, without any distinction..."

Next, we headed to the Albert Cuyp Market - a huge, teeming outdoor market with over 300 vendors lining both sides of one long street and selling every kind of food imaginable as well as flowers and clothing.

Next stop - Rome!

Tuesday, May 24, 2016

Day 2 - Amsterdam

Early the next morning found us in line with our tickets to the Rijksmuseum. Its a beautiful structure and there was an orchestra playing Vivaldi under the central arch to greet us - what a treat that was!

Rijksmuseum on Museum Square

The ticket desk and entrance is through this light filled inner atrium with a lovely cafe on the second level.
Rijksmuseum inner atrium
At the end of a long gallery called the Hall of Fame hung with Rembrandt portraits, Vermeer's The Milkmaid and other astounding paintings, you find yourself in the Night Watch Room as seen in the photo below.

The Night Watch Room
Other wise known as the Militia Company of District II under the Command of Captain Cocq (1642), the Night Watch is so large that it is almost impossible to imagine Rembrandt painting it so perfectly with great attention to faces and gestures. It was painted to adorn the guild hall and shows the captain dressed in black ordering his lieutenant to begin marching. The young girl with the light catching her so beautifully was the company mascot. It is awe inspiring!
The Night Watch
 And hung on the next wall I was thrilled to see Rembrandt's The Conspiracy of Claudius Civilis (1661). The painting was commissioned by the city of Amsterdam to adorn the newly built Town Hall but was returned to Rembrandt after hanging there for only a short while. The reason for the return is undocumented.

The Conspiracy of Claudius Civilis 1661-1662

 Some other treasures from the museum:

Terrracotta sculpture of horse and rider

Democratus & Heraclitus by Hendrick Brugghen 1628

Banquet Still Life 1644 by Adriaen Utrecht

The Great Hall, which was formerly the entrance to the museum, is adorned with stained glass windows reaching up to a vaulted ceiling. This one was commissioned in 1882 by William Dixon of London to show the Art of Painting and features Rembrandt, Apelles and Van Leyden among others.

The Art of Painting stained glass
 And an ancient, heart stopping crucifix from the year 1260.

Crucifix 1260

I could go on and on as the museum is filled with countless treasures of art and of Dutch history but instead I will leave you with this evening photo of the wonderful Central Station building which was a short walk from our hotel. It is of Gothic/Renaissance style architecture and was designed by Pierre Cuypers who also designed the Rijksmuseum.

Central Station

In my next post, I will tell you about  a special exhibit at the Rijksmuseum and our visit to the Albert Kuiper Market.

Friday, May 20, 2016

Back in the USA!

Wow! What an incredible holiday my husband and I had in Europe with our two children - the experience of a lifetime for all of us. It went by much too quickly but it was good to get home and sleep in my own bed.

Of course, once the jet lag abated, I couldn't help but hurry back to my easel.

Doberman Deliberation oil on linen panel 16 x 12
Flying from the west coast to Amsterdam is no picnic but we made it in one piece and my daughter (who lives in Amsterdam) and my son (who arrived on a flight just an hour earlier) met us in front of my daughters flat.

Our first glimpse of a canal - and the weather could not have been more glorious! My daughter warned me to pack warm clothing as just the day before it was cold and the wind was howling but I never needed any of it! We brought sunshine and warmth with us.

 The red boats can be rented for tours - there are lots of people living on houseboats lining the canals and some of the homes seen from the water are magnificent with stunning and unique architecture.

The crooked house - a famous Amsterdam landmark.

The very next morning we made our way to the Van Gogh Museum, we were there early and the crowds were not too bad although they got heavier as the day progressed. Its a good idea to purchase tickets in advance as the ticket-holders line is shorter and moves much faster.

The museum has a separate gallery dedicated to self portraits - Van Gogh did many and there were quite a few I had never seen before. Many of them appeared to be studies with paintings on both sides of the canvas.

Self Portrait 1888

Red Cabbages and Onions
 There was so much life and vitality in this still life - those veggies could have rolled right off the canvas.
 Magnificent - and beautifully displayed on a dark charcoal wall making it shine like a beacon in the gallery.
 A favorite of mine as the brush work is so fearless, so effortless.

I left the museum feeling that Vincent had given me a very personal lesson in painting - one I will long remember.

As you might imagine, I took hundreds of photos and,over the next few days and weeks, I will share some of them here on my blog in a chronology of our trip but will try not to go overboard!

More to come!

Sunday, May 1, 2016

T Minus 2!

And counting! I started packing today and think I am just about ready for our European odyssey. I even have Euros in my wallet!

Here is what is hot off the easel just before I leave:

Ballerina # 42 / oil on linen panel / 16 x 12

Ballerina #43 / oil on linen panel / 16 x 12

Work in progress - portrait study / oil on cardboard / 12 x 16
Next stop Amsterdam! Happy creating everyone - I look forward to seeing all your new work once I get back home!