Eye candy

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It’s a rainy afternoon In 2014
The city…geez, it’s been 6 years!

Traveling for almost 2 hours, to end up in a rainy city I remembered as beautiful. I convinced my boyfriend to go to Arnhem: a city in the east of the Netherlands. I hold sweet memories of the parc and the night life. It was the home of my little sister: the city was an escape from the west part of the country, where I was born and raised. I never went there for sightseeing though, but, relying on my memories, I figured the city would make a lovely citytrip.

But, although the city has some beautiful buildings, we did not find any big church or other important points of interest. Maybe we put too little effort in our search,.. but it was raining,.. and cold,.. So after we payed a visit too all of the shops (which weren’t many), my boyfriend wanted to go home. Luckily I was able to convince him to pay a visit, at least, to one of Arnhems museums.

So we went to MMKA: Museum voor Moderne Kunst Arnhem (Museum for Modern Art Arnhem). It was close to the center of the city; a 600 metres walk; according the signs. But as we were walking through the cold rain, we had the experience it was over 1000 metres away from the city center. I am pretty sure we both had the same thought; the museum better be worth it,…

Museum_Moderne_Kunst_ArnhemWe unfortunately didn’t take a picture of the 19th century building and garden. The picture you see is from the website: http://www.mijngelderland.nl You can see the building is small, but beautiful. The garden holds several pieces of art. The ‘titties-mountain’ was the most prominent element in the garden. It was a pile of balloons, who all had nipples; a mountain of titties,.. so to say. We didn’t go check the name of artist of that piece though,.. I bet the garden can be very relaxing to walk through,.. since it has an amazing view over the river,.. but,.. well,.. rain,… still,…

The museum is about modern art, but since modern art is a very broad concept, we were very curious what kind of modern art we were about to see. The entrance of the museum didn’t give any cue. Neither did the entrance ticket, and we were not given any folder with information at the pay desk. I guess we were expected to find out for ourselves. (Or just visit the website, perhaps)

It was realism, most of it. When you enter the first hall, you are face to face with the precursors of 1890 – 1925. And at the end of your tour through the museum, you will be able to observe the representative art from 1985 till present. A chronological tour; and it is just so typical of me to like that. The museum presents the paintings in sub-collections, based on the date of creation, and in every sub-collection they highlight two or more artists.

I spent a long time gazing at the paintings of Dick Ket. His paintings were part of the fist sub-collection: 1890 – 1925. His lifestory was most interesting: he never left the house, and therefore only painted stuff he had easy access to: himself,and  glasses and cups he found in his kitchen. I had the overall idea he was a very funny guy; his paintings had a slight sense of humor I liked. If you want to see some of his paintings, (and other paintings of the museum) check this blog (it’s dutch, but the author mainly displays photographs): http://www.vd-linden.nl/museum-blog/museum-arnhem/

After Dick Ket, my eye was attracted to a painting from Hendrik Valk. This painting belonged to the second sub-collection: 1925 – 1960. On the picture you experience some kind of tension in the painting. It seems like nothing much is happening in the painting. ArnhemIt’s just a mirror, half a face and a wajong-doll. But because you only see half a face; a lot happens. To me at least. I had the urge to create paintings with the same ‘feel’. (I created one, about a year ago,..) Meeting Hendrik Valk was like meeting my new mentor. I need to know more about his philosophy and work. Luckily, the museum, showed more paintings from him, for example; a plate with fish. Nothing special at first sight,.. till you see half a face, again, sniffing the smell of the fish. Amazing!

The last artists I want to mention belong to the last sub-collection: 1985 – present. One of them was Anya Janssen: she had painted a large painting of a boy who resembled my son’s image in a stunning way. I couldn’t take my eyes of the painting, which was called Rites of Passage 2. Not only did she create a wonderful likeness of my son’s image, she also is a great artist. You just have to check her website!

The second artist who caught my attention will remain anonymous. I really tried hard to remember her name, and I even tried harder to rediscover her name via google. But it was ineffectual. Her paintings were striking because of the simplicity and the joyful childishness. They were bright in color and were partly applied with doodle art. Beautiful in all it’s simplicity and vivacity.

So, yes; the museum was worth a visit. It was worth walking through the cold rain. As small as the museum was, it contained over 100 pieces of wonderful art, and I loved every single one of them.

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Workshop

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All of you who are on facebook must have seen them before: those quotes,.. You all must have just one facebook friend who likes to post quotes on their timelines. Most of the time these quotes all have the same theme; improve life. Am I right? Well, I ain’t that kind of facebook friend, but sometimes I secretly like these quotes (and sometimes I just simply hate them,..). If I like them, it probably is a quote which pretty much resembles this one:

When was the last time you did something for the first time?

And yes; I’m here to answer this question. For it was saturday when I went to a workshop ‘portrait painting’ for the very first time.

Why didn’t I go to a painting-workshop before? Well,.. it kinda has different reasons. One of them was the good advise of an artist himself. He told me to create my own style and not to take lessons, for it would influence my authenticity. And yes: I tend to be stubborn and love to follow advise like that, way too much,.. Also; workshops aren’t cheap, and I have trouble making ends meet as it is,.. so,.

But eventually I did go. Why? Well,.. I want to grow, I want to become better and I wanted advise. Next to that; I really liked the idea of being able to paint all day,… So I googled around and found an artist in Alkmaar / Bergen (Netherlands) named Pauline Bakker. She offers workshops and courses in painting. She’s a respected artist in the area of Alkmaar, but also has an exposition in New York next month.

She does not paint the way I would like to paint, but she is experienced in teaching, and I, somehow, had faith she was able to teach me new skills. Therefore I was all exited when I went to her workshop last saturday. And I must say; it was much fun, and I did learn new skills.

The day started at 10 in the morning. I was a bit late, for I could’nt find the studio at first. But as soon as I arrived, I felt great. Most of the students were way older than me. I’m sure, all of them were even older than the artist, who revealed she was 47 years of age. Being (almost) 32, it made me the Benjamin of the group. But I actually enjoyed that part, for we had to sketch each other’s faces and it is much more fun to draw an ‘old’ face than to draw a wrinkle-less one. Really.

We spent the morning sketching, and the afternoon was reserved for painting. The artist even invited a model for us to paint, which was all very exciting for me! (being the first time to do all this,..)

workshop portret schilderen 01But what did I learn? Well,.. I learned not to start with details. When I was a little kid, an artist taught me to start with the left-eye. Ever since, I ALWAYS started a portrait with the left-eye. But now I was told not to. I needed to start shaping the head. It makes sense to shape the head first actually, for it determines whether or not it’ll be a likeness. After that, we needed to place the eyes in the middle of the head, and LOOK,.. really observe how, and where the nose and lips were placed.

workshop portret schilderen 06I learned that the shadow, next to the tear gland in the eye, is the most dark part of the face. I learned to paint with acrylics. (never done that before) I learned that I apparently never ever have been painting, since I usually am all into the details, and the artist told us we should not be into the details, for that’s no painting. Painting is applying loose and big strokes,.. something I seldom do.

I learned that I should delay painting details. I should not paint details before finishing the abstract forms. I learned that I tend to shorten a face. So next time I will draw it longer than it appears to me,.. hahaha,..

I learned the word ‘glaze’. A technique I already discovered, but never knew it was called ‘glaze’. I learned you can best paint in acryllics if you’re painting on location, (and therefore have to move the painting back home) for it dries very, very quick,… I learned,…well,.. I guess that’s it. Some of these lessons I will apply,.. others,.. like I should paint more loose and big,.. I won’t. But it was informative and fun! And that’s worth a million bucks,.. 😉

Don’t speak

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I finally finished reading a book I started reading ages ago. I bought the book because it was on autism (which I’m interested in, for my son is autistic), religion and science (I’m a master in religious studies, so there you go,..) and philosophy.

But I wouldn’t discuss this book if there wasn’t a little bit of art in it. Obviously this little bit of art is related to autism, religion, science and philosophy. Therefore, for some people, it might sound a little bit vague. But hey; that’s me,..

So, the book is about autism. And some of you might know; people with autism can have very special talents. Some of them are amazing in math, some, like my son, is gifted in map-reading / -drawing and some are awesome painters. Why? Well, that’s something the book wants to explore. But before I share this ‘answer’, let me first clarify that the book offers merely a theory. You should not forget, it is a book not only on autism and science, but deals with philosophy and religion as well. And since philosophy and religion both have as many ‘truths’ as Rome has gelato shops, IMG_20140215_093214you know just one thing for sure: there always will be someone who will disagree on this theory. But I don’t. And that’s why I want to share it with you.

The biggest part of the book is about autistic people who can’t talk. They can hear, but do not spreak. And not being able to talk makes them, according the theory, better artists. These people can copy everything they see on paper / canvas / board, very, very accurate.

Due to the fact they don’t speak, they think differently. They lack the ability to abstract thinking.

This means that, for example, every horse, they encounter, is a different animal. They don’t ‘see’ the likeness between two different horses, for they only see details. How can a big, slender horse with white, short hair, black spots on the nose and long, white eyelashes, be the same kind of animal as a brown, shaggy little Shetlander? It can’t. At least not if you are not able to think abstract. As soon as people learn to speak, they learn the ability of abstract thinking. And it turned out to be, that highly talented, mute, autistic artists, performed less, as soon as they learned to talk.

So, abstract thinking makes us unnotice details, and lack of abstract thinking makes people notice details way better. Even in such a way that it makes one able to create wonderful  works of art. Figurative works of art, of course, for the abstract art will be a bridge (or two) too far,.. So the recipe for becoming a great artist is very simple: husssssshhhh,…

Vermeer

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It’s been a busy week,.. no painting unfortunately, but I did find some time to read. Not only on art, but also on philosophy. (Which Imagereminds me to add a book on philosophy and art to my wishlist,.. 🙂 )

This week I read a book on Vermeer, which I was intended not to review before I will finish the book. But there are some interesting parts which can be separated from the whole, and be written about, even before I will finish it. This is mainly because the book discusses themes in his paintings. Themes like views, love, historical paintings and wine. The book is filled with pictures of Vermeer’s paintings and when you look at them, the most prominent parallel between the paintings is the room. It’s the same room, over and over again. The tile floor and paintings on the wall differ, as do the people on the paintings. But the room not, and it always is painted from the same point of view. The book has pictures of all the paintings, made in that room, next to each other, and I actually liked to see this parallel, because it was the perfect illustration for another book on Vermeer I read: Girl with a pearl earring from Tracy Chevalier. This was, contrary to the Vermeer-book I was reading this week, a fictional book, which is based on the little information we know about Vermeer. It’s about the painting girl with the pearl earring. The girl in the painting is the main character of the story and she tells her readers how Vermeer Imageworks on his paintings.

Like I said, we actually don’t know how Vermeer worked on his paintings, but it was só nice to read this book and pretend to know how he worked on his paintings! It feels so real, for the book describes Vermeer’s atelier exactly the way you can observe in his paintings. And ever since I read the book, I can’t look at the painting of the girl, without wondering if the actual girl, like the main character in the novel, had to pierce her ears only for this painting, and just in order to wear this earring. I also wonder whether the actual girl had sore ears because of the piercing. When I look at the painting, I can almost feel the pain in my own ears. The only thing Chévalier does not tell about, which I did read in the other book on Vermeer, was the iconography. After reading ‘girl with a pearl earring’ I thought I knew everything about Vermeer, but this week I was surprised to read about his use of iconography. It makes me love Vermeer’s paintings even more, for I love iconography. After receiving this new knowledge I’m curious if I will read more interesting information on Vermeer, as I finish the book. Therefore I will get back to you with a full review as soon as possible.