Saturday, March 27, 2010

Leuven, Belgium trip March 2010 - Pen & Ink and Watercolor Drawings in Moleskine and Dirk Bouts paintings

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drawing copyright Judith Nijholt-Strong
Het Moorinneken building on the Grote Markt in Leuven, Belgium
~ March 2010 ~
Pen and ink with watercolors in Moleskine sketchbook
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I sat across the street from that building, at the Café Agora, to draw the view. "Het Moorinneken" means "The Moorish Woman" - she is depicted as a bust over the entrance. I have no idea what the building was originally used for, but she was beautiful ; surrounded by gold gilt seashells and flowers. Perhaps, at one time, it was a jeweler's or gold trader's business, because there were also little golden gnomes (carrying large sacks of gold) carved and guilded on the side of that building.
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Oh! There were yellow bells with green ribbons hanging over the streets of Leuven ... for Easter. At first I thought they had left up Christmas decorations, but it seems the bells are a big thing for Easter in Leuven. Even bells made out of chocolate were in the candy shops (chocolatiers).
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Drawing all those bricks in the Groot Begijnhof ...
drawings copyright Judith Nijholt-Strong
left: Niche Sculpture Over a Door, Groot Begijnhof - Leuven
right: Buildings in the Spanish Quarter, Groot Begijnhof - Leuven, Belgium
~ March 2010 ~
Pen and Ink with watercolors in Moleskine sketchbook
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Again, I have no idea who the sculpture depicts in that niche over a house in the Groot Begijnhof ??! Anyone has a clue, let me know...please! I just liked the look of it when I saw it , so I had to draw it.
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On to something modern ...
drawing copyright Judith Nijholt-Strong
Upstairs in the Café Mezzanine - Leuven, Belgium
~ March 2010 ~
Pen and ink with colored pencil in Moleskine sketchbook
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We had dinner in the upper level of the Café Mezzanine (which is just around the corner from the Grote Markt). Café Mezzanine is a very lively bistro/café, with these giant glitter ball lights hanging from the ceiling - I was pratically sitting next to one up there. lol! I started the drawing before our appetizer of fried calamari arrived - that's what those little rings are along the bottom edge of the drawing ... lol. They were quite tasty and the two sauces were lovely (pesto & garlic and a spicy sweet-sour). I continued working on the drawing before our main course arrived. Did more filling-in on the drawing the next day in the hotel ... while it was raining outside.
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It's so nice to get a coffee in Belgium, since you always get chocolate with it! :o)

drawings copyright Judith Nijholt-Strong
left: Lucky Sugar & Chocolates at the Café Agora in Leuven
right: House door in the Groot Begijnhof - Leuven, Belgium
~ March 2010 ~
Pen and ink with watercolors in Moleskine sketchbook
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Lucky Sugar! Yes, Lucky Sugar! I loved that little packet of sugar, so I kept them everytime we took a break at the Café Agora. heh heh . The other drawing, of a door in the Groot Begijnhof, just took my fancy in its simplicity - I wondered what was behind it and thought how nice it would be to have a front door like that.
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That's all the drawing I did in Leuven. Lots to see, too much to choose from.
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Dirk Bouts - a little Art History moment
Admiring the work of a Master painter ...
photo copyright 2010 J. Nijholt-Strong
Dirk Bouts
The Martyrdom of St Erasmus
ca. 1458
oil on wood panel - (tryptich)
Sint Peterskerk - Leuven, Belgium
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photo copyright 2010 J. Nijholt-Strong
Dirk Bouts
Altarpiece of the Holy Sacrament (center panel The Last Supper)
c. 1464-67
oil on panel
Sint Peterskerk - Leuven, Belgium
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I was happy to be able to sit and admire (for as long as I wanted to) the two paintings by the 15th century Netherlandish master painter, Dirk Bouts. These two works are in the Sint Peterskerk (St. Peter's Church) in Leuven. The "Last Supper" center panel of the "Altarpiece of the Holy Sacrament" is said, by many art historians, to be the first Last Supper ever painted by a medieval Netherlandish artist. I truly enjoy this beautiful piece for its honesty (imo).
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That's all for now.
Tot ziens,
Judy
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Friday, March 26, 2010

Back from Leuven, Belgium ... some pics

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We've just returned from Leuven, Belgium - where we had a wonderful, relaxing get-away.
Just able to post some photos today; I'll post more tomorrow. Also tomorrow, I'll post my moleskine drawings done in Leuven, as I don't have time today to scan them all.

photo copyright Judith Nijholt-Strong
Grote Markt with Leuven's very ornate Stadhuis (city hall) March 2010.
On the left of this picture is the Stadhuis, which is amazingly ornate, covered in little niches with sculptures in each niche.
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photo copyright J. Nijholt-Strong (though of course, Auke took it...lol).
Walking in the Groot Begijnhof in Leuven - March 2010
It looks like I was whistling while I was walking. I can't remember if I was whistling - I probably was deciding on just how much brickwork I really wanted to draw ! ;o)


photo copyright J. Nijholt-Strong
Spanish Quarter of the "Groot Begijnhof" in Leuven, Belgium. March 2010.
Yep, that's me drawing and painting in my small moleskine. I did find a few places to sit while I drew - good thing too, because the entire area of the Groot Begijnhof is almost all covered in brick!! heh heh, lucky that I love drawing bricks.

photo copyright Judith Nijholt-Strong
Posing in the Courtyard - Leuven, Belgium. March 2010
Of course, the Kermies had fun too! Here they are in the courtyard of the hotel we stayed in. The Klooster Hotel St. Martin's was originally the manor home of Guy Morillon who, in the 16th century, was a secretary to King Charles V, Holy Roman Emperor, (Spanish: Carlos I or Carlos V, German: Karl V., Dutch: Karel V, French: Charles Quint).
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photo copyright Judith Nijholt-Strong
Stadhuis by Night - Leuven, Belgium - March 2010

photo copyright Judith Nijholt-Strong
Taveerne De Clijne Taefel (Tavern the Small Table) at night.
Leuven, Belgium - March 2010
(Note the old Flemmish spelling of Clijne and Taefel... and probably Taveerne too!)
We had dinner here one night - very cosy, family friendly and very good eating & service!

So, tomorrow I'll post the drawings I did in Leuven and a few more photos of this interesting city.

tot morgen (until tomorrow),
Judy
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Monday, March 15, 2010

Passing Time - ink drawing in Moleskine while in the car.

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drawing copyright Judith Nijholt-Strong
Passing Time
pen & ink, a little colored pencil, in Moleskine sketchbook
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I did that drawing this past weekend, while travelling up to Leeuwarden, Friesland - for the funeral of our dear Uncle Johannes. I had two hours up and two hours back "travel time" to work on it. Thought it would be interesting to see if I could draw at least some of the landscape that I am so familiar with from so many trips up to Friesland, from out of the car window.
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I sat in the backseat and was amazed that I didn't get car sick while drawing - that is, as long as we were on the expressways. Drawing did start to make me ill when we got into the city with all the starting and stopping! I just sort of picked & chose what I'd put into "the scene" as it all sped by me, so it's sort of an amalgamation of things I saw along the way. As you can see in my drawing, Spring hasn't really "sprung" here yet (bare trees and brown grass), but I love the way the bare trees form such beautiful shapes along the flatlands of the Netherlands. btw, the other shapes are those modern, 3-armed ,windmills which there are a lot of up in Friesland.
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On the Road Again!
We've decided, after the depressing week we had last week, that we're going off to Leuven, Belgium this Wednesday for some time away. After having cancelled our trip to Gent (Ghent), we couldn't find a hotel we liked in Gent to try that again, but neither of us have been to Leuven before and the trip is only about as far as travelling up to Leeuwarden.
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Leuven looks very, very interesting and being an old (and current) university town with a lot of history, we think it will be a nice place to get away for a bit. Plus, there is an altarpiece by Rogier van der Wyden that is currently on display in the fine arts museum in Leuven, the M Museum, and the St. Peter's Church has 15th century artist's Dirk Bouts famous "Last Supper" painting - both of which I really want to see.

If it isn't pouring rain while we're in Leuven, I'll try to do some outside drawings in my Travels to Other Places Moleskine. If it is raining, I'll draw from inside by the hotel fireplace!! :o)
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tot volgende keer ( until next time),
Judy
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Link to a Wiki article about Leuven, Belgium
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Friday, March 12, 2010

No drawing still, but some iPhone apps for art lovers

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photo copyright Judith Nijholt-Strong
Red Shutters of the Rijksmuseum - Amsterdam, Netherlands

I have to go to a funeral tomorrow :o( so I'm just not in the mood to do any artwork this week... However, I found some links to some iPhone apps to some famous art museums, for my friends with iPhones ;o) :o)

The following are Free apps! Just find the clickable link on each page to take you to the app download at the iStore:
~ Rijksmuseum (page is in english)
~ van Gogh Museum (page is in english)
~ Louvre Museum (page is in french)

This app is not free, but it's not expensive either:
~ National Gallery,UK

I'm still looking for more art museums with iPhone apps. Let me know if you know of any others, by leaving a comment on this post ... and thanks!

tot ziens,
Judy

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Monday, March 8, 2010

Drawing more bricks - this time in Utrecht!

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drawing copyright Judith Nijholt-Strong
Rooflines of the Speelklok Museum's Entrance - Utrecht, Netherlands
4.5"h x 6.5"w
pen and ink, Copic markers and watercolors on Fabriano paper

My Dutchman and I were in Utrecht's old city center this weekend, doing errands and enjoying the suprisingly wonderful weather. While he was shopping for his favorite black tea from the UK, I did the ink drawing of the entrance of one of my favorite museums in Utrecht - the Nationaal Museum van Speelklok tot Pierement (Museum of Music Boxes and Street Organs). The Speelklok Museum is housed inside the medieval "Buurkerk" (neighborhood church) right in the middle of Utrecht.

I'm just getting more practice doing brick buildings and ornate architecture! :o) Most of the ink drawing was done on site, but I filled in the colors when I returned home - there's only so much black tea a Dutchman can buy, you know?! I did make notations for what colors I saw, off to the side of the drawing, though I didn't show them here because my handwriting is almost undecipherable - even for me! Lucky to have artistic liscense!! I used Copic Markers and Caran d'Ache Supracolor II Soft Aquarelle pencils for the colors.

The drawing paper is Fabriano Academia Disegno, which is a new paper for me. I had bought a block of it at SWAAK art supply in Utrecht, that same day. Personally, I find that the Disegno paper is not that great for use with regular colored pencils (too much texture, for my taste), but the ink, Copic markers and watercolor pencils worked great on this paper. According to the information on the block of paper, it's also good for use with gouache paint. I'll have to try that sometime ... (when I have time...).

I also discoverd a new pigment ink pen - the Pilot Drawing Pen. The pens come in the normal range of different nib sizes (just like the Sakura Micron Pens). I used a 01 for this drawing and the ink is waterproof/smudgeproof. I'm liking this pen, a lot.

If all goes according to plan, we're off to Gent (Ghent), Belgium in a couple of days, for a week away! I bet I'll be drawing, or sketching, more bricks and ornate architecture ;o) If all doesn't go according to plan (which is very possible due to some very sad family matters), then I'll just have to *force* myself to go back to Utrecht and draw some more - which is not a big hardship, mind you. :o)

tot ziens,
Judy
Update:
Sadly, the trip to Gent has been cancelled. Instead, we'll be attending the funeral of our dear Uncle Johannes who died this evening.
Oom Johannes was the best man at our wedding, a beloved uncle of my Dutchman and a wonderfully happy person who always had a nice story and a warm smile for me. He was the epitome of the word "gezellig". We will dearly miss this lovely human being.
I'm really sad right now, so forgive me if I don't post for awhile ...
:(
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Monday, March 1, 2010

A Cupcake for a Blog Birthday, today!

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watercolor painting copyright Judith Nijholt-Strong
"Cupcake Days" , approx. 6"h x 5"w
watercolors, pen & ink on cold-pressed watercolor paper

I can hardly believe Kats-in-Klompen started four years ago today. 4 years ago!!! In fact, I almost forgot today was the day that I started this blog "adventure" with my cats, Sacha & Finn !!! Where'd the time go??!!

Finn (my beloved black cat) isn't with us anymore and we miss him still. Sacha (my naughty *tiger* tabby) and I are not daily bloggers, but we do try our best when we can. Sacha mostly watches me now, instead of doing the blogging herself as she used to when this blog began. She has better things to do ... so she tells me (lol).

We're having a Happy Blog Birthday, so we hope all our blogging friends will have a *virtual cupcake* with us!
:0)
tot ziens,
Judy and "Sacha"

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