Friday, January 28, 2011

"Travels in France" Moleskine drawings (vol. 4): Paris, France - Jan. 18-25, 2011

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all photos copyright Judith Nijholt-Strong.
all rights reserved.
Me drawing in my small Moleskine in the
Musée National du Moyen Âge (Musée Cluny). 
Yes, that's my small hand and my small Moleskine. :o)
Paris, France ~ January 2011

Oi! this post took me all day to put together, what with the scanning and resizing and thinking of something to say ....it's kind of long, hope you enjoy it. On with the drawings ...
 
drawing copyright Judith Nijholt-Strong. all rights reserved.
The Blue Grave in Montmartre Cemetary
Paris, France ~ January, 2011
Small Moleskine , Pigma Micron pen & ink, with watercolors

We spent just over 3 hours in the Montmartre Cemetery. This particular grave stuck out from all the others on "the street",  because it is entirely painted in blue - had to draw it.

The Montmartre cemetery is  not as large as the Père Lachaise Cemetery (the largest cemetery in Paris), but still, it's quite an expansive cemetery. Many famous entertainers and writers are buried in Montmartre and of course, several famous artists. And here are my Kermits paying tribute, as they do, at the grave of Edward de Gas ...
When I was holding the Kermits up to have their picture taken, I accidently touched the door of the grave and it opened a little! Scared the, uhmm, you-know-what out of me!!
 I apologized, in French ... "Excusez-moi!" :o)


drawing copyright Judith Nijholt-Strong. all rights reserved.
small Moleskine (5"x7"), pen & ink, with watercolors
Paris, France ~ January 2011

We had many lovely pastries in Paris. Yummy ... a warm croissant and a cup of café crème. This was in  a small bistro near our hotel.


drawing copyright Judith Nijholt-Strong. all rights reserved.
Heads of the Kings of Judea -
Musée  National du Moyen Âge , Musée Cluny
Paris, France ~ January 2011
Small Moleskine, Pigma Micron pen & ink, with watercolors

On the 20th of January, we spent the morning in the Musée National du Moyen Âge (Musée Cluny). This museum is in the oldest part of Paris (the building sits atop the foundations of old Roman baths) and the building itself dates back to the 14th century. Among the more important pieces in the museum are the six La Dame à la Licorne (The Lady and the Unicorn) tapestries, from the late 15th century, which is considered one of the greatest works of art of the Middle Ages in Europe. While you could take pictures of the collection, (without flash), The Lady and the Unicorn tapestries are in a very lowly lighted room, to protect the colors in the piece - not possible to take a pic in there or to draw.

There was a nice bench to sit on in the room where the sculptures of the Heads of the Kings of Judea were, and the room was well lit, so I decided to draw a little. I wasn't the only one sketching in the Musee Moyen Age that day ...

There were several art students in the museum, mostly sketching the Roman sculptures. La Sorbonne, ( the original and oldest University of Paris) is located in the Latin Quarter, just across the street from the Musée National du Moyen Âge.


drawing copyright Judith Nijholt-Strong. all rights reserved.
Metro Stops
Paris, France ~ January, 2011
Small Moleskine, Pigma Micron pen & ink, with watercolors

One evening, my husband wanted to take an open boat tour down the Seine river, and I did too (albeit it was quite cold). We had to go from one end of Paris, to the other, to get to where the tour boats were docked. So, of course I wasn't about to walk all that way (walks are not short in Paris)- best solution, take the Metro! But first, figure out what stops you need to change trains at and where to get off!! The only paper I had on me was my Moleskine, so I jotted down our "plan of action" in order of what trains we had to catch. I thought this would be a cool part of a drawing in the Moleskine - so later on, I drew the Metro sign on the right of the page and added the colored Metro lines from the map I had. :o)


drawing copyright Judith Nijholt-Strong. all rights reserved.
Egyptian Amphoras in the Louvre
Paris, France ~ January 2011
Small Moleskine, Pigma Micron pen & ink, with watercolors

We went to the Louvre on Friday night, Jan. 21st, to see the collection in the Egyptian wing. I've seen most of the rest of the Louvre on other trips to Paris, but I never had time enough to see the Egyptian collection. Having a Fine Arts degree in pottery & scuplture, and living most of my adult life as a professional potter, I loved the Egyptian collection with all the jars, statues, beads, etc., made of clay. What always sings to me when I look on ancient pottery, is that potters so many centuries ago work the same way as potters do today ... I love that deeper connection with the past that I am fortunate to have. This display of wine amphoras I found particularly interesting, not only for how it is displayed, but for the elegant forms of the jars and touches of color, from the fire, on them.
Edit to add: I should mention here that I was sitting on a bench in a secluded part of the collection, out of sight of anyone, back to a wall. I was able to do the all the line work in the drawing, but only a really tiny bit of the coloring - didn't want to take any chances of getting kicked out of the Louvre if I made a watercolor mess. So, from memory, I colored the rest of it back at the hotel.


drawing copyright Judith Nijholt-Strong. all rights reserved.
Left: Tickets, Passes, and Metro Stops
Right: The Dome of Les Invalides
Paris, France ~ January 2011
Small Moleskine, Pigma Micron pen & ink, with watercolors

On the left: I had a pocketful of brochures, passes, metro tickets, maps, restuarant cards, etc., so I drew a few of them. The background is a tiny part of the Paris Metro map... it's so amazing and huge. :o)
On the right: The Dome of Les Invalides is actually a lot more intricate than my drawing of it, but I tired to capture it. Even in gloomy weather, the golden top glows. The building itself is enormous and so beautiful inside with all the gorgeous marble. This is where Napolean and other French military elite are buried.

Ok, I'm tired now...think I'll go have a glass of wine. Santé!
:o)

tot ziens,
Judy
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Thursday, January 27, 2011

Back from Paris...

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photo copyright Judith Nijholt-Strong. all rights reserved.
Amsterdam Central Station - Centraal Station Amsterdam
Netherlands - January 2011

We've returned from our wonderful trip to Paris. *sigh* 
I want to go back!! ( Ik wil terug naar Parijs!! )
Oh well ... we'll return again, for sure. :o)

Yes, I did do some drawings in my
Travels in France Moleskine (vol.4) ... see:
Me with my drawings of Paris trip - Jan. 2011

There aren't many, but I'll post them tomorrow ...
have to fire up my old scanner!

tot ziens,
Judy
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Monday, January 24, 2011

Posting from Paris!

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Still in Paris, but have a little time to post some pics from yesterday, then we're off to dinner ...

photo copyright Judith Nijholt-Strong
Outside the Musée d'Orsay - entrance
Paris, France - January, 23, 2011

New rules for d'Orsay: Not allowed to film or take pics inside anymore!!

Luckily, the last time I visited the Musée d'Orsay, (in 2000), you were allowed to take pics - and I have them safely filed away. This time we just viewed the ground floor level of rooms. It's a gorgeous museum with wonderful, famous, art inside. Worth a trip and a re-visit, pics or no pics.

photo copyright Judith Nijholt-Strong
Metro stop Cité -  Île de la Cité
Paris, France - Jan.23, 2011


photo copyright Judith Nijholt-Strong
City Rental Bikes
Paris, France - Jan. 23,2011

Noticed several stands of these rental bikes throughout Paris. They seem to be quite popular with the locals,  for short trips in the city.

photo copyright Judith Nijholt-Strong
Pont Neuf at Night
Paris, France - Jan. 23, 2011

This is the oldest bridge in Paris, depsite its name (Pont Neuf = new bridge)- first foundation stone laid in 1578. The Pont Neuf connects the two banks of the Seine River, the  Rive Gauche (left bank) with the Rive Droite (right bank). I love this bridge.

photo copyright Judith Nijholt-Strong
The Kermits Delighted at the Notre Dame
Paris, France - Jan. 23, 2011

Once again, the Christmas decorations are still up in January. After several trips in January to Paris, I still don't know why Christmas decorations stay up so long - it's well past Three King's Day, but this is Paris! Of course, the Kermits were so thrilled - had to have their picture moment in front of the big Christmas tree outside the Notre Dame Cathedral. ;o)

photo copyright Judith Nijholt-Strong
Notre Dame at Night in January
Paris, France - Jan. 23, 2011

And one of the Notre Dame without the silly Kermits. Had a terrible time keeping those Kermits out of this picture too!! ;o) :o) 

OK, we're off to dinner now! I'll post more pics when I return to Holland and yes, I did manage to draw a few things in my Moleskine - but I need to scan those...

tot ziens or au revoir,
Judy
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Monday, January 17, 2011

Off to Paris we go! : Paints and a Paris Souvenir

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drawing copyright Judith Nijholt-Strong. all rights reserved
Paints and a Paris Souvenir - 2011
pen & ink with watercolors

We're off to Paris for a small vacation and we're taking the fast train out of Amsterdam. Cool! I'm excited to be going back to the city I love, love, love, since two years ago we had to cancel our trip due to unforseen circumstances. 

This trip, I'm taking the barest minimum of "art tools" with me: 1 small Moleskine sketchbook, 2 Sakura Pigma Micron ink pens, 1 Winsor-Newton Travelling Watercolor box (I changed the paint pans to the colors I like), 1 Niji Waterbrush, 1 DaVinci Travel Brush. I'm sure there's some colored pencil stubs and a regular graphite pencil lounging around at the bottom of my purse, so I'm not taking any extra pencils. We'll see if paring down the "art tools" helps me produce more sketches ... or will I be having too much fun in "The City of Light" ?! ;o) 

I might be able to do a photo or text post from Paris, but that depends on how good the WiFi signal is in the hotel ... you never know! If I can't post a picture from Paris, I'll post my sketches here when I get back - sometime next week.

Au revoir,
Judy
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Friday, January 14, 2011

Photo Friday: Utrecht's Dom Tower at Twilight

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photo copyright © Judith Nijholt-Strong. all rights reserved
The Dom Tower at Twilight
Utrecht, Netherlands - 2011

Last week,  we were in Utrecht's old city center doing errands and taking photos (as we do most of the time when were in the city center).  This photo was shot from the parking garage on Springweg - it felt like a good vantage point for this image. As the tower's working clock shows, it was just after 5pm. The parking garage is not as close to the Dom Tower as it seems in the photo; the Dom Tower is simply huge!

The Utrecht Dom Tower (Domtoren), of the Dom Church (Cathedral of Saint Martin, Utrecht),  is so large it looms over everything in the city and is the largest cathedral/church tower in the Netherlands - 112.5 metres (368 feet) in height. The tower and the cathedral were built between 1321-1382 (14th century) on the spot where the city of Utrecht originated, over 2,000 years ago, under Roman rule. I think it's a beautiful Gothic structure, from every side, in every light and in all seasons.

I have, in the past, climed to the top of the tower - though that was 11 years ago! Visitors can take a guided tour of the inside of the tower which takes you to different levels/rooms within the tower, including the level with the carillon bells (the bells are also enormous and they work beautifully). It's quite a climb up spiralling, ancient, stone steps - 465 steps , to be exact! Once you get to the carillon level, you then take a set of really small, narrow stone steps, spiralling up one more level, and out to just above the bells. At the top level, you can view out over the city & province of Utrecht, from all sides of the tower.

It's said that on a really clear day, you can see all the way to Amsterdam and Rotterdam ...
tot ziens,
Judy
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Friday, January 7, 2011

Photo Friday: Faded Glory - Hydrangeas in Winter

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photo copyright Judith Nijholt-Strong.  all rights reserved
Faded Glory - Hydrangeas in Winter
Utrecht, Netherlands ~ 2011

Today was really a very grey day here - nothing very colorful at all, just rainy, dull and grey. I needed some simple inspiration, badly! 

So inbetween rain showers, I took the photo of the faded hydrangeas in my back garden and then played with it in PhotoShop - kinda brought it back to life, in a way. The original photo was also very dull and colorless ... pretty sad. I adjusted the curves and the hue to warm it up. The color balance was also adjusted to bring up a little more warm rose/pink color - sort of faking Spring! Then I gave it a watercolor effect with PhotoShop and put it in a digital frame.

Just messing around, really, on my first "official" Photo Friday of the new year. ;o)

tot ziens,
Judy
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Saturday, January 1, 2011

Happy New Year 2011! ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ Gelukkig Nieuwjaar 2011!

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A few pics of last night's fireworks (vuurwerk) in our neighborhood (wijk) ...

photo copyright Judith Nijholt-Strong. all rights reserved.
New Year's Fireworks I  - Utrecht,Netherlands - 2011

The sky was lit up better than in 2000, with tons of fireworks on almost every street. Some really amazing displays, but difficult to capture with our camera - though my husband and I did try ... lol.

photo copyright Auke Nijholt. all rights reserved
New Year's Fireworks on the Street
Utrecht, Netherlands - 2011

While standing outside watching/enjoying the fireworks with all our neighbors on our street, I kept thinking "duck & cover!". The *booms* and *blasts* lasted well beyond an hour - it was, actually, great! Gezellig! - impossible to translate that word, but suffice it to say it means having a great time with friends/family in this case.  However, Sacha (the kat in klompen) was none too pleased with it all. She spent almost the entire day & night hiding in my studio, poor kitty. She was comforted by copious amounts of kitty treats (kattensnoepjes) and loads of cuddles (knuffels).

photo copyright Judith Nijholt-Strong. all rights reserved.
New Year's Fireworks II - Utrecht, Netherlands -  2011

So, welcome 2011! :o)  As always, I have no plans for the year or resolutions - that's just not me. Whatever the year brings, I'll be surprised - which is how I like things to be. Take the year day-by-day and make the most of each day, the best you can - that's always been my "resolution". :o)

I hope everyone has a ...
Happy New Year!

Gelukkig Nieuwjaar!


tot ziens Judy
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