Saturday, April 30, 2011

A Peep in Waiting ~ Koninginnedag 2011 - colored pencil and ink drawing

drawing copyright Judith Nijholt-Strong. all rights reserved
Peep in Waiting
Koninginnedag (Queen's Day), 2011 ~ Netherlands
colored pencil and ink on brown paper

I know, I know, Easter is over and everyone has already drawn, or painted, their versions of the iconic Easter candy, "Peeps" - but this orange (oranje) "Peep" was waiting to celebrate Koninginnedag (Queen's Day). Plus, he's only just arrived at my's a long flight from the US to the Netherlands!

Of course, we will have the almost verplicht (compulsory, obligatory), erg moeilijk (very difficult) to eat with a fork, orange tompouce (sometimes spelled tompoes (tom kitty)).

photo copyright Judith Nijholt-Strong. all rights reserved.
Oranje Tompouce  - April 30, 2011
Utrecht ~ Netherlands

Tompouce is a pastry, similar to the French pastry "millefeuille" or "Napolean", which is normally decorated with pink icing but on Koninginnedag, the icing is always orange.

Our orange, Prinses Irene, tulips all bloomed a couple of weeks ago... much earlier than in years past.

photo copyright Judith Nijholt-Strong. all rights reserved.
Princes Irene Tulips - April, 2011
Utrecht, Netherlands

We're not planning anything special for today, except that I might make an orange themed dinner ... I said might. No, I won't be using oranges, just things that are colored orange ... like, wortels (carrots). ;o)

You'll find my other posts, from past years, about Koninginnedag here:

The orange "Peep" and I wish everyone a ...

Happy Koninginnedag ~ 2011!

photo copyright Judith Nijholt-Strong. all rights reserved.
Dutch Flag with Royal Whimpel for Koninginnedag
April 30, 2011
Utrecht ~Netherlands


tot ziens,
& the Peep

Saturday, April 23, 2011

Happy Easter, Chicky! - colored pencil drawing

drawing copyright Judith Nijholt-Strong. all rights reserved.
Happy Easter, Chicky! ~ April 2011
approx. 6"h x 4"w - colored pencils on brown paper

I bought this little Easter chicken candle at a local grocery store here in Holland (I thought he was cute) and  I had some tropical fruit jelly beans sitting on my desk ... just tempting me! So I drew them both - from life, no photo refs used. :o)

For this drawing I used:
4Caran d'Ache Pablos colored pencils
4Faber-Castell Polychromos colored pencils
4Derwent Coloursoft colored pencils
4Sanford Prismacolors colored pencils
4Aquabee Bogus brown drawing paper

Of course, we can't forget a picture of Easter chocolates! So, here's one I took in Paris, at the beginning of this month. The chocolatier's store was by the Église de la Madeleine (the Madeleine Church), just off the Rue Royale. Unfortunately, I forgot to write down the name of the shop - I didn't go in ... way too tempting. And No, it wasn't Fouchon's window (which was also too tempting ... lol).

photo copyright Judith Nijholt-Strong. all rights reserved.
Easter Chocolates in Paris Window
Paris, France ~ April, 2011

Chocolate bunnies and chocolate bells & chocolate chickens !! Too tempting.  And just look at those gold and silver macarons (a delicious French confection) ... omg, I wonder what they were filled with? No, no, better just to take a picture. :o)

To those who celebrate,
we wish you a wonderfully happy Easter weekend!

And for those who don't celebrate,
we wish you chocolate and a fine weekend!

Vrolijk Pasen! ~ Happy Easter!

and "Sacha"

Friday, April 22, 2011

Photo Friday: Earth Day 2011 in Our Garden in The Netherlands.

(click for large view)
All photos copyright Judith Nijholt-Strong. All rights reserved.
Sacha with the Flowers in Our Garden on Earth Day - April 22, 2011
Utrecht, The Netherlands (Holland)

Sacha is enjoying the warm sun and the flowers that are currently in bloom in our garden. This April has been a fantastic month - it's very colorful right now in our back garden! :o)

We're happy to report that the tulips did come back (as you can see in the mosaic above) and some plants, such as our astilbes (second from the left in the top row), seemed to have enojyed the harsh winter ... they're even bigger than they were last year and very, very healthy.

Happy Earth Day!

Judy & Sacha too!

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Weekend in Sneek - sketchbook drawings and a photo

We spent this past weekend up in Sneek, in the province of Friesland. Sneek is lovely port city which is very busy in the summer when all the boat lovers and watersports fans come to visit, and busy again in the winter whenever the canals (grachten) freeze over and people particpate in ice skating races. It's a very enjoyable city (stad)!

drawing copyright Judith Nijholt-Strong. all rights reserved.
Drawing a Jugendstil Building in Sneek
April 2011 - Friesland ~ Netherlands
pen & ink with watercolors in moleskine sketchbook

This building is right across the street from the Hotel-Café "de Wijnberg" where we had a bite to eat and a coffee. It's an eyecatcher of a building. The ornate Jugendstil (german for "youth style"), glazed tiles and the yellow-ochre colored, brickwork decorations can't be missed when walking on this street! Jugendstil, (or Art Nouveau as it is more widely known), design in architecture, art, fashion and furnishings was popular between 1895-1905.

drawing copyright Judith Nijholt-Strong. all rights reserved.
Windmill Cookie & Coffee at Café de Wijnberg in Sneek
April 2011 - Friesland ~ Netherlands
pen & ink with watercolors in moleskine sketchbook

Above is my drawing of the windmill cookie with my Koffie Verkeerd (literally translated = "coffee wrong"), which is the Dutch version of the French café au lait, or the Italian caffèlatte/latte. I order Koffie Verkeerd all the time, plus you always get a cookie or a piece of chocolate with your coffee, or tea. yum! :o)

drawing copyright Judith Nijholt-Strong. all rights reserved.
Drawing the Tulip Polders in the Flevoland Province
April 2011 - Flevoland  ~  Netherlands
pen & ink with watercolors in Fabriano sketchbook

I actually started this drawing of the tulip polders while in the car on our way up to Friesland - which accounts for a lot of the "wavy" look of the lines in my drawing - lol! I even added a lot of the watercolor while in the car - had my Niji waterbrushes with me and my little traveling Winsor-Newton watercolor box. This little drawing/watercolor was done in a Fabriano sketchbook that a friend sent me - it's not really ideal for watercolors (the paper buckles too much), but I use them anyway. However, it is good for pen or pencil work and I love the 3 different colored papers in it (white, cream and tan).

A little info about Polders and Flevoland:

Polders can be found in the province of Flevoland, which is the province just before you get to the province of Friesland. A "polder" is an area of reclaimed sea bed, or marsh land, that is surrounded by high dikes. Polders contain very fertile soil used to grow all sorts of  vegetables, ground growing fruits (i.e. strawberries), tulips and other bulb plants. These particular polders are below sea level. The area is protected by a system of dikes and dams - something the Dutch are very famous for and very good at - thankfully!

The word polder is not to be confused with the word veld (field) which would be used when referring to a normal field that is not made from reclaimed land. In a sense, a polder does look like a field, but polder land is also used for building houses/office buildings, etc., - entire cities in the Netherlands are built on polders. In fact, the city of Almere, in southern part of the province of  Flevoland, was constructed entirely on polder land and is below sea level - where I saw the tulip polders on our way. There is a definite distinction between the two words when you're speaking, or writing, dutch. I was reading a blog the other day, where someone translated "polder" as "field"... fout! (wrong!). But, they can be excused for their confusion because the blogger is a new transplant to the Netherlands and Ja! (yes!) , the Dutch language can be very moeilijk (difficult)! ;o)
(thus ends this little Dutch

This is a gorgeous building in Sneek ... in my opinion.
photo copyright Judith Nijholt-Strong. all rights reserved.
Stonework & Facade of City Hall in Sneek
April 2011 - Friesland ~ Netherlands

No way I would attempt to draw the stonework on the front of the Gemeentehuis (city hall) stairs and the ornate facade over the door , but isn't it beautiful?! Sneek is worth a visit if you're ever in the Netherlands.
Oh!, I forgot to tell you, Sneek is pronounced like "snake" - but it has nothing in common with a snake. :o))

tot ziens,

Friday, April 15, 2011

Random Silliness for Spring ... What grows in a typical Dutch garden?

photo copyright Judith Nijholt-Strong. all rights reserved
Sacha in the Planter Box - Sacha in de plantenbak
Netherlands ~ April, 2011

Uhmm ... that planter box (plantenbak) is supposed to be where the hanging fuchia plants will grow.
Now, it looks like I'll have to change my gardening plans this year! Sacha has taken up residence in the planter box and tells me, "It's comfy!", and she does not plan to remove herself anytime soon.

Just a little Spring (lente) Random Silliness for a Photo Friday (Fotovrijdag) . :o)
tot ziens,

Sunday, April 10, 2011

April in Paris - Moleskine Drawings and Photos

Ok, again this sort of blog post takes forever to put together ... but I did it! First up, the drawings in my Travels in France Moleskine - Volume 4... then some pics.

As soon as we get off the train in Gare du Nord station, we buy our Paris Visite Metro passes ... and have a pastry!
drawings copyright Judith Nijholt-Strong. all rights reserved.
Metro Tickets-Paris Visite Pass and pastry from Maison Paul
Paris, France  ~  April, 2011
watercolors, pen & ink, in small moleskine sketchbook

The pastry is a raisin swirl, but this particular patisserie called them "Escargots" (snails). In all my trips to France, I don't recall ever seeing them called that before, but I can see why...does sort of swirl like a snail shell. :o) Either way, these pastires are my favorites.

So off we go walking all over you do. Stopping, once in awhile, for me to draw something. The weather was really lovely in Paris too.
drawing copyright Judith Nijholt-Strong. all rights reserved.
Wallace Fountain at St. Sulpice Square - Paris, France  ~  April, 2011
watercolors, pen & ink, in small moleskine sketchbook

Wallace fountains can be found all over Paris. They first appeared in 1872, designed by Charles-Auguste Lebourg, and were funded by the Englishman, Sir Richard Wallace. Originally designed and funded as public drinking fountains for Parisian passers-by and to provide clean drinking water for the homeless of Paris, the fountains still function today - contrary to popular belief,  the water is safe to drink. This Wallace is in front of the glorious St. Sulpice Cathedral. There's also a huge fountain on the same square with lions, sculptures and sprays, etc., but I didn't have time to attempt to draw that. We've visited St. Sulpice cathedral before, so we didn't go in this time ... I just wanted to enjoy the lovely day on the square. :o)

After St. Sulpice, we hopped a metro over to another part of Paris. I think this is the 3rd or 4th arrondisement, but I can't remember ... (I know, I could look at my metro map, but I'm getting angst with how long a blog post this is becoming!
drawing copyright Judith Nijholt-Strong. all rights reserved.
Buildings at Metro Stop Mabillon - Paris, France ~ April, 2011
watercolors, pen & ink, in small moleskine sketchbook

We stopped for colas at a café across from the metro stop, Mabillon. I decided to draw the interesting Art Deco, (or could be Art Nouveau), building with the "Sisley" shop on the ground floor.

Here's me in the act of drawing the buidings at Mabillon ...
photo copyright Auke Nijholt. all rights reserved.
Judy drawing in Paris - April, 2011

My husband, Auke, always grimaces when I ask him to take a pic of me drawing... LOL! I usually whine and tell him; "Well, it's a heck of a lot easier than trying to photograph myself while I'm drawing!". And then he, usually, concedes defeat. ;o)

This trip, instead of going to a lot of museums, we decided we wanted to see as many different neighborhoods, or departments (arrondisements), as we could. We actually walked more than we used the Metro! We've seen most of the larger museums in Paris many times before, so this time we wanted to discover something else.

One day we strolled over to the Isle St. Louis, which is one of the small islands in the middle of the river Seine - right behind the island that the Notre Dame Cathedral is on.  It was, of course, really busy, though not quite as busy as I would imagine it gets in the summer months. It was another gorgeous day!

We stopped for tea & coffee and then stopped again for lunch  (ham, cheese and mushroom crepes) at a lovely little creperie on the Isle St. Louis. And I drew some more ... during both stops.
drawing copyright Judith Nijholt-Strong. all rights reserved.
A Spot of Tea and La Creperie - Paris, France ~ April, 2011
watercolors, pen & ink, in small moleskine sketchbook

Uhmm, for whatever reason, every time we order tea and coffee, the waiters (no matter where in the world we are) always set the tea down in front of me! I am soooooo not a hot tea drinker. I love my coffee; Auke is the tea drinker in our family. I think I need a business card to set on the table that explains I am the coffee drinker ... in several languages! Ha!
Anyway, I must say that the tea sachet was very pretty, so I painted/drew it... lol. And crazy me decided it would be fun to try to draw the backwards letters on the creperie's front window... it's the little odd things that intrigue me.

On another day, we strolled through the Jardin de Tuilleries ... along with the rest of Paris! It was quite a busy day in the Tuilleries - the weather was gorgoeus, cool but sunny - didn't rain, though it looked sometimes like it was going to. Since the flowers & trees were blooming, I decided to stop and draw, while Auke wandered around taking photos.
drawing copyright Judith Nijholt-Strong. all rights reserved.
An Urn and Flowers in the Jardin de Tuilleries - Paris, France ~ April, 2011
watercolors, pen & ink, in small moleskine sketchbook

I don't know what kind of tree it was, but it was very, very old and covered in pink blossoms (could be a cherry tree) which complimented the colors of the tulips and daffodils that had been planted underneath. The urn was just one of many in the the Tuilleries, you could spend a whole day just drawing the urns and sculptures there.

We also had delicious ice creams near the Louvre courtyard.
photo copyright Judith Nijholt-Strong
all rights reserved.
Ice Creams in the Tuilleries
Paris, France ~ April, 2011

 I had pistachio and Auke had mint chocolate chip.
It was lekker (tasty)!

And lastly, I've put together a photo mosaic of some pics around Paris in early April.
(click to enlarge)
all photos copyright Judith Nijholt-Strong. all rights reserved.
Out & About in Paris - April 2011

We took so many photos, walked so many streets (day & night), experienced Paris in a different way than before, I could tell more tales...but you'd start feeling like you were at your Aunt's & Uncle's suffering through the vacation slide show! lol

Tot volgende keer (til next time),

Friday, April 1, 2011

Back to Paris again - no fooling!

all images copyright Judith Nijholt-Strong. all rights reserved.
Pics from Paris Trips
Eiffel Tower, Obelisk at Place de la Concorde, Musée du Louvre

Tomorrow, Saturday, we're off again to Paris. This is a surprise trip to celebrate our wedding annivesary next week - and one can never have too many trips to Paris!!! Y

Finally!, a chance to be in Paris in April. :o) We'll miss today's April 1st, click link --> Poisson d'Avril , festivities, but maybe there will be chocolate fish on sale the day after? If there are, I'm buying some!

image copyright Judith Nijholt-Strong. all rights reserved
Gare du Nord  with Thalys Hi-Speed Train
(North Train Station - Paris, France)

If it's possible, I might post while we're there - if not, then not.
I'll blog again when we return, probably the end of next week.

Au revoir!  - Tot ziens!
Till we meet again!

Judy & Auke


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