Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Snails ...

copyright Judith Nijholt-Strong. all rights reserved
Only Snails Love This Weather
5.25" x 5.25" - watercolors & ink on paper
January 24, 2012 ~ Utrecht, Netherlands

As the titles states - only snails could love the continuous rainy days in the Netherlands.

OK, maybe a few fish like this weather too ...

tot ziens,

Thursday, January 12, 2012

2 small Moleskine Drawings from Antwerp ~ and my new Portable Travel Sketch Kit

What a lousy/lazy title for a blog post, but you get the idea! Last week, it was still quite festive in Antwerp, Belgium - with lovely Christmas decorations still up all over the city and people still in a joyful, holiday, mood.

Outside Antwerp's Central Train Station was a giant Christmas tree ...
painting copyright 2012 Judith Nijholt-Strong.
all rights reserved.
Giant Christmas Tree - Central Train Station Antwerp
watercolors with pen & ink in small Moleskine sketchbook
January 2012 ~ Antwerp, Belgium

Because my husband and I were having too much fun enjoying Antwerp, I only managed two drawings/paintings in my "Travel to Other Places" moleskine! ;o))

This is a view from the Grotemarkt, which is in the center of the city ...
painting copyright 2012 Judith Nijholt-Strong. all rights reserved.
View on the Grotemarkt in Early January
watercolors with pen & ink in small Moleskine sketchbook
January 2012 ~ Antwerp, Belgium

That's supposed to be a tree with Christmas lights on it, though I'm not sure I accomplished the "look" of the lights. Anyway, it was a pretty view with the buildings that line the Grotemarkt, so I drew it. We also had lunch that day on the Grotemarkt, in one of the many café/bistros on the street level floors of those grand old buildings.

I'm also including a pic of my *new*, easy to carry, traveling watercolor and pen & ink kit, for those who are curious about what I carry with me. This is so much more more compact, lighter and easier to deal with ...
photo copyright 2012 Judith Nijholt-Strong
Easy to carry!
Small Moleskine Sketchbook ~ Watercolor pans in small candy tin
2 Pigma Micron pens ~ 1 Niji Waterbrush (med. size)
1 "shortened", small round, sable paint brush
Pocket tissue package to dab drawing/wipe paint from brushes.

For a while now, I've been wanting to reduce the size/amount of travel sketching tools I carry around with me, especially on short trips like the one we took to Antwerp. I've realized I don't always need every single tube or watercolor pan that I own when I'm out working in my travel moleskines. Plus, I really enjoy mixing colors to get other colors, so I was being really, really silly thinking I needed to take everything along!!

In the past, I had seen other folks using small mint tins (i.e., Altoids, etc.) and always thought that was a great way to cut down on the weight of what you have to carry along with you. So I went on a "search mission" in my studio and discovered I had an old Everest Mint Chewing Gum tin! Yay! I filled it with 14 of my favorite watercolor pan colors, stuck them down with poster putty on the bottom sides of the pans so I can change them out if I want to, and I was good to go! How simple and how silly that I'd never tried this before - made things so much lighter and so easy. All of it fits neatly in a smallish zip-lock bag which goes in my shoulder bag. So much lighter! Live and learn. :o)

Oh! That cut-off paint brush, in the "tools" pic, is one I've had for about 30 years. Long ago, I had cut it down to use when I did detail underglazing work on my clay sculptures (way long ago). It's an old sable brush but, if kept in good condition, they last a long time...even when you cut them down. :o))) The brush is now enjoying a new life as my, oh so portable , travelling painting brush.

tot ziens,

Friday, January 6, 2012

Photo Friday: Driekoningen/Three Kings Day/Epiphany ~ in Antwerp, Belgium

photo copyright Auke Nijholt. all rights reserved.
Driekoningen Singers on the Groenplaats
January 6, 2012 ~ Antwerp, Belgium

We're curently in Antwerp, Belgium for a tiny vacation and as today is Three Kings Day (Driekoningen), here are some pics for the first Photo Friday of 2012 on Kats-in-Klompen. :o)

photo copyright Judith Nijiholt-Strong. all rights reserved.
Christmas Tree in front of the Onze Lieve Vrouwe Cathedral
January 6, 2012 ~ Antwerp, Belgium

A more modern, 'jazzy' , group of Driekoningen singers, in front of the Onze Lieve Vrouwe Cathedral ...
photo copyright Auke Nijholt. all rights reserved.
Driekoningen Singers in front of the Onze Lieve Vrouwe Cathedral
January 6, 2012 ~ Antwerp, Belgium

Inside this beautiful cathedral, is an exhibition of Netherlandish paintings from the 16th to 17th centuries - including this one by a group of painters who belonged to the St. Luke's Guild of Antwerp. Saint Luke is the patron saint of artists.

photo copyright Judith Nijholt-Strong. all rights reserved.
Saint Luke Painting the Madonna and Child
Maerten de Vos, Otto van Veen and Ambrosius Francken
medium: oil on panel -  date: 1602
collection of: The Royal Museum of Fine Arts, Antwerp.
January 6, 2012 ~ Antwerp, Belgium

tot ziens,
Judy & Auke

Sunday, January 1, 2012

Happy New Year! Gelukkig Nieuwjaar! - 2012

photo copyright 2012 Judith Nijholt-Strong. all rights reserved.
Oliebollen for a Happy New Year, 2012!
January 1, 2012 ~ Utrecht, Netherlands

As they might say in Louisiana: Laissez les bons 'oliebollen' rouler! ;o)

Oliebollen (plural form: oliebollen; literally translated: oil balls), a Dutch tradition, are eaten on New Year's Eve in the Netherlands. You can also get them at fairs and festivals pretty much the year 'round (I know I can! lol). They are deep fried balls of dough (flour, baking powder, salt, yeast, eggs, milk) to which sultanas, raisins, and currants are added to the dough before frying. Sometimes bits of candied citrus peel are also added, but I don't like that stuff, so we don't get that kind of oliebol. :o))

I have, in the past, made my own oliebollen and when I did, I soaked the currants in cognac first - that was indeed delicious. And of course, a liberal dusting of powdered sugar is usually how they are served and eaten.

Here is a little snippet of the history of the Oliebol (singular form), according to Wikipedia:
"They are said to have been first eaten by Germanic tribes in the Netherlands during the Yule, the period between December 26 and January 6. The Germanic goddess Perchta, together with evil spirits, would fly through the mid-winter sky. To appease these spirits, food was offered, much of which contained deep-fried dough. It was said Perchta would try to cut open the bellies of all she came across, but because of the fat in the oliebollen, her sword would slide off the body of whoever ate them."

If you want to make your own Oliebollen, you can find recipes for them all over the web, from many different countries & cultures. Fried dough and sugar! :p :o) ... lekker (delicious)!

photo copyright 2012 Judith Nijholt-Strong. all rights reserved.
Fireworks in the Netherlands
Utrecht ~ January 1, 2012

Happy New Year!
Gelukkig Nieuwjaar!



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