Art: I saw The Mediterranean by Pierre Bonnard.

Yesterday I spend hours in Amsterdam. I walked the city, enjoying its history and current atmospheres. Capitals are such a delight, especially when you walk slightly off the beaten tourist track. See where the real people live.

I visited museum l’Hermitage, which is a Dutch dependance of l’Hermitage in Saint Petersburg in Russia. Thanks to the historical appreciation our two countries share, starting when Peter the Great came to Holland and admired our skill in building sea vessels.

It showed some works by Gaugain, Bonnard and Denis that usually are in Russia, in the magnificient Winter Palace.
I came for Bonnard.

Mediterranean by Bonnard

They showed Mediterrenean View. A tryptich commissioned by the wealthy Russian collector Ivan Morozov who fell for these painters when they were alive and painting. He commissioned Denis to illuminate his grand ball room. It was reconstructed in Amsterdam and I see why it was the talk of the town, back in the day.

Bonnards work is also large. Three canvasses about 2 m wide and 4 m high each. They were hung with two mock collumns in front, to mimic how it would have looked in the russian house.

I spend all in all an hour and a half in front of the painting. Thinking new things, seeing new things all the time. Colours, shapes, combinations, claire-obscure.
It was a lovely time.

My artist’ blood started flowing again.

PS there are some quirky things in this painting!

  • What’s the bright red and blue shed doing in the far right? Bonnard is all about pastels, why feel the need to insert these bright blobs?
  • Who in their right mind puts warm egg yolk yellow in the green lushes of a tree? Bonnard, that’s who. In the top of the middle panel.
  • The right panel has clear dark and light shapes playing against each other. The left panel does not however. Does that make this painting lob sided? If not, why not?
  • some parts have gotten no paint at all, the bare beige canvas is just showing. What guts to send it to a collector and declare it finished!
  • On the left, that’s his wife. Playing with a cat. Guts! And a cat nut. You’d be surprised how much paintings of Bonnard have a cat in them.

Design: cats & dogs

I’m writing this post beforehand and I’m time-posting it. That way you can read this post at the same moment my friend Carla unwraps her birthday present and finds this:


A shawl pin in the shape of a dog, shitting sparklies!

It has a long pin at the back that you weave through the fabric.


I so much hope she likes it…. she is a dog person and has a sense of humour. But still…

I had the most fun designing these, as you know. Finishing them was quite a task…

The brown sparkly flowers can be turned around, then they are just plain silver. Carla likes silver. As do I.


I made two more:


These are the ones that started it all. They are proper dogs, no sparklies.

A year ago I promised to make these two friends shawlpins, it was a commission. But I couldn’t muster up the energy or inspiration to make them. Not even cats. For a whole year long! I felt guilty and inferior every month, but I just couldn’t face the wire and the hammer.

They both graciously understood and haven’t pushed me. For which I am SO GRATEFUL! That’s when people truly understand how life can be hard and that consentious people don’t need pressure.

And then that lovely time came when Pippi visited and I could finally put my appreciation into inspiration into wire-sensation.

The moment you read this, one of them is dropped off by the postman, the other one is dropped of by me. These are gifts, because I so much appreciate them them.

I hope they all like them!

In other news I also made some cats, with brush and ink. This is one of the five x-mas cards that háve to go out this season. I’ve painted five thus far, written and send off two.


I’m in no way content with these. The paper was way too smooth for the ink, it didn’t hold very well. Still it was lovely to do so I made them anyway. Then my husband said to use them because “as long as you can make out what it’s meant to be, you can get away with it”.

That’s one way of dashing past the inner critic.

Now I’ve got to dash. Birthday party to go to. In my own car. Wearing my festive dress. Bringing pins. And, on the way there, picking up a set of dumbell halters. I’m going to work on my back muscles.

Holle time day 8: cats singing songs

Merry x-mas day!
The churches is this Catholic city have been chiming for hours. We got up early (this may be related to the church bells or BECAUSE I SLEPT THROUGH THE NIGHT) and this morning will be spend in restfull bliss in our sitting room:

Hey, there’re two cats in this picture!

Frau Holle is all about cats. And celebrating the season.

You probably spotted the white one on the red couch fast.
But on the utmost left, there’s a dark blob snoring… a dark blob on a purple cushion…

mrs Dark Blob! mrs Dark Blob!

Are you awake?
Aw, Pookie, hello. Can you sing us a x-mas song? Pleeeeeease?


…. thank you, Pookie….
And what about mrs White Blob?

Hello? Lillepoes?

Would you please sing a little song for us, Lillepoes?



“mumble bells… mumble bells…”

Holle time Day 2: working the schedule

I’ve opened the previous post a couple of times today, to look at the schedule and remind myself what I’m supposed to take. It worked!

Because I did not go to spinning group this morning I could do the routine for a day at home. I used my one Golden Hour right after breakfast to do some illustrating. Yay! I want to give Tinkerbell a notebook with a cat on it.


My illustrating did not go well. I did not get into the flow.

That’s a pity. I really want her to have a catty notebook and also my cousin Ty. who is ALL about cats. I probably want this too much. And cats are bastards to draw anyway.

In the end I made Tinkerbell a crab in a tutu for her, hoping she likes it. (I do have hope there will be more cat drawing this week.)


It still needs the white accents but first I need to erase the pencil lines and I seem to have lost my eraser… Do I need to plan a trip to the not-so-nice-staffed-artist-shop here?  For myself I did the cat, a try out. I’m not content with it.

After illustrating I did the lie down, oh I was súch a good girl. It worked too.

After that I packed my things and drove myself to the city. That was hard. I made a stop halfway, at some new gas station with a freshly dug pond and sparkling new young trees around it.
In the pond there was a heron fishing. It was a welcome sight to watch. I calmed down quickly and could drive the last bit home.

In the city I’ve made sure I’m warm (wearing 3 scarves, a hat, long wristwarmers and legwarmers at the moment) and as soon as I arrived I made myself a mug of tea and lied down. Very good of me again.

Now it’s off to bed. Tomorrow it is Bring A Tree Into The House Day.

I’ve already made sure all the baubles are in the house:


But I’m taking it slow. If tomorrow that tree gets here, that’s all the result I need. Of the decorating starts and how far I’ll get, we’ll see. Pippi has kindly offered to help finish it on Saturday and Pippi knows ALL about decorating trees.

This is her tree this year:

Isn’t it MARVELOUS?!

Which reminds me: I don’t even have ONE peak. Better get that tree tomorrow at a place where they sell decoration too…

All in all today was good, within the restraints it had from the start. The schedule works. It will work even better if I print it out or write it in a notebook to carry around.

It does have one small omission however…. there’s no time slot for playtime with Lillepoes.

She has resorted to blackmail (look at that accusing look, I’m such a bad cat friend):


Illustration: 2 small ones

After two weeks of yearning I found one hour this afternoon to draw. Initially I wanted to pencil and ink a drawing of the cat of my friend Lieneke. She has a Turkish Van, Mimi. Beautiful! And so funny.

But that didn’t work out.
Instead I inked two drawings I did earlier.



It’s so weird all the things that have to be right for me to start illustrating. Which is one of the nicest things I know how to do.
But there has to be peace. And time. No to-do list. No cats or husband distracting me. Some other things. Weird…

The last time I drew was a couple of weeks back, i did not have the cleaning media with me. The ink got stuck in the “collar” of the brush. That’s a sure way to ruin your brush fast.


After this I cleaned it, with the ink soap. I hope it’s all right.
I used the sable-synthetic blend. I like it best. Next time I’ll buy some 100% sable and see how that works for me. The Kolinsky seems to be too much for me.

Well, I hope to brush some more soon. I see having pencilled sketches ready works well for me so I’ll try and make some in an unclaimed minute.

(I don’t have much of those. It’s still pretty much every day living like a vegetable aside from twice one hour uptime. That’s for dressing, showering, cooking, the lot. I really hate my life at the moment.)
(of course this is pms-week…)