Schilderij 2

After my last art workshop, I found that I do enjoy painting so I signed up for a second workshop. Both workshops covered landscape painting but the second was en plein air. The workshop was held at a lovely farm in Eemnes. I really enjoyed working on location instead of just from a picture. You get to choose what you want to paint instead of what was photographed. You can see, hear, touch, and smell your subject. I decided to challenge myself with a difficult perspective.

Here is the area I painted.
Here is the area I painted.
Here is my sketch of the view I wanted to paint.
Here is my sketch of the view I wanted to paint.
Here is my finished painting. As you can see my perspective is a little off but I am fairly satisfied with the result.
Here is my finished painting. As you can see my perspective is a little off but I am fairly satisfied with the result.

The class and teacher, Ton de Kruijk, were really great. I had so much fun. Maybe soon I will try painting on my own.

Adventures in Babysitting

So this week I have been babysitting* an awesome little girl (she is about a year old) while her mother learns Dutch. This week has been so much fun! At the beginning of the week, I found I was speaking to the girl in half-Dutch half-English. Now I talk to her almost completely in Dutch; sometimes she responds ja or nee. Like me, she enjoys books so I have read to her in Dutch. I have even tried to sing to her in Dutch, although I forgot half the words to the song- oops. (I did remember a carol in German – that is close to Dutch, right? – so I sang that too.)

Several days this week we have gone out to the heath. The girl really enjoys looking at trees and flowers while she is in her stroller. For those of you unfamiliar with Dutch strollers, the stroller wheels are pretty thick and well-treaded so they go fairly easily over sand, grass, rocks etc. The Dutch enjoy being out in nature so they make sure they can bring their kids with them.

View of the heath.
View of the heath.

In one area of the heath, there is a kinderboerderij (similar to the stadsboerderij). Sadly, she wasn’t very happy to see the animals.

One of the hertjes (or baby deer) at the kinderboerderij.
One of the hertjes (or baby deer) at the kinderboerderij.

I am sad that tomorrow is my last day watching her.

*Actually co-babysitting with another woman. Having another person is helpful.

Den Haag

Last month, Mike and I went to Den Haag (native English speakers will know it has The Hague). We visited many of the must-see sights although we did not go on any tours. The morning started out rainy but the weather was soon warm and sunny. Our first stop was Het Binnenhof, built around the 13th century or so. Het Binnenhof was where the Dutch parliament used to meet but now it is just a historical site (and an impressive one as you can see below).

Het Binnenhof or the Inner Court
Het Binnenhof or the Inner Court
Detail of one of the towers in Het Binnenhof. Notice the lovely goldwork.
Detail of one of the towers in Het Binnenhof. Notice the lovely goldwork.
There was is a beautiful fountain, with gold-work, in the courtyard.
There was is a beautiful fountain, with gold-work, in the courtyard.
Goldsmith lodging (I believe I am translating that correctly. Dutch, friends please let me know if I have it wrong.)
Goldsmith lodging (I believe I am translating that correctly. Dutch friends, please let me know if I have it wrong.)

After Het Binnenhof, we headed downtown…

Mike loved how the brick on this store resembled Legos.
Mike loved how the brick on this store resembled Legos.
The Gouden Hoft
‘t Goude Hooft (no significance but I thought it looked cool)
Detail of the Golden Head the restaurant is named after
Detail of the Golden Head the restaurant is named after

Of course we visited the Vredespaleis, though we did not get to tour the inside.

Vredespaleis or Peace Palace
Vredespaleis or Peace Palace
This tree outside the Vredespaleis is where people put their hopes for peace.
This tree outside the Vredespaleis is where people put their hopes for peace.

We visited the Den Haag market – which is huge (so huge and packed it was hard to get a good picture)! Half the market has clothing stalls the other half has fish, fruits, vegetables, and bread stalls. However, we were slightly saddened by its lack of fry stands. We also had lunch at a lovely little cafe (I forget the name) a short walk from the Vredespaleis.

Keukenhof Gardens

Last week we visited the Keukenhof Gardens with friends. It was so easy to wander among the flowers and forget how long you had been there. My husband, Mike, was very accommodating as we pointed to flowers and asked for photos. After a while he just started taking pictures of the beds we lingered over. This is just a small portion of what he shot.

keukenhoff_mike_122

Mother's love tulip

plant sculpture

well

flower mosaic

red flowers

swan

Orchids

near the canal

waterfall

colorful beds

Daffofil

They even had my favorite flower: bleeding hearts.
They even had my favorite flower: bleeding hearts.

pink tulips beds

peacock Keukenhof

white tulips

Blue breasted bird

Russian dolls made from planters.

DSC01037

City Farms

Mike and I first encountered a city farm or stadsboerderij, located on a green block between two busy streets, in Den Haag. Stadsboerderijen seem to be popular in the Netherlands. Families in particular love to visit these farms so the kids can interact with the animals. The animals are quite tame and seem to enjoy the attention from their visitors (especially if they bring food). You will see mainly sheep, goats, ducks, and chickens in these farms. Some farms are about the size of a small block and others are a bit larger. The photos below are from the stadsboerderij in Zwolle.

animals and barn

sheep

This guy had jumped the fence but seemed determined to stay by it.
This guy had jumped the fence but seemed determined to stay by it.
One of the 4 or 5 peacocks.
One of the 4 or 5 peacocks.

going for a walk