Sunday, June 08, 2008

There is an exhibition coming up in an art gallery in London with drawings of Bob Dylan. The singer-songwriter of visual poetry, appears to be a fine artis himself. The singer of When I paint my Masterpiece started exploring fine arts when he was living in Woodstock and invited to the studio of his neighbour. He also followed painting classes by Norman Raeben (the son of Sholom Aleichem. He went to the Metropolitan Museum: 'The first exhibition I saw there was of Gauguin paintings and I found I could stand in front of any one of them for as long as I'd sit at the movies, yet not get tired on my feet. I'd lose all sense of time."

"I have done sketching all my life. In notebooks. on napkins, on rough paper, on cardboard plates and coffee pots. basically when there is something to look at. "
"I've done sketching most of my life. In notebooks, on napkins, on rough paper or cardboard, plates and coffee pots … basically when there's something to look at –
"I've done sketching most of my life. In notebooks, on napkins, on rough paper or cardboard, plates and coffee pots … basically when there's something to look at –
"I've done sketching most of my life. In notebooks, on napkins, on rough paper or cardboard, plates and coffee pots … basically when there's something to look at –
"I've done sketching most of my life. In notebooks, on napkins, on rough paper or cardboard, plates and coffee pots … basically when there's something to look at –
Read more at his autobiography Chronicles, vol 1, Dylan writes: "What would I draw? Well, I guess I would start with whatever was at hand. I sat at the table, took out a pencil and paper and drew the typewriter, a crucifix, a rose, pencils, knives and pins, empty cigarette boxes'd lose track of time completely Not that I thought I was any great drawer, but I did feel like I was putting an orderliness to the chaos around."Rows of houses, orchard acres, lines of tree trunks, could be anything. I can take a bowl of fruit and turn it into a life and death drama.
Dylan has decorated the covers of his albums Self Portrait and Planet Waves and Music of Big Pink by The Band, all in an expressionist style. "I did this portrait for the cover. I mean, there was no title for that album. I knew somebody who had some paints and a square canvas, and I did the cover up in about five minutes. And I said, 'Well, I'm gonna call this album Self Portrait" For the Bootleg series he drew Another Self portrait in pastel . Twelve of his  imaginary pastel portraits are currently exhibited in the National Portrait Gallery under the title "FaceValue'

. A sketchbook of him is published 'Drawn blank' (1994) with pen and charcoal sketches made during three years during his concert tours "mainly to relax and refocus a restless mind. Mostly when I was on a train or in a café, just to make sense of what was in my immediate world. I found it relaxed me." Sometimes he also working with models. In the Biograph booklet one can see photographs of him drawing the view from a hotel window
For the exhibition he reworked these sketches. The drawings were digitally transferred to bigger sheets of paper. and he added bright colours of watercolour or gouache. These fauvist reworkings are not always good, but on the Trains Tracks (image above) it really works. The orange sky it a good addition to the black & white graphics. This drawing is a personal memory of his youth "I’d seen trains from my earliest childhood days. The sound of trains off in the distance more or less made me feel at home".

His portraits show strong shapes and strong contrasts as can be seen on the studio photograph below. During the recording of Oh Mercy he has made a charcoal portrait of his producer Daniel Lanois. He borrowed a sketch pad from a session musician, said: Daniel, do you mind if I sketch your picture? He made a charcoal portrait of him with his bandana and long Indian style hair

During an interview in his touring bus he is sketching the face of the journalist. (see ). In the song Highlands, a 17- minute 'talking blues' song, he is describing a scene in a restaurant where he is making a portrait sketch of the waitress:

I'm in Boston town, in some restaurant. I got no idea what I want. Well, maybe I do but I'm just really not sure. Waitress comes over. Nobody in the place but me and her.

It must be a holiday, there's nobody around. She studies me closely as I sit down. She got a pretty face and long white shiny legs. She says, "What'll it be?"I say, "I don't know, you got any soft boiled eggs?".

She looks at me, Says "I'd bring you somebut we're out of 'm, you picked the wrong time to come "Then she says, "I know you're an artist, draw a picture of me! "I say, "I would if I could, but, I don't do sketches from memory."

"Well", she says, "I'm right here in front of you, or haven't you looked?". I say," all right, I know, but I don't have my drawing book! "She gives me a napkin, she says, "you can do it on that". I say, "yes I could but, I don't know where my pencil is at!

"She pulls one out from behind her ear. She says "all right now, go ahead, draw me, I'm standing right here "I make a few lines, and I show it for her to see. Well she takes a napkin and throws it back. And says "that don't look a thing like me!"I said, "Oh, kind miss, it most certainly does", She says, "you must be jokin.'" I say, "I wish I was!"

Friday, June 06, 2008

I just listened to a recording of Nina Simone, 'Feelings' at Montreux Jazz festival 1976. I never have heard somebody singing a song so emotionally and I never have seen such sad black eyes .
You can see it at YouTube
She requests the audience to join her singing the chorus : Come on, you know this song. But the people are so flabbergasted by all the grief coming from stage, that there is a total silence in the hall. Nobody felt the need to sing or clap with the soft vulnerable vocals of with emotional outburst. In fact Nina's singing was equal to crying. And without any support she looks even more lonely. Her singing has virtuoso piano intermezzo, showing her background as a classical educated pianist.

What happened to Nina Simone that she was in this mood? In 1966 broke up with her husband and manager and ended the cooperation with her record company RCA. Her last record with this label was named "It is finished". She intended to quit her career. Nina left to Africa and only gave concerts was she was short of money. In 1976 financial problems made her return to Europe. Nina begged the manager of Montreux Jazz Festival to fit her in the already fully booked schedule. There was only 20 minutes available for her (and she was paid accordingly). In the end the planned twenty minutes concert turned into a full hour performance.

Monday, June 02, 2008

I wrote this poem for a friend whose loudspeakers of his hifi set broke down and who is forced to listen to the sound of the finch. He is an translator/editor by profession but now he cannot concentrate on his job, as the bird is occupying his mind. the bird is free, but the man feels caged.


Mijn luidsprekers hebben t begeven
en naast me zingt een vink vol leven
Zijn vreugde wordt geuit
in een eindeloos geluid
Hij blijft zich herhalen
en verstoort mijn talen
Zonder dit dominante beest

had mijn geest vrij geweest.
Al zit ik een getto gevangen
het doet met niet verlangen
naar naar de vrije natuur
met zo'n irritante buur

I drew for this finch (vink) voor the family Vinckenburg who wanted an illustration for a birth card of their child, their 'little finch'' . They found the pencil drawing of this bird with soft feathers cute, but did not realize that it can produce such a annoying sound.

It can be great to be in the middle of nature. but it can also be a relief to be outside of nature. For instance by cycling today through the fields with everything in blossom i got hay fever and i am happy to back to in the centre of the city retreating in my concrete apartment. I just saw the Sean Penn movie Into the Wild about a boy turning his back to civilization and trying to survive in the wilderness of Alaska. I don't know if he is my role model. I like nature, but i think I prefer culture. It also reminds me of the song of David Byrne (Talking Heads) "Nothing but flowers':
Once there were parking lots
Now it's a peaceful oasis
You got it, you got it
This was a Pizza Hut
Now it's all covered with daisies
You got it, you got it
I miss the honky tonks
Dairy Queens, and 7-Elevens
You got it, you got it
And as things fell apart
Nobody paid much attention
You got it, you got it
I dream of cherry pies
Candy bars, and chocolate chip cookies
You got it, you got it
We used to microwave
Now we just eat nuts and berries
You got it, you got it
This was a discount store
Now it's turned into a cornfield
You got it, you got it
Don't leave me stranded here
I can't get used to this lifestyle

Wednesday, April 16, 2008

Now that the darkness of winter is over, the light of spring is entering my studio. Sun rays showing dust on my palette and oil paintings. I can see the colors clearly now and feel like painting again. In nature fresh sap greens are replacing the greyish browns and in the greens white blossoms appear . From the inside it looks sunny but once you are outside you feel the cold wind and start to look for you ice cap. Dutch humor. It makes you longing for the real warmth of summer.

I just found a inspiring video clip on YouTube underlining this summer feeling
The two and a half minutes of amateur images show Madeleine Peroux performing near a park in Paris on a hot lazy day in July. The black and white of the movie, the old fashioned hats and clothing, as well as her Billie Holiday like voice brings you in an old time mood. But it is only 17 years ago, and the girl is just 17. At that time she is still completely unknown. At the age of fifteen this American girl became inspired by the street musicians of Paris and started busking in the streets of Quartier Latin. In the video some people are quitely waiting and listening, taking snap shops eating ice creams and forgetting time. Others do care about time and are passing by quickly thinking she is just a street singer, not realizing that Madeleine Peroux will soon be famous.Playing with Lost Wandering and Blues Band ( two guitars, a trumpet and a one-string bass) Madeleine sings the song from the 1930s " Getting some fun out of life". This sounds like a good plan for the new season!

Now there was the first day of real warmth in spring. People were so happy sitting outside on terrace in the park or bicycling in the street and all in a good and easy- going mood. It is a simple and basic kind of happiness equal for rich and poor: the best things in life are free. A song which perfectly catches this mood is Paul Simon's 'Was a sunny day'. He brilliantly describes it in simple lyrics on a light sunny tune:

Was a sunny day
Not a cloud was in the sky.
Not a negative word was heard
From the people passing by.
It was sunny day.
All the birdies in the trees.
And the radio singing songs
All the favourite melodies.

Sunday, March 23, 2008

Good Friday seems the right day to attend St. John's Passion. I was invited to come to the rehearsal of J.S. Bach's oratorium at Westerkerk in order to make sketches of the musicians, choir and solo singers. The conductor was singing parts of the tenor who did not arrived yet. Soon I was drawing in the flow of this music and felt inspired by the sounds and images around me. I lost my sense of time.

Later I noticed that more spectators were attending the rehearsal. I saw an old lady with a fur coat sitting in a wheelchair in the middle of the church. Two girls, probably granddaughters, were constantly assisting her with things like covering her knees with blanket, bringing her coffee, etc. She was enjoyed the music and at certain part she was quietly singing along. During the break someone said : That's Aafje". "Aafje? "Aafje Heynis" I could not believe my ears. The famous singer from the 50's and 60's. I did not realize that she still lives. She had a unique voice a warm pure alto. I never heard a more beautiful rendition of "Bist du bei mir". I could recognize her face clearly which i knew so well from the cd covers. Though her hair was grey and her skin white, her face with pale blue eyes and strong cheeks bones was basically the same. From a distance I quickly made a portrait sketch of her and showed them. I thanked for her music Her assistants repeated my words to her, trying to reach her through the fog of her mind. Somehow I felt a deep respect for her.

In the Westerkerk I am always aware of its history : the burial place of Rembrandt and close to Anne Frank's house. Last year the church has renovated. When the renovation was ready and the covers were removed the gold of the tower appeared to have changed into blue. The architect based this change on historical evidence: in a certain period the colors were like this. Who am I to deny history, but I regret that the golden crown was stolen from Amsterdam. With the blue top on the church looks like a fancy building from Disneyland. Tourists will like it. I made this watercolor long time ago. It was on a chilly day in October that I was painting the cityscape with the tower and the golden autumn colors. These were the golden days of Westerkerk.

Sunday, November 25, 2007

My friend from Berlin is in town. She is a dancer who is performing in Melkweg theatre. We have not seen each other since the portrait I have made of her two years ago. At that time she was still trying to survive by modelling and waitressing jobs, now she is a much wanted dancer in modern opera productions. After having a cappucino together she gets in a tourist mood and wanted to have a look in Kalverstraat for a souvenir.

Soon a luxurious soap store called Sabon attracts our attention. The seller is wearing a creme mask on a his face as if he is in a cabaret. Also the lady of the shop with black bobbed hair looks special like she is a night club singer from the Roaring 1920's. I am just wondering if she she could be a good portrait model and hesitating if i could i invite her, when she asks what we are looking for. In fact I do not have the faintest idea; it is the first time of my life in such a shop. Before we realize what is happening we are part of a demonstration. We have to rub our hands with a scrub consisting of pure Dead-Sea salt. My hands have strong ink stains and black nail rims from a painting session the evening before. So this must be the perfect test case. The Dead Sea is entering deeply into the pores of my skin and the salt is starting to clear the ink. I must say it feels refreshing, The skin is softer now and the stains much less visible. Next we have to try a butter hand cream a mix of coconot and vanilla. My skin which usually feels like sandpaper is as smooth as a baby's. My friend is impressed by the result and buys luxurious package of this salt.

After this soothing Soap experience we go to the Soup Enzo shop
. There they have interesting mixes as well: brocolli cashew nuts, potato rocquefort, peanut chicken, etc. In the evening as I am watching in the dark my friend's show, I am still in my own coconut vanilla smell.

Sunday, November 12, 2006

Through the strong autumn wind I just returned from the frame shop with a watercolor Kites on the Beach'' under my arm when Cath came to my place for the model drawing session. She brought me a book which was coincidentally called 'Kite runner' by Khaled Hosseini. a novel about Afghanisthan

The watercolor shows a windy beach with tiny figures playing with kites under big masses of clouds floating in the blue sky. It brings back my memories of the island of Texel, where this scenerie was painted, and also gives the sense of light, space and freedom which one can experience while being in the middle of nature.

Tuesday, September 12, 2006

Last month I have had a special guest, a pale red-haired girl from Jerusalem. She is walking slowly and speaking in a whisper. The result of a severe accident. She came to Amsterdam to learn the art of drawing and it was a pleasure to help her. One of our drawing lessons took place at an African Festival at Conservatory. Festival was a big word for this event. We came early to get a good seat, but hardly anybody was there except for some friends of the Senegalese musicians. It took a while but when they finally started the performance was very intense. Heavy percussions were painful to the ears. Also visually a lot was happening: wild dances on fast rhythms with dancers were jumping high in the air. Not an usual subject for an art lesson. As we were with our sketchbooks at front row the Africans noticed us and came to us to shake hands. One of them, a big black guy with sunglasses, hugged the pale red girl.

At Conservatory I met Cecilia, the violinist. She invited me to attend the masterclass of the Greek teacher Leonidas Kavakos at Concertgebouw. A week later I was there in de Kleine Zaal with my sketching stuff. Cecilia worked herself through a highly complicated piece of Alban Berg. The master's comment on Cecilia's playing was just brief: "It is just perfect. There is nothing to say". What a good teacher! Don't say something for the sake of saying. Saying nothing can be helpful as well.

Friday, March 10, 2006

I have travelled to Arnhem to watch Delia dance at the opening of Cathalyne's exhibition. In the intercity train I had plenty of time to listen to a cd which a friend once gave me. It was a copy of Van Morrison "His band and the Street Choir". Generally it is not considered as his best album, but still very good. I was particulary struck by the song 'Virgo Clowns'. It was recorded during a happy period of his life. You can hear a young Van exuberantly singing on a powerful sound driven by acoustic guitars and a mandolin. The ambiance is raw, unrehearsed like a jam session. It is the kind of song which brings the listeners in a state of trance or ecstasy. The lyrics confirm this feeling : Hey let the trumpets ring it Oh, let the angels sing it Let your pretty feet go dancing Let your worn out mind go prancing. The same mood comes from his songs 'And the Healing has Begun' (When you hear the music ringin' in your soul And you feel it in your heart and it grows and grows) and 'The Daring Night' . To reach these heights some phrases are often repeated. The spiralling repetitions of wails and whispers bypass the confines of language to articulate emotions beyond the scope of literal meaning.

Van Morrison is not only trying to enter a 'higher ground' with his music, but he can act very down-to-earth as well This can be illustrated by next anecdote. Being with my brother in Prague we entered a local record store where a funky jazz sound was coming from the loudspeakers The voice was unmistakenly Van's. It appeared that it was a bootleg cd with a live recording of him at the Montreux jazz festival of June, 30th 1974. I was happy to discover this rare cd with the title - be prepared - 'If you Don't Like it, Go Fuck Yourself". The quote has come from a line near the end of the concert spoken by Van Morrison in reply to someone in the audience: a fan who disagrees with Van who was taking a long time (4 minutes of clapping) to return for an encore. Van 'The Man' shows his short tempered character by replying with these infamous words. listen to the audio clip:

I have seen Van Morrison several times in concert. This is a sketch which I have made of him during the performance at Paradiso, Amsterdam in May 3rd, 1993. He was surrounded by a tight blues band of first rate musicians. Van was blowing on his horn and I was struggling in the dark with my pen.

Van's connection with fine arts is not known to me, but there is one remarkable quote by him: "A painting is not real life; you can't live in a painting"

postscript 10/06 : Van's record company has released the Montreux 1973 concert/ The last song with the incident described here was omitted
postscript 06/06: At Waterloo fleemarket I have found a rare Van Morrisson cd . On "Unplugged in the studio" Van sings "Funny Faces" a demo for 'Virgo Clowns"

Sunday, February 12, 2006

In my uncle's vast collection of MP3's I have found one of my favourite tunes. It is a rare (not officially released) live recording of the song 'Goodbye' which I have seen in 1997 during the BBC show 'Later with Jools Holland'. (now it is also available on YouTube It starts as a simple finger picking tune, then you hear a rough male voice singing. It is not someone who tries to please the listener, it is the withered voice of a man who has obviously walked down many roads. At that time he was just clean from his drug addiction, released from prison, and finished with his sixth marriage. His name is Steve Earle, a country rocker from Austin, Texas,

There is a deep feeling in every note of this four minutes song. The theme is classic: abandoned love: 'can't remember if we said goodbye'. A gentle strumming guitar is accompagnied by a subtly improvisating steel guitar. The lonesome harmonica sound seems to come straight from Steve's broken heart. Emmylou Harris, who has a angel-like appearance, is duetting with him, She calls it "the saddest song ever written". I don't know if that is true, but the few lines she is singing are heart- breaking. When she sings about a Carribean breeze her voice sounds soft and warm.

The song is also recorded on Emmylou's album 'Wrecking ball' and produced by Daniel Lanois. The recording took place in a big square space in Nashville with musicians (including Steve) sitting in a circle. The sound is deep and heavy. Daniel has overdubbed the track with his intense guitar solo which is of a painful beauty as if he is saying: love hurts. With his mysterious soundscape a dark swamp landscape is painted. Sounds are hanging in the air like a fog or drizzle. Not surprisingly, in the book 'American Music' Annie Leibovitz photographes Emmylou in such a muddy environment in Tennessee.

I have seen Steve Earle twice in concert in the late 1990's performing in Paradiso, Amsterdam. Once solo and once with his band The Dukes. At both concerts the songs Goodbye was the highlight of the evening. As usual I took my sketchbook with me and these are two of the pencil drawings I did. He made a powerful impression on stage with his overweight body and big muscled, tattoed arms. He was wearing shades, unshaven and long hair with Elvis-style sideburns. One time he was nearly starting a fight with a man in the audience whose presence was disturbing to him. Oddly, the man, a fan, was a Steve Earle look-a-like. So Steve was kind of fighting with his ghost. Another time he took on stage his 12-year son. No idea from which marriage.

Saturday, January 28, 2006

Reading the art book in the train to Amsterdam made me miss the stop and I ended up in Almere a god forgotten city in the middle of nowhere, not the place to be around midnight. A freezingly cold wind on the platforms and a tight control at the entrances. Passengers were treated like potential criminals. I managed to get back to Amsterdam though.

The book was by professor Henk van Os on Belgian art. He mentions the portrait of Marguerite Mons by the (neo-)impressionist Theo van Rhysselberghe (1862-1926). It depicts a sad-eyed girl of perhaps twelve years old dressed in black (as her mother has died recently). It is an excentric composition and the black contrasts well with the pale blue, pink and gold colors of the door. You have got no idea what she is thinking, but her gaze keeps your attention. It seems that her father did not like the painting and requested Van Rhysselbergh to make a new, more traditional portrait. Artistic vision is not always appreciated.

At the moment there is an exhibition of the work of Theo van Rhusselberge at the Paleis der Schone Kunsten in Brussels

Thursday, January 12, 2006

I am watching a documentary 'The Songhunter' about Alan Lomax (1915-2002) the etnomusicologist who travelled through the world to record folk music, realizing that these forms of traditional music would disappear soon with the rise of commercial popular music and mass media. He has recorded more than 10.000 songs. At the end of his life he signed a contract with Rounder records. The Alan Lomax collection consists of 100 cd's .

I admire people who have a mission in life, trying to document endangered forms of culture or nature. It reminds me of Roman Vishniac (1897-1990) who photographed Jewish life in the shtetls and cities of eastern Europe during the 1930's. He felt that this life would be destroyed by the nazi's. He worked with a hidden camera through an enlarged button hole. To blend in, he posed as a vagabond peddler and to avoid arrest by police as a psychotic. He was imprisoned 11 times. 'A Vanished World' is the name of his book.

Just like Lomax saved voices and songs, Vishniac saved faces.

Tuesday, January 03, 2006

Henri Cartier Bresson (HCB) was first photographer that really touched me. Now there are two exhibitions of his work in Amsterdam: his photography in FOAM and at the same time his drawings are exhibited at the Descartes Institute.

True to my own art, I have started with the drawings in the French institute. Hardly any visitor was there. What fascinates me is that he started as a painter, subsequently switched to photography for most of his career and finally returned to the art of drawing. In the 1970's
when the photographer got had problems with his knees, he decided that his travelling days are over and devoted himself exclusively to drawing. With great concentration he makes drawings of the view from his apartment overlooking the Tuileries, animals skeletons in the Natural History Museum, and worked with nude models at home. Although he never approaches the level of his photography, the master of the moment has a sensitive drawing style with searching lines. Also in his graphic work he shows a good feeling for a balanced composition.

His camera was his sketchbook, a book of instant drawings. HCB said: 'Photography is an immediate reaction, drawing a meditation'. Photography deals with the decisive moment in one quick camera click, while drawing is a slow process of line by line. A different approach, but with the same eye. He is called 'L'oeuil du Siecle' or 'The Eye of the Century'. This is not exaggerated. When you glance through his photo albums you learn more about recent history than during six years at highschool. Also, he almost has lived for a century: 1908- 2004.. As a photo reporter for Magnum, he was travelling constantly and was always there at the right moment. Or should I say the 'worst moment'? He was on the spot at the time of the murder on Gandhi, the Chinese revolution, the building of the Berlin Wall. He covered also happy events like the coronation of King George V in 1937.

HCB never made use of a telelens. He managed to come close to the subject without being noticed. He somehow remained invisible. He was always eager to prevent his own portrait from being published so that he could remain anonymous and that people acted naturally. I think this the role of the artist: to be a close observer of real life without intruding the scenes.

HCB also did a lot of portraits of writers and painters. He was in search of "the inner silence of the models ('Le silence intérieur d’une victime consentante'). This image is one of my favourite portraits. a photograph of Ezra Pound. He took the picture in Venice, 1970. The American author was old, sick and in an introverted mood. For twenty minutes the two men were sitting face to face in complete silence until the decisive moment was there. There is a beautiful side light on the face which would make even Rembrandt jealous.
Perhaps attracted by these silent images the exhibition was visited by a group of the deaf people. The guide assisted by a sign language interpretator told an anecdote about HCB, when photographing Matisse. The painter was kind of camera shy, all the time hiding from the camera. To open up the atmosphere HCB showed a painting of himself. Matisse was not impressed and said he found it 'as interesting as a matchbox'.

Line by Line. The Drawings of Henri Cartier-Bresson, Thames and Hudson, 1989

Friday, December 30, 2005

'Avant le depart' is the name of the documentary about Constant (1920 - 2005) a painter who belongs to the Cobra group. It is a moving account of the last year of his life working on his very last painting. At the beginning of this movie he is saying: 'Het zit er op' which means 'Time is up". It is no so dramatic as it sounds though. He is looking back on a long productive life with an interesting oeuvre and a succesful career. Constant is kind of proud. And I appreciate that he believes in himself and in his art as that is the right attitude for an artist to survive.

In this 90 minutes documentary you can see quiet images of an old man slowly working on his painting. Not many questions are asked nor is he trying to explain. By a short lecture on colourism his wife is trying to secure him a place in art history. The camera is patiently recording the painting process. It can be expected that these kinds of quality tv productions will disappear from the screen with the reform of the Dutch public broadcast system and be soon replaced by uptempo commercial crap.

I like his watercolour style of his 'portraits imaginaires'. For instance this portrait of a woman is very special. The face has a good expression although he totally forgot to paint her nose. Look at this magnificent background how the pinkish red matches well with the red brown and bluish grey. I think a background can make or break a portrait. In the painting of the clothes a white gouache has been applied, which is against the principles of this transparent technique. but masters can afford to break the rules.

to be continued

Saturday, December 17, 2005

In my parents attic I have found a pile of dusty sketchbooks with drawings of mine made when I started with drawing. This youth work can be seen on my website:
Some people like the old work even more than my current work. But of course I can not return to the past. I am changed, though the basically the same. The only thing I can do it try to learn from my (younger) self.

This is a bistre chalk drawing is done in the period that I was exploring the city with my sketchbook. This one I have made in the Nieuwmarkt neighbourhood of Amsterdam at the time that period the whole area was being renovated and I was fascinated by city. From a high point of view (a university library across the street) I could look down on the Titushouse, close to Rembrandthouse, and draw the whole scenery. The surrounding houses have been broken down and in the distance the groundwork was started for the Opera building. The leafless trees are drawn like skeletons. With the empty streets the drawing gives a bleak picture of a grey midwinters day. It makes you shiver and feel like going home.