Thursday, December 27, 2007

the Chrismas Blog-Break

Since arriving home almost two weeks ago we have been either shoveling snow or preparing for Christmas..... Or even better, shoveling snow so we could get out of the driveway to prepare for Christmas.
I made it up to Princeton for my painting group last week but made no pictures.
Here's a picture of the snow...... geese. Can you find them?

Monday, December 17, 2007

The Long (and Harrowing) Trip Home

My son Coert brought me to Schiphol Airport near Amsterdam last Thursday. It was nice, sunny but cold weather. We stood in line waiting to check-in for some time because those @#$%^computers for the self-serve boarding passes weren't doing their thing. Finally a boarding pass and my one bag checked (travel light and fast is the motto) we said our goodbyes.
After all these years it's still a bit difficult and we both look forward to seeing eachother again in February.Anyway, a long walk to the gate, a long wait at the gate and finally boarding.
Departure Schiphol Amsterdam around 2pm local time.

In-flight I tried to take some pictures but only one is worth showing here.
As we got closer to our destination I saw quite a bit of ice form on the wing-tips. During the decent and landing the snow was so blinding I could only but see the red light flashing on the wingtip. The landing was so bumpy and scary the woman next to me took my hand for comfort.... the people on the plane were silent until we were sure we had stopped.... Then of course there was quite the applause.

Arrival Logan international Boston. 4:55pm local time, the last plane to land before closing down the runway and diverting the all other flights. We had to wait some time for the baggage carosel to start running as those poor baggage handelers were probably working up to their knees in the snow.I called Worcester Airport Limosine and heard that they had cars stuck in traffic all over the place and would come to get me a.s.a.p. Finally a young man showed and drove us through the blinding snow west on route 90, the Massachusetts Turnpike.
To keep this long story short I arrived home later than planned and was luckily not diverted to Detroit or somewhere.
Now, back home, in the snow our priorities are getting to the firewood and to the animals.

Thursday, December 13, 2007

The Last Couple of Days in Holland

Going to meet my grandchildren, Dana (background) and Christiaan on their way home from school.
A vist with Dorri and Dana to the Kröller-Müller Museum..... I had some difficulty getting sharp images without the flash.

Monday, December 10, 2007

Sunday, December 9, 2007

Day Trip 2... To the Royal Palace "het Loo"

One of my day trips was centered around the portrait exhibit of the royal children (and one bastard son) between the 16th and 20th century at the royal palace het Loo. Wonderful paintings in a beautifully restored palace. What made the exhibit so unique was not only the time span but also the detail and the size, many life sized family portraits. Making it all that much more impressive was the fact that the clothing worn in some of the portraits were on display as well.... made no pictures myself..... camera batteries were dead. You´ll have to do it with the hot links in the text above and one areal photo copyrighted to these people.

Day Trips in Holland

Yesterday I posted a couple of photographs I made at the market in Harderwijk. I just love how there are bicycles all over the place... Old and young bicycle to the market and do their shopping. Notice the large ¨saddle bags¨, helmets are worn only by the youngest of cyclists.... up to around five years old. This photo is taken with my back to the ¨gate of paradise¨, one of the entrances to the 13th century convent in the direction of one of the remaining city gates called the Smeerpoort.

Grotere kaart weergeven

Saturday, December 8, 2007

Surprise vist to the Netherlands

I went to the Netherlands to surprise my brother André for his birthday on Dec. 4th. Of course I didn´t tell Coert, Dorri or the grandchildren either..... surprise surprise. This morning we went to the weekly market in Harderwijk, the town where Coert and Dorri live. Below a photo of Dorri at their regular fruit and vegetable stand.
In the background, Sam, is the man that serves them every week for some years now.
The second photo is of a woman in front of the flower stand. Notice the children and baggage on her bicycle! Click on the photos for enlargment.

Sunday, December 2, 2007

The "Small Painting" exhibit

The "small painting" exhibit yesterday was a success, many people came and a few paintings sold. The exhibit will go on for over the weekend. My contribution to the organization was making the punch. Let me tell you, if you have never made one, it gets a life of its own. Hosea suggested a "green" punch with red cherries for the holiday season. His recepie:
4 cups of sugar diluted in 2 quarts of warm water
in that dissolve 4 packs of lemon lime coolade
add 2 large cans of pineapple juice
2 liters of ginger ale
and finally
add an ice ring with the cherries.
Seemed very festive. After I bought all the ingredients everyone said blah!!!! Green punch? No no!!!!
I went on the internet, and found lots of ways to make punch. What I learned was do not add orange juice and cranberry juice, that makes a brown punch. do not make your ice ring of pineapple juice with cherries, that makes a puce colored ring, and breaks easy. Do not buy bottled juices, but frozen concentrates.
It all worked out fine, nobody complained anyway.
Here are some foto's:
The first is of two paintings by Charles Grey, I just love the way he paints.

This one is by Lynn Wrona, this painting understandably sold rightaway:

Here is a beautiful painting by Barry van Dusen:

Finally me with one of my small lighthouse paintings:

Friday, November 30, 2007

"Small Painting" exhibit in Princeton

Below a picture of my hairdresser, Hosea of Hosea's Hair Design in Worcester. I went there yesterday because today (Friday) is the opening of the "small painting" exhibit in Princeton. All of the paintings we be for sale. I am in charge of the punch and I am not even allowed to spike it! I also I have to bring along tablecloth, centerpiece, cups, napkins, plates the whole deal. Hope my paintings sell, because I spend a lot of $$$ on all of this stuff. Not to mention what Hosea needed to get my hair presentable.

Tuesday's in Princeton

As you know I go to Princeton every Tuesday to paint with a group of artists. We take turns bringing a model every week and that is not as easy as it sounds. We paint during working hours and the model has to be able to climb stairs as our "studio" is on the second floor of the old Princeton Center Building. I was thinking to post the painting I make on Tuesday from now on. Here are two to start with, these ladies work at Worcester Polytechnic Institute.

Donna Damien is a medical office administrator.

And Regina Roberto is a nurse practitioner.

Portrait of the Grandson

As I mentioned a few "posts" ago, there is just sooo much to paint. The first post for today is of my grandson Christiaan. Coert sent me his school photo along with that of his sister Dana some weeks ago. I thought the pictures were so nice I just had to portrait them. The background in Christiaan's painting is an indoor climbing wall. He loves climbing and Coert takes him every Sunday to an indoor wall close to where they live. Once a month they go to the highest indoor wall in Holland, 21 meters in Amsterdam.

Thursday, November 29, 2007

Disposal of the Thanksgiving Turkey Carcass

Spent much of today working on my grandson Christiaan's portrait. My cold is subsiding, last day on antibiotics.
When Peter went to the dumpster across the street, to get rid of the Thanksgiving turkey carcass, the goats and sheep had followed him without him realizing. It was so funny. He walked across the street with the three dogs and it was not until he was way away that he saw the herd coming up behind him. The goats and sheep are often running around loose now because they can not do much harm in the garden and they like to graze the lawn and eat the fallen leaves. The pictures are taken on Peter's way back home.
Hunting season has started and yesterday the first hunter was shot in Warren. We have four deer in the backyard according to Joe the logger. It won´t be long before they come in for birdseed fallen from the feeder.

Wednesday, November 28, 2007

North Bend Farm Logging News

Joe the logger (on the right in the photo) is doing a great job thinning our woodlot. The forester, John Clark, of Bay State Forestry Service was just here to check it out. There are no deep ruts, the slash is cut small and flattened out. The path into the back lot will be cleared of any brush by the time they are done. Joe says he will be done by the end of December. He does not work when it is raining. He observed two coyotes, they were not afraid of the forwarder (photo below). I figured it is mating season and we can expect many more soon. We are amazed by efficiency of the logging. One man cuts the trees and "limbs", another man comes and picks the 20 foot long logs up with the forwarder. In the driveway (staging area) he sorts the wood into a pile of saw wood and firewood. See Peter and our grandson Daniel next to the wood stack below. From here the hardwood is picked up by a huge logging truck. Joe says the hardwood goes to a mill in New Hampshire because there are only a few sawmills left here in New England. The firewood is hauled off to Joe's backyard, where he will cut and split it.

Tuesday, November 27, 2007

Family Links

My brother in-law, Just Donker recently updated the address list for the Donker family clan. More than 90 names, addresses, telephone numbers etc. All descendents of my parents in-law, Adriaan and Anna Margaretha Donker- Vallenduuk.

While compiling this list Just realized how many family members have an "internet presence" and added the links to the address list.
I thought it a fun idea to list them all here… in no particular order:

My nephew and painter Gijs Donker:

Gijs's younger brother, Justus Donker:

Thier tradically young deceased youngest brother, Adriaan Donker:

These boys father, my brother in-law, Willem runs the publishing company founded in 1936 by his father Ad. Donker:

Willem's wife Jos Exler
has been making a name for herself in "colorful couture" for some years now.

My brother in-law Frans Donker has been working hard selling books since 1976. He now owns and operates five great stores in Toronto Canada. The famous "Book City" stores.

My niece, Annette van der Hoek Phd, offers training in Sanskriet, Hini, yoga for children and many other subjects. Annette has her website locked with "shockwave" so I can't get a picture or logo for display here. This site is dutch language only.
Another niece, Anne-Margreet Bakker, started her own foundation, Moeder India (Mother India) to improve the living standards of low-income (poor) women in India by offering them an honest wage for honest work and providing a market for their product. Anne has her site locked down as well. Enough to see but no-go on the "save image as". This site is dutch language only as well.
Anne-Margreet's brother, Onno Bakker is into "Web and Mobile Messeging" with his fast growing company E-Buddy.

Please keep in mind that although I "copied and pasted" the images above they are as far as I am concerned owned by the people from which the website they come.

Thursday, November 22, 2007

How the Granddaughter works the Grandmother

I had Coert on the phone this afternoon.... He hadn't shown Dana her portrait. During our talk Dana asked to speak to me when Coert and I were done. It turns out she had seen my last post and knew the painting was finished..... she put the screws to me arguing that she had already seen part of the portrait and just could not wait to see the finished painting... and she is my oldest grandchild... and they were talking about art at school... and this would be just soooo perfect - and... and... and then the meltdown. I agreed to e-mail her a photo. In the meantime Dana had gotten Coert into action and he brought up the picture I had mailed to him. Dana was breathless.
I had lent my camera to J.D. Now that I see this post I see that we somehow changed the the time/date setting.... This photo was taken on the 21st of November.

Portrait of my granddaughter

I finished the portrait of Dana yesterday.... I think it came out well and Dana's parents, Dorri and Coert, are very pleased. However, because the painting turned out to be more than a portrait of the little girl I'll only post this preview of the finished painting until she has seen it herself for real.

Sunday, November 18, 2007

So much To Paint

I have been wanting to get to painting "big trees" since the fall colors have hit New England. But somehow other projects just keep coming along my path. First I spent time on the commissioned portraits for Dianne and Sam. A few days ago my son Coert sent me photos of his children, Dana and Christiaan. I just had to do something with that picture of Dana. So here we go again! I had already given up on the foliage and figured on painting tall white pines... Looks like it might be with a snowy background.

Sunday, November 4, 2007

Two Portraits and a Party:

Here a picture of Diana Day next to the painting she is giving to her husband Ken for their anniversary. She posed for the painting in Princeton at the paint-group. Diana bought the vintage dress especially for the sitting. Since she now has the dress we, her friends in the neighborhood, decided we are all going to get a vintage dress and have a vintage Chrismas party.
The second painting is Sam Lipson, a long time friend. We both took our lifeguard course together way back in 1975. Sam is going to give his painting as a Christmas gift.
We had a nice cocktail party yesterday.... It turned into more of a suprise dinner party. I had baked a leg of lamb, mashed potatoes, gravy and peas. Linda Rochford made two pies, apple and cherry. It was a surprise for everyone that came. There were ten of us. Kind of a good thing that some of the regulars didn't show because we barely fit around the tables (I had a little table pushed up against the big dining room table). We all had a good time. While the women washed the dishes they all tried my quince liqueur. It should be ripe by Thanksgiving but it's pretty much gone now.

Wednesday, October 31, 2007

Pines and Foliage... the time of the season

Here are a couple of typical New England landscapes... A photograph taken a few days ago over at the pond accross from our house:

Then a painting (oil on canvas 90x40cm) I made for my son Coert a few years ago because this is one of his favorite places:
And another he "just had to have" from my studio.... this one is egg tempra on panel 30x15cm:
Have another look at my first Pines and Foliage post if you'd like to refresh your memory. You can also locate the pond on Google Earth via Coert's "Panoramio" site.

Saturday, October 20, 2007

My favorite tree..... the Sweet Chestnut

Here is one of my favorite paintings, "the Chestnuts". I have turned down a couple of offers to sell it wanting to save it for the "small painting" exhibit coming up..... Maybe I'll just keep it. Chestnut trees, as you might know, used to be abundant in New England. Around the turn of the century there was a "blight" and all the majestic tall trees died. My barn was built out of chestnut timbers and boards because of that. When I was a girl in the Netherlands my brothers and I would go chestnut picking all through the neigborhood. My brother climbed into the trees to beat the nuts out of them so I could harvest from the ground with my other brother. Now my brothers get together every year and have a chestnut feast together. Potroast, chestnuts, pears, brusselssprouts etc. Once, about 10 years ago I was in the Netherlands around that time and I joined for the festive meal.
My son Coert has named a part of the forest he manages "Elisabeth's wood" because there are so many sweet chestnuts growing there.
Grotere kaart weergevenThats where he harvests with his family. They roast them in their fireplace. Every year at the end of October I think of the chestnuts, and you can understand my surprise when driving in Princeton one day I saw these chestnut trees, small, about the size of apple trees. They tured out to be Chineese chestnuts. They are in the yard of the Mirick family, on Mirick road. John Mirick is very active in the organization to grow blightfree chestnuts for New England. The American Chestnut Foundation.
Have a look and hopefully you too will appreciate the beauty of these majestic delicious fruit-bearing trees.

Thursday, October 11, 2007

Egg tempera, getting back to business

Here are some some small paintings (approx. 5x9 inch) I did with egg tempera... a really different way to paint. Usually I work in oil paint. Egg tempera is mixing powder pigments with eggyolk. I particulary like it because we have chickens in the backyard, so fresh eggs are close at hand. I bought my pigments at the "Paintmill" "de Kat" on the Zaanse Schans they have been grinding pigments there since around 1782. At de Kat the pigments are ground from natural minerals. Pigements are easily obtainable in U.S. as well. Painting with egg tempera is tedious, not big brush work. If anyone is more interested, please get in touch with me and I will get them started on the nitty gritty. You can als take a look at what Wikipedia has to say on the subject with a click here.
Anyway, below are a birch-wood, a pair of Shagbark Hickorys and a Maple leaf. Up top, how could you paint anything in egg tempera without considering a basket of eggs?