Monday, July 9, 2012

bike rides, a new home, a boat, a visit and Rembrandt



We took a couple bike rides out into the country in Amsterdam Noord.  Bike paths through quaint villages with some thatched roofs and farm fields with dairy cows and sheep.  Picnic by a canal and we saw quite large pike...Arnt wishing he had his fly fishing rod.  

Sheep farm
Dairy farm
Old wooden houses
Pastoral picture
old barn in a field

old cabin in a field
Swan family looking for a handout
first stork I have ever seen
big house with thatched roof
picnic by the canal
why did I not bring my fishing rod?

Dinner at Rob and Rina's garden house.  These are community gardens where you can stay overnight only so many nights a year and your cabin can only be so big but other than that you can set up your garden how you like.  Rina is a great gardener...herbs, vegetables, fruit trees and of course flowers.  

half hour bike ride from their city house..they built this cabin

Rob is a great cook!

  On the way home we stopped by this artist's gallery....she nails and piles all sorts of things to the outside of the gallery and then paints them crazy colours.  The inside of the gallery was lined with Afghanistan fabrics...quite a crazy place.  Unfortunately her paintings were not that great although there was a couple in there thinking of buying one.  Beauty is in the eye of the beholder for sure!

 On the way home we found this....Te koop means it is for sale....should we call?

 Other things we have seen.....

watching Opera in Oosterpark
dilapidated saw mill in the middle of Amsterdam
shoes at the flea market
sunset from our apartment window

 Well we have solved the boat can go online & pay for a self drive boat rental, get a code number, go to the boat on the canal, punch in your code, open the lock box and get your key!  Bonus the boat is electric so therefore green and quiet.  We are joining up to be members and will get the cheapest hourly rate...YAHOO!!

 Our family from northern Norway came to visit us.  Ola, Arnt's cousin and his wife Helle came to Amsterdam for 4 days.  They had been in Copenhagen meeting their very first  grandchild, Kornelius.  Our first day with them we tried the boat rental for the first time.  You can see by the look on our faces we totally enjoyed it.  Was very hot so umbrellas were in order.  Took a picnic and totally enjoyed the day.  Other than a close call with the stern of one of the big tourist canal boats Arnt did great!  

Oertz 1911 designed ketch sail boat

60' long, teak decks

Okay this is the rental boat, not the ketch but this is cute too!
Arnt and Ola
Helle and Valerie
Van Gogh inspired

Had great meals at home and out.  Drinks on patios and by canals. 

11th floor patio for drinks

View from patio
dinner at our place
breakfast at pancake house in park

Weather held out so we spent a lot of time on bikes.  Went over to AmDock the artists island, Van Gogh and Riks Museums, art stores, red light district (honest we just went to see the old church), Waterlooplein market and Rembrandt's house.  

Inside the artist studios warehouse
space to build large pieces or have events outside their studios
That is a small building being built for an artist event
remnants of the old shipping yard
skateboard park in the ceiling of the artist warehouse

Balancing Act
Helle and Ola

Cone on wheels
colour coded pipes in the warehouse

view outside the warehouse

re-bar and wire sculpture
water bottle earth

love this wall
setting up "The Promised Land" event

Not sure what it is but looks interesting

 Rembrandt's house was very interesting.   They restored it back to how it was when he lived there.  They knew what the furniture looked like because there was a very complete inventory list from when he went bankrupt and had to sell everything.  The foundation searched high and low and finally found everything they needed.  

Rembrandt van Rijn
reception room
pewter dishes in the kitchen

kitchen sink and pump

 All the paintings are either by his teachers or his students as the real ones are in the major galleries around the world.  You can see his style for sure in their paintings.  A surprise was one of the paintings turned out to be a real Rembrandt...his signature was discovered when the painting was cleaned.   

part of a painting...just like these sheep

 His printing room has demonstrations and also in his studio they show how and what paint was made from....stones and dirt.  Some simple chunks of earth from certain parts of Europe that was a particular colour to the beautiful stone lapis lazuli (which Vermeer used but not Rembrandt)  his blue was a much subtler green/blue stone.   

his workbench in the printroom

floor of the printroom
plaster cast he used as models
his easel

 The lapis lazuli was boiled in water until it exploded, drained to take out the shiny metal alloy that was in there and then the pure blue was pulverized to powder.  They took the powders of these stones and dirt and mixed them with linseed oil (from flax seed) on a marble surface and then had a very heavy rock that they used like a pestle to make sure all the powder was dissolved.  When we were in Amsterdam 12 years ago, we went to a windmill that still crushes the stones and dirt and sells the pigments.  I bought some and will finally mix it and use it.

dirt, rock pulverized to powder (lapis lazuli in bottom right corner)

tools of the artist

 One of the strangest colours is white.  They took coiled lead and added vinegar...then they topped it all off with horse manure, sealed the jar and when ready scraped the white paint off the lead.  Very toxic to make and use so when you see those old masters check out the amount of white that was used.  The artists loved that particular white for its fluidity, ease of use and texture on their paintings.  It was also a great reflective base coat.  Nowadays that type of white, if you can find it is $275 per 225ml tube.  Most companies have stopped production because it is so expensive and now artists are making their own. 

example of the coiled lead and the powder beside it

He was most famous for his etchings.  They sold very well at the height of his career.  His etchings were drawn onto a copper plate (remember it has to be drawn backwards so it comes out right up when printed).  The copper plate is then covered with ink to fill in the scratches.  The paper is placed on top of the plate and then the press is rolled over it.  You can tell a real etching as they have the imprint from the plate on the paper.  There are 54 plates left in existence and the foundation has two.

 We spent the final day at the Riks looking at the Rembrandts, as the rain finally came.  Was the perfect choice.  They have left to go home and we already miss them.  Thanks for a great visit Ola and Helle!

I am practicing riding with my umbrella...hopefully I don't run into any wind!



  1. Love The Wall too! Thanks for sharing this with us.

  2. Excellent. Love the photo of Arnt scanning the canal for fish. Let him know that he hasn't missed anything as I haven't been fishing since Ireland. Enjoy the boat rentals!

  3. THANK YOU for that tour Valerie. You are having such an adventure. Love the story about making paint, and the gallery with all the coloured stuff around it.