The Equerience

30 11 2009

That’s the name of the big horse and coach expo I went to with The ”Istituto d’Arte Equestre”. The classical dressage institute from Maestro Giorgio Mereu Pez who is my riding instructor. The whole weekend was a good time. I had some paintings, to cheer up the stand, and made drawings, and finished a painting of the maestro himself.

I sold quite a few of my diary paintings, and got some commissions, but unfortunately I invested the proceeds in a very good Champion and Wilton side-saddle….

I’ve got a bit of a writer’s block, besides being very busy, with painting, cleaning, horse and saddles, (I’ve brought the Champion and Wilton side-saddle remember!!!)
Everything’s going swell, and I will be with the Q again soon. And will be stuck in America with lots of time to write 😉

This is a drawing I did last weekend, sorry for the bad quality, I had to photograph it and it was dark, all my photos of the weekend are bad 😦





Today, yesterday and the day before

26 10 2009

I made these paintings.

Read all about them on my Art blog!

24 Oktober

25 Oktober

26 Oktober





Drawing at the horse fair

21 10 2009

Yesterday morning I went to the village of Zuidlaaren. Every year, people from all over Europe flock to Zuidlaaren to sell and buy horses.
When you go you should go very early in the morning, Before 07.00. And it is usually very cold so you should get all your winterstuff out and wear it in layers! I bring a fresh sketchbook and a couple of soft pencils (The soft pencils get a lot harder in the cold)
The sketches I made will be posted at my Art Blog.

When I arrived (before 07.00) it was still dark

zuidlaardermarkt Horse fair art

Check out the murderous candy! There is a fair attached to the horse fair and many people spend the whole night there, going on the rides and doing the rounds of the café’s. I always preferred to sleep early and be comparatively fresh when setting out for a hard days work.

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Now there are a lot of really ugly, badly built horses. And horses which aren’t quite healthy, But then they are one of the reasons I like to sketch at the fair. And every year I fall for one of these horses! If I had some money I might actually take one home!

So… Wanna see ”The Artist at Work?”
Go to my Art Blog where I also post videos of ”The Artist at Work”

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The black Frisians are always hugely popular. But the breeding lately seems to aim at a very slender narrow horse. I don’t like it at all; I like the more compact broadly build Frisian. They always carry their head very proudly.

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Norwegian Fjord Horses. Very popular in the Netherlands for those who are not all out to ride competitions, but prefert o ramble around nature.

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After being put there since night not all horses are resigned tobeing tied down.

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There are big horses and small horses.

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Drawing a draughthorse

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The village is absolutely Packed with humans and horses. It’s a miracle no accidents happen.

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A couple of Belgian heavy draughthorses.

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Warmblood ridinghorses, all very young still, basically foals.

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Ramadan Relief

25 08 2009

A lady on another blog told a funny anekdote, she failed to recognise her friend as she walked by…
Her friend was angry!
These things will happen….

funny sketch





Chocobama and Sugarcain

4 11 2008

chocobama2Sweeten your election fever by taking a bite out of an American presidential candidate! Dutch sculptor Manuela Zuidmeer has created chocolate busts of both Obama and McCain. They are cast in 500 grams of the finest Belgian chocolate and very popular and she can hardly keep up with demand!

Watch a short clip on the the delicious candidates here (in Dutch, but the talking is not so interesting)
To keep it completely non-racially-prejudiced, both Chocobama ànd Sugarcain can be ordered in dark-, milk-, or white-chocolate!

I’ll have an Obama please!

chocobama1

Order your preferred sweety at Candy-dates 😀





Designer Abaya

12 10 2008

I have been busy lately… A very dear blogging friend (who had just had her birthday!) has been dreaming about the perfect abaya
One made from a suitable material for hot temperatures, pockets (!), a hood so as to eliminate the need of carrying a shayla around, some nice simple trim, easy buttons, wide at the bottom so you can take large steps, chinese collar… and a ”Hello Kitty” on the sleeve!
Hmm…. All quite do-able… just a bit of work 😀

The sketch

Collecting materials

The abaya finished!

Because it can get cold too in KSA, the abaya comes with a matching woolen wrap

According to the recipient it is a good fit too! So with any luck we’ll be seeing some nice photo’s of the abaya in it’s supposed home-land; Saudi Arabia!
That is of course if they can get made before the lady is arrested by the Commission for the Prevention of Virtue and the Propagation of Vice, who have been busy on a new project: ”Getting all haraam, fitnah-causing, attractive abayas off the streets and out of the shops”!!!!





Finished! (for now)

18 05 2008


Yes: I finished the gruelling workload, and they’ve just picked it up, and they loved it! So: all’s well that ends well. I finished 20 minutes before they arrived!
I should now publish something on loo’s or so, because my stats have fallen to a dramatic low!

But first I’ll show you what has been keeping me from blogging.
And making awful comments on your blogs 😀
I have been painting about 70 illustrations, (gaarghh) to be used on three show-boxes (made by me), containing a booklet (also made by me) an educational cardgame (made by me) and a game with words (made by me), and coloured glasses (not made by me).
The boxes open when the lid is taken off.
The three colours and illustrations correspond with the personality dynamics of ”Human dynamics” .

The boxes open, to show the booklets and games, and the drawings inside the boxes belong to the word game. The words for that game are in little envelopes left and right.

Ok people: I’m relatively free again for comments and chat!
(relatively because I now have to clear up the mess left after 2 weeks of doing no house work)

Update: And I have just been to visit the Tarq!






The Dark Night of the Soul

24 04 2008

Another song by Loreena mcKennitt, very sufi/zen/metaphysic/deep/whatever: Enjoy!!!

The clip is some weird Japanese Manga, but the quality of the sound is very good, and it is quite difficult to find original clips of this artist. It is actually a very beautiful manga, and does go with the song. Do read the lyric, and the bit Loreena McKennitt wrote in the CD-booklet. (she always has very beautiful booklets!)

Upon a darkened night
the flame of love was burning in my breast
And by a lantern bright
I fled my house while all in quiet rest
Shrouded by the night
and by the secret stair I quickly fled
The veil concealed my eyes
while all within lay quiet as the dead

Oh night thou was my guide
oh night more loving than the rising sun
Oh night that joined the lover
to the beloved one
transforming each of them into the other
Upon that misty night
in secrecy, beyond such mortal sight
Without a guide or light
than that which burned so deeply in my heart
That fire t’was led me on
and shone more bright than of the midday sun
To where he waited still
it was a place where no one else could come

Within my pounding heart
which kept itself entirely for him
He fell into his sleep
beneath the cedars all my love I gave
And by the fortress walls
the wind would brush his hair against his brow
And with its smoothest hand
caressed my every sense it would allow

I lost myself to him
and laid my face upon my lovers breast
And care and grief grew dim
as in the mornings mist became the light
There they dimmed amongst the lilies fair
There they dimmed amongst the lilies fair
There they dimmed amongst the lilies fair


Loreena writes in the CD booklet about this song:

loreen-mckennitt.gif May, 1993 – Stratford … have been reading through the poetry of 15th century Spain, and I find myself drawn to one by the mystic writer and visionary St. John of the Cross; the untitled work is an exquisite, richly metaphoric love poem between himself and his god. It could pass as a love poem between any two at any time … His approach seems more akin to early Islamic or Judaic works in its more direct route to communication to his god … I have gone over three different translations of the poem, and am struck by how much a translation can alter our interpretation. Am reminded that most holy scriptures come to us in translation, resulting in a diversity of views.

Music by Loreena McKennitt





Lithography

16 04 2008

Today it is Tuesday, every evening on Tuesdays I drag my exhausted frame to the Graphic Centre, to do three hours of gruelling hard work, with the single purpose of producing a few worthwhile prints.

On Tuesday I do Lithography, or translated from Dutch: ”Stone-print” This is because you use a very special kind of very fine stone to make your print. This specific sandstone can only be found in a quarry in the south of Germany, a place called Solmhofen. The exceptional fineness of the sandstone quarried here makes it possible to make beautiful pictures on the polished stone, which can then be reproduced in previously impossible numbers. This printing process was invented in 1796.

It has also made it possible for some of the most amazing fossiles to be preserved. Many very delicate dinosaur bodies, sometimes with fur or feathers still visible as they imprinted on the sand when the stone was still sand. The most impressive and well-known of these is the beautiful archeaopterix, a real missing link! This fossil shows all the hallmarks of a small dinosaur combined with those of a bird.

Back to printing:

The whole process is very time consuming, but when everything is in place, and you have a good day, you can quickly make your prints. First you have to wipe the stone clean from the previous drawing. This is done by grating the stone with special abrasive carborundum-powders used in increasing levels of fineness. Here you can see W. grinding a really BIG stone. A smaller stone, like the one I’m showing next takes about one hour, one and a half to grind. You have to be very careful that the grinding doesn’t make a dent in the middle of the stone, or at the sides. If this happens you can’t print. So we check this during the first grind regularly with a metal ruler.

When the stone is clean and smooth, we take it to another room to dry. We don’t wait for the drying; we use old hairdryers to speed things up! Then we etch the stone using ”Strong Gum”, This is Arabic gum laced with nitric acid. This will prepare the surface for the drawing. The first thing is to paint a border on the stone with Arabic gum. Your drawing must always leave room for a substantial border on the stone, because the leather ‘rijfer’ (sorry I really can’t find a translation for this) has to be smaller than the stone. (Its on the photo) Anyway, The Arabic gum protects the stone. any fatty sustance like fingerprints will be visible on the print later on.

Here you see the beautiful Krause press we are lucky enough to use at the Graphic Centre. In the middle of the circle, you can see a small bit of wood, just sticking out underneath the metal is a thick leather strip. This is the ‘rijfer’ it will press the paper to the stone and thus transfer the drawing on the stone to the paper.

Now you can make your drawing. I’ve made a simple drawing with a special Lithography crayon. The drawing is dusted with talcum powder, and then covered with Arabic gum and left for 12 hours at least. We artists rely a lot on Arabic gum and are really pissed when there is another war/struggle/upheaval in the middle east, because that will mean there is less Arabic Gum coming our way, and we poor artists have to pay high prices to get our hands on some.

This is the stone covered in dry Arabic gum, next to it is the sketch I used for the drawing. I don’t transfer the drawing; I just draw it directly on the stone. The nice thing about Lithography is that it will reproduce exactly my drawing lines. It is very direct.

As you prepare for the printing of the drawing, you have to first prepare the paper: it must be of the right size, and often you might like to soak it in water first, then it has to dry off again. The test-paper is also prepared and the paper that goes on top of the printing paper is cut to size. A dish with water, laced with a small dash of Arabic Gum, and a sponge, is placed in a handy spot, and the pen-ink which I’m using is rolled on to the roller. Every kind of printing calls for a specific printing-ink.

Now we take the stone itself to the washing space again, and spray it with water and add turps to it.This cleans off the Arabic Gum, and the turps clean off the drawing. The drawing is very faint now. From now on, the stone has to be kept wet at all times! We take the stone back to the printing-studio, and roll the pen-ink onto the stone. The drawing now comes back again. The whole trick of Lithography printing is based on water and fat, and the (oily) ink wanting to stick to the greasy drawing on the stone while leaving the wet part completely clear. when a bit of the stone has dried the ink will stick on the stone and you’ll have to clean the stone immediately, or the stone is ruined and you’ll have to start all over again!

The wet stone now remains on the press and is rolled again before every print. The paper is placed on the stone after it is rolled with a fresh layer of ink. four to five pressure papers are placed on top of it, on top of that goes the grey plastic sheet. The stone is then placed undermneath the ‘rijfer’ which is pressed down with great force, by the metal handel, you see a part of it on top of the photo., and everythink is then rolled forwards. You can see the little bits of white tape we use to mark how far we can roll the press. The pressure is só great, that if you roll the press too far, the stone gets catapulted away from the press. You could kill somebody doing that! Or worse: break a valuable Litho-stone!!! Behind the Krause, you can see the Roco-press. Chances are, one of your friends is printing on that one! It’s not the best arrangement, but we don’t have a lot of space. It takes at least 3 to 4 prints before the ink is settled enough for the really good prints to be produced.

The printed paper is placed into a drying frame.

The finished print.

And framed. I gave this one as a present to the lady of the farm where Tarq and Rabhar are stabled. She looked after them and cleaned their stables while I was immovably stuck on the couch with my ankle!







Rabhar, History and Arabian adventures 4

3 04 2008

A pilgrimage to Nejd 2

 

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Rabhar, portrait in oilpaints

January 1879 finds the Blunts traveling on towards Jof and Haïl. They spend several days there. They made the mistake of severely underestimating the horses they saw there, they were still very much thinking about ”racing-stock” and the horses were looking their worst: in winter condition, with scruffy coats, tethered to the ground. And fairly small. Ponies, as the Blunts thought them.

We see how hospitable people were, and Mohammed finds a bride.

January 5th 1879

We pushed on to Jof and got to a spot where on the left a cleft in the hills showed a charming view of palm gardens and what seemed to be separate country houses, each standing in a walled garden on bare desert ground. At quarter to two we rode down the short steep hill past the foot of the castle with Mohammed and Awad, leaving the rest to follow, asking the way to the house of Husseyn, Mohammed’s relative. We had to go through a great part of the town of Jof and it’s gardens, full of palm-trees and of barley just coming up on wich I saw kids grazing, out of the town to our great satisfaction, towards one of those very detached houses we had been admiring from above.

Here we alighted (the camels arrived soon) and Husseyn the master of the house received us, kissed Mohammed, took us into the reception room and began the process of making coffee. Presently the other relative (there are two) turned up. His name is Muhammed and he complained that we had all gone to Husseyn instead of to him. Mohammed of course has to make all the excuses he can and promises to spend a day or eat a dinner there and somehow pacify the injured relative _ I should like to know who in England, if a party of people headed by a distant relation from the end of Scotland or Ireland, would be ready to quarrel for the possession and entertainment of the guests and their servants, horses, etc. Here people delight in relatives dropping, as it were from the clouds.

We had a very long sitting _ a little talking, a large bowl of the finest dates, two go’s of coffee, one with and one without cloves, then Mohammed had to go and pay a visit to the Sheyk (2nd Governor) of the town of Jof _ Dowass. he and Awad both went, and meanwhile Wilfrid and I arranged our things in the tent which had been pitched in Husseyn’s palm garden in a very nice place. We got out washing apparatus and are clean for the first time since three weeks or more. Mohammed came back saying that now the Sheyk is vexed at not having us and he has promised we will call on him in the morning.

January 6th

We left pretty early. At the kasr we entered by what I think is the only door. It is always kept shut and whenever anyone goes in or out must be specially opened by a black slave whose sole business is that of porter. It seems that there is always a fear lest some insurrection should take place and at this moment Ibn Rashid has got the son of one of the Ibn Dirra, the best and nobelest family of Jof, at Haïl as a hostage.

While coffee was preparing a discussion took place about our coming to stay here. Of course it was necessary for Wilfrid to demur very much, it would be an aib for him to leave Hussayn etc. However, in the end, the Sheyk or 2nd governour insisted that Hussayn could not complain. I returned with Abdallah, Awad, Husseyn el Kelb and one of Ibn Rashid’s zellamys or soldiers to Husseyn’s house to get our things packed. The khayal was my companion on the way back, and amused me much by his conversation. He admired my mare much to my astonishment. He and others have all expressed unbounded admiration for Wilfred’s shagra besides a great deal of approval of mine ( the bay so called Abeyeh Sherrak from the Khryssa) and they say moreover that Ibn Rashid has not a single mare comparable to the shagra. This is puzzling, for I have always heard Ibn Rashid buys the best of the Sebaa and other tribes.

We went to the kasr in the evening and looked on and listened to a curious exhibition, an kind of sword dance with singing or chanting. One or two of the performers only held drums made of palmwood and camel, or horseskin, in their hands and drummed while they sang and danced, the dancing being a sollemn treading up and down, and to and fro. The others, who held their swords sometimes over their shoulders, sometimes in a perpendicular position in front of them, danced in the same solemn measure and every now and then introduced a scream into their chanting. The khayal, the Sheyk Dowass, two of the black slaves, the khawaji and others all took part.

January 10th

There was talk of a bride, or possible bride for Mohammed and he could not tear himself away to go to the Jasi until after I had seen and reported on the young lady’s looks. I first paid a visit to Shemma the wife of Nassr (the only one I believe) whose sons Turki and Areybi we like. I then went on with Abdallah to Jasi’s house. The little girl’s face pleased me much. She is really pretty, with great large dark eyes taht look straight at one and with a fresh white complexion and pleasant voice. To see more of her I talked with the mother and bystanders all I could think of and I went with them round the gardens. I left them with a pleasant impression of the girl and i found that both Ibrahim al Quisa and Abdallah who managed to get a sight of her afterwards, admired her looks as much as I did and their opinion was much more to the purpose as far as Mohammed was concerned.

There was afterwarts endless talking and a solemn meeting was held on our carpet in front of our tent between Mohammed, backed up by Nassr (who is jasi’s first cousin), and the young lady’s father. Wilfrid being present to add to the dignity of the proceedings, and Abdallah and Ibrahim al Quisia both joining in teh conversation. When it was all over Mohammed said ”It’s all right”, ”khallas shoghl”

January 11th

The marriage negotiations occupied the whole day but this evening all is arranged, the writing written, everybody pleased and we are to be off, inshallah, tomorrow.

January 18th

A seven o’clock start. One of the camels, the ugly one which has not been well for some time, was so tired and thin and wretched that it’s load was put about among the others and it only carried Mohammed’s tent. Hanna’s delul was also tired, and the tall camel brought at mezarib. Our mares were all right _ they had each had three leggin or lekins (copper dish) full to drink last night. My mare showed symptoms of fatigue yesterday but only I think from thirst.

January 21st

At eleven o’clock we passed close under one of the tells where several rainwaterpools were found near it’s top. We and the mares scrambled up and these drank up two of the pols. Wilfrid sat on the evry top and called out ( he says) to me to come up and look at some inscriptions with pictures of people fighting with spears and camels and horses but I did not hear _ and he had no book and made no drawings. However on proceeding at half past eleven we soon passed near another tell and saw on an upright flat face of rock some more inscriptions and pictures. i tried to make a hasty drawing of the writing but had no time to do the figures, except one or two, for we must not be seen drawing or writing or staring much at anything.

January 24th

There was no great hurry about starting, we went a few minutes before 8. In less than an hour we saw, to our left through a gap between tells, a village, small with much fine ithel with the palms, well kept walls as far as one could see, about a mile off _ name El Akayt.

In the plain we found Radi waiting for us and it was with some anxiety that we watched his countenance and listened to his words. we had become rather uneasy as to the reception Ibn Rashid would give us. All was well however. The Emir had ordered a house prepared for us and for Mohammed and we should be welcome.

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Haïl is like other oases only the buildings on a larger scale with some attempt at architecture and extremely well kept. Where we entered, we came directly into the princely residence, a palace fortress and next to housesof dependants, the streets level and clean. We rode along a winding street between high walls, in at a great doorway _ people with swords, red kefiyehs, white aghals and red jubbehs standing about and saluting us. At a doorway at the foot of a round tower is an immense long courtyard where we were met by a dignified official dressed in scarlet and with a handsome grey beard. He is the person who looks after visitors, recieving them and preparing houses or rooms for them. He led the way into the Khawah, a large apartment with five columns supporting the roof, about sixty or seventy feet long by thirty broad and twenty-three or twenty-four high.

We had not been there more than half an hour when there was a stir and the word was passed round ”yeji el Emir”. In a few moments he appeared at the door surrounded and followed by a dense crowd of armed retainers, his soldiers in fact. Everybody stood up as Mohammed ibn Rashid walked forward _ we advanced to meet him _ he held out his hand, Wilfrid doing the same, and after saying the ususal salutations we all sat down. The greetings then had to be repeated.

Mohammed ibn Rashid has a thin sallow and careworn face and well he may if he has on his hands the blood of his relations, his nephew Bender (Tellal’s son) and Bender’s 5 children and three children of his own brother Mtaab’s. He has the regulary barbaric love of finery for he was dressed in silk and gold and with an aghal half gold and he wears a gold and jewelled sword. We sat a short time and after drinking coffee the Emir retired. We were invited soon afterwards by the steward or servant,to follow him upstairs into a gallery which goes around a square court somewhere within the palace. Here carpets were spread all along the walls and we sat down and breakfast was served. It consisted of a tray of bread with a dish piled with dates on the top and a cup of melted butter again on the top of the dates. The bread was extremely well made and like crisp paper _ quite excellent and the flour must be of the very best.

From a garden we went into a yard full of mares, there may have been 16 or 18, each tethered by the feet to the ground by a square manger of sundried brick. In an adjoining yard were as many more mares.

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To be continued! (it’s getting a bit too long)