It’s been awhile since I’ve posted…I blame it on moving countries, houses, studios, oh and summer glorious summer. More on my life transitions later, right now I want to share my trip to Vermont that I went on about a month ago.
Vermont is an beautiful place. I had never been, but WOW, I fell in love instantly with its wildness and with the determination of Vermonters to keep it that way. We spent time hanging out in swimming holes, in a community garden, on hiking trails, and with some wonderful people.
This weekend I had the pleasure of traveling to the UK to visit some dear friends that I have not seen for a looooooooong time…7 years! I was excited to spend some quality family time with them in the countryside and not in the busy city of London…I get enough city in Brussels.
Anyway, on the weekends my friend teaches ballet lessons to youngsters, one class of 4 year olds and one class of 7-10 year olds. First off, let me say my pal has the patience of a saint to teach ballet to 4 year olds (which can be like herding cats), however; she was amazing with them! They were cute and fun to watch. The second class, with the older students, was also fun to observe. One minute they were serious, straight-backed, straight-faced prima ballerinas and the next minute they were all giggles and smiles. The studio was beautiful and the light was perfect. I got carried away and took almost 150 pictures of the two classes trying to capture both their innocence and the adult-like seriousness that they maintained at times. Below are pictures from the older class…don’t worry, not all 150 of them 🙂
I am not sure what has taken me so long to get Ghent, (pronounced as if you’re clearing your throat), but I am glad I finally explored it this weekend. It’s a beautiful old city located in the Flemish region of Belgium, actually it is the capital of East Flanders. You can read more about it here.
Anyway, I was awoken early Saturday morning by this strange glowing orb coming through my window…yep, you guessed it! THE SUN. We haven’t really been seeing very much of that star here in Brussels, so it was a shock to the system to be woken up by that smiling sphere rather than the sound of the horse of a dog that lives above me. I was so happy to see it as I have been chomping at the bit to get out of Brussels, and so I decided to seize the sun and go for it.
So I gathered my camera and my umbrella (can’t be too over confident) and hopped on the train. In 25 minutes I was in Ghent.
WHAT A GEM! It’s not as congested as Brussels, the buildings are not as high and have more of a Dutch influence. Ghent is a university town, it has a great lively feel to it. It was clean! No dog poo on the streets and people were sooooo friendly! They smiled, they greeted you, I got to speak Dutch, it was a lovely day.
Here are some pictures from my adventure:
People rode bikes, almost impossible in Brussels because of the traffic.
I loved the canals in the city, it gives it such a romantic feel.
They have an open air flower market there everyday.
So I just walked and walked and walked, with out a map, until my feet just could not go on anymore. I can’t wait to go back to Ghent and do some more exploring, perhaps this time with a guide book…or maybe not 🙂
Hope you all had a lovely weekend and the moms had a great mother’s day.
Yesterday we had the day off from school …YAAAAAA! It was Labor Day here and therefore a free day to do no labor, which I didn’t. The other special thing about yesterday is that is was SUNNY! Yes, the sun actually came out and stayed out for many consecutive hours. I was pleased to have the opportunity to dry out, warm up, feel the sun on my neck.
So I decided to do one of my favorite walks down to the open air flea market and through a bit of the old part of the city. I love the flea market, which is open EVERYDAY! When I first got here, I went almost every Sunday. I rarely buy something, it’s a great place to wander and look at a bunch of old junk and some of it is great old junk.
So here we go, my walk in pictures…
A view of the city of Brussels
I found this funny window arrangement on the way to the flea market.
A close-up of a painty peely wall
In these boxes most everything is a Euro, but you need to dig...no energy to dig today.
This guy sells hundreds of glasses, buttons, pipes, matchbooks and more...what a pack rat!
metal and glass
no hands Jesus
awesome record player
After spending some time at the flea market I made my way through the city and found this wall filled with some pretty cool street art.
Belgium is known for its beer (over 900 kinds) and chocolate. Check out these hippos all carved from chocolate. I almost passed out from the sugary smell when I entered the shop…
Then it was time to relax a bit and I found this little oasis to sit and enjoy the weather.
I love tulips
On my way home I saw these guys and thought they were pretty funny.
It was a good walk and a great day to be outside…now it is back to work.
Lately, I have been just trying to find enough time to breathe and my art has consisted of the examples I have done in art class, like this one…
This is a photo of mine printed on photographic paper on an inkjet printer. The first thing I did was take some bleach and flick it with a brush on the photo. This created some distress marks on the picture. When I went to wash the photograph, to stop the bleaching process, much of the black ink that was in the tree got washed out and I smeared it with my hand. To get it to dry faster, I ironed it on a high setting. If you do this, do it in a well ventilated room and put a piece of paper over the photo or you could ruin your iron. Ironing it caused it to crack. I repeated the bleaching, washing, ironing process a few times. I ironed on some small bits of plastic and then added some packing tape transfers. I titled it “Evidence”
This is what I love to do, experiment, and keep asking “what if?” as I am going along. When I finished, I knew that I had started to “breathe” again.
What! We’re going to London for the DAY??!!…..And so begins the all day adventure of 28 teenagers, my two colleagues, and I. Off we went to visit the Tate Modern Museum in London. I was so excited as I had never been. I knew they had a room dedicated Mark Rothko, one of my all time favorite artists, and I was looking forward to spending some time with his paintings.
We hopped on the EuroStar and off we went………..
After some train delays……………………we finally arrived. I am always surprised by London and how cramped everything is, especially the Tube….so imagine traveling through central London with 28 teenagers using the metro…YIKES!
Already behind schedule, a fellow traveler thought it was a good time to lose their wallet…and after more delays, we finally arrived at the museum…YES!
We had approximately 3 1/2 hours now to view the collection, have lunch and get back to the train….So I went searching for the Rothko room and… it had been taken down!!!! Gasp, sigh, cry….to quote one of my friends, “somebody call me a waaaaambulance!” I recovered rather quickly when I saw this work by Do Ho Suh, “Staircase III”
It’s the first time I have had the opportunity to interact with his work in person. As you approach the room you start to see this curious red glow emanating from it, and then WHAM! When I walked in, I gasped, it is truly amazing, beautiful, and interactive.
Here is a great short clip of Doh Ho Suh talking about the piece when he was installing it at the Tate Modern.
Here are some other images from the day…
I love traveling with students, they make some incredible observations and really make me laugh. The day was fun, inspiring, and a whirlwind. Take care and thanks for reading!
I have long been a fan of Edward Hopper, I love the subject matter of his work, capturing every day scenes and filling them with different emotions such as loneliness, isolation, and boredom. The figures in his paintings, their expressions, their body language, their quiet interactions, help to convey the mood of isolation in his work, but for me, I feel it most from his use of dramatic light and shadow.
Edward Hopper "Summer in the City"
In this painting the woman and her emotions are highlighted through Hopper’s dramatic and somewhat structured use of light. I can almost hear her saying “what am I doing, where am I going,” and feel her loneliness despite her company.
I particularly love this painting by Hopper, “Sun in an Empty Room” It is bleak, but it is warm, it’s uncomfortable, but it is also inviting. This is a place you can go to look out the window and wonder.
Edward Hopper "Sun in an Empty Room"
I have been thinking about how I can put some of Hopper in my own work. On a recent trip to Copenhagen to visit some dear friends, I used my iTouch and Hipstamatic application to capture some images of landscapes and buildings as I was moving along in the train headed to their house. At times I like the Hipstamatic because it seems like it can produce magic with the simplest effects. Here are some of my images that have been inspired by Hopper….
I like the low dull winter light in these…
What’s next for these photographs? I am not quite sure, but I think I might use them for some etchings. How will I keep exploring Hopper? I would like to continue to capture some of his ideas with photography, using some lovely laundromats we have here in Brussels. The light, the metal, and the repetition of shapes and forms found in the laundromats appeals to me and conveys a deep sense of isolation, boredom, and loneliness. I am excited to see if I can capture the mood I am looking for and share it with you.