Sunday, April 23, 2017

The South Limburg Slideshow - part one of five

From the 7th to the 14th of April I went on vacation to the South of Limburg, which is the most southern province of The Netherlands. I mostly stayed in the area around a town called Valkenburg. 

As always I walked and explored a lot and as always I took a lot of pictures, be it only with my phone this time, since I did not bring my camera. 

This five part slideshow is an impression of my vacation. I may give a little comment here and there, but mostly I want the pictures to speak for themselves. If you have any questions though, don't hesitate to ask. 

 I hope you will enjoy traveling with me!

The river Geul runs straight through Valkenburg and neighbouring towns.

This was an old graveyard I came by on my way into the town centre.

I visited the ruins of Valkenburg Castle. It stems from the middle ages.

I was fascinated by how not one piece of stone was left unmarked.

A very disappointing sign! ;-)

View of Valkenburg from the ruins.

An old town gate connected now by more modern buildings.

This is Geulpark, a park on the east side of Valkenburg.

The area is originally very Catholic, so there are lots chapels, crosses and statues devoted to religious figures all around the countryside, mostly Jesus and the virgin Mary, but also several saints are honored.

This area was called Gerendal, 'dal' means valley.

One of the town squares in Valkenburg with a restored gate building.

And that's all we have for today, until next time! Wishing you a wonderful and artsy day.

Friday, April 21, 2017

I'm back with a giveaway winner and a slideshow!

Hello my blogsy people! I am always amazed at how fast the time flies. It's been two weeks since we last spoke and in between I have had a wonderful vacation and a happy birthday indeed.

When I left you for my blog break I had a little giveaway of some cahier style sketchbooks by Seawhite of Brighton. There were not very many takers, but that's only a good thing for those participating, because the fewer contestants the higher the chance to win, right?

Anyway, let's get to it. I used a random number generator to pick a winner from the eight contestants and here is the result:

The seventh commenter was Mary! Congratulations Mary, you won! Please contact me at c.m.j.winkelman[at] or use the contact form on the sidebar, so you can give me your snail mail address and I can send the sketchbooks to you. Please do so before next Friday (the 28th) because otherwise I will pick another winner. But I'm sure you will be happy to receive your gift and I hope you enjoy it very much.

Now onto my vacation. You know how it goes: I go away and come back with a truckload of photographs and that means there are also a bunch of slideshows coming up in my upcoming posts.

As said above, my vacation was absolutely wonderful. I went to a town called Valkenburg which is in the south of the province called Limburg, which is again the southernmost province of The Netherlands (I live all the way in the northernmost part). It is a landscape of green hills and lovely valleys. Because in general we are a rather flat country a lot of those hills are referred to as mountains, but make no mistake, they are not mountains by a long shot. We're just not used to much around here, haha.

The apartment I was staying in for instance was in a holiday resort on the Cauberg ('berg' means mountain) and it was a bit of a climb to get up that 'berg', but that still does't mean it was a mountain.
The apartment was spacious and comfortable and a good place to come home to after a day of walking.

The apartments of the type I stayed in were built in such a manner that they overlooked each other so you could enjoy the view from your (big) terrace, which was a nice little valley with an orchard.

What I loved most about this place was that even though the resort (which looked most like a very tidy little village) was located near a rather busy road, but all I could hear in my apartment was birdsong. I live on a dune where most birds are gulls, jackdaws and magpies, not exactly pretty songbirds, so to me this was a real treat.

The next five (!) posts will be a slideshow of my vacation and the sixth one will a bit of a bonus, so if you hate those types of posts check back in about two weeks and there might be some artsy stuff again. But I need to get a trip out of my system first before I can move on and I know many of you do like these looks at a different country.

Hope you will enjoy traveling with me. For now it's good to be back and I wish you a wonderful and artsy weekend!

Friday, April 7, 2017

A Birthday Giveaway and a Blog Break

Let me start by saying it is not my birthday today as the title of this blogpost might have made you believe. My birthday is April 11 and it has been a personal tradition to do a giveaway for you all at that time, but I will not be here on my birthday which leads me to the second part of the title of my blogpost, namely that there will be a blog break.

Let me start with the important stuff: the giveaway. 
It's always a bit of a challenge to find something interesting to give away. There have been years I made something, years I bought something and years I ordered something and had it directly shipped to the winner. I think mostly my birthday giveaways have been about the things that fascinated me at the time.

Now I have been praising the Seawhite of Brighton sketchbooks on and off on this blog lately. Mostly because they are perfect for people like me, and by that I mean people who find it hard to just stick to one medium. If you like to switch between pencils, paint, markers, mixed media and everything in between in one book, then Seawhite is the one to get.

If you are just a watercolour painter, then please get a 'real' watercolour book. If you are a sketch artist, then please get a good drawing paper. If you like collage and acrylic, you might like to get one of those mixed media papers.
But if for you, like me, the world of art supplies is like a banquet that you cannot possibly choose only one course from, then get something like the Seawhite paper. By this I just want to say that the books aren't perfect, they are just really well suited for me.

Their books come in different formats of which the square big and thick ones are my favorite. Unfortunately they would also cost a fortune to ship around the world, so I decided on something a bit simpler, namely their Eco Sketchbooks.

These simple cahier style sketchbooks have craft covers and 32 pages of paper each. They are staple bound and come in three sizes (as far as I know): A6, A5 and A4. They should be easier to ship in a regular envelope and that way I can make this giveaway available to everyone that wants to join.

What can you win? Well, basically the above photograph! I will give away one of each size sketchbook, so you will get three sketchbooks in one giveaway! How cool is that?

There's only two things you have to do to be in the draw:
1) Comment that you want to win so I can put your name on the list.
2) Check back here in two weeks to see if you have won.

That's it. I will draw a winner on Friday the 21st of April. The winner will then have another week to contact me either through the contact form in the side bar or by mailing me directly at c.m.j.winkelman[at] If the winner has not contacted me before the 28th of April I will draw another winner. Those are the rules and I'm sticking by them!

Now for the second part of the post: the blog break. 
 I will be away from this here blog until the draw on the 21st. This is because I'm not only giving away something to you for my birthday, but to myself as well, namely a vacation to the south of the Netherlands to a beautiful place called Valkenburg. I will be there a little over a week mostly walking and photographing until I drop. You know, the way I spend all my vacations! ;-)

I know, I know... my giveaway to myself is way more generous than the one I'm giving to you, but at least you can count on some interesting slide shows of a whole different region of  my country when I get back.

I will only be there for a little over a week, but right after my vacation I have to get back to full work days and there won't be time to do blogposts, so I might as well just take the full two weeks off from the blog and save myself a lot of stress.

And that's all I have to say today. I hope I will make someone happy with this giveaway. I hope my vacation will be wonderful. I hope my birthday in the south will be interesting. I hope those of you who celebrate Easter have a blessed time and I hope to find you all here in two weeks, alive and happy.

Until then I wish you a wonderful and artsy day!

Tuesday, April 4, 2017

Collages in the Morning (Morning Art)

When I recently finished my journal The Allround Book (which you can see here and here) I knew I had to find another place for my morning art practice. In case you didn't know yet, I try to do something artsy every morning for half an hour right after I get out of bed, a thing I have been doing for over two years now.

In my latest journal, the Allround Book, I mixed my morning art into my regular journal. It looked really cool but it also was really impractical, which is why I have decided not to continue that way after the journal was full.

I also knew I wanted to try out new things and practice different kinds of art that have been on my list for a while but I never really got around to. The cool thing about doing art every morning for 30 minutes is that you can practice a certain aspect steadily for a certain period of time without it affecting your regular art practice. For the longest time I have been doing mostly patterns as morning art, some flowers and a few portraits, but I wanted to try something new.

Now it just so happens that I have a long list in my mind of things I would like to do more of, but that I just never (or hardly ever) do. Things like sketching from life, abstract collage, pencil drawn portraits, working with coloured pencils, botanicals etc. etc. So it seemed both interesting and practical to start using my morning art for things like that. I thought about it a little (while I was still working in the journal) and decided to use some thin Seawhite Eco sketchbooks for this.

These sketchbooks only have 32 pages and come in three different sizes, A6, A5 and A4. My idea is to fill one of those sketchbooks at a time with a different type of art or technique or subject or theme, or whatever I want to explore. The point is to fill the book one half hour at a time and then move on to the next. I don't put any demands on myself as to how long these books should take to fill completely or how the art should look. It's just a daily practice after all.

For my first endeavour I have decided on an A5 size sketchbook:

As you can see it is a very simple sketchbook with a kraft cover. The pages are staple bound and the paper is a wonderful allround paper that I really really love. Seawhite is by far my favorite sketchbook brand (and no they are not paying me to say that, but they definitely should!).  

For my first 'project' I have chosen to fill it with mixed media collages! Collage is something I really enjoy, but just do way too little. Now I can do a little bit every morning until this book is full. I like making attractive layouts, combining different materials and imagery and just seeing what comes up.

Here are the first five collages I did:

Playing like this is a really fun way to start the day. I use anything I have at hand, ranging from paint pens to washi tape and from all kinds of imagery to stencils. There is no rhyme or reason to why they look the way they look. It's all very intuitive. Somehow that seems to work for me.

I have no idea how long it will take me to fill this first book, just like I have no idea yet what I will do with the next one, but neither of that matters. What matters is that again I have a new experiment to play with every morning.

Hope you are doing something interesting wherever you are and wishing you a wonderful and artsy day!

Saturday, April 1, 2017

Tiny Mandalas

When I want to do simple art while having my feet up on the couch, and for once I don't feel like doing patterns or grid drawings, I grab my little Canson 180 sketchbook and draw and colour tiny mandalas.

I like having specific (sketch)books for specific purposes, mostly because over time it leads to books filled with a similar type of art and that just gives me some peace of mind somehow. I like the thought of filling one tiny sketchbook with tiny mandalas. It's like building your own tiny collection.

Here's six mandala's for you. Did I mention they were tiny?  ;-)

As you can see, for extra balance I like to use the same colour scheme on either side of the spread. It makes the little book even more coherent. And if you're wondering how tiny they are, they measure less than three inches (7 cm to be exact) in diameter.

Hope you are treasuring something tiny yourself and wishing you a wonderful and artsy day!

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