I sketched much of the time I was in Amsterdam. Sketching is the perfect travel companion. It allows you to sit alone in cafés or on benches and not appear lonely or lost. It is a great conversation opener so you end up talking to all kinds of people, mostly real inhabitants of the city, not tourists, and this always provides insights. But most importantly, sketching is a way of enhanced seeing, a way of really ‘taking it in’. As I’ve said before, for me it isn’t the quality of the sketches, although I’m always working to improve, but the process of being there and absorbing through my eyes and my pen and paints.
The weather was good while I was there, and by the last of the four days, I was able to sit outside to sketch. But the cafés and tea shops are perched right on the canals, so there is always a good view from a window seat. Here are a few of the sketches. The final one is of a small delft house, a gift from KLM. You can read the text about this–an unceremonious dumping followed by a bumping, 2 hours later, to business class.
BTW I was reading The Goldfinch the whole time I was there. This novel which has just been nominated for the Bailey Women’s Prize, (formerly the Orange Prize) begins and ends in Amsterdam in a hotel on the Herengracht. It is a story of deep and unforgettable love and loss–and the essential place of art in our world. The painting of the title is by a 17thC Dutch artist. The book was a bit over the top in repetitive detail, especially about endless drug-consumption and the Russian underworld, but still was a perfect read for my favourite city.