Insight- On Site
Art in Amsterdam
I had a great time
in Amsterdam! There was so much to see! I also came away with
some good work! Our studio time was from 9-5 Monday-Friday, and
outside of a few scheduled museum stops, both in Amsterdam and
Paris, we had the remainder of the time for ourselves. I filled
the time with many photo walks, museum stops, writing and drawing
in my journal, and even went to the Opera in Amsterdam. Sometimes
we would split up into small groups and other times we would
take individual excursions.
Our studios were
in the Kunst (Art) Academie, which was affiliated with the Wackers
Institute of Amsterdam. First Summer Session was over after the
first week so we had all the studio space to ourselves. There
were ten of us, so we each had a studio half the size of a class
room, with plenty of props, easels, sculpture stands and spot
lights. It was an ideal location.
As a class, we visited
the Rijkes Museum for a tour lecture by an art historian that
teaches at the Kunst Academy during the school year. We also
visited the Van
the Stedelijk Museums. We spent another day drawing the
plants at the Botanical Gardens. They actually had an entire
greenhouse devoted to butterflies!
My favorite project
was our drawing marathon. We had made a collection of objects
that we found throughout the city. Mostly discarded objects,
bicycle parts, lamp shades, bottles, cloth, bubblewrap, etc.
We then combined the objects into a form of sculpture which took
up a good portion of a room. Some collections were humorous,
some were surreal, and some were clever. The idea was to draw
the variety of objects available, combining objects that wouldn't
normally be seen together. We came up with some very unusual
drawings. The energy level was definitely high, it was very stimulating.
We drew from 9:00 a.m. until 11:00 p.m. with time off for lunch
and dinner and by 11:00 p.m. no one wanted to leave.
During the three
week period, we discussed art, critiqued our work, sculpted and
painted. But mostly worked out new concepts and new approaches
to continue our own work. Each person came away with ideas that
will further their own unique work.
David and I had
a week together in Amsterdam before my class began. We stayed
at the Canal
through the 6th of July. The hotel was on the Keizersgracht,
just one block, or canal, from the Prinsengracht. The hotel was
built in the 17th century and had been refurbished with 17th
century details. They put a lot of care in the details. The rooms
and the halls had beautiful lamps, vases, pictures and crafted
The Westerkerk was
a couple blocks from our hotel. The bells of the church would
chime every 15 minutes. The church is famous for its history
of coronations and the fact that Rembrandt was buried there.
This canal is called the Prinsengracht. Also located along this
canal is the Anne Frank House.
We spent the week
getting a sense of place. Walking, shooting photos, observing
similarities and differences between Boston, New York and Amsterdam,
taking in the sights and sounds and smells, taking the trams,
trying various restaurants, visiting the Anne Frank House, the
Royal Palace, and Nieuwekerk. We also walked through the Van
Gogh and the Rijkes Museums and took a boat tour on the canals.
Amsterdam is truly
a city for bicycles. People would ride their bikes to work either
carrying briefcases under their arms or strapping them to the
bike. People of all ages rode the bike. Even parents would bring
their children to day care via bike. Special bike paths are set
up along the sidewalk, you not only have to watch out for the
cars but for the bikes too. They rule the road. During one of
our walks, we found this small shop with a colorful bike displayed
above the door and I had to take the picture. It is the symbol
The train station
is a majestic brick building that was built by the same architect
that designed the Rykes Museum. The area outside is congested
with taxi traffic, bikes, canal tour excursions, and just plain,
people traffic. The area is known as Damm Square. The Royal Palace,
which serves as the city hall, is in the center of this area.
We toured the Royal Palace and the Nieuwekerk and found that
the Queen only visits the Palace for special occasions. The actual
town she lives in is Den Haag. The Nieuwekerk is used for coronations
and as a museum.
The area southeast
of the station is the Red Light District.
We discovered that
it always rains, sometime or other during the day, but, the daylight
hours are actually 5:30 a.m. until 10:00 p.m. As long as you're
prepared for a brief shower during the day, the extra hours of
light are very addicting.
The cheese cart
in the above photo was used as an outdoor display for a cheese
shop that I frequented. The sandwiches were delicious. Also,
did you know that if you ask for coffee in Amsterdam, you get
espresso or cappuccino? We went for pizza one evening and we
were offered a free cup of cappuccino while we waited.
The route to our
dorms, in Amstelveen, was a 15 minute Tram ride, then a 15 minute
walk down a wooded pathway. There were canals on either side
of the path, with small Monet-like arch bridges over the canal.
One day I walked another 10 minutes on the path and first came
across a soccer field, then I saw cows grazing on my right and
a windmill on my left! A small farm with roosters and chickens
was near the end of the path, and at the crossroads was a small
restaurant that had outdoor seating on a pier overlooking a river.
So, I stopped for a cappuccino.