Saturday, October 31, 2009

Happy Halloween from the Netherlands 2009

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copyright 2009, Judith Nijholt-Strong
"Halloween Greetings 2009"digital collage
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We had Yummy Mummies for dinner ...
photo copyright Judith Nijholt-Strong
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And Vampire Bat Cakes for dessert!
photo copyright Judith Nijholt-Strong
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And last but not least, Mr. Punky sends his regards ...
image copyright Judith Nijholt-Strong
"Mr. Punky's 2009 Halloween Greeting"
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We do hope you have a wonderful Halloween ... wherever you are!
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Tot ziens,
Judy & Sacha
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Friday, October 30, 2009

More Halloween sightings in France ...

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As promised, some more sightings of Halloween while on my trip, earlier this month, in France.

In the bakeries of Chartres ...

photo copyright Judith Nijholt-Strong

Another bakery (boulangerie) in Chartres ...
photo copyright Judith Nijholt-Strong

In a chocolatier's window in Chartres ... oh so tempting!
photo copyright Judith Nijholt-Strong
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A pharmacy window in Limoges, France - where many pharmacies had Halloween decor in their windows. I'm not quite sure why French pharmacies celebrate Halloween, but after visits to so many of the bakeries and chocolatiers, maybe you need a pharmacy! hee hee
photo copyright Judith Nijholt-Strong

Then there's always a gargoyle, or two, looking down at you on the cathedrals. These are the fellows keeping watch on the St. Etienne Cathedral in Limoges.
photo copyright Judith Nijholt-Strong

And the very old, very crumbling, headstones of the graveyard in Château-Chervix, France ...
photo copyright Judith Nijholt-Strong
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Sufficiently spooky, non?!
;o)
Tot ziens,
Judy
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Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Spooky Scenes Found in Sarlat & Chartres, France - 2009

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We've just returned, so I'm a bit tired ... to say the least!
But, here are some appropriately "spooky" pictures that I took in France these past few weeks.
(click for larger image)

image copyright Judith Nijholt-Strong
"Spooky Scenes Found in Sarlat & Chartres, France."
October, 2009.

I'll be back tomorrow with more "Halloweeny" sort of images that I found in France - though not much, since Halloween isn't really all that celebrated in France (same as in the Netherlands ... alas :( *sniffle* ).
Come Sunday, I'll be able to show you some more pics of our trip and some of the drawings/watercolors I did while away. For now though, I have the "Scary HUGE Washload Monster" to contend with ... eek! However, I'm leaving all the real spiderwebs I'm seeing around the house - good for the Halloween atmosphere, heh heh. Sacha obviously missed the spiders creating these webs. ;)

Tot ziens,
Judy
..........................................

Thursday, October 8, 2009

Halloween Frights and back to France!

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(click to enlarge)
photos copyright 2009, Judith Nijholt-Strong
"Sacha Scares the Halloween Spider"


We've been decorating the house for Halloween and Sacha has been helping take care of all the spiders. She is crazy about this big, furry, black one - no spider will live too long in our house!

Meanwhile, as Sacha takes care of all frightening Halloween things at our house in the Netherlands, my Dutchman and I will be off to France again. YAY!!! We'll be staying in the same village (and same rental house) we were in this past summer - Château-Chervix, Haute-Vienne, Limousin, France. Château-Chervix is located just south-southwest of the city of Limoges.
(click to enlarge)

photos copyright 2009, Judith Nijholt-Strong
"Tour de Château-Chervix - Limousin, France"


The photos above are of the remains of the 12th century dungeon (in french: donjon or la tour (the tower)) of the Château-Chervix (Castle Chervix) - that's all that's left ... it must have been rather impressive at one time in its history. We took these shots in June-July of this year - it will be interesting to see how the colors of the trees have changed in October. To get to the castle remains, you have to climb a winding path through a marvelous small forest of mostly chestnut trees - could be spooky on a nice autumn day. The dungeon (la tour), rises high above the area and overlooks the village of Château-Chervix - quite impressive views from up there too.

We'll also venture a little south-southwest from the Limousin region to the medieval village/commune of Sarlat-la-Canéda (aka Sarlat), which is in the Perigord Noir region, department Dordogne, area Aquitaine, France. We'll be staying over one night in Sarlat to be able to really investigate the village at our leisure. Maybe some sketching will get done too... never know. lol

There are also some festivals occuring during the time we'll be in the Limousin & the Perigord Noir. The festivals celebrate the autumn products of the region: Sweet Chestnuts and Cèpes (cepes/porcini mushrooms) and products made from chestnut wood (I see another basket in my future). We have those on our "to do/to see" list as well. Excited? Moi? Oui!

So until sometime just before Halloween, when we're back in the Netherlands, it's "à bientôt" for now!

Wikipedia links, if you're interested:
Sarlat-la-Canéda
Tour Château-Chervix (in french only ... sorry!)
:o)
Tot ziens!
Judy
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Tuesday, October 6, 2009

Collections Ribbons: Colored Pencil in Moleskine

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copyright 2009. Judith Nijholt-Strong
Ribbons in Colored Pencil - in large Moleskine sketchbook
approx., 8.5"h x 11w" when opened flat

I'm practicing drawing ribbons (for another project). These are all from bits and pieces I saved over the years. Most are from gifts, but the double pink ones, on the upper right hand side of the Moleskine, are from my wedding bouquet ... awww. lol

I'm going on record saying while I like grosgrain ribbon to use or wear, I don't like to draw it! ack! The multi-colored ribbon, on the left, in the sketch is the grosgrain. I love the ribbon, but I don't think I have enough patience to draw the texture of grosgrain.

I didn't realize it when I was doing this sketch, but this month is Breast Cancer Awareness month. So all the pink ribbons (which I really have many of, in various shades), are befitting the month too.

Tot ziens!
Judy
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Friday, October 2, 2009

It's Pumpkin time!: "Stepping Out" colored pencil drawing & pics of Utrecht, Netherlands.

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copyright 2009, Judith Nijholt-Strong
"Stepping Out!", approx. 6"h w x 4"w
Colored pencil on Wallis sanded paper
*sold*

I love October and November! Pumpkins, gourds, fallen leaves everywhere; the beautiful warm, "gezellig" (cozy), colors adding to the mood in and around the house. The weather is changing to a nice nip in the air. I love it, as long as it stays relatively dry (hah! wishful thinking, I live in Holland where it's never dry for too long - though parts of the east of Holland have been too dry, lately).

So, I'll be doing a lot of sketching/drawing/painting gourds and pumpkins this month. Some probably in France too, come next weekend. :o) and then it's Halloween again!!!

The idea behind "Stepping Out!" (for those of you who like stories), is a sort of "changing of the guards" (gourds? lol) and the city in the distance is "sort of" Utrecht (ok, not really, but that's what I was thinking/imagining). The cherry hands over the season to the pumpkin/gourd - probably only makes sense to me. ha!

Colored pencils used: Prismacolor, Caran d'Ache Pablos, Faber-Castell Polychormos and one cream colored Derwent Coloursoft (I don't really like Coloursofts - too opaque for my liking and they tend to form wax bloom worse than Prismas, but the cream one is nice enough).

Paper used: Wallis sanded pastel paper (very rough grained, sanded, surface). Not really a fan of this paper, though it does take a lot of abuse and layers. I just had a small piece of it lying around, which is why the drawing is so small - figured I'd give it a go. I prefer Sennelier's La Carte pastel board/paper, but I thought I'd just use up the Wallis I had (ever the frugal one, me ... lol).

To finish this post off are some pics of Utrecht's old city center. I shot these pics this past Wednesday (last day of September) on a typically overcast, Dutch day. The views are of the Oude Gracht (old canal) that runs through Utrecht. For whatever reason, I rarely seem to be in the old part of the city when it isn't overcast ... just my luck, I guess. Never the less, I still love the city center.
View towards the city castle Oudaen; Stadskasteel Oudaen. The castle is located on the top part of the canal wharf where the street is ; it's now a restaurant and brewery.
photo copyright J. Nijholt-Strong

Despite the hanging planters of geraniums (pelargoniums) that are still in full bloom, it's definitely fall/autumn here.

photo copyright J. Nijholt-Strong

The Oude Gracht (canal) snakes its way through the middle of Utrecht's old center - the above is a view from Vismarkt straat (fish market street) towards Utrecht City Hall on the right of the picture.

Voorzichtig! (Careful!)
A warning sign on the railing along the upper level of the Oude Gracht. Click image to enlarge - translated in english below the dutch...as if anyone reads the signs!

photo copyright J. Nijholt-Strong

Don't worry, I always watch out for the bumps. ;o) The last thing I want to do, is fall in the Oude Gracht ... noooooo.

Oh! Yeah, I changed the blog colors just to keep the "warm mood" going - goofing around really. *grin*

Tot ziens,
Judy
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