Going Dutch.

Amsterdam-16

Holland is the birthplace to so many artists I love. Vermeer —the original everydaymatters artist, who painted tiny moments that take my breath away. Van Gogh —the greatest self-taught artist of all, who captured the world around him and imbued it with his passion and nuttiness. Rembrandt —who was so amazing at capturing light that I scarcely bother to be inspired by him because he was on a an unreachable plain. Anne Frank —who made a humble daily journal into an immortal art piece and, despite all her hardships, said “Everyone has inside of him a piece of good news. The good news is that you don’t know how great you can be! How much you can love! What you can accomplish! And what your potential is!” 

And of course, there’s Mondrian, and Bosch, and van Eyck and De Kooning and Paul Verhoeven…

And the museums! The Rijksmuseum, the Stedelijk, and the Van Gogh , which just reopened after decades of renovation.

And then there’s the cheeses, the chocolates, the Stroopwaffles, the tulips, the prostitutes, the drugs, the wooden clogs, the windmills, the dykes, the canals, the bicycles, the ladies scrubbing their doorsteps. For a country with barely twice the population of New York CIty, it’s bursting with clichés.

I am waxing rhapsodic about the Netherlands today because I have booked my tickets for a week there in mid-November. Not the loveliest time of year to be there perhaps but I did not choose it. I was invited to be a keynote speaker at the conference of The European Council of International Schools and to tell several thousand teachers of the wonders of illustrated journaling and how it can help inspire and educate the yoots of today.

Patti, Jack and I went to Amsterdam eight years ago and had a lovely time as tourists. Now I am hoping to augment my speechifying and museum going with a few encounters with Dutch sketchbookers.

If you or someone you know can fill me in on the drawing scene there or introduce me with some people who like to draw, I would be most grateful. Or, failing that, you can just recommend a decent Indonesian restaurant or a “koffiehuis“.

Arkansas

Photo on 2009-10-23 at 19.25I am on the plane home from a whirlwind trip to the American Institute of Architects (AIA) annual conference in Hot Springs. I was invited to speak about drawing to a group of several hundred brilliant creative people and the honor was all mine. Last year I addressed the conference in Nashville and it was so great to get people who design and build things for a living back in touch with drawing, the very skill that first inspired them to become architects but which so many have  neglected in favor of computers.

Unfortunately I was unable to play all of my videos for the folks in Hot Springs, most of which are posted here on my YouTube site. I am so grateful I was invited to this conference and hope to have the chance to talk to more architects (and doctors and teachers and just about anyone who needs to get back in touch with their creativity).

P.S. This is the first time I have made  a post while 15,000 feet in the air — hope it works!