Last month´s sketches

Something completely different. Bread. The very first I ever baked, and it means so much to me! You have no idea. I took a huge risk given the visitor I expected. Simple recipe: whole grain flour, yeast, water and the simplest oven you can imagine. And it worked! It’s like magic.

Lovely to see the first ones of the year. In the backyard here in Hollandsche Rading, the winter jasmine is abundantly flowering.

Seeing this I realised I desperately need more yellow and summer colours. So this one is of a summer that feels so long ago.

Last one is of a visit to the Museum Voorlinden in Wassenaar. There are a few items on permanent display that bring out the inner child in everyone – at least, they definitely did in me. Like Leandro Erlich’s swimming pool, Ron Mueck’s Couple under an Umbrella, the Open Ended maze of Richard Serra and the tiny elevators of Maurizio Cattelan. 

At the moment there is an exhibition of the Italian artist Guiseppe Penone, who works with natural materials like trees and marble and leather, using the objects as a kind of memory or footprint of what has been. If you allow your mind to wander in his world, thoughts of interconnectedness of all visible and physical objects come up, of memories in the physical world and how we give meaning to what we experience with our senses. 

This picture below is of Tiger, tiger, tiger; the hidden tigers at the bottom of porcelain of the Ming Dynasty of Ai Weiwei.

Too much nature!

Every time in the USA I am overwhelmed by the abundance of nature. There is so much to see! I come home with thousands of pictures. Let me show a few of them here.

I woke up with birds singing, and they kept on singing all day long. You don’t need to go out to do birding, you can just sit on your veranda and they come to you. The intense red of the Northern cardinal (Cardinalis cardinalis) – just can’t stop taking pictures! I have them hunting for insects in the grass, singing and hiding in the bushes, but this one I like most: sunbathing in the scorching sun.

Then the eastern bluebird (Sialia sialis). Such beautiful colours! Funny, the nuthatch in the Netherlands has almost the same colours, but is a little paler.

“Look at those cute squirrels!”
I was immediately corrected. “They are not cute. They are rats with a tail. They climb through the rain gutter, come into the house. They gnaw and make a huge mess!”
“They won’t be that bad will they?” I thought. But indeed. They’re everywhere. Really everywhere, in huge numbers, in and around the houses.
In Europe, the grey squirrel (Sciurus carolinensis) is considered an invasive alien species. They eradicated the indigenous red squirrel (Sciurus vulgaris) in most of the United Kingdom, as they are bigger, stronger and resistant to squirrel diseases they carry.

“What about those chipmunks? Those ‘ground squirrels’, as we call them?”
“Less bad than the grey squirrels. But I still don’t need them in the garden. They dig holes everywhere.”
I have to t confess: last week in my garden back home I saw mouse holes. Shrews probably, there are a lot of them here. And my first thought was: How do I get those bloody mice out of my garden?
Anyhow, the Eastern chipmunks (Tamias striatus) is not considered an invasive species in Europe. But it’s nephew, the Siberian chipmunk (Tamias sibiricus) is.

Another unwelcome animal. That is: In Europe again. Many red eared sliders (Trachemys scripta) have been imported as pets. So cute, these tiny baby-sliders with their flip-flop-feet! But baby sliders grow big, too big for small aquariums, and the entire house starts to smell. Eventually all these imported pet sliders are dumped in nature. No one wants to kill his pet, and the animal shelters are full. The pet industry doesn’t care – when a European ban on import and trade was imminent, thousands of extra baby sliders were rapidly imported and ‘put in storage’. To be able to continue selling them for some time after the ban. Anyhow, the one on the picture is enjoying his natural habitat. In the USA.

– To be continued –