Tuesday, 28 November 2017

Impressions from Nice (part I)

I loved spending a few days in Nice in the last week of October and now the weather is so cold and nasty over here, I am glad I have the photographs so I can enjoy the memories. Sitting at the seadise at the Promenade des Anglais and looking at the Mediterranean Sea, which is as blue as they always say.

So here a few sea-side impressions.
At sunrise

Characteristic blue chairs

A view from the top

Luxury at the sea-side

Yes, there are people swiming, even if it is almost November

The harbour of Nice. 

The most amazing shades of blue

Friday, 24 November 2017

New books

Last week I had a couple of hours to spare at school and I decided to go into the centre of Amsterdam. This is just 20 minutes by tram, so it is not far from my school. I ended up with the two English bookstores in the Kalverstraat, The English bookstore which has many books for discountprices and Waterstones, one of my favorites.

I finally went home with these books:

For just five euro's per book I bought these two books at The English bookstore. It is a biography about the Queen-Mother, very interesting I think. The other book, The temptress by Paul Spicer is a book about a notorious murder case in 1941 in Kenya.

At Waterstones I bought these fours books. First two non-fiction books. I love the books by Evelyn Waugh and I think he must have had an interesting life. I want to know more about him and I am very happy I saw this biography.

The other book is The riviera set by Mary S. Lovell (who also wrote a biography about the Mitford-sisters). It is about the French south-coast during the years 1920-1960. Very interesting and fun, I think!

And also two books with a Russian theme! One is the novel A gentleman in Moskow which I heard about and it is very high on my list to read.

The last book I picked up is written by Nobel prize winner Svetlana Alexievich and it is about the Russian war in Afghanistan.

A great pile of books and I am very happy with it. Although I must not go too often into town and visit these bookshops, I do not think my wallet would enjoy that!

Tuesday, 21 November 2017


The weather has changed very quikcly to cold and rainy with a lot of wind. The mornings are dark and cold and the evenings are dark and cold as well. I am just so grateful I have a warm house to come home to every day.

But I do enjoy the amazing autumn colours like I do every year. These are two trees near my house. I love these gorgeous reds and golds and oranges. It would have been a better photograph with a little sun, but you cannot have it all!

Friday, 17 November 2017

Exhibition: The Dutch in Paris

Paris has always been the centre of the artworld and many artists from outside France came to Paris to learn new techniques or be inspired by new ideas. In Paris you had the Academies and the Salon, thé place to get noticed and to sell your work.

Already in the 18th century, Dutch artists came to Paris. Some of them became very succesful, like Ary Scheffer, who came to Paris when he was only sixteen years old, but who never left. He was even succesful at the French court of king Louis Philippe!

And in later years many others came, like Johan Jongkind, Vincent van Gogh and Kees van Dongen and Piet Mondriaan
The exhibition The Dutch in Paris 1789-1914, that is shown now in the Van Gogh museum in Amsterdam, shows their work.
Notre Dame de Paris, vue de quai de la Tournelle, Johan Jongkind 1852
It shows how the Dutch artists were inspired by Paris and the busy life in the city, but it also shows how the influence worked both ways.

Johan Jongkind became a friend of Claude Monet and Monet saw how Jongkind painted his skies in loose and swirling paintstrokes, using light colours. This inspired Monet in his Impressionism. And Vincent van Gogh on his turn was influenced by Monet.

Another great example is George Breitner who saw the dansers Edgar Degas painted, and introduced this subject in The Netherlands.
Ballerina, George Breitner, 1884
It is beautiful to see in the exhibition who these painters took their inspiration from eachother, in subjects, technique and use of colour.

Not all of the Dutch artists lived in Paris long, but even if they only stayed a short while, their work was very much influenced by the capital of art, Paris.
Boulevard de Clichy, Vincent van Gogh 1887
The exhibition can be seen until January 7th, 2018 at the Van Gogh museum in Amsterdam.

Tuesday, 14 November 2017

Before the fall, Noah Hawley

Sometimes something happens and a lot of people are involved in that situation. Their lives came to the point where they met, coming towards point zero. The interesting question is how they all came to that point and could it have been avoided?

In Before the fall a little private plane crashes. Two people survive, the others, passengers and crew, are all dead.

Scott is a painter who never had a lot of success, but now fate is smiling at him. His agent wants to talk to him and there is a chance of an exhibition.

A friend of his, Maggie Bateman, invites him on the plane with her family, because they are also leaving for New York.

But just a few minutes after take-off, the plane crashes into the sea. Scott and the little Bateman son survive and Scott manages to swim miles to the shore with the little boy on his back. He saved the boy and is a hero.

Only people want to know what happened and why the plane crashed. Was it something one of the crew-members did, or was it a terrorist act? David Bateman owned a right-winged news-channel and his prime anchorman is looking everywhere to put the blame, and he focusses his attention on Scott.

But it could also be the fault of the other family on bord, the Kiplings. Because Ben Kipling was a millionaire who made his money by never letting moral stand in the way of a good deal and whose trading with enemy countries was under investigation.

Before the fall explores the different lives, up to the point of all of them meeting in the airplane. But it is not a thriller and the why of the crash is never the point of this novel. All the different lives and their different points of view are the really important thing. 

I loved the character of Scott, who is an artist who makes very interesting paintings and the descriptions of some of this paintings add another layer to the story. I think you can say that greed and having no moral and no heart is put against a person who tries to be a decent man, even after he finds himself in a situation he can almost not control.

I read this book on my way to Nice, (not the best thing to read while you are in an airplane), but despite that little thing I really enjoyed this book. I thought the different lives were well written and it was very interesting to see all those choices that made them reach point zero.

Published in 2016

Saturday, 4 November 2017

The flowers of Nice

The climate in Nice is very mild. When I was there during the last week of October, it was still warm enough to walk outside without a coat. I loved to see so many beautiful plants and flowers in Nice, it made the place even more magical!

I do not know the names of all these plants, since I am sure some of them do not even grow in The Netherlands.
But their bright colours made a huge impact. Amazing!

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