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Van Gogh Starry Night

Van Gogh and my favourite paintings

Van Gogh art contest

Last week I posted a drawing of mine on Instagram and Facebook, based on a painting of Van Gogh.
I made this piece as a contribution to an art contest organized by the Van Gogh Museum and Royel Talens. Here I could win a prize like nice art supplies from Talens or a Van Gogh monopoly game.

One of the requirements to join was to write below the Instagram post why the painting you chose inspires you. As I was writing this, I found out that I had a lot more to say about the painting so I decided to write a blogpost about it.

Wheatfield with crows

For the contest I chose a painting that is actually on display in the Netherlands. In my opinion this is the most beautiful painting made by Van Gogh that you can find in the Netherlands. It is a painting with a threatening, dark sky. I see a clear night sky with two moons or maybe two large bright stars. The sky is painted in a lot of different directions which gives it the illusion of movement from the left side of the painting to the right side. The colours vary from light blue to almost black.

The rest of the canvas, two thirds, is wheatfields and roads. At first glance, you see yellow fields and brown roads. But if you really start to look at the colours, you see what a true artist Van Gogh was. He can perform magic with colours; he makes you think you see gold fields of wheats but you’re looking at a lot more. In the wheats you can find black, brown, orange, white and a lot of different shades of green and yellow. In the roads you can find the same colours and more, like aquamarine, bright blue and turquoise.

In the wheatfields you can find just as much movement as in the sky. You can see Van Gogh understood the world because the wheats have shorter movement than the sky. In the sky you can see large quantities of air being moved around but the wheats can only stretch as far as they are long.

The sky and the wheats don’t necessarily give this painting a grimm feeling. This is, in my opinion, because of the flying crows. They fly along in the direction of the wind. I think I recognize this feeling. I remember stormwinds blowing cold but not too cold, refreshing but ruthless. As if it is trying to pull the thoughts from your mind. I can imagine that a wind like that can scare crows off.

This painting gives me a sense of peace and quiet. To me, this painting is the moment right before you feel like that. Do you know the feeling that you want to get a breath of fresh air in the first autumn storm to clear your head? This painting has the same effect on me as a storm like that.

Starry night, my favourite

There is a painting I find even more impressive than wheatfields with crows: starry night. This painting seems simple and blue but it’s not. In this painting you might be able to find a hundred different shades of blue, different shades of green, yellow and red. There is black and white and orange.

The reason I did not choose this one for the contest is because I’ve never had the privilege to see this in real life.

One of the things I like about this painting are the lines. Van Gogh has a fantastic way of painting a certain direction and make shadows. Because of the way he paints, you can easily see what’s in the front and the back, what is left and right. He has found a way to make planes and lines like each other. The lines are the planes and vice versa.

This one gives me a pleasant feeling too. In the sky you can see the high winds, winds that can blow without being slowed down by something. Next to that, you can see the moon and the stars shine bright in the sky. But at the same time, this looks like a reflection in water.

Van Gogh directs your attention to the sky by painting two thirds of sky and only one third of houses, mountains and trees. The houses are there, like we can now never take a picture of a landscape in the Netherlands without seeing something build by humans. But they fall between the trees and the mountains, like they aren’t important right now.

The tree in the front is like you expect her to be. As if you are sitting on a hill or mountain with a pretty view over a valley but there is always something in your line of sight. This somehow helps you to look at everything far away. It gives some extra perspective. Because you can see something close, you are reminded how far away the far away is. And because the tree is painted darker than the sky, your eye immediately goes to the sky.

The feeling I get from this painting is peaceful. As if it is telling me that I don’t need to worry right now. It’s the middle of the night. All the worries and reality will be there in the morning. For now I can just breathe in the clean night air, feel the grass between my toes and fingers and stare at the sky.

Van Gogh Korenveld met kraaien
Van Gogh Starry Night
wearables in progress

Making wearables

What are wearables

Wearables are something you can wear with electronics in them to make them ‘better’. For instance a smartwatch or shoes with lights in them. There are millions of options. Every kind of electronics is an option: a hat with a sound system in it so that you don’t need a headphones. A smartwatch that read your messages to you. A vest that warms you faster than a regular one. A shirt with lights in them so you’re more visible.

Why do I write about this?

Ik write about wearables because the last couple of weeks I’ve had the privilege to give some workshops where I teach kids to make a wearable. On my social media you can see some pictures of that.

I teach the kids about circuits and how to make an LED light burn. Then I let them make a ‘practice wearable’. At this stage we all make the same thing: a bracelet with a light in it. This gives them the opportunity to practice the knowledge in a slightly different way. Here we can adjust any small mistakes to make the bracelets all work perfectly. Here I can make the kids learn to do everything to make all the circuits work when they don’t.

If everything is done right, then at the end of a workshop everybody has a working bracelet they can make beautiful.

If I really have the time to play:

If I really get time then I love to take it a lot further than just a bracelet. Then I would love to use the creativity of the kids I work with. They think of the most wonderful things, sometimes hard to work out but we always find a way!

I was given this time in Leiden at a school. A school for kids who need a little extra help. I can play around with a class of seven great kids and their teacher. Together we’re on an adventure to discover everything about wearables.

As described above, the kids first made a circuit on paper to get the idea. Then they all made a bracelet, a practice wearable. As soon as this one worked, they moved on to their own design.
If it was going to be big, they had to work together. If it was small enough, they could make their own.

Two ladies are making a belt full of lights. One lady is making a diadem with four lights on top. Two guys are making some sort of a speedo but to wear over your pants instead of underneath. The last two men are making a bright orange balaclava.

How does that go?

All the kids are doing great. They all are building the circuits in their own design. The kids are thinking about where the lights should go, how many and where the copper tape should be placed. And last but not least: where do they want the battery to light it all up.

The underwear guys wanted one light and they already have it working properly. The hat guys also want one light, on the top of their hat. But they first need to sow it all together. The belt ladies are well on their way on the circuit and so is Lady Diadem.

Why is this so much fun?

I find it beautiful to see the kids grow. I can see them understanding how it all works and working more and more on their own. I can see the personalities of the kids in how they work. This is why I became a teacher!

Apart from that, I’m learning a lot about science. I don’t know too much yet and I want to know more to become a better teacher. I think it’s fantastic to figure out how I can use electronics in things I build and draw. Who knows, maybe I can use sound in the future!

Would you like to learn about circuits?

If you would like to learn about building circuits with a group, perhaps a class, contact Kleinkunstig.
If you would love to know more about this, just like me, then leave me a message. This link brings you to the contact form.

wearables in progress
Cut out of Edible garden

Edible garden

The edible garden – art by Marieke

I was allowed to make a piece of art for a bed and breakfast in Wageningen. It is a beautiful Bed and Breakfast. The building is renovated wonderfully by the owners. And there’s amazing art displayed. They have a beautiful modern kitchen. They give cooking workshops here. The next step is an edible garden.


The visit

After a tour through the entire villa and a divine dinner, we had a conversation about what the owners expect. I got the assignment to make a piece of art for the Tuinkamer – the garden room. This room has a view on the edible garden. What kind of art I would make was up to me. Of course I let myself be inspired by the edible garden. From this room there is a great view on the kitchen garden.


The artwork – De eetbare tuin (the edible garden)

I draw the earth with different vegetables in it and in the background a some very Dutch clouds.

If you would like to see my work in real life, I suggest you pay a visit to Villa Arion. Stay a night in one of their beautiful suits or enjoy a cooking workshop!

As soon as my work hangs in the villa, it’ll be visible here on the website. Until then: sneakpreviews only!

Cut out of Edible Garden
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