Helsinki, Finland

Two days later, we boarded the ferry out of Sweden to Helsinki, Finland.

On the ferry and off to Finland! You can see our hotel to the right side of the photo, it wasn’t too far from the ferry.
On the ferry, there was a lovely mural of the Vasa Ship in one of the stairwell hallways. I love this wall!
Woke up the next morning at sea to a delicious chocolate pastry and a cappuccino.
When we arrived, the first thing we saw was the Helsinki Cathedral. It’s a Finnish Evangelical Lutheran cathedral of the Diocese of Helsinki, located in the neighborhood of Kruununhaka in a plaza that is in the center of Helsinki, Finland.
A postcard that I watercolored for one of my friends back home.
In case anyone was wondering where the “Dinner in the Sky” attraction that is seen all over facebook was located, right here! In Helsinki, Finland. This was a block away from our hotel, and no I did not attempt to dine in the sky, it looked kind of scary to me.

Stockholm, Sweden

On Saturday, August 5th, we took the train to Stockholm, Sweden. By the time we got off and hopped in a taxi, we arrived at our hotel at dusk so off we went to dinner after checking in. It was kind of drizzly and rainy over the couple of days that we spent there and the sun came out on the day we left. It was still fun.

The Elite Hotel Marina Tower, in a former 19th-century mill, was our home in Stockholm, Sweden for the next few nights.
The outdoor eating area at our hotel had a lovely view of the Tivoli across the water.
At dinner I discovered this lovely wine spritzer, I think this was pineapple flavor. Oh if only I could order these online!
The next day I visited ABBA The Museum, which is a Swedish interactive exhibition about the pop band ABBA. ABBA’s collected works are showcased in a contemporary, interactive setting at Djurgården, Stockholm.
The Vasa Museum also located on the island of Djurgården, displays the only almost fully intact 17th-century ship that has ever been salvaged. It’s a 64-gun warship that sank on her maiden voyage in 1628 and is the most visited museum in Scandinavia.
View of our hotel from one of the sight-seeing stops on the hop-on-hop-off boat cruise.
Had ice cream with my cousin Marcia before leaving Stockholm.
Goodbye beautiful Stockholm, until we meet again. I hope soon.

Oslo, Norway

The next stop on my vacation was Oslo, Norway. I stayed at a hotel downtown, across the street from the Oslo Central Station.

On the Oslo fjord sightseeing cruise, passing the Aker Brygge waterfront through a maze of islands with picturesque summer houses.

 

A visit to Vigeland Sculpture Park, with more than 200 sculptures by Gustav Vigeland (1869–1943) in bronze, granite and cast iron, including The Angry Boy (Sinnataggen in Norwegian), The Monolith (Monolitten) and The Wheel of Life (Livshjulet). All of the statues in the park are naked!

 

I couldn’t help myself from “horsing around” with the statues.

 

One of the highlights of my time in Oslo was visiting the National Gallery Museum, it’s the largest public collection of paintings, drawings and sculptures. The gallery’s central attractions include Edvard Munch’s “The Scream” and “Madonna”.

 

The Penitent Mary Magdalene by the female Italian artist Artemisia Gentileschi is one of the featured highlights from the Baroque era. This is one of my favorite all-time master and it was quite a treat to view this artwork in person. I had an amazing time in the museum.

 

Another post card that I watercolored for a friend back in California. It was inspired by The Scream and my time spent in the museum.

Copenhagen, Denmark

After spending two nights in Amsterdam, we flew into Copenhagen, Denmark for three nights. In Denmark, we stayed in an Airbnb apartment which was walking distance from Copenhagen Central Station.

Hans Christian Anderson’s Little Mermaid statue. The statue was a present from brewer Carl Jacobsen (The Carlsberg Breweries) to the city of Copenhagen, made by a sculptor named Edvard Erichsen. I visited the Carlsberg Brewery the next day and they have a small replica sitting on a fountain in their courtyard. I want one too!
We saw this mermaid. She was huge compared to her famous counterpart. She was down the road from the famous Little Mermaid statue at the Langelie promenade.
This is the infamous Christiania, also known as Freetown Christiania. It’s a self-proclaimed anarchist district of about 1,000 residents. Christiania has been a source of controversy since its creation in 1971. It’s cannabis trade was tolerated by authorities until 2004. I saw some things there, but whatever happens in Christiania STAYS in Christiana.
Here I am standing next to the Gefion Fountain. The fountain is placed in a corner of Churchillparken (Churchill Park) near the Langelinie waterfront and is one of the largest monuments in Copenhagen. The sculptures were created by Anders Bundgaard (1864-1937), featuring a large group of naturalistic strong oxen’s pulling the plough of the Norse goddess Gefion.
St Alban’s is a beautiful church of Anglican worship in Churchillparken Copenhagen. It is the only Anglican church in Denmark and is known by the Danes as “The English Church.”
The Rosenborg Castle is a 400-year-old Renaissance castle and was built by Christian IV, who left a strong mark on Danish history. I took this picture from the garden as you enter the front gate.
This is a picture of the throne room. I love those lion statues.
I enjoyed Denmark, I commemorated my visit by creating this watercolored postcard to drop in the mailbox for one of my friends in the United States.

Amsterdam, Netherlands

Over the summer I took another awesome vacation, I was blessed with the opportunity of visiting 10 countries with my cousins. Wow, I hadn’t noticed that it was 10! For the next week, I will share some of my favorite photos from this vacation. The first stop was Amsterdam in Holland for two nights.

Amsterdam Centraal Station
On the evening that we arrived, it was raining. That didn’t stop us from going out though. This is the view looking out from Amsterdam Centraal Station.
On day two, I visited the Van Gogh Museum. Can I just say that I had the most amazing time there?
Seeing the work in person is quite an experience. Still Life: Vase with Irises Against a Yellow Background (May 1890) is one of the few still lifes painted during his stay at the asylum in Saint-Rémy.
My haul from the gift shop, one t-shirt, one pencil case, and two magnets.
Here I am standing in front of the Rijksmuseum. Unfortunately I did not get a chance to enter on this trip but now I have a fantastic excuse to return.
On my last day in Amsterdam, I visited the Anne Frank House and Westerkerk, which is a church right across the street. This is a view from the top of the bell tower overlooking the Prinsengracht canal. The Anne Frank House Museum is the black building on the corner and the Secret Annex is in the house adjacent to the museum.

Road Trip through Nevada

I went on a road trip on Memorial Day weekend through some of the old towns of Nevada. These are some of the stops we made and had fun.

Clown Motel
The Clown Motel in Tonopah, Nevada is definitely a place to stop and see when passing through here.
Clown Motel
The doors have painted clowns on them, some are faded from the sun.
Clown Motel lobby
This is the lobby, there is a massive collection of clowns and did I mention there is a creepy little cemetery right next door?
Mizpah Hotel Guest Book
This is the guestbook at the haunted Mizpah Hotel in Toponah, Nevada. This is about a 5-minute walk from the Clown Motel.
International Car Forest of the Last Church
This is an interesting place, it’s called the “International Car Forest of the Last Church” in the town of Goldfield, Nevada.
International Car Forest of the Last Church
Over 40 automobiles including cars, trucks, and vans have been balanced delicately on their ends or stacked on top one of another, looking like a group of toys some giant child left lying around. Each of the junked cars has been uniquely painted with designs varying from skulls to caricatures of politicians.
The Goldfield Cemetery was established in 1905 in Goldfield, Nevada.

Van Gogh Bedroom in Arles

Last weekend I had the privilege of viewing Van Gogh’s “Bedroom in Arles” at the Norton Simon Museum of art in Pasadena. This is the 2nd version  of this painting which is on loan from the Art Institute of Chicago. There are three authentic versions of the Bedroom paintings described in his letters to his brother Theo. The paintings are easily discernible from one another by the pictures on the wall to the right of the bed. The paintings depicts van Gogh’s bedroom in Arles, France, known as the Yellow House.

In April of 1889, van Gogh sent the initial version to his brother regretting that it had been damaged by the flood of the Rhône while he was in the hospital in Arles. His brother Theo proposed to have it relined and sent back to him in order to copy it. This “repetition” in original scale was painted in September of 1889. Both paintings were then sent back to Theo.

Later in the summer of  1889, Van Gogh decided to redo some of his best compositions in a smaller size for his mother and sister. The Bedroom in Arles was amongst the subjects he chose to recreate, this is how he ended up with three versions.

Van Gogh’s Bedroom at Arles Second version, September 1889. Oil on canvas, Art Institute of Chicago.
All three versions presented side-by-side, on the left is the first version which hangs in the Van Gogh Museum in Amsterdam, the second version in the middle hangs at the Chicago Art Institute and the third version on the left is in the Musée d’Orsay in Paris, France.
Close up of Van Gogh’s Bedroom in Arles Second version, 1889. Oil on canvas, Art Institute of Chicago. Enjoy! I know I did.

Happy New Year

The year went by so fast. I had a wonderful year, many opportunities to write and create. Exactly one week ago I was up in the mountain enjoying the snowfall and today I am sitting on the beach enjoying my 2017 New Year’s intention tea. I welcome the new year, full of things that have never been. Wishing you all a happy and healthy new year ahead!

My 2017 Intention tea on the beach.
Gorgeous photo of the Huntington Beach ocean, taken from the top of the pier.

 

Happy Holidays

The holidays are upon us and I for one am more than happy to welcome the blessings of the new year. I had a wonderful time in Lake Arrowhead for Christmas. It snowed and we had a white Christmas just like in the movies.

View of the snow from the balcony.
The view from our cabin’s balcony.
A snowman that I made.
There was so much snow, we made a snowman.
s'mores
The weather was perfect for making s’mores.
The view of the snow covered mountain from the balcony.
A panorama view of the snow covered mountain from the balcony.

Getty Center “London Calling”

On Sunday I visited the J. Paul Getty Museum to catch their “London Calling” and “The Shimmer of Gold” exhibits. They were awesome!

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Lucien Freud’s “Girl With A Kitten” 1947, adorns the entrance to the “London Calling” exhibit.
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His infamous “Girl with a Dog” 1950-51. What an amazing painting. This is the second time I’ve seen it. How lucky am I?
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“Bruce Bernard Seated”, 1996.
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Detail of Bruce Bernard’s hand, look at the awesome brush strokes.
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So my graphic design pet peeves are ligatures. Apparently they were hand-lettering ligatures in Italy during the 1400s. This is suppose to be a ligature of “ffi”. This is part of the “All That Glitters” exhibit.
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The Coronation of the Virgin, 1420. Tempera and gold leaf on panel.
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The Ascension, completed about 1431. Designed by Lorenzo Monaco and completed by Zanobi di Benedetto Strozzi and Battista di Biagio Sanguini, tempera and gold on parchment.