Hi, my name is Thinkie, welcome to my blog!
I'm a student in cultural studies, a museum enthusiast, a scrapbooker and an art journaler. I love to travel within Europe and I enjoy photography. You can read more about me on my homepage.

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I enjoy:

Ali Edwards
Celine Navarro
Michelle LaPoint Rydell
Revlie
Marit
Elise Blaha
Annemarie
Les ateliers de Karine
Amy Tangerine
A Beautiful Mess
Balzer Designs
Bram's tea blog

And in Dutch I enjoy:

Maarten Batenburg
Museum Meermanno
Roeland van Wely

I live, I love, I create, I capture, I learn, I enjoy.

Life is Magical

I made this page following a tutorial by Willowing:

I want to practise layering and collage. My natural style is pretty clean. I want to learn how to add more visual interest and layering is a way to do that. I keep having trouble with coping how of their earlier layers many mixed media artists/art journalers sometimes cover up during their art process. It seems so futile to put hard work in getting things exactly right, if you're going to cover it all up in a minute anyway! I keep reaching a point where I like what I've done so much that I'm afraid I'll spoil it, or really don't want to cover it up. I didn't add as many layers als Willowing does in the video, but I did allow myself to be pushed out of my comfort zone a little bit and kept going even when I thought I was done.

I'm not too sure about the leaf, and maybe the colours of the snail are a bit too bright, but I like the owl and the colours and what I did to the lady in the photograph. When I set out to alter her I was thinking about how bright hair colours have been all the rage for a while (although even Danja, who lives in a somewhat backward provincial town, told me last year that it had become such a regular thing at her school that the only way to stand out now was to paint a full rainbow in your hair), and how Bob and I keep pointing them out to one another and even have been known to text each other about sightings.

I wanted something quirky/whimsical, and I think I succeeded. I used papers for collage, gel medium, brushes, a water brush, a magazine clipping, clear gesso, Caran d'Ache neocolor II watersoluble crayons, Caran d'Ache fibralo watersoluble markers, a pencil, black, silver and white pens, gesso, a brayer, and a brandless foam stamp with a pair of glasses, with Stazon jet black.

The text on the bottom reads: 'Life is magical. Just step on your broom and fly!'

Geplaatst op 15-08-2016.
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In July...


Even though I'm not really a fan of busses, I do enjoy the views and skies during my regular busride through the polder between Zoetermeer and Leiden.

Danja and I visited Blijdorp Zoo as an early birthday celebration/present for her. We hadn't been there in years, it was fun to be back!

Bram and I checked out Pop Up Leiden at the old V&D store. Small businesses have set up temporary shops in there. The photo below shows the gallery corner (with work from our friend Abcarius ART, amongst others!) and one of the seeting arrangements that are placed around the store. We also listened to some of the music played on boats on the canals that day; it was the Woodstock on Water festival.

I attended Danja's high school graduation. I'm a proud big sister! She got good grades and an award for scoring best on the French exam.


My attempts at groing eatable things didn't amount to much this year, but I did get to enjoy a couple of strawberries.

I studied Project Management and Cultural Heritage. I decided to postpone Cultural Heritage, since despite my efforts, my progress with Project Management was too slow to get both classes done in time.

We attended a group weekend near Leersum. Fun company, board games, a swimming pool, walks, pool (eight-ball), ice cream, sun... It was a nice little summer vacation in nice surroundings.
On our way there Maarten, Bram and I visited Schoonhoven and the Zilvermuseum. On our way back we visited the Waterliniemuseum.

I looked after poes Poes for a day and a night while Roeland was away.

I visited Maarten.

I went trough part of my stuff; stored some things more effectively, tossed a lot of paper clippings and brochures, and selected some things to send off to goodwill.

I attended an evening with shows by students of the Paul van Vliet Academy. One of those students is my friend M.. It had been a while since I had been able to attend one of these shows and it was fun to see how the students had grown as artists!

We visited the Muiderslot with Bram's family. It was a fun day out, with dinner at Van der Valk Avifauna afterwards.

We attended a café-meet in Leiden. It had been a while since we were able to go.

Maarten and I visited Hellevoetsluis.

Bram and I went for a walk in the woods.


Our first time playing Machi Koro with the harbour expansion set.

JK, Maarten, Bram and I spent a day in 's-Hertogenbosch.

Geralde and I met up in Rotterdam, where we visited the Fotomuseum.

Bob, Bram and I visited natural history museum Naturalis in Leiden. Afterwards we had a small belated birthday celebration for Bob.

Bram and I saw the sculpture exhibition along the Hooglandse Kerkgracht in Leiden. We had seen it with Bob in early June, but this time we spent a little more time exploring, during the daytime. We visited the Boeddha exhibition at Museum Volkenkunde (museum of ethnology).


At the café at Museum Volkenkunde.

Geplaatst op 12-08-2016.
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How I Conjured up a Dragon

Months ago Bob told me that as a birthday present, he would like a drawing to put on his frigde. I knew I wanted to do a drawing or mixed media piece with a dragon. Now when I draw I usually come up with cartoon-like figures. I never got very far beyond kindergarten stick figures when I have to draw from my imagination. So I went looking for an example. I even found one with drawing instructions! I followed the example pretty closely for my drawing. I used a 4B pencil on Schleiper A4 250g/m2 mixed media cardstock.

The example shows a black dragon. I wanted to do a green one, with a bit of a shine here and there. I was pretty nervous to wreck my drawing at this point, but it didn't feel finished without any colour. I decided to trace the lines with a permanent marker (black IDentipen, I didn't have a green one on hand). After that, I got rid of the pencil lines as well as I could with my trusty Milan 430 eraser. I was planning on using neocolor II watersoluble crayons to colour the dragon, but found my greens to be a little too bright for my somewhat realistic dragon. I borrowed Wilma's watersoluble Derwent Inktense pencils (that I hadn't had much practice with) and picked out Felt Green (1530) and Beech Green (1510). I used a Sakura Koi water brush round #6 Medium to apply the water on the coloured areas. For some finer details, a finer brush would have worked better. I didn't stay perfectly inside the lines at some places. Oh well...

The two tones of green appeared to be a little more similar than they had seemed to be when I tested them. I had hoped for a bit more contrast. So I added Derwent Inktense Light Olive (1540) to my selection for the spines and used Derwent Ikntense Ionian Green (1320) and Neocolor I Silver (498) on top of the Derwent Inktense Beech Green (1510) to darken things up a little and to add a little spark.
I used a grey pen, Derwent Inktense Neutral Grey (2120), Neocolor II Raw Umber (049) and Neocolor I silver (498) for the rock the dragon is standing on.
I'm pretty happy with the end result :-)

Geplaatst op 31-07-2016.
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In June...

I spent most of my time studying for my exam on Oldnetherlandish Painting. After studying up to eleven hours a day for almost two weeks, the exam itself was over in the blink of an eye. I made one mistake (I didn't read the question well enough, booh!), but still got a 10.

I worked a little on Project Management and started Cultural Heritage. Those are my study subjects for the summer.

My new neighbours (since the end of April):


Zimbo


And Purr

P. gave us a tour of Teylers Museum in Haarlem. Afterwards the three of us hung out at a tea room and we walked around town for a while.

We held another games day at Bram's place, with Bob. We played The legends of Andor and won from the monsters and I won Ticket to Ride: the Märklin edition. I was on a winning streak that weekend because the day before I had beaten Bram with Pickomino :-)
Roeland didn't have time to play but he did come over for dinner. And we took advantage of the nice weather for an evening stroll.

We had a picknick on the beach.

We saw the miniseries 'Childhood's End', after I had finished the book. I liked the book better.

We spent a day in Amsterdam. I needed to do some shopping and we visited the Stadsarchive (city archives), which has exhibition spaces.

We attended the Salon de Museologie. The topic was exhibitions by archival institutions.

I visited Maarten.

I saw some of the veggie and herb seeds I had planted turn into little plants.

Bram came over. Wilma and Fred hadn't seen him since before his birthday, so Wilma had bought some (gluten free) hazelnut cake and we had a little celebration with a couple of presents.

Martijn's grandmother was pretty much my grandmother-in-law for several years in the 90's. I have fond memories of our frequent visits to her and her husband. After Martijn and I broke up, his grandparents and I saw each other once in a while over the years. she passed away last month at the age of 89. I attended the funeral.

We paid a visit to the garden center to get some plants for Brams little outdoor space.


This was a couple of hours after my exam. Finally I had some time to relax!

There was a lot of rain fall in a short period of time, which caused problems. This is the underground parking at the neighbourhood mall, with the floor covered in water several centimeters deep.

Bram does 'Universele Gevechtskunst' (universal fighting art); it's a fighting art focussed on self defence which draws from several types of martial arts. Once a year his club has a public demo. It was fun to learn more about the sport Bram practises and to see him take part in some of the exercises.

JK and I spent a day in Breda. We bought tickets for a boat tour and then it started to rain. But at least we had the boat to ourselves, not counting the captain who told us things about locations along the route.
After the boat tour we visited MOTI: Museum of the Image, which was fun. We had dinner on a bench in the park (the sun was shining by then).

Bram, Bob and I held another games day. We played 'Bridges of Shangri La' (Bob won), Lord of the Rings (we defeated Sauron, but only just!) and Pickomino (Bob won). Inbetween games we had dinner, for which Roeland joined us.

Maarten, Bob, Bram and I visited Duinrell. We had a fun day, despite the rain. I rode two rollercoasters, flew an airplane and did a few other rides. Later in the day we said goodby to Maarten and headed for the Tikibad (a swimmingpool with lots of slides). We swam, hung out on the lazy river and I tried two slides. It's a 'tropical' swimmingpool but the temperature of the water and air was a little too cold for me (29 degrees celcius), especially after a day of being chilled by the rain.

Maarten and I went to see the annual sculpture exhibition in The Hague, at Beelden aan Zee and Lange Voorhout.

Geplaatst op 18-07-2016.
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In May...

On May 5 I visited the fair in Oegstgeest, where Bram was voluntering at the first aid-stand. Fortunately we didn't see any action. Afterwards we hung out at the Leidse Hout, licking a popsicle and laying in the grass.

We had easter breakfast. Again. Yes, it was 6 weeks after easter. But we had chocolate eggs left and easter breakfast is just fun! :-)

Bram and I went to Rotterdam. We visited art store Harolds and the Markthal.

We had a little pre-celebration of Bram's birthday, combined with Mother's Day, with Bram's family. His mother had found out that Hema sells glutenfree pastry :-)

Bram and I visited park Clingendael in The Hague. We went to see the Japanese garden, which was pretty and busy. Afterwards we hung out in the gras, and took a stroll around the park.

Bram totally crushed me with Pickomino (Regenwormen) again.

I visited Roeland and poes Poes. Roeland cooked me kip korma.

Bram and I spent a day in Amsterdam. We walked around in the sunshine, visited the World Press Photography-exhibition at the Nieuwe Kerk and attended the Salon de Museologie/Erfgoedarena.

I finally started swimming! I had an intake earlier this spring for therapeutic swimming in hot water, and in May I actually started going. It's possible to do exercises with fysiotherapists in the water but I have opted for just swimming laps. I'm happy with my choise because those different exercise groups seem to be training in ways either too mellow for me or too intense. And I just enjoy doing laps on my own.
Often times it's quite busy in the water and for many of the (mostly-quite-a-bit-older-than-me) attendees it seems to be a social activity as well as sports therapy. Many of them swim pretty slowly (but I bet some of them can keep it up longer than me) and sometimes several of them swim next to each other, blocking the way. The logistics seem pretty chaotic and I spend quite a lot of my time in the water dodging others.
My fibromyalgia has made moving around painful for me since 1993, to different degrees. I'm in a pretty good place now, especially during the warmer parts of the year. But apart from walking and infrequent, short bikerides I didn't get any exercise. I like to swim, but my muscles can't take the regular temperature of swimming pools. Swimming in warm water doesn't make moving painfree, but it is definitely the closest I can get, and that feels pretty good!

Another thing that my muscles are thanking me for is that I swapped out the narrow bed I was using for a double bed. That allows a wider range of sleeping positions and more turning and moving around during the night, which allows more of my muscles to get their share of relaxation and improves my quality of sleep.

I accompanied Bram to the birthday celebration of his friend D. She had arranged a tour of Museum Swaensteyn in Voorburg :-)

We celebrated Brams birthday by attending the yearly puzzle walk. This year's location was Haarlem. We saw lots of nice bits of the old city that I hadn't visited before and had a lot of fun. And... our team won! Which means we get to organize next year's puzzle walk.
Afterwards we met up with Bob at an Indian restaurant for a birthday dinner.

Bram hosted another games night, which was also another little birthday celebration (the bunting was still up anyway, and stretching out the celebrations gave us a good excuse to sample another variety of Hema's glutenfree pastry ;-) ). We had dinner with Roeland, Bob and Maarten. Maarten left and we played Seven Wonders. Then Roeland left as well and we played The legends of Andor.

I managed to get back into a pretty good study flow this month, even though I always feel like I should have done more, even after a long day of studying. I attended a study meeting on cultural history for 'Culturele vaardigheden 2' in Zwolle. In the weeks leading up to the meeting I had to read texts and conduct a little research on the Marshall plan. Those things were discussed during the meeting, and we saw a few short films about the Marshall Plan that we had to analyze.
Afterwards I went to Museum de Fundatie, where I met up with Bram. I had just enough time to get a quick impression of the exhibition 'Wilden', on the expressionism of Brücke and Blaue Reiter.
We had 'dinner' at MacDonalds before we traveled back west.

I had dinner with Maarten. He showed me photo's from his trip to Iran.

I attended a study meeting on old Netherlandish painting. I have an exam on that topic later this month and I've been working my way through the textbook but still have some way to go. The meeting was held at the RKD (an institute for art-historical documentation). There was a lecture on Max Friedländer and Jef van der Veken, a short introduction tour of the RKD and an introduction to the RKD's collection on technical research on paintings. Then we got a chance to practise searching for source materials in the database and locating them in the study hall. I picked Jan van Eyck and together with a fellow student I found a box with photo's of drawings (most of the originals have been lost during WW2 :-( ). After the meeting I stayed at the RKD for a while to conduct a little comparative research with those drawings and the drawing of the Fishing Party that Claudine Chavannes-Mazel has attributed to Jan van Eyck.

Bob, Bram and I visited Keltfest. Despite horrible forecasts with thunderstorms and hailstorms, we had a lovely, sunny day hanging out in the grass listening to lots of bands.

Bram and I attended Marcel's birthday party. Which was quite a challenge travel-wise, because of extensive railway works in that area.

Geplaatst op 04-06-2016.
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In April...

I started April by catching up with L, whom I hadn't seen for over a year (maybe even two) over drinks at Doppio in Zoetermeer. We had a nice philosophical chat.

I met up with Bram and Bob at Bram's place. We had dinner together and played Machi Koro and Pickomino (Regenwormen). Bram was ill and my sprained ankle was still bothering me, so Bram and I had to cancel our plans to visit the Drents Museum in Assen.

When my ankle was starting to get better, my back started bothering me pretty badly for over a week. It hurt less when I was moving, so I went on a little spring photohunt.


I tried growing chives, but to no avail. I might give it another try.

I had dinner with Maarten. We watched the last two episodes of Heroes.

Wilma and I visited Ikea. I got a cart to store some of my craft supplies. Thank you Ikea, for selling gluten free chocolate-coated marshmallow treats! ;-)

I visited Leo. He has a photo studio at home and we did a photoshoot of me in wood elf costumes.

Bram hosted a games night. Roeland, Bob and M came over. We had dinner together and played Robo Rally and Chicago Ganster. Fun!


Da gansta!

I spent a weekend with JK. We visited Liège and Gangelt and did some geocaching.

Cat Luka was unwell for several weeks. There wasn't much to be done about it, despite consulting the vet. We fed her from a spoon, Wilma gave her pain killers and everyone spoiled her with extra attention. She got to see the birds from her chair near the window and seemed pretty content most of the time. She died on April 17, a few weeks short of her 20th birthday.

Bram and I took advantage of the nice spring weather one day to go on a little walk.

I studied early netherlandish painting. I'm so glad that I've had a chance to see many of the works I'm reading about in real life, or at least other paintings of the same painter! I wish I could go back and study them some more!

Mark, Maarten, Bram and I met up at Marks place to catch up and have dinner together. We made ratatouille.

I caught a cold. Yuck. And right before Elfia, too! Wilma dug up my old wheelchair and I downed a couple of pain killers, OD'd on vitamin C and got to go for part of one day. I wish I could have gone the entire weekend, but at least I got a little taste of Elfia and had a nice afternoon with Bram, Bob, Mark and M. I was able to enjoy parts of the second day's concerts from my sickbead through Bram's phone :-)

We celebrated Wilma's birthday with a family dinner.

Bram hosted another games night, with Bob and Roeland attending. We played Legends of Andor.

I accompanied Wilma to a location of vereniging Kattenzorg, to pick up Wilma and Fred's new cats Purr and Zimbo. They're halfbrother and -sister, both 7/yo and huge. Zimbo is very outgoing and cuddly. Purr is a bit shy.

I ended the month with a quiet weekend at Bram's place while he was away. Did some shopping and checked in with poes Poes (Roeland was away on a day trip). I studied a little, recovered some more from my cold, snacked on fresh strawberries and played the solo puzzle game Road block. I got stuck on #44, for now ;-)


Don't let the innocent look fool you: I was playing 'catch the kitty' and she was playing 'catch the human' ;-) She almost got me a few seconds after I took this photo ;-) All in good fun, of course!

Geplaatst op 06-05-2016.
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Het Plantsoen

Last week, Bram and I took advantage of the spring weather to take a stroll along 'het Plantsoen' in Leiden. It's a park along the Singel. We enjoy hanging out at the volière. I love watching Bram chat with the birds :-)

Geplaatst op 28-04-2016.
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Adventures in Lino Cutting part 1 - Stamp Making

I remember one day during art class in high school, a couple of girls were experimenting with lino printing. I didn't get a chance to do so myself, but ever since I visited the Escher Museum in The Hague, that had lino prints by M.C. Escher on display, I've been interested in trying. Especially since the cutters can also be used to make your own stamps.

I bought a brayer at De Gouden Pluim at the Vrijdagmarkt in Ghent. I love popping in there when I'm in town, it's filled to the brim with art supplies.

I have lived near Terpen Tijn in Leiden for a while but only recently, after moving back to Zoetermeer, I finally allowed myself to pay this art supply store a visit. In a corner I found supplies for lino printing. Yay!
I bought two small sheets of lino, an Essdee lino cutter & baren kit and a set of essdee softcut printing stamps. I'm a little bit sorry that I didn't get the kit with ten cutters in stead, since it contains finer cutters which would have allowed me to work more precise. But the set I got offers me plenty of chance to play around! I didn't get any lino paint or block printing inks; I first want to try it out with the paints and inks I already own.

Later I realized that for lino prints, I need a brayer to add pressure while printing. The baren works for that too, but I got an extra brayer at Schleiper in Liège. Now I can use one of my brayers for inking, and the other one for pressure. The second one is wider, so I'm hoping that will make it easier to apply even pressure.
Only now that I'm looking up the website of Schleiper, do I realize it's a chain of stores. I've actually visited their store in Ghent once. I like how they offer craft and art supplies together in one store.

But back to lino cutting. First I tried my hand at stamp making with the softcut printing stamps, about which I want to tell you in this blogpost. The stamps are 45mm in diameter, so they offer a nice small surface for experimenting with this medium. Julie Fei Fan Balzer talks about stamp carving with these materials in this blogpost. I tried out some designs on paper but realized I was aiming for something way too detailed. I simplified my design but got a scratch on the surface. The store offers a sturdier version of the printing stamps as well. I haven't tried them, but I imagine they'll be harder to cut, which makes it more difficult to get the design you want but limit the chance of scratches. After getting some practice, I was able to work a bit more detailed.


This was my first attempt at carving a stamp.

The printing stamps are supposed to stick to the baren, but they barely do and tend to fall off. I tried my acrylic block that I use with my clear stamps, with the same result. That's too bad...

I took me a while to come up with designs. I didn't want to spoil them and perfectionism kicked in. And I didn't quite know what was possible with the material. The only way to really find out is to try, though! Recently, I had a bout of inspiration and started cutting away at the stamps and at my finger. Oops! I tried to apply different grades of detail and cut away part of a stamp around my design with scissors to see how that would work. I then tried them with stamping inks and some with acrylic paint as well. Some I liked better with stamping ink, others better with acrylic ink.

Be aware that the cuts tend to get congested with ink and more so with paint, especially the shallow cuts. You can see this in the leaf in the upper right hand corner. I've been cleaning them like I would my normal stamps, with baby wipes and sometimes water.


I saw people online working with a citrus stamp and decided to try and make my own. I really like how it turned out!

I had fun coming up with these designs and making my own unique stamps. They're a bit wonky but that's part of their charm. I see myself using them in my scrapbooking and especially my art journaling. I do feel I need to mount them onto something more permanent, since sticking them on the baren isn't working for me.

Geplaatst op 26-04-2016.
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