Thursday, December 31, 2015

Tuesday, December 22, 2015

Wrinkles in Hands:

As I grow older, the more wrinkles in my hands appear, each time I look down at my computer. While spending time with my brother this past October, whose hands I realized, look much older than my own, despite his age, told me I thought about things such as wrinkles emerging in my hands, a bit too much. That is very much true. But perhaps what I meant to say to my brother, was that I’ve so far learned that some people age you, while other people draw out the best in you; when their energy combines with your own, fireworks occur. And the best in both emerges–or at least the best of both, or all of a group, is able to emerge. It actually is about human energy, and the transfer of it. Some relationships allows allow us to become that which we which to become, as more fashionable, more desirable, more elusive or charming. More is key. Though what we really want, is to be accepted; to spend time with one’s self is both a way of reflecting, but also protecting while removing one’s self from external energy. As I grow older, I am more aware of what I say, and how I say it, and to whom I say what I say. I am appreciative and polite, and, as I have learned, imposing. But I’m only imposing to those whose own insecurity keeps them from connecting. And because I know that, I’m learning where to invest my time, and where not. Because of seeing my life so clearly for what it is, yet more importantly, what it may possibly one day be, or become, it is also quite rewarding in thought.

Monday, December 21, 2015

Sunday, December 20, 2015

Saturday, December 19, 2015

Flowing Through December Amsterdam:

If 10 years ago, someone would have told me that I'd soon be living in Amsterdam, and that, after living there for some time, I'd be spending most of my time in the Netherlands' museums, and their research libraries, studying painters and their paintings throughout time–I'd be puzzled. Who knew the history of collecting just might be my thing. The Frick Collection's reference library's publications propelled this. Maybe I entertained the idea, but again considered San Francisco was still indeed calling my name; so why jump off course? Amsterdam has since offered up much to me; there for the taking, though the reaching out, to enable that taking, can be quite difficult in this city. Amsterdam is a rough city; its cyclists are silently fierce, its streets either a labyrinth or a fairytale dependent on mood, and it is chaotic at the least. It temporarily welcomes with its dance, a waltz, swing, step, and flow that swirls within it; it is the language of cars, pedestrians, and cyclists combined with buses, and trams. The key to this dazzling inter-urban dance, is the city's pedestrian, who must float across road crossings and cyclist paths, never jarring in movement in order to steady oncoming cyclists, cars, and scooters. Hyper-awareness is one way to characterize Amsterdam; everyone’s all up in one another’s lives, secretly, from across the street and from behind the safety of their window. Most residents are able to retell precisely the undertakings most seen from all visible windows into other people’s houses, from their own. This same sensitivity, also occurs in public, on the street. When cycling through this flow of traffic in the inter-city, near to the Amstel, or even Rokin; nothing compares to soaring across Dam Square late at night, approaching the Palace from east, speeding westward under its gaze. Only when this flow is broken by a tourist, a new resident, the unexpected–does its dancing stop. Amsterdam is a city in motion; of dazzling sunlight; of flow–a city dancing with itself.

Tuesday, December 15, 2015

Monday, December 14, 2015

Sunday, December 13, 2015

Saturday, December 12, 2015

More Paintings, Museums, & Dutch Art:

Since returning to Amsterdam, after a week away in the USA in October, I have found myself within a whirlwind of activity that’s flung my body throughout the entire city for the last six weeks. This flurry of movement by bicycle, tram, or train has defined my every action; as my body jaunted from one classroom, studio, library, or museum, to the next. What has most consumed me since this non-stop agenda began, in November, is the art of the Netherlands–specifically that of Amsterdam. Countless times each week has the Rijksmuseum research library cocooned me; and on infinite occasions have the museum’s silent paintings, welcomed me. I have always been someone who would first tackle the most difficult part of any given task, so that the way forward only becomes more enjoyable, from there on out. This same approach I have applied to my first semester of studying the ‘Dutch Golden Age’, at the University of Amsterdam. I have not been writing about my relationship to the city here, as I most often do. Instead, I have been writing many-many essays about such varied topics as seventeenth century Dutch prints, pamphlets, poems, and of course, paintings; alongside a few essays on the history of Amsterdam. There exists within Amsterdam’s contemporary limits: ‘No Roman remains, no reminder of Charlemagne, no Romanesque churches, not even a cathedral.’ And that’s profound. One of the most resonating quotes I stumbled upon while researching this city, in relation to the houses that line its center rings of canals: 'When walking through the old city center today, one cannot forget it was built by some of the richest people in the world’. Fascinating city this is; I’ve learned, or perhaps I am learning, the history of the city so intently, that I’m now able to quite objective in my opinions of it. Beauty is only its surface. There are many faces to this city, and I’ve been meeting more of them throughout these past few months. With December nearing its mid-point, and the days elongating their darker spans until the winter solstice, a sense of calm has overcome me. Most essays are now completed, and past due. Except for one, that I began today, on Frans Hals and Johannes Cornelisz. Verspronck, and their divergent manners of painting. Who knew the latter used sgraffito, as in Maria van Strijp’s fan? Around this time last year, I found myself sarcastically saying to David: ‘I’ll have you know that the Steenwijck family is quite the name within the world of Dutch church painters.’ And from that moment on, I knew it had begun. The world of seventeenth Dutch paintings. It consumes my time; most of my thoughts. I like that very much. It feels right. And that's very important to me. And so with one essay to go, a trimmed-Christmas tree, and lots of rye-whiskey, the many books I brought back to the Netherlands from the USA, in October–adding 20 new publications on such tangental topics as connoisseurship, Spanish art in the Gilded Age, and Dutch art in America–I welcome nearing winter. Just as I welcome the person that I'm making myself into–as I further define reasons for my intentions, to fuel my actions, and in turn, create possibility, belief, meaning, potential for connection, and purpose in my life.

Saturday, December 5, 2015

Tuesday, December 1, 2015

Tuesday, November 3, 2015

Sunday, November 1, 2015

Sunday Morning Meta-View:

Sunday mornings in Amsterdam; they are some of my favorite events each month. The city is divulging itself of all its finer greenery; it's these days mostly maroon or a deep-hued amber, golden. Days draw to a close earlier; the sun sets quicker; the sunlight visible until late afternoon. School is once again in full swing, after a subtle beginning that entailed only a lecture here and there, alongside the occasional dose of reading. The environments that I am placing myself in, and the new faces and minds that I’ve surrounded myself with over these past two months are refreshing, stimulating. Unlike last year, when during my studies I would concentrate or dwell on on non-pertinent matters, I’m now better able to properly expend energy here and there, to make sure needed tasks become completed. Since there are so many other ‘roads’ to travel down, especially when reading, than taking that which leads to the assignment’s end, I then often found myself enjoying reading some portions of literature a bit too much; and if so, then often taking more notes than needed. Yet this year, still giddy at being a student, I’ve prioritized and revised my approach to ‘class’ time, completing its goals first and foremost, while also allowing my mind to wander along the way–after all, I am studying for a reason, and that reason is to refine, massage, and sculpt my mind. Indeed that process has been occurring for year and a half, and will continue the same time, too. Hyper aware of the coming wave of written work I’m to create, I’m letting myself fall into the flow of the coming weeks and months; feeling its rhythm and steadily going forward along with my tasks, aware of how much and where I should expend my thoughts, my time. I am indeed looking forward to having my many open tasks completed, all to conclude before the end of this year; yet I am also–due to many recent insights–highly anticipating each day until then, and never in the process wishing any day away, hoping it were well over before it even began, by mid-morning. This meta-view on the framework of my life has allowed me to enjoy the right now more, without leaning forward, or backward.

Saturday, October 31, 2015

Monday, October 26, 2015

Coming Back Home to Amsterdam:

Amsterdam is morphing into autumn; hues of amber golden further each day, before giving way to shades of sensuous merlot. As the trees lose their leaves within the coming weeks, the number of visitors to the city will dwindle, leaving its rhythm much slower, and its streets much emptier. The city has seen me not, within the past few weeks–I have been in the USA. Coming back home to Amsterdam after a week of free refills, fluent English (and thus the fluent ability to interact in society, which is a status I have not yet achieved here in the Netherlands, due to the fluency of my Dutch), art museums, and outings with my brother, and my parents, mostly at my parents' house. I received more hugs from friends, family that I could have ever expected to come my way this late in the year. I was visiting the Midwest, to see paintings, and family, in no particular order. It is nice to be back and experience the seasonal transition in Amsterdam; it clicks further into autumn, toward a dark winter.

Thursday, October 15, 2015

Wednesday, October 14, 2015

Monday, October 12, 2015

Sunday, October 11, 2015

Friday, October 9, 2015

Thursday, October 8, 2015