Tuesday, January 20, 2009


I am still working on processing pictures that I took from our last trip in November to Scotland. Because I shoot in RAW, it leaves a lot of room to play with the picture before the final result is achieved. That is a lot of fun, but also a lot of wondering what I should do with the image. Which parts of the image should be a bit darker, which parts need more light, how do I crop the image, is this composition boring... etc...
Loads of thinking is involved and a lot of decisions have to be made. After all, I want to get the best of the picture that I took.

I really like to get involved so deeply in an image, but so now and then I just need to play! This is what I often do with the digital collages that I make. Often there is just a word, a mood, a sentence from a book that triggers an idea that I want to translate into an image.
So with some photographs that I took while we were in France a few years ago, I made this collage with the concept of Neglect.

This boat symbolises for me what happens when we neglect important things in life - whether it is about feelings, relations or important events. When we ignore them, we tend to not take care of them and often the results are like this boat. It gets broken, the paint peels away and the wood rots away. In true life neglect can result in loss and wounds. Sometimes even beyond repair...

Sunday, January 18, 2009

Sad news, sick people

Last week we got the news that this beautiful red deer stag of Rannoch Moor was shot repeatedly with an air rifle in the head. The animal was so bleeding and in pain when it was found, that it had to be humanely killed due to it's injuries. Another stag, in the nearby Etive area suffered the same fate.

It seems that several young men were the ones who thought it was fun to go out and wound these defenseless animals on purpose and leaving them to suffer in pain.

This stag was famous in the area since it was a bit semi-tame. He was the one that I wrote about in my blog in november 2007. I nicknamed him Jack.
Last november when we were in Scotland, we went to see him again and I found him in the pouring rain in the dark. I did not want to disturb him by taking pictures while using flash. Little did we know that it would be his 2 last months on his favorite spot.
I have some great photographs that I took of him, and always had fond memories of our encounter, a magical moment in a golden sunset. Now I can feel only sadness when I look at the images.

Sunday, January 11, 2009

A Winter Wonderland in the Netherlands

Last friday we woke up in a beautiful world. Everything around us was covered in a thick layer of frost, turning the landscape into a christmas card. The sky was clear blue - no grey clouds - and the sun was shining.

Time for some photography! Walking around in this winter wonderland was wonderful - the white cover made even look the most common bushes special.
I felt like walking in an infra red landscape - just turn the blues in the photo into black and it seems almost like infra red...

And this weekend it was clear that the ice was safe. A little lake between the dyke and the river was frozen solid. People from our little village were ice skating and even playing ice hockey. I had no time to take real good photographs, but here is a quick snapshot of the scene.

Saturday, January 03, 2009

What was I thinking?

When I started with this quilt, several years ago? It is just black and white patches, no colour, the design is not working and the size is huge!
Although the quilt was named after our cat Pico (yes, the b&w cat) who already tested the softness and the quality of the fabrics I used, in reality this is my frustration quilt. I only work at it when something is bothering me, when I am frustrated or am wound up.

There is something calming and relaxing in hand-sewing quilts. With small patches you build a block. When you start to sew the blocks together you get this large top of soft cotton. Baste this top, a soft padding and a backing fabric together to form a textile sandwich and then start with the most tedious work: hand stitching through these three layers - the real quilting.

And that is where I made the mistake. I was so eager to make a new quilt, something to do that would be relaxing and calming because I just needed that. So eager that I completely overlooked the importance of the design process. Instead of carefully selecting a design, I just took an old design which was tucked away in an old folder (that is the reason it was tucked away of course - the design was just not good enough). Not even bothering going through all kinds of colour decisions, and picking out the bunch of black and white fabrics that for some unknown reason I had been collecting, I started - just wanting to get going.

And when I started piecing the blocks, it got so addictive that I kept making them - all 224 of them. By the time the top was completed, I was convinced that I had truly made a big mistake. And there I was, with this huge quilt top that I could either disregard or finish. Seems that I am not the quitting kind of person. So I keep on quilting, pulling the thread through these layers, bonding them together. Regretting that I did not take the time to make a better design cause this one is not working. Regretting the choice of black and white - I know that I am not a black and white kind of person anyway. Regretting the size...

What was I thinking when I started this quilt? The point is, I was not thinking at all.
Just wanted to get something going. Did I learn something from this? Maybe. Probably. The next traditional quilt has already been designed in my head. I know which colours will be used and the quilting design is planned as well.

I might not have planned this time-consuming quilt - I might do that with the next one. But so now and then, I just need to get things going. Spontaneous. Not taking too much time to think about it. I dared and it did not turn out so well. Maybe the next time it will?