Bonsai paintings

Once a year my friends insist on celebrating my closing death with presents and cake. My almost-mother-in-law is a really good painter so this year I dared asking her to paint a Bonsai for me to keep with tradition. To assist I sent her some photos of Bonsai I really loved, most by Walter Pall obviously, and almost forgot about it.

Well that’s a lie…

I thought about it every week eagerly anticipating what she would come up with. A while ago she showed me some pictures of her progress, and jolly joy she’s not making one, but two paintings! They are not yet finished, and the photos are not perfect, but I couldn’t resist showing them already, off course I’ll post the final product too.

The first one is of one of Walter Pall’s most famous trees. I wish I had trees like him, I wish I had half the talent and was half as original as this man is. If you don’t know who he is, then you should really visit his website www.walter-pall.de if you love Bonsai. I won’t post the original photos of this tree here because they are obviously Walters property, but I urge you to visit his site and watch his galleries if you haven’t done so already. To me Walter is the most important man in European Bonsai, the creator of a new style, an honest and outspoken man who dared to go his own way instead of imitating like so many others do. I think this painting grabs the understated power and simplicity of this tree very well. Making it almost monochrome is the mark of an artist, this tree, and this painting doesn’t need more colour in any way.

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The second one is a tree she photographed herself while visiting Japanese gardens. Technically the tree itself is not as prime an example of Bonsai as the one above, which is obvious seeing the one above is one of the best ever European Bonsai, but a very quiant little tree regardless. It does have good movement and grabs the eye, with the pot and the contrast it makes for an exemplary painting. I especially like the shading and detail of the trunk, very convincing in an impressionistic way. The texture and colour of the pot is spot on. The more I look at it the more I like it, the tree itself, and the painting.

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If you’re interested in having your own Bonsai painting, a portrait or an original work of her own mind. Please don’t hesitate and visit this talented artist at www.mthattink.nl

Chicken proofing

We decided to get chickens again this year. Everyone who has the slightest experience with these animals and gardening will attest to the sheer destructive capability these little feathery assholes have. They are fun to have around, the eggs taste wonderful, but in essence they are pigs with feathers. They’ll eat anything, anywhere, any moment. Needless to say having a collection of Bonsai within their reach is not a good thing. The fresh buds for the coming spring taste like a nice autumn salad for them so they have to be protected.

The culprits, being all “I don’t give a fuck” in the garden:20161024_142211

Since it’s too much fun having them free and enjoying their life around the house, I didn’t want to have them locked up. Winter is coming and the trees need to be moved close to the house to protect them from the occasionally harsh Dutch winter anyways, so we devised a solution. It’s not pretty but it does the job. Coming spring I’ll make some nice Bonsai-benches out of their reach and post the result here. For now this will do, a bit of fence and a few sticks placed firmly in the ground so the young buds are protected from their ever prying beaks.20161024_142303

#Hipster Garden pictures

There’s nothing you can do about it, after summer comes fall. I personally like fall, it’s a nice time to look back at the growing season and to prepare for next summer. The work you do in fall pays off next year. To look back at a lovely summer I’d like to show some (heavily filtered) pictures of my garden this year.

Naughty little shroom.20160704_163758

The roses.20160624_203403

The corner under the apple tree.20160613_162554

The garden shed being taken over.20160612_161724

My (unused) anvil.20160612_153920

 

Weird Japan

Ok, just one more Japan post, for now. This time just a few assorted photos of things you’ll only find in Japan.

20150817_233252Tommy Lee Jones being all badass selling hot coffee, in a can, from a machine naturally.

20150813_182533A flushing sound machine for when you don’t want to fart throught the thin walls. A very common option on most toilets.

20150818_021634Obviously a secondary panel with the other toilet essentials can’t be missed. Even train station toilets are this advanced, and clean enough to eat from -every other country in the world, I hope you take this as a lesson.

20150820_195334Plastic food in restaurants to choose from.

20150809_215503And always a warehouse closeby where sensitive people can get their daily epileptic seizure. Nice and cramped with a shelf of fireworks somewhere in the back.

Japan #1

It’s always a bit sad when vacation ends, well at least to me. This years vacation was nice, for a change we didn’t go far, almost literally as my girlfriend bought a camper that broke down more frequently than that it actually provided vacation. But off to work it is again this week. A good moment for me to show some photos of last years vacation to Japan. I’ll split it in two, first some general photos and next week a bit more Bonsai-specific.

20150809_044625I’ve been to quite a few countries, far away and close. Japan has obviously always been a big dream for me and despite thinking I know the country and the culture quite well nothing could have prepared me for the first culture shock. The photo above is literally that moment. Landed fresh in Narita, in the middle of the summer (read; extremely hot and humid) we started in Shibuya, my idea, and then this is the first thing you see coming out of the metro. A photo can’t ever do it justice, crowded, a bit uncanny, hot, noisy and at the same time slightly serene. Lost in translation from the get go.

20150815_121246Tokyo was very fun and interesting but after being worn down for four days by countless impressions we were a bit glad to go to the countryside to our Ryokan. Thank god it’s also a bit cooler outside Tokyo. In Japan a beautiful sight is never far away, so I almost wasn’t suprised to find this stunning temple and park literally just next to our Ryokan.

20150817_143745Our next stop, Kyoto was the place I liked most. Another example of the sheer amount of tranquillity and beauty that is so easy to find in Japan. A “simple” temple pond, just one of the many lining the street close to our hotel. Koi swimming close to your feet, cicadas chirping and clicking a symphony around you, and the ever present summer heat and humidity.

20150820_154833Fuji-san, on our way back to Tokyo. I jumped around our train like a todler to get this photo. I’m not a man of symbols but I’m very happy to have seen this with my own eyes.

20150813_192253OK just one more culture shock before going home then; electric city Akihabara.