Saturday, July 31, 2010




I walked over to the National Museum today and walked through their exhibition of “Interior paintings”.  It was a good collection from the 1800’s as well as some of the Dutch Masters from the 1600’s 

They didn’t have too many Zorn’s up, in fact none in the show.  I just saw the usual museum collection of his work.  

The afternoon was spent wondering around Gamla Stan, which was crowded today.  Stockholm is hosting the gay pride weekend, so the crowds here are enormous. 

Markus was off meeting a friend of his and I met up with Karin, Victor and Lina at the bookstore in town.  My goal was to find a large book they had in print eons ago of Zorn, but unfortunately its no longer around.

At three Karin had to meet Lottie for their museum venture and I took Victor and Lina with the ferry to Djurgarden and Gronalund, their theme park here in Stockholm.  The highlight of the place is the freefall, where you get shot up a few hundred feet in a chair and just free fall back down to the ground.  Hopefully they remember to apply the brakes at the end! 

I didn’t bother to do that; instead I went around and shot some of the harbor scenery. 

  

Richard Boyer 

Saturday




We did the drive south yesterday and are now in Stockholm. The family owns an apartment right in the city center, Karin's father bought it eons ago. It's very small, maybe around 30 square meters. So we are all crowded in here on blow up air mattresses with no chairs to sit on. They had it as a rental unit for the longest time, but decided to leave it open now for family members wanting to visit the city. So with time it will slowly become furnished with all the normal accouterments of your standard apartment. We added a coffee machine last night.....that was a must.


The house is actually from the 1600's, so it has problems. But being located in the middle of the block surrounded by other buildings, its quiet as can be. This is really amazing when you think of being right in the middle of Stockholm.

Today I wanted to check out the National Museum, they have an exhibition called "Interiors", so most likely there will be plenty of Carl Larson and maybe a few Anders Zorn works to see. Karin wanted to meet with Lottie and check out the Museum of Weaving.....you couldn't drag me in there!!!

It rained last night, so maybe its the right kind of day for gallery looking

Richard Boyer


Thursday, July 29, 2010

Thursday

We are back from our three day kayak trip.  We started just south of Oregrund and went out to an island called Graso.  Actually we camped on an island just west of there.  We had only one day with some rain and the rest of the time just great weather. 

Today its raining like crazy here in Osthammar. I'm glad we weren't out in this weather! 

Here is a short clip from the trip
Richard Boyer


Sunday, July 25, 2010

Sunday

I’m now sitting at an empty gate at Schiphol Airport.  Rick’s flight back to the United States left half an hour before mine to Sweden.  So we headed out the door together, took the tram number five and climbed out at the central train station.  Soon after that we were on a crowded train to the airport.  Mike and Carlie left at 8:00 in the morning, so Rick and I were up early to see them off.  Then we just waited around a bit for Christian to wake up and said our farewells.  Today is the travel day and being artists forced to put all our gear in a check bag, over weight bags become a big issue.  Mine was 25 kilos.  The limit is 23 kilos, the check-in woman told me and smiled.  She took it anyways and just reminded me to keep it down on the next flight.  

Karin said she would meet me at the airport, so hopefully I will see her smiling face.  I do remember once coming back from Amsterdam where I waiting two hours before somebody showed up.  It seems as if the wrong arrival time was to blame.  So I spent my time exploring the different terminals at Arlanda Airport.  Now I can say that I really know the airport inside and out 

The Thai restaurant was good last night. Everyone ordered something different and we just tried a little of from each dish. 

It was an early night for most.

Tomorrow we are off on a three day sea kayaking trip around the archipelagos here outside of Osthammar 

Richard Boyer

Saturday, July 24, 2010

Saturday


It’s been a relaxing day today; Being our last day we decided not to paint and besides we needed a break.  We have after all been painting every day and now it felt good to just play tourists and look around. Rick and I packed up our suitcases this morning more or less and decided afterwards to hike up the Westerkerk Tower with Carlie.  It’s a large church on Prinsengracht with a tall tower over looking the city.  They told us that the church actually does not own the tower, but that the city does.  They took control of it as a fire watchtower and a form of time keeping system.  They would ring the bells for the beginning of the workday and to signal the end of the day.  This is the church where Rembrandt was buried.  Well for his first few years, until the family could no longer pay the fee to keep him there.  Then the church exhumed the body and gave it back to the family!  Pardon me, but here is another bone!  Sounds all a little strange, but such is the workings of church finances.  I took a few pictures from the top anyways. 



We then rented some paddleboats and putted around the water for a bit.  That was a little bit of a challenge with the larger tour boats coming every few minutes.  They occupied most of the width of the canal.  At one section we were forced to cling to the wall as the thing maneuvered past us.  The tourists were most likely taking bets if we would be crushed or not. 

In the afternoon we walked to the train station to get our tickets for the ride to the airport tomorrow and checked out the old boats north of the station.  I was just thinking that we basically did the entire loop around the city and feel it now in the legs. 

We stopped off at a street bar on the walk back and had a couple of libations.  It made the walk back much easier.  Then it was out to a Thai restaurant. 

I worked on 24 paintings in two weeks basically, now its time to finish them up in the studio 

Tomorrow I am off to Sweden again, Karin will pick me up at the airport. 


Richard Boyer

Friday, July 23, 2010

Friday




I slept in to 8:30 this morning and got grief for it.  Slacking on the job again! 

We went out looking for a clue from the Da Vinci Code today.  Last night Christian told us about a secret door in “Spui” Square.  Actually its not, but hardly anyone knows about it, except for those in the know.  It leads you in to a secret courtyard with a church from the 1400’s.  A church that was for the longest time a cloister for women.   

Spui square is a crowded outdoor market area filled with noise and action from every side, but several doors down from the corner American Bookstore (No really, there is a store called that!), you will find this large old wooden door.  You open it and slide into a world of quiet.  Once inside the courtyard opens up to accommodate the church and a large lawn encircled by old brick houses, most, of which have elaborate flower gardens. 

Rick immediately set up his easel to paint and within a few minutes was told by an elderly lady to take it outside. No photos or painting allowed in here.  As she put it, its private residences and we like our piece and quiet.  One certainly can’t have a noisy artist painting.  I just think Rick was getting too close to the Da Vinci Code.

 We were forces back out into the noisy square.  I set up next to a hotdog stand to work on this piece.  One of those stands where if they would have offered me a hotdog, I would have declined.   Most of the time I had large trucks in my way as they loaded and unloaded goods for the market.  One guy took the pleasure of walking over to me and pointing to his watch, he showed me the sign for a full hour.  That’s when I looked at the driver and he understood the situation better.  He parked across the street and gave a funny look back to his assistant.  “I would have fired him myself!”

 

At noon the place really became crowded with shoppers and I had to quit.  No point trying to paint something that’s blocked by hundreds of human bodies.  

We ate our lunch in the square there and then left for a quieter location for the afternoon piece.  The clouds were also moving in and we wanted to be near the protection of large trees.  I found this spot looking across Kaizersgracht at some interesting architecture. 


Now we are relaxing back at the apartment. As Rick puts it “It’s Miller time”…….not !

“Its Duvel Time”    I’ll settle for 8.5% any day. 

Richard Boyer

Thursday, July 22, 2010

Thursday





After close to two weeks of painting here, we find ourselves venturing farther and farther away from home.  All in the quest for new subject matter.  

Today we walked over to Westerdok, an area to the northwest mixed with old and new houses.  I have painted here before and found some great subject matter, especially with all the white drawbridges and old riverboats.  

But first we did a painting at the end of Keizersgracht, there the large tour boats were doing a 90-degree turn and churning up the water in an interesting pattern.  Just as I sat down on a conveniently placed bench next to start painting, a Brazilian couple sat next to me.  They stayed the entire two hours it took me to finish off the painting; I’ve never had that happen before.  Most loose interest within a few minutes and move one, but to actually watch the entire process requires some stamina that most do not have. These two did! 

Rick, who had set up farther to my right, unfortunately was kicked away.  He had set up in a café’s territory.  Seems like that can be a big taboo.  The flower boxes on the railing indicated that.  Come lunch hour they were anxious to set up all the tables and chairs and not have to deal with a foreign artist in the middle.  He moved over to my bench, to do finish off the best he could with color notes.  The Brazilians relinquished their bench spot for Rich and ordered a coffee from the restaurant.  There they were able to pull their chairs up on the other side of me to continue the show.  He was using his camera to film a step-by-step development of the work. 


Rick had moved on to Westerdok and I stayed for maybe another half hour.  I then announced to the couple that the piece was done, or at least as much as could be done given the time and lighting constraints.  They took photos of the woman next to the painting.  Then one of me………my job was done here, it was time to move on!  I was feeling like a supper hero, actually keeping somebody’s attention for so long 

I headed off to Westerdok and found Rick painting next to a drawbridge.  I walked around a bit more until I landed on this location looking back at bridge that was at the entrance of a canal.  I set up and tried as best I could to capture the light from the moment.  One the horizon dark clouds were building up.  Within an hour the sky had changed from hazy blue to dark purple.  I figured it was time to pack things up, unless I wanted the deluge of nature.  It was five o’clock anyways and the light had changed rather extreme.

 

Being so far away from home, the public transportation always seems like a prudent idea.  There in lies the dilemma sometimes with an artist.  I take along an eight inch masonry board that I tape one 12x16 canvas to one side for the morning painting and then flip it over and tape another 12 x 16 to the other side for the afternoon. So at the end of the day I have two very wet oil paintings taped to a board that I need to carry in my hand and not hit against anybody or thing.  Public transportation at rush hour is generally not a good result, but nevertheless I was tired and had no intention of walking.  Tram number two from the central station had a line backed up several meters to get into, so Rick and I decided to try number 5.  There are three different trams we could take back to Prinsengracht.  All of which on a weekday at five in the evening become a zoo.  You couldn’t pick a busier time to take a tram back home than at five o’clock.  

We pushed ourselves into the over crowded car as best we could. I held the wet paintings high up in front of me, making a mental note not to touch some bodies black suit.  The problem was that everybody was nicely dressed after working all day and in walks an artist with thick oil paint on both sides of a Masonite board.  Trying to keep globs of wet paint off of people in a sardine packed compartment is a monumental event 

Generally if it scrapes an article of clothing, I’m not going to say anything!  What could I say anyways “Sorry Madam, but your dress is ruined, Cadmium red paint will never come out in the wash!”

 Then again I on the other hand don’t want to have two hours of my painting pressed against bank executives’ three-piece suit.  It’s a fight no matter how you look at it!


Richard Boyer

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Wednesday





Today we ventured out of Amsterdam; up to a park they call Zaanse Schans.  An area where they have collected and preserved old houses and windmills.  It was nice to get out of the crowds of Amsterdam and into the country.  We discovered that the guidebooks were totally wrong about the bus number.  “Especially “Lonely Planet!”  For the record its bus number 91 you take in front of the station on the East side.  You buy your ticket right there for 2.50 Euro on the bus and relax for the 40 minute drive.  Maybe I should write a guidebook! 

Once there you can walk around on nature trails for several kilometers. I felt like we did that anyways looking for the right angles to view the windmills.  The first painting didn’t turn out so good for me.  There was no place to set up in the shade and the sun soon gave way to flat grey skies.  Yup, just like the weather report predicted, at three in the afternoon I was feeling rain.  I finished off this one as best I could.


For some odd reason the area was alive with oriental tourists.  Rick and I would both notice how a couple would just come in very close to look at you paint, almost pushing you aside.  Then the woman would stand next to the painting as the husband or boyfriend took a picture of them.  I mean what are they trying to say, that she actually painted the picture, because she is standing next to it?  This happened so many times I lost track. 

I was also asked to stand next to the painting and smile with brushes in hand.  Why do they always come in busloads?  The parking lot was filled with busses. 

It started to drizzle a little, but I was determined to get two done today.  So I walked over to the field and set up in the grass to capture a view of the windmills with a ditch in front.  The clouds were really starting to move in and I felt like doing one of those moody works would be just the ticket after that depressing first one.

  The water was alive with fish next to me. Every few minutes I would hear a splash and the remains of some poor moth’s wing floating by.  Then I really heard a loud splash.  It was a blue Heron diving into the water to pull up a thrashing fish.  Soon he was flying with it over the field.  The food chain was alive and well here in Holland! 


I’ll update you on the weather here tomorrow, the forecast is for rain. 

Richard Boyer

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Tuesday





Rick and I headed out the door at 9:30 this morning; our destination was the Red Light District.  It’s in the oldest part of town and at 9:30 in the morning most of the employed ladies there are fast asleep.  It was quiet with hardly a soul in sight.  We were hoping to find a nice narrow canal scene, where some of the buildings come right down to the water.  We finally did at the very end, there the canal constricted to half its width.  We set up on the only side offering a narrow walkway, right against the railing covered in bikes.  There we both worked for maybe two hours in the shade.  Rick finished first and went off to look for more subject matter for the afternoon painting. 

I continued to work a little bit more on mine and did lunch there.  The crowds were picking up farther down the canal in the red light district and I wanted some piece and quiet to eat my smashed sandwich that I pulled out from the bottom of the pack.

Soon I was on my way looking for something new to paint, Mike had talked about the oldest church being in this area and how the café’s out front might offer a good theme for a painting.  I walked off in that direction along the main canal and took a smaller alleyway around the back of the church.  On my left was the holiest off walls, built by the faithful over the centuries.  On my right there were two half naked middle age Spanish women, with surgically enhanced breasts to rival Dolly Parton.  They were yelling out catcalls at me.  This was the wall of sin and debauchery on the right side.  One of the girls wanted to see my painting I was holding.  I held it up. Then she wanted me to come in a see some of her art !

I continued on around the backside of the church.  The right side lined with open windows and women in thongs.  The left side ordained by God, the contrast was quite comical.  The crowds were too much to set up the easel at the café and besides the scene looked a little too seedy to paint.  Most of the patrons had black muscle shirts and heavily tattooed arms, with something resembling a cigarette dangling from their mouths.  Not the right candidates for a cheery sunny café painting.  I headed back to the outer ring canals and decided on the church where Rembrandt is buried in.  The prostitutes wouldn’t let me paint them, so I settled on something more holy and a lot less crowded. 


The weather is supposed to change over to rain again tomorrow.  We will see.


Richard Boyer

Monday, July 19, 2010

Monday





Another sunny day, let’s hope it continues.  But the weather report is calling for rain after Wednesday and it looks like it will stay around for a while, at least till we leave on Sunday.  

I went off this morning to paint one of the gate towers.  Back in the 1600’s these towers circled the city and had a gold ball on top, so that the moonlight would illuminate the way into town for the in-coming ships.  Now 400 years later they have filled in all the open water and build around them, so they are more or less in the middle of the city, but still next to a canal.

Christian, our apartment mate across the way gave us a book about Monet’s painting trip to Amsterdam one hundred years ago.  One of his pieces was from the same vantage point I took for this painting.


This afternoon I walked around to the other side and did another angle with some boats in front.  It was on a large bridge with a lot of pedestrian traffic and sure enough I was engaged in conversation the entire time.  Still I’m happy with the results, they may need some more work, which I can do back at the studio later on.


Now it’s “Duvel” time………I would hate to feel what a six pack would do !!! 

Richard Boyer

Sunday, July 18, 2010

Sunday


The weather actually agreed with me today, sunny the entire day! 

Mike, Carlie and Rick decided on a bike ride through Holland’s countryside. They rented some bikes around the corner and headed down to the train station, there one can take a free ferry ride across the river north of town and ride off into some flat country.  They ended up doing a 36-kilometer rural tour through small villages and past the occasion windmill.  Part of the way they followed along the shoreline of the inland sea “Ijmeer” and no they didn’t any kids with their fingers in the dike!

I thought maybe doing some more paintings while the sun is here would be more prudent. Who knows how many days we have before the next dark rain clouds roll on in.

I walked down to the end of Prinsengracht today and saw a lot to paint there.  Unfortunately the crowds were in full force, maybe because it was Sunday or because of the sunny weather.  So I settled on a scene looking up Kaisergracht with a large church on the right side.  For me it was a quieter spot and the shade of a tree kept me from the rays of the sun, so I was able to spend more time on it. 


For this afternoons painting I walked back up the street some more to a side canal and set up there, once again making the best use of a tree for shade.  Unfortunately the glare off the water made it harder after a while.  I finally walked back to the apartment at six in the evening.  Shortly afterwards the rest of the group came back and we decided for a cold beer at the corner pub.  It was well worth it, especially when it’s up around 9%.  Yup, just one beer and you feel much better.


Forgive the photo quality.  I got back late and shot a quick picture of it on the flood with glare and all.  Its late now and we are hungry.  I'm making dinner as I blog. 


Richard Boyer

Saturday, July 17, 2010

Saturday





Well we had rain again today, what a surprise!

Rick and I walked back out to the Amstel River to paint, set up and then the rain started to pour down.  I pulled out the umbrella and huddled in close next to the easel in a futile effort to keep the painting and myself dry.  I looked more like a wet dog that was left out all night than anything else.  This wind and rain went on for close to 45 minutes and then the sun came out.

I give up on trying to copy the light faithfully, if I wait a few minutes it will be different anyways.  This painting of the bridge I left as it first was with the dark clouds overhead.  That was the rainstorm we had to wait out. 

As I worked on finishing it up, the dark clouds returned to sprinkle us once more. 

I walked up to where Rick was and pulled out my mangled sandwich from the backpack.  The afternoon painting turned out to be more agreeable with the weather.  It was windy, but at least everything stayed dry.


 

Richard Boyer 

Friday, July 16, 2010




The weather here is driving us nuts.  Yesterday the Internet called for sunny skies today and this morning it was in fact sunny.  I even put on shorts and a tee shirt, expecting the rays to warm me as I painted away. 

As soon as we got out the door, the clouds rolled in and we were looking at flat grey skies with a chance of drizzle.  We lucked out with no rain, but had to deal with dropping temperatures.  Halfway through the painting session I was freezing and shacking, welcome to summers in northern Europe.  Now I know why I like Provence better, at least there the weather is more dependable.  Sixty something degrees with a stiff wind out of the west is no fun. 

 

You will notice the painting starts out in some sunlight; I decided to keep it in that nature, as opposed to the gloom and doom of overcast skies.  Michael Lynch, who is a very good plein aire artist can get away with it, I can not!  The sun was actually coming out every once in a while in the beginning. 

Well after I finished it as best I could in low light, I decided to run back and get some warmer cloths.  Rick, who brought along a heavy coat, wanted me to bring that back as well.  And as Murphy has it, as soon as I walked out the door with my winter gear, the sun came out.  I was sweating as I walked back to the Amstel River, where we set up.  The “law” set in once again as I put up my easel for my afternoon session, heavy dark clouds came back in to welcome me as I started to block in the scene across the bridge from where I painted in the morning. 


I started out with an overcast kind of look, but soon the sun peaked out for a bit and I saw the colors.  I decided to try for that feel and waited for the occasional light to poke through as I recorded it down in the painting. 

Tomorrow who knows how the weather will be?


Richard Boyer

Thursday, July 15, 2010

Thursday





Last night we ate Indonesian, a lot of it.  We walked through the rain around the corner to a small restaurant and pilled inside at a small table.  The sky was opening up similar to standing underneath a waterfall and the idea of being inside at a cozy table made it more appealing.  Especially when they just seemed to be bringing out plate full after plate full.  In the end there was no way we could finish it all. We stumbled out and walk it off, a lengthy walk that took us down to the Red Light District.  Amsterdam is famous for it and must do a good business since there were hundreds sitting in every window and yes the entire place is illuminated in red lights!


With all the cute girls giving the guy’s that special wink and seductive glance to pull them in behind closed doors, we felt like the center of attention.  As Mike put it, “she must really like me, she gave me that special look!”  That’s the look that will last for fifteen minutes and cost you fifty Euros for a quickie.  I keep suggesting they could splurge for my birthday present right there if they wanted to?  That’s when I got a different kind of look from the group.  We slowly walked along both sides of the canal where they were out in full force and decided at midnight it was enough. We headed back up to Princengracht, where our humble abode is. 

 Today the weather was once again bordering on torrent rain, but oddly enough we never felt any.  With dark rain clouds overhead, we saw sunlight maybe a handful of times, as the wind blew.

 I did this small 12x16 under changing light, so I’m not sure if I want to bring more sunlight into it or just have it stormy.


 The rain clouds are clearing out as I write this with the next few days to be sunny.  Christian our apartment owner across the atrium, told us about a small village north of Amsterdam, where the buildings are all made out of wood from the 1700’s.  Most places like that burned down, that’s why they used brick instead to build them back up. Any ways we might rent bikes and venture out there, as he put it, there are no tourists there! 

Richard Boyer

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Wednesday



Well we went back to the same place again today, the scene of the crime.  Not that we were thinking of seeing the perpetrator, unless he was a complete moron and would try the same place twice.  But in that area there are so many potential paintings.  I have a feeling we could spend a week just in that small part of Amsterdam. 

Rick set up painting some flowers out in front of a houseboat; within minutes he had met the owner and was invited to have some wine.  I went farther along and did a view out into the Amstel River, the sunlight was glistening off the water with every boat that passed by.  I put my easel by the waters edge next to a parking slot, so periodically I was asked by a driver if they could back his or her car into the space without bothering me.  I just had to move off to the side while they did their best at parallel parking.  As long as they pulled up in the parking stale I had enough room.  I was doing my best the keep in the shade provided from a large tree.   Out in the direct sunlight I would have been roasting alive. 

 

A few hours later the light changed as the sun came around, so I called it quits and decided to find Rick to do lunch. We make sandwiches every morning and take them with.  As we ate I noticed another scene just down from where Rick was working.  Some hotel had flowers hanging down from every window with a large red awning by the entranceway.  The light was illuminating the façade and flowers.  We set up for the afternoon painting right there on the sidewalk.  

One thing I find curious is that people will automatically consider us as locals and come up with maps in hand asking for directions.  Including a Brit who announced he was looking for the Red Light District, not for himself, but for a buddy of his………right ! 

It’s my birthday today, so Mike said he wanted to take me out to dinner tonight.  That should be fun, just as long as it isn’t one of these coffee shops.  The so-called coffee shops in Amsterdam, don’t really deal in coffee, they are more the Starbuck’s for marijuana and hash in basically any form you could imagine.  They are all legal here as long as they sell you small amounts.  They have one down the street and every morning we see a few ripped tourists hanging out front in a catatonic daze.  None of the locals do it; it’s manly something for the tourists. 

Richard Boyer

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Tuesday

It’s a grim day today and not because of the weather.  My camera was stolen, my pride and joy, my Canon D20.

Rick and I headed down more into the city center to paint a drawbridge, around Muntplein.  The weather was still not blue sky, so we figured maybe something close up like some wooded boats would be better for the first piece.  Possible then by the afternoon the skies would be clearer for a more traditional landscape of Amsterdam.  We headed off to a quiet side canal.

I set up along the canal edge between two parked cars and Rick a little farther down to make use of a bench.  I started working and noticed some guy watching.  He then moved on.  I had my backpack and camera both below my easel, basically in front of my feet.  The camera was out just because I like to have quick access to it if a boat comes down the canal. 

Time went by and I noticed the same guy sitting down about 15 feet away from me eating a sandwich.  I figured he was just interested in watching the painting session.  He vanished again after some time; the camera was still there in front of me on the ground.  I caught a few other glimpses of him watching from a distance as I painted.  Then he was gone, I looked down and so was the camera.  I was lost as to just how the asshole did it, since at no time did he ever get close to me!!!

The blunt realization hit me and I frantically searched around for the camera knowing full well it was most likely halfway across Amsterdam.  I gave up on the painting and headed back to the apartment.  The first order of business was to get the camera replaced.  There was no real point in sulking around, I needed a camera for this trip, no if ands’ or buts’!

I used the laptop to search for a camera discount place here and started walking.  About two miles south was the “Kamera Express” store, Holland’s answer to our Best Buy in the States. So for a 1,600 Euro I got set up with a Canon 7D, with the same lens as I had before.  

It looks like I will need to sell a few paintings to pay for this God Damn mistake.

 

Richard Boyer

Monday, July 12, 2010

Tuesday


We got rained out this morning.  Went out and found a good spot just one canal over and set up.  About halfway through the rain opened up and poured down with no mercy.  Everybody ran for the cover of trees and what ever else they could find.  Rick had a small umbrella he held over the painting and I set up my umbrella to cover the easel as best I could.  Within a minute my tee shirt was wet as could be and I had to stand to the side to get in as tight as possible under it.  After an hour the rain let up a little and we were able to finish off the piece as best we could. 

 

It was noon when we decided to head back to the apartment.  We ate a quick lunch and went out again to do a small painting.  As soon as I set up it started all over again.  So now we are back in the apartment.

 

 

Richard Boyer

Sunday, July 11, 2010

Sunday

 

Friday morning Victor and I caught the train over to Copenhagen.  Our mission was to meet Lina at one of the suburb train stations outside the city center.  Siwert showed us the way to Malmo south station, where we parked the car and bought our tickets.  Five minutes later we were traveling over the bridge connecting the two countries.  The train tracks are actually under the four-lane highway.   We of course were late meeting up with Lina and Sigrid, the mother, who was in town for a funeral.  Our train was delayed when they discovered some non-paying passenger on board and had to call the police to have him removed.  They told us the ordeal put them off schedule, so they would only run the train to the main station.  Victor and I looked for the next train to continue on and went to the indicated platform.  Three minutes before the train was to arrive, they switched track numbers on us.  We were wondering why the platform seemed rather empty; naturally we missed the connection and had to find another train twenty minutes later.

We finally met up with Lina and thanked them for waiting, nothing like being late for a funeral!

The temperature was climbing up to close to 30 degrees, with the humidity not far behind.  So we decided to try for a boat tour of the city; at least there we would be close to the water where it’s cooler.  We grabbed a bus and rode it a few stops down to Nyhamn, their word for New Harbor.  It was anything but new; in fact one of their oldest houses was located there, along with Hans Christen Andersons house.  The small harbor was filled with old wooden boats, something I just love to paint.  So I have a feeling some painting will coming out from this trip. 

We bought our tickets and were the first to board.  Vctor and Lina headed to the back of the boat to get away from the crowds.  At least there we could take pictures off the back of the boat without other bodies in the way.  I’m glad we did this, being so close to the water was quite comfortable and we enjoyed an hour-long tour as they winded through some of the canals of Copenhagen.  Some of the areas looked quite similar to Amsterdam, where I am writing this now.

We finished the boat trip and did lunch in the square by the harbor.  There was a long walk back to the main train station we had to do, so we decided to start heading in that direction up the main shopping street.  It was a pedestrian only street filled with street merchants and artists the whole way up.  Before we knew it we were back at the main station, across from Tivoli, one of Europe’s first theme parks.

Yesterday was the long nine-hour drive back up to Osthammar and today I caught the flight down to Amsterdam.  Its game night tonight and the town is one giant party, all expecting Holland to win in the World Cup.  I do hope they win, as they have never done this before, but after seeing Spain play……I don’t know!

 

Richard Boyer

Thursday, July 8, 2010

Thursday

 Every day we seem to have a dinner planned with some relative or another and it’s getting to me.  Just once I would love to kick up my feet on a couch and watch some television in peace and quiet. 

Tonight it was fish cake at Erik & Inge-Briet’s house just down the road a few hundred feet. Erik, who is 86, is Elsie’s oldest brother.  So at six o’clock sharp, everybody shows up.  First to show up was our group, Victor and I, along with our hosts Elna and Siwert.  Elna is Elsie’s younger sister.  Literally thirty seconds behind was Elsie and her older sister Bittan with husband Lennart.  Swedes are very punctual! 

Yesterday it was dinner at Elsie’s youngest brothers house.  We were all there at exactly the invited time of 6:30.  At least there we had an excuse to kick back and watch the soccer match between Spain and Germany in the world cup, with Germany loosing 3-2.  

 Tonight it was a tuna fish cake with mayonnaise, covered with some kind of cream and shrimp.  Yes, I know, if you were trying to loose weight this wouldn’t be the right food to eat.  We had some @#%# Gallo wine for the dinner, which I’m not going to get into for now!  (Why, why, why can’t people learn about the differences in wine?  They live their entire life drinking the cheapest of wine wondering about the headaches they wake up with the next morning.)

But, the conversation is what I found interesting. 

Maybe this is the topic for many over the age of eighty and Elna, who isn’t at that age bracket quite yet wanted it to change the subject, a change to something more lively.  The topic for the evening was what sicknesses or ailments fellow comrades had.   Maybe this is a popular topic for those in this age group, but for those who are not, it can be a little depressing to listen to. Especially when they start going into the cancers this or that person died of!    Elna and Siwert voiced their opinions about the subject to deaf ears and walked out to get some fresh air.  The dinner was good but very filling for me, I feel like I need to burn a few thousand calories off soon here. 

At 9:00 the group disbanded and headed back home for bed.

Tomorrow it’s Bittan & Lenards turn. They set up a large tent in their front yard for the relations gathering.  The dinner starts at 6:00 in the evening and as usual will wrap up around 9:00 to 9:30; usually the time the crit session starts back home.

 Now I’m back in the basement with a glass of red wine blogging.  Our sanctuary as Quasimodo put it, is the basement of Siwert & Elna’s place.

Tomorrow we are taking the train over to Kopenhamn (Copenhagen) to pick up Lina, who has been visiting a friend there for the past five days.

Richard Boyer

Wednesday, July 7, 2010

Wednesday morning



We did a little bike ride last night.  Siwert pulled them out from the basement.  Mine had five speeds, Victor had three and Siwert said none of his worked.  We first rode to an old castle ruin just around the corner, where they have summer concerts sometimes. 


We then continued on to a high point in the landscape.  Coming from Utah, the high point wasn't much of any thing, but nevertheless it was a small hill rising up about 50 feet from the surrounding flat plains. What made it interesting was the Viking grave on top of it and the others in the surrounding area.  The burial sites dot the countryside here and thankfully are left alone owing to an antiquities act.  Most would contain the remains of the chieftains long boat and personal artifacts, along with maybe the ill-fated servant or two.

The ride back was nice in the evening light as well !


This afternoon its back to the beach with Victor

Richard Boyer

Tuesday, July 6, 2010

Tuesday


I wanted to show you a few pictures of the gardens of Bosjo Cloister; they were quite impressive with the rose gardens.  Much of the place is still private residence, so it was off limits to most of the building that would have housed the monks.  In the vaults of the basement they had the exhibition of Liljefors. The few they had were actually for sale, that is, if you had $70,000.  Dollars!

Elsie knew a lot about the history of the place, so over coffee she told us about it.  All of southern Sweden was controlled by Denmark up until the 1600’s.  They had a monopoly on the rich farmlands and fishing industry around the coast there and of course earned a lot of money from it all.  They weren’t about to give it up to Sweden.  The Vikings were slowly being converted over to Christianity, with Denmark being first on the list for Scandinavia.  Around 900 AD the roman church sent up monks to build cloisters and convert the locals to the proper religion in their eyes.  I took a picture of one of the tombstones from 1031 AD.

  Who knows how long this process took, but any ways they build a nice compound, equipped with elaborate flower gardens today. They boast about their famous oak tree garden, which was planted one thousand years ago.

The Benedictine convent was founded in 1080 A.D.   In 1536 the convent activity ceased and in 1560 it became a private castle.  The Bonde af Bjorne family has owned it since the 1500’s.  

Seems like a nice place to call home !

Richard Boyer








Tuesday

Here is a clip from our trip to the beach.  I just wanted to capture the sounds of the coast.

Today the weather is a  little cloudy, so we were going to drive up to Bosjokloster with Elsie and get some cultural experience. It's an old cloister built some time in the 1100-1200's between two lakes. 

They are also have a small exhibition of Bruno Liljefors.  He was an artist friend of Anders Zorn, who did a lot of wildlife paintings and unfortunately had a hard time selling them.  Zorn, who was much more successful use to give him money to make ends meet when times were tough.

Richard Boyer

Monday, July 5, 2010

Monday





Monday

Today we actually went to the beach. Sivert drove us there, which was a good thing. We have gotten lost many a time here in Skane because of the winding country roads that are un-marked. Our goal today was Skanor beach; there you can look across to Denmark. At the very southern tip of Sweden, on the west side there is a natural sand peninsula that sticks out into the water for several kilometers and the summer traffic on it was in full swing. The first part of the drive out there is a nature reserve, with of course nobody there. The very tip was filled with beach goers and sun worshipers, all on summer holiday. Victor and Sivert went swimming and I walked around taking shots of the colorful beach umbrellas. Hey, what can I say, “Its my job!”

We did stop for killer ice cream on the way back at the canal. During world war two they build a canal there to bypass the end of the peninsula, where the Germans had planted minds out in the channel.

I thought it best though, to show you pictures of the countryside. Everyone knows how a beach looks, but where the real beauty lies is in the rolling hills dotted with old farmhouses. The wildflowers are out in abundance and I was trying my best to capture some of the colors. Now the locals here call all the beautiful flowers as weeds that should be eradicated. I kind of laughed when Goran, one of the relatives who own a lot of farming land told me how he is trying to get rid of the wild poppies that grow in the fields. Here I am photographing the beautiful colors of the very weed Goran is trying to get rid of.

Richard Boyer








Sunday



Well, it took, the video that is!!!

I was able to upload it after 20 minutes. This is our trip down to southern Sweden. Victor did the filming and out of twenty minutes of material we condensed it down to this short three minute clip. Its a little better than the first attempt.

We finally figured out how to add music and text into the video, so now it gives it that semi amateur feeling !

Richard

Sunday, July 4, 2010

Sunday

Well I'm trying to upload another video, we will see if it takes or not. For some odd reason it worked fine for the facebook page, you could click on the link there on the right side to view it.

We are now in southern Sweden. We left Osthammar Saturday morning at 9:00 and made good time all the way to just before Lund, Sweden. There they decided to take a bridge apart over the Freeway and close the entire thing down. We were in a line, or maybe a parking lot would be more descriptive of the area, for close to an hour.

We finally made it down to Elena and Siverts house at 6:00 in the evening. Elena is Elsie's sister. It seems like Elsie has hundreds of relatives down here in Skane. They all seem to be constantly dropping by to visit. What I really need is for her to write down the family tree on paper so I can learn who is related to whom.......it seems like it never ends

Back to the video upload that didn't work, I seem to be going crazy with Blogger.....nothing seems to work with them, so tomorrow I need to take some shots of the country side with all the rolling fields of crops and just show you through jepg pictures....its just gorgeous

We dropped off Lina at the Malmo train station today. She has a Danish friend, who's family lived two years in Salt Lake and she wanted to visit them. So through some emails we planned the meeting and they came over by train from Kopenhamn to pick up LIna..........so now my daughter is away for five days !!!

Well such is life!

Looks like I'll just keep struggling to follow the dialect down here, the relatives all find that quite amusing!

Richard Boyer

Friday, July 2, 2010

Friday



Well wonders do happen. maybe Blogger fixed their problem, but I was able to upload my very amateur film clip. Yes, I know !

I bought a flip video camera before I left so as too show you some "live from Amsterdam footage" Please forgive me, as I'm still in the learning curve. I promise that I will get better with it.......really !

Richard

Friday



Friday,

We had the circus in town yesterday, so Elsie and I took all the kids and cousins to see it. The whole town of Osthammar gathered under the big top to watch “Cirkus Maximum” put on their performance. They set up the night before in a rain storm, had the show and basically started pulling everything back down as the guests were leaving. Now the field is empty, no sign of the circus that moved on to a new location….what a life !!!

I mean the amount of work they put into a two-hour show and then to tear it all down again sound just horrible.

One of their shows did impress me though and I would have loved to find out how the hell they did it, but I know that would be their closest guarded secret. It was a piece they did of woman changing dresses in a split second. A puff of smoke and bang she’s changed out of a green short dress into a long flowing white gown. Now before you all say, “Well, Duh! It’s because she just threw the gown over the short dress.” She also did it the other way around, long dress changing into a short dress in the blink of an eye!!!

I biked around town this afternoon, yesterday it was pouring down rain, so I figured people wouldn’t want to see rainy pictures of the town.

Tomorrow we are driving down to southern Sweden; it’s about a nine-hour drive.

Richard Boyer

Thursday, July 1, 2010

Thursday

Thursday,

I feel like I am isolated on an island. I’ve been trying for the last few days to do an entry on the blog site, but have been hitting brick walls every time. We arrived all save and sound at Mormor,s house. That’s what the kids call Karin’s mother, the Swedish word for Grandmother on your mother’s side of the family. Olov, Karin’s brother picked us up at the airport. I tried to stay keep my eyes open as he drove us the hour and a half back through small winding roads to Osthammar. He wanted to try out another route than the norm and it was actually quite beautiful. I just wish I were more coherent to enjoy it. Both Victor and Lina were fast asleep in the back. We had all been awake for over 24 hours. We arrived to a jubilant Grandmother, glad to see her grand children again.

Elsie is 80, so the concept of Internet access is a little foreign to her, although for some odd reason she has no problem Skyping with her brothers and sisters when she is in southern Sweden.

Anyway, back to the story. I bought this flip video camera and thought it would be really cool to shoot some footage of the town she lives in, Osthammar. So I put together a short video clip and went across the street to where Karin’s sister, Marianne lives. They naturally have Wi-Fi, Internet and all the other modern features of living in the 21st century.

I loaded the clip onto the iMovie on the laptop and edited it to the right size and format for Google’s Blogspot and tried to upload it…..what a joke! I spent the next two hours trying to figure out what was wrong. I could get it about halfway loaded and then it would just freeze up and sit there, nothing more would happen. From what I could determine it was a problem at their end. And of course Blogspot is like Facebook, no fucking support of any kind. I still cannot figure out why they don’t have even the slightest tech support for their sites, especially when so many people have complaints about it. Just a simply Internet search on people having problems with Facebook will net you page after page of un-answered complaints.

I finally gave up and decided to try it again the next day, figuring that maybe, just maybe they would fix the problem and make it so that a simpleton could upload a small video clip, after all they do have the icon there for a reason!

The next day I was foiled again. Blogspot did the same thing again, it would load up about halfway and then just freeze up. Then Marianne’s WiFi stopped working. No access to the outside world. She had no idea what the problem was and neither did I. We did have a lightning storm later on that evening, but that still wouldn’t explain why it wasn’t working earlier.

Today my only option is to head to the local library in town and try it there, they have Internet access. Hopefully their system is up and running.

On Saturday we are driving down to southern Sweden, all the way down to Skana at the very tip. It’s about a nine-hour drive. This is Elsie’s home turf, where all her relatives are. There the land is rich for farmers, hills covered with crops as far as you can see and of course some of her relations have rather large tracts of land for farming. If we are lucky maybe we will see some covered in the bright yellow flower of Raps. It can be a spectacular sight against the blue sky. The beaches down there along the southern coast are where I get most of my subject matter. I have done many a painting with the rolling sand dunes of the southern coastline.

Richard Boyer