The Traveling Artist

Inspired by: The New Cathedral in Coventry

At the beginning of the month I was teaching with my friend Julie in Coventry. I came in on Thursday morning and Thursday afternoon was the only time for some sightseeing – so off we went.

Coventry was devastatingly destroyed during the German Blitz in 1940 during World War II and many people died during the attacks and many lost their homes. Coventry Cathedral was destroyed as well and remains as a ruin in the middle of the city. I posted about the ruins last year – you can find the post here. This year I went also into the New Cathedral – wow!

What a beautiful building.

Above is the Baptistery window which you will see right after you go in. The New Cathedral was built next to the remains of the old cathedral. “Spence the architect insisted that instead of re-building the old cathedral it should be kept in ruins as a garden of remembrance and that the new cathedral should be built alongside, the two buildings together effectively forming one church.” The cathedral was consecrated on 25 May 1962.

The Christ in Glory tapestry by Graham Sutherland, which is maybe one of the worlds largest, is breath taking!

There were also hundreds of seat cushions- little pieces of art!

Below is the Chapel of Christ the Servant (also known as the Chapel of Industry). A giant glass building with  a cross and crown of thorns above the altar

Next to the Chapel of Christ the Servant is the Chapel of Christ in Gethsemane.

A mosaic of the angel who offers the cup of suffering to Christ as he prayed.

I am so glad I went back to see the New Cathedral as well. I think last year when I was there with Birgit it was closed.

St Michael’s Victory over the Devil, a sculpture by Jacob Epstein outside the Chapel.

 

I am glad I could share this little trip with Julie – although- boy was I tired after the red eye flight over the pond ;)

And I leave this post with this plague on the wall of the old cathedral.

Hope this little trip was inspiring for you!

 

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Sydney Opera House Painting

2016

I was lucky to be invited twice to teach in Australia and I have fond memories of Sydney. The first time I went to Sydney we were able to get some tickets to a Herbie Hancock concert in the opera – the very last seats in the back …the sound was good..Herbie was a tiny ant- but it was pretty cool :) Australia is fascinating and a real Artful Adventure – for this painting I used an Australian Dictionary for the background, made a stamp with gum tree nuts and also used actual gum tree nuts. The painting is part of the travel chapter in my book Artful Adventures in Mixed Media. Maybe some day I will be back but until then this painting is my little Australia at home :)

Acrylic paint, ink, marker, charcoal, paper ephemera, gum tree nuts on canvas 9×12 -Available for Purchase – email me if interested .

 

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Inspired by: Amsterdam

A couple weeks ago my husband and I spent a couple days in Amsterdam. Amsterdam will always hold a special place in my heart, because that is the city my husband and I actually got together :)

We stayed in an Airbnb apartment which was amazing and in a house from the 15hundreds – the top photo is the view out of the bedroom window – pretty cool

Of course we went straight to a cheese store ..well we had to do some grocery shopping and that includes getting good cheese …Oh man, heaven!

We also took a little Canal tour – for the hundreds time- but it never gets old. Look at those pretty houseboats

and houses

and bridge corners

and did I say houses?

 

It was a bit of a gloomy day but still nice enough for the tour

I already started painting some of the views – just so beautiful!

We also walked a lot and that requires some refreshment and people watching at one of our favorite bars for that .

And everything looks even prettier when it gets dark

I fell in Love with the houses below while waiting for the tram close to the Rijksmuseum.

All the details- swoon.

And we went back to the one windmill in Amsterdam – which houses the Brewery I’TIJ’ which we have been visiting for 20 years and has changed and hasn’t :)

we spent a lovely afternoon there with drinks, cheese with celery salt etc. and some friends. It was a really good short trip. I do miss the possibility of going to a different country by train or plane in just a couple hours, so I am glad we were able to sneak this little trip in when taking care of some matters in Germany :)

 

Comments (2)

  • Jean Goza

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    Loved the photos. Amsterdam has been on my bucket list for awhile. I agree about travel in Europe. I love the ability to hop on a train or plane and be in another country so quickly. Very cool!

    Reply

    • Nathalie Kalbach

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      Jean – you would love it or sure! Amsterdam is awesome!

      Reply

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Inspired by Paducah, Kentucky

A couple weeks ago I taught some workshops in Paducah Kentucky, which was so much fun – but on top of it I also loved how inspirational this town is.

Well …first of all- the tiny airport made me smile …

when the one and only and tiny baggage belt started ringing an alarm indicating the baggage comes out I snorted and laughed out loud ….

I loved Kristin’s gorgeous planters with succulent outside the studio

tiny typewriter platers, what is not to love about it?

Wooden Sculpture – amazing!

Also all around the store were differently painted hydrants – it was fun to look out for them.

Aren’t those cool?

At the same time I was there there happened to be a Art and Music Festival and of course, there were tons of BBQ stands- this one proudly displayed all the trophies they won. And yes…I ate BBQ – lots of BBQ LOL

I loved those goggly eyes in a bush

But my favorite part of Paducah def. were all the beautiful and unique old houses. So gorgeous – look at the brickbuilding on top – that one was abandoned and had a secret garden in the back

 

Look at this one – so so so beautiful

This building looked like a little castle

and I love the porch and the windows on this one.

And I totally lost my heart on this cute litte Dutch Colonial …look at the cute heart shutter boards – swoon!

Cannot wait to sketch  more houses :) Hope you enjoyed the little stroll through Paducah !

Comments (4)

  • Kristin Williams

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    Loved seeing Paducah through your eyes! Come back, soon! xoxoxo K

    Reply

  • Kathy

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    Love the photos capturing the charm of Paducah.

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Different Kinda Art Stroll: Freeman Alley, NYC

Freeman Alley is a little …well alley  in the Lower East Side

you almost walk by and miss it. In 1909 people would line up in a so called “bread line” through the alley in the hope to receive some food from the Bowery Mission.

In a more and more polished looking part of the city …it is a refreshing to find some wheat pastes and graffiti – Lot’s of layers

At the end of the alley you find a restaurant -but I was more into the fire escapes !

Definitely have to come back and see what’s new when I am in the East Village next time. You find it off Rivington Street – don’t miss it ;)

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Inspired by Japanese Manholes

As many people I have an obsession with beautiful manholes … and so Japan did not disappoint, in fact …there were some of the most beautiful manholes I have ever seen and I thought I show just a couple

Almost every neighborhood has different manholes – depending also on what the neighborhood is known for.

this one was a “simple” one in Tokyo – sooo gorgeous!

OK- I am cheating LOL- I am sneaking in some pavement plates- because …excuse me …they are beautiful

This one is in Kyoto – I love the fans – and directions

And of course the most beautiful which I shared already – in Nara …I loved how colorful those little manholes and pavement covers were

No idea what this little Dude is …I assume a turtle …but mmhhhh – fun though!

And cherry blossom at Ueno Park.

Just for the Manholes I would go back – LOL. Which one of the selection here is your favorite?

Comments (4)

  • stephanie

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    the flower. That is SO cool that they make the covers into art.

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    • Nathalie Kalbach

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      yeah -they are taking it a notch further with the manholes :)

      Reply

  • Sue Clarke

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    Cherry Blossom is my fav but they are all pretty cool.

    Reply

    • Nathalie Kalbach

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      agreed – now I want to go back and take more pix of manholes- LOL

      Reply

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Inspired By: Japanese Food

For some it might sound weird to be inspired by food- but well … I am ..colors, smells, forms, presentation  and …let’s face it, it is easier to create art with a filled stomach as well. So here are some food related impressions from Japan :)

Daiwa Sushi at the Tsukiji fish market was the best sushi I have ever had totally worth the 45 minute wait. The tuna was the most intense red tuna …and a beautiful one for sure I have ever seen and eating Sushi at 7am in the morning was def. differently and set for a good mood :)

Imagine walking around and smelling fresh baked dough and seeing how Ningyo-yaki are being made. Each cookie made by the man with the mold revealed later on a beautiful design on the outside of the waffle representing the Seven Gods of Fortune and the inside sweet red bean taste was delicious. The cookies in the front are also tasty but different.

Ramen – oh man – we ate sooooo much Ramen – and I loved it. It isn’t your student food in a cup if that is what you have in mind – instead you get fresh veggies and meat if you wish in a wonderful Japanese stock with homemade noodles. The picture above shows one of the fun Ramen Counter Booth Seating Charts – crazy fun.

This is probably the most beautiful ice cream I have ever eaten! It was Matcha (green tea) ice cream and the waffle showing the messenger fox with a key were a great treat at one of the temples.

Pickled vegetables ….I loved the signs and the wooden buckets they were stored in at a market

And yes …I was intrigued – since most we had no idea what it was

But it was pretty like the one above ….

Yakitori- grilled chicken with veggies …it was not only amazingly tasteful but the presentation was beautiful too.

And of course all the different labels of those Sake bottles from a Sake tasting intrigued me. See the tag with the string on one of the bottles- what a cool label.

And of course I loved the beer label as well – which btw- American Craft Beer always has some amazing artsy labels- I need to do a blog post about that too :)

We stayed one night at a tradition Ryokan with traditional food served in the room and we changed into home Kimonos – it was fun and very comfy!

The food served there was so pretty and the all the little dishes were just insane.

Often we had no idea what we ate and to be honest some of the food was even for us foodies a tiny bit challenging but it was an experience I wouldn’t wanna miss.

 

The fish up top was delicious and I just was reminded of Marsha Valk’s wonderful video at Creative JumpStart where she showed a gorgeous project based on a Picasso inspired fish dish.

Here is the breakfast with some things staring back at me- LOL.

As I wrote earlier on my blog post about Tokyo I took a cooking class and wow- was that awesome! We went to the market beforehand and smelling, seeing, using different fresh ingredients was just awesome. Here you see the our instructor Yukari crushing black sesame seeds with a wooden Japanese pestle in a porcelain mortar which has grooves on the side. Needless to say that I had to hunt down this pestle and mortar and bring it back home – LOL

And then look at the table setting -it is a feast for the eye – and it makes you just happy to look at this. In the middle you see a Chirashi Sushi which I would describe as a Sushi Salad. DELICIOUS

Here is our cooking class group with two more from the States, one women from Singapore and one from Finland- so much fun. If you are in Tokyo take a class with Yukari-she is AMAZING!

Home made udon noodles …and I mean like right in front of me made udon noodles with vegetable tempura. Oh man – it was one of the best meals EVER. I am still dreaming of those Udon Noodles and my mouth is watering while I am writing this.

Well worth the hour wait in line alone (my husband was at a conference) – in fact – good food is a big thing in Japan and you just get a bit more patient (although living in the NYC metropolitan area waiting in line at a restaurant is not unusual for me)  and usually you get more than rewarded once you are inside. BTW- you get your menu and order while waiting and you pretty much get your food a minute after you sat down.

And yes –this is a pizza. Now I am picky as hell when it comes to pizza since I am a real half Italian but boy ….this was hands down one of the best Pizzas I have ever eaten …and it was in Tokyo at Pizza Studio Tamaki. It was a pretty crazy experience.

I hope you enjoyed this kind of different inspirational post ;) Are you hungry yet?

Comments (4)

  • JoAnn

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    Wow – love your photos and the food looks amazing. Such an amazing trip🌿

    Reply

  • Bonniemon

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    I loved your tale of eating in Japan! Thanks for sharing it with us.

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Inspired By: Nara, Japan

Nara was one of the super highlights of an already amazing trip! Nara was the capitol of Japan from 710 to 794 and it’s Buddhist Monuments are a UNESCO World Heritage Site.

We started off with walking around the Yoshikien Garden and I really loved the moss garden! So beautiful! The only weird thing about the garden was, that it had a sign that sketching wasn’t allowed. Mhhh – I was a good girl and left the sketchbook in but it did make me wonder.

While walking through the Nara Park you will encounter a ton of deers – who like to be fed. Deer are able to roam freely and are believed to be sacred messengers of the Shinto gods that inhabit the shrine and surrounding mountainous terrain. Some of the deer have learned to bow in order to receive a snack and some will butt you if you nibble on a cookie without sharing.

The Tōdai-ji Great Buddha Hall is the the world’s largest wooden building. It is STUNNING. This picture cannot do it justice- it is just breathtakingly beautiful and massive!

And while we were still catching our breath looking at the stunning doors and woodwork outside, we stepped in and gasped – again the pictures don’t do this justice. The Great Buddha statue in bronze is about 15 m/49ft tall .

It was originally cast in 752 but typhoons and earthquakes destroyed parts of it over the centuries and so some parts have been recasted.

Kokuzo-Bosatsu Statue but also look at the inside wood construction of the building !

One hell of a staircase ….

One of the wooden Nio Guardians who protect Buddha, carved in 1203. Komoku-ten is holding a writing brush and scroll.

I loved this gigantic butterfly a the lotus vase. We indulged in some delicious udon noodles and continued our walk.

Next we visited the Nigatsudo temple. The Nigatsudo is best known for Omizutori, a fire and water ceremony on March 12 every year, where huge flaming torches are held out from the temple balcony. The next day – the day we were actually there, sacred water is drawn from a well under the temple, which is said to have healing properties. The ceremony has been held here without a break since the temple’s founding in 752. Since it is a wooden structure it is a miracle that it still exists – The smell of the fire ceremony the night before was still lingering everywhere.

The temple tea room – I couldn’t stay in the room unfortunately because the burned smoke still in the building made me cough madly.

A beautiful view from the temple terrace while inside you heard monks chants. Beautiful and peaceful.

I loved all the little details

An old wooden plaque.

And then we had some Matcha tea sitting outside and I think I haven’t been as relaxed as in that moment for a long long time.

I guess my husband is trying to figure out where the ground is of the tea pot ;)

OK – guys, I have to put this photo in there…CUTEST deer EVAAAAAHHHH. Every time I need a cute-dose now I am pulling up this photo -I get all squeaky when I look at it. I contained myself when I saw it in person right next to me so I wouldn’t scare it off – but please- tell me …isn’t it the cutest deer you have ever seen?

Next we went to to the Kasuga Grand Shrine. Bronze lanterns are hung everywhere.

And tons of stone lanterns lead the way to it.

Twice a year all those lanterns get lit at once – I can only imagine how magic this must look- but it was magic already just to walk around the park and temple, with deers roaming around. Unreal ! We had a second tea break, saw a turtle walking by (no kidding!) and had a yummy piece of persimmon cake. There are so many pictures of just that one day….I tried to keep it on a what I hope manageable amount LOL. But one more ;)

Here is a manhole in Nara – most beautiful manhole I have ever seen. I will show you a couple from the trip in an upcoming post but this one deserves to be shown twice ;) Hope you are inspired by Nara – more from my Japan trip to come soon.

Comments (16)

  • Catherine

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    Beautiful photos, thanks for sharing!

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  • Anna

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    I feel so lucky to see your photos and read your story.
    Thank you!

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  • Joanne Howard

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    Wow! What a trip! I could look at your pictures all day. It must have been so amazing just to wander around.

    The deer is the cutest thing I have ever seen! I don’t know how you contained yourself.

    Thank you for taking us along. I look forward to more pictures of your trip!

    Reply

    • Nathalie Kalbach

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      LOL- I know I wanted to pack the deer into my pocket. Thank you for coming along Joanne!

      Reply

  • Janet

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    Dear Nat, Thank you so much for taking me to Nara! What a treat for the eyes (and other senses with a little imagination). All of that texture is intoxicating. Manhole covers are a photo topic of mine, and yes, that is the most beautiful one I have seen. Also, yes, the deer is adorable! Thank you again for all of the lovely photos and description. I’ll be anxiously awaiting more photos of your Japan experience.

    Reply

    • Nathalie Kalbach

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      Awe- thank you Janet for coming along :) More manhole covers coming soon – I wish I could have stayed longer just to get a whole collection together.

      Reply

  • Jill McDowell

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    Nat, that is absolutely the most adorable deer eva! I would have wanted to take him home with me. Those eyes!
    I’m blown away by all of these gorgeous pics. The moss and those lanterns.. and the manhole cover. Can’t wait to see more.
    I had to read the dates twice.. 710? That’s history. Thanks for sharing

    Reply

    • Nathalie Kalbach

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      LOL – I know the deer was “killing” me :) I now the dates are making you aware how much history is out in the world!

      Reply

  • Sara jansen

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    That deer!!!! The rest of the pictures and stories are great but you are absolutely right about how cute that little guy is!!!

    Reply

  • Sue Clarke

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    That deer is THE cutest deer eva!!!
    How was the persimmon cake?
    I recently discovered persimmons and they are so hard to find. My local TJMaxx carries the dried ones which are very good for a snack.
    Thanks for your gorgeous pics…such history that we just don’t have in our young country here.

    Reply

    • Nathalie Kalbach

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      Sue, the persimmon cake was super yummie. We do have an Asian supermarket here and indeed as Joanne points out they are usually carrying them in the fall.

      Reply

    • Joanne Howard

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      Sue, I don’t know where you live but persimmons are a Fall fruit. In the fall season Fuyu persimmons are small and squaty . You can eat them when they are a little hard, peel and slice them like an apple .I think they are Korean. Not sure but I get them at my local Asian grocery store.

      There is another type of persimmon that is larger and more pointy. They need to ripen until really soft. They will be sweet and messy. If eaten too soon, they are bitter

      Reply

      • Nathalie Kalbach

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        We also get them at the Asian supermarket and I second what you said. It is so fun to discover unusual and different fruits and veggies from the Asian market.

        Reply

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Inspired By: Kyoto, Japan

After we spent a couple days in Tokyo, we took the Shinkansen to Kyoto.

I am spoiled with nice trains from Germany …the ICE is a pretty nice high-speed train- but the Shinkansen steps it up a notch – very pleasant traveling in it and 2 1/2 hours later you are in Kyoto.

This is a train station stamp from Kyoto. Almost every train station in Japan has a stamp that shows symbols and buildings around the location. I collected them in my travel journal – if you go to Japan bring a red ink pad with you as some of the station ink pads are a bit dried out.

A bit outside of Kyoto is the Fushimi Inari-taisha Shrine. A reoccurring theme at the shrine are foxes – some fox statues carrying a key in their mouth.  The fox is the messenger of Inari, as well as the shrine guardian. You often see shrine guardians wearing a red bib added by worshippers out of respect.

Every shrine seems to have their own individual Ema – a wooden wishing plaque. You can purchase them and the fox plates at this shrine are actually made so that you can fill and draw in your own fox face design. On the back of the plaque you write your wish and then hang it up.

Look at all the different faces.

Another Shrine guardian – a lion dog.

Such a beautiful walk up the mountain to the shrine.

through a little Bamboo forrest

and thousands of Torii Gates- that was so beautiful and of course a lot of us remember the scene of Memoirs of a Geisha.

First signs of Cherry Blossom in Kyoto – so beautiful!

But also interesting signs in Gion – I cannot believe that you actually have to tell people to not touch a Geisha- seriously? What is wrong with people?

And then all of a sudden I was standing at an alley way – this beautiful stunning Maiko appeared with a huge entourage of photographers following her. I cannot really describe it but the way she moved and looked was one of the most beautiful sights I have ever seen. A Maiko is a trainee  before she becomes a Geisha (and no Geishas are not prostitutes! )Maiko are trained and constantly training in traditional Japanese arts, such as dancing, singing, classical Japanese instruments and the tea ceremony.  I asked one of the photographers why they were following her all and he told me that this was a very special day and something you would not see often, as for this Maiko it was her Misedashi – basically her graduation day where she turns into a Maiko and gets introduced into the neighborhood. This Maiko’s name is Nanoha as I found out later.

I loved the Gion neighborhood with it’s traditional wooden houses and a lot of people walking around in traditional kimonos.

A dotted pumpkin by Yayoi Kusama also in Gion.

I had seen a documentary at home on how these beautiful traditional candles often used in temples are being made. They are made with handcrafted vegetable wax and burn a long time. When I did some research I found this little store in Kyoto where they are sold and we went and bought some.Tanji Renshodo sells mostly to Buddhist temples. It was such a wonderful little store and you can actually see where they are made.  If you are in Kyoto- step by and buy some – they make wonderful gifts!

We stayed in a really nice Kyoto guesthouse – sleeping on traditional tatami mats on a futon and you have to take your shoes out upon entering your room – here is the slipper shelf – loved that.

And here is Mount Fuji as seen from the Shinkansen on the way to Hakone. I will show some pictures from Nara next. I hope you enjoyed this post from our stop in Kyoto.

 

Comments (2)

  • Sue Clarke

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    Loved this post and the streets are so clean!

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    • Nathalie Kalbach

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      the streets truly are crazy clean – the more amazing as there are almost no garbage cans out on the streets …people just take their garbage home. It was one of the things I noticed right away.

      Reply

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