Copenhagen Arts

Copenhagen is a wonderful city for the arts.  The place is vibrant with a very young, prosperous population, all out and about in the long summer days.  I visited two of the many museums, the Statens Museum for Kunst (National Gallery) and the DanskDesign museum.  Johannes Baech is in the former, and wife Gudrun Meedom in the latter, although neither were on display this visit.  The National Gallery has added a major new wing for their contemporary collection since my last visit.  Here is a sampling of the Nordic artists from the end of the 19th C. through today. (Sorry, but I didn’t get the names of all of them.)

ImageImageImage Edvard Munch, Frugtbarhed-1900


Vilhelm Hammershøi-Seated Female Nude-1889Image  Ejnar Nielsen-Den Syge Pige

Image Astrid Holm-Rose Dækker Bord-1914 Image J.F. Willumsen-At an Old Towngate, Taormina-1914 Image J.F. Willumsen-winterscape ImageImage Niels Skovgaard-Heavy Swells at the West Coast of Jutland-1894

Image Edvard Weie-Vej Gennem Skov  Image John Davidsen – Twister – 1964ImageImageImage


The DanskDesign Museum had a special exhibition of Hans Wegner’s furniture designs.  He is the most famous of Skandinavian designers, producing over 3000 pieces in his lifetime, most of which seem immediately familiar.  They are also surprisingly comfortable regardless how exotic the design….kudos to the museum for providing numerous samples for visitors to sit in.  His most iconic chair became labeled as “The Chair” by American fans and media.  Johannes Baech and Gudrun Meedom knew him personally and had one of his original prototype couches in their living room.


The Chair

ImageImageImageImage Image (My mom sits in same sofa at Baech’s on a visit in the 1980s.  Johannes is at left.)

The other work on display wasn’t too shabby either, but unfortunately much of the museum was closed for roof repairs.

Image Britt contemplates Arne Jacobsen chairs.

ImageImageImage One of the more unusual mosaics I’ve ever seen, but nice reminder of home.


I’ve found a few moments to start a painting myself, but it is slow slogging due to an aggressive travel schedule.  I had fun one day teaching watercolors to the teen daughter of my current hosts in Zaltbommel, The Netherlands.  Otherwise, just being inspired by the surroundings.



Visit to the Johannes Larsen Museum

En route to Copenhagen, I took Britt to see another art pilgrimage spot, the fantastic home and gardens of Johannes Larsen in Keterminde.  His family lived in the house until relatively recently, and turned it over to the nation looking much as it did when the artist lived and painted there.  Larsen is immediately recognized in Denmark for his wildlife paintings and etchings, and is considered founder of the Fyn school of artists.  In many ways his art and home resemble that of the Baech’s, so it is a bit sad to think that something could have been done for Baech and his wife in Viborg.  Larsen’s childhood work was included on the walls, providing wonderful insight into his evolution over time.  Other family members were also artists and were displayed alongside Larsen and other Fyn school artists in a large attached museum.




Denmark – art on tour of north Jutland

My daughter, Britt, arrived from her semester abroad in South Africa and it was time to show her the ancestral roots in Denmark.  Since she is also a talented artist, it was easy to tag museums and art-related touring on the schedule.  Early on we paid a pilgrimage to Viborg, where I did my first Danish paintings in the mid-1970s, at her age.  I visited the home and neighborhood where I had stayed with Johannes Baech and Gudrun Meedom, a couple of artists who became like second grandparents to me.  My family has collected about 200 of their works, and you may have noted them if visiting my house.  It was strange visiting there for the first time after their deaths, but now my daughter can appreciate the familiar scenes in Johannes’ paintings.  They lived in the oldest part of this second-oldest city on Denmark, so lovely just walking around.

Image Former Baech residence.

SONY DSC Baech paintings from my Las Cruces Collects exhibition at the Las Cruces Museum in 2011-12.

Image Baech painting used on book cover in the local bookstore.

Image Image Image


We also visited one of my artist friends, Lone Worsoe, who I’d not seen in about 30 years.  I have several of her works and she’s featured in some of my own paintings/photos hanging in my house.  It was good to meet her current husband and enjoy a lovely sunset dinner in the garden before touring her gallery.

SONY DSC Works of and by Lone Worsoe in the Las Cruces Collects show.

DDS and Lone in gallery3-e  In her gallery now.


Earlier in the day, Britt and I visited Aalborg, in time to get a close view of the Danish queen on a royal visit.  The Danes are quite civil and relaxed about these things.

Queen's carriage passes-e

I especially wanted to visit the most northerly town in Denmark, Skagen, which developed fame as an artist colony for many of Denmark’s best impressionists.  They came for the long summer days and soft light by the sea.  The Brondums Hotel was their gathering point, and they developed a tradition of painting portraits and other scenes on the walls of the dining room.  This room became the core of a subsequent, lovely museum.

Skagen-sign shadows-e

Skagen-beautiful home-e Classic Skagen colors and roof tile work.

Skagen-Ancher house-f

Home of the painters Anna and Michael Ancher.

Skagen-Britt in museum-e PS Kroyer women on beach-f  P.S. Kroyer’s best known work:  Summer Evening on the Skagen Southern Beach with Anna Ancher and Marie Krøyer.

Skagen-PS Kroyer pallette-f  P.S. Kroyer’s palette, mirrored in a roof weather vane nearby.

Skagen-roof decoration-f

truxum bonfire paintings-f Paintings by Lauritz Tuxum of the St. Hans bonfires on the longest night of the summer.  We experienced the real thing on the beaches near Svendborg a few nights later.

DDS bonfire2-e


Touring the north of Holland

I spent several days touring the small towns and larger cities in the north of the Netherlands, running across art wherever I went.  The Dutch invest heavily in the arts as a country and integrate it into their homes and public spaces.  In a small, historic town of Appingdam (known for hanging the kitchens out over the canals) I enjoyed a special exhibition of Groningen province artists.


Image Jan van den Zee’s winter landscape – “Emmenshaven” (1943)

Image Image Two rural scenes by Johan Dijkstra.

I spent one night in a small B&B next to an old windmill, then got a great deal on a room in a former manor house, Havixhorst, that was also hosting an outdoor sculpture exhibit.  The fable got a bit crossed with the Duck That Laid the Golden Egg in the entrance topiary garden.


Image Image Image Image Image

Europe travels – The Netherlands part 1

After Germany I headed for the Netherlands, site of many previous visits linked to life as a child on a Dutch island and to former wife, who was from the city of Eindhoven.  Her mother was from a nearby town of Vught, growing up in a white country manor close to a castle.  Both buildings were featured in a painting (below) by Piet Slager, from ‘s-Hertogenbosch, also nearby.  Like the Wyeths, the Slager family was an artistic dynasty in the area, with multiple generations of accomplished artists.  The Slager Museum is always on my visit list, because you get to appreciate the family evolution in art and see various personal effects and sketches.

Image Image Image Image Image Image Image  Slager Museum next to Cathedral.Image  It doesn’t hurt that den Bosch, as it is known for short, has Heronimus Bosch as it’s native son.  I saw several of his bizarre works at the combined Nord Brabants/Stedelijke Museums for art and history.  Along with more interesting stairways and design exhibitions.

Image Image Image  Bird design cloaks.

Image Image Image Image Image Image

Vicarious travels in Europe

Since I’ve been traveling too hard to do much painting myself, but still want you all to know I’m thinking of you on the road, here are a series of posts of artwork and artistic museum views from my ongoing travels in Europe.

I started my trip in Germany on 5 June (my birthday) revisiting Landstuhl and Ramstein, where I lived and worked in the mid 90’s.  This put me within striking distance of Metz, France and the Alsace, both favorite spots.  It was good to visit without ankle biters in tow, and take my time walking, observing, and soaking up some kultcha.  Enjoy the images!

Image Image  Metz Cathedral.

Image The artist as an old man (playing young)

Image Image  Stairs from the Metz Museum, which incorporates the ruins of the Roman baths in the basement.  Metz was a Roman capital and the first major town sacked by Attila the Hun. Image Image Image Image  Medieval panels found during a house restoration.  These are about 6 ft high.

Image  Sculpture exhibit in the Metz Botanical Gardens.Image Image Image Image Canal boats along the Moselle River.

Blue Gums Tall and Fallen

70cm x 70cm (27.5″ x 27.5″)
This one’s been cooking away. Kinda happy with this even though the strong horizon line hauls it back to a traditional composition. It’s the thing I’m playing with. Dead easy to take that out and create a flat space, trying to do both… could take me some years :-] Fun trying.


Working and working

When is a piece working or not working, when is the artist working and not working? If something comes easily is it not deep enough, explored enough? Or are they just moments when coalescing happens quickly? We all know that ‘look’ when something is overworked. Such a tipping point … that moment when it’s time to stop and call a piece done. I don’t always get that right.

This piece (final photo) may almost be done. I haven’t decided how to treat foreground-right yet, but will back to working on it tomorrow arv.

These last few years my pieces have become more and more descriptive – this made me very nervous at first but I was enjoying it so much I told those head voices to go away (language censored for publication).

The wonderful CT from this here blog said to me recently we need to feel happy with what we’re doing. I can’t quote verbatim, but I know what she said tapped into my own recent thoughts about self critique, self doubt, the questioning questioning questioning that happens on each piece. It’s necessary yes, but sure needs to be balanced out.

This blog is a fun editing tool – the pieces I post are pieces I’m happy with. I still question them but maybe always will 🙂

Background beginnings a few weeks back…






And close to done…