This forest diary entry partly dates from April this year.
The last few months I've been so busy I couldn't find the time to continue but today, finally I
finished this page 🎨
'Up Sammy, look up Sammy
Because up there is the blue sky'
is the song by Ramses Shaffy, famous Dutch (and French/ Egyptian/ Polish) chansonnier.
It is a beautiful song, but sometimes there are beautiful treasures to be found on the (forest) floor.
Feathers, hatched blackbird eggs, snail houses, leaves in many colours, dew drops, flowers and
seeds, all kinds of fungi and mosses, the shield of a Polyphylla fullo beetle, a drowned
butterfly, a hornet finished  fighting.
But down there creatures live, crawl and love, creatures such as insects, snails, slugs, toads ...
We walk and cycle into the forest or park and look up and we forget about the world down
there, enjoying "high" and "the blue sky" our feet and tires crush a lot of beautiful lives.
It’s breeding season this time of year for amphibians. Frogs, toads and salamanders
wake up from hibernation at a temperature of 8 to 10° Celcius which has to last for at least 3
consecutive days.
First the smaller men wake up and a little later the ladies follow and travel back to the breeding
ponds where they were born themselves.
However, many will never reach the ponds of pleasure. Their journey ends beneath our feet
or tires. So, Sammy, look down too 🐸

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Exciting news!! After much consideration I decided to start offering linocut courses from
my home studio!

‘Why now?’ you might ask. As you may know, I studied to be an art teacher. After many
applications I was always considered too young and/ or too inexperienced. So I moved on and
started to do other kind of jobs. Also, renting a classroom comes with extra costs and because
of that I let go of the idea of teaching art.

However, since I have redesigned my home and the studio part almost surpasses the living part,
I’ve been playing with the idea of organizing classes from home and now the time has come.

And I'm really looking forward to it!

For now I’ve planned 3 lino courses for the months of September, October and November.
These will take place on Thursday evenings, from 7.30 p.m. to 10 p.m.
All courses will be in Dutch.

Since it is at my home I have limited space for only 4 people, so if you are interested, move fast!
You can find all courses here.

Every course has a different theme. For the September course we will be working from a
photograph chosen by you and translate that to linocut.

October is all about autumn and/ or Halloween. During this course you will cut and print a round,
decorative lino from an image or drawing that symbolizes autumn to you.

In November we’re going to make Christmas cards/ New Year’s greetings. Send your family
and best friends an exclusive, homemade card this year smile

Next to the courses I mention here I want to organize much more courses in the future.
Courses on watercolour, drawing in various techniques, drawing/ painting outside...

Let me know what you are interested in or what you would like to do, so I can take that into
account when planning the following courses 🎨
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Last week I had a nice encounter with a European Robin. I had just finished my walk at
the Meerzicht islands when a robin landed right in front of my feet (or well, 1.5 meters away).
He watched me intently, pecked at something on the path, flew up and sat down in a low
shrubbery at about the same distance. He continued to look intently at me until he had
enough and disappeared into the forest to continue his interrupted song (loudly).

I think it's safe to say "he" because currently there's a lot of arguing going on concerning
territory and lady robins and I think this little fellow was very curious about the weird animal
wandering through his territory.

This week I had similar encounters with other robin-gentlemen.
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To be honest, the last few weeks my forest walks were not really fun for me.
Last November there was a round of felling of trees and they're doing a final round now.

Again and again open spaces appear where previously stood proud trees. Again and again
new heaps of sawdust, again and again new piles of branches along the path.

I saw a lot of goldcrests among the branches of a newly felled pine, which was kinda nice.
No doubt it's all very necessary but it still makes me sad. Especially when it comes to old trees,
especially when it comes to trees that are already sprouting.

I took a few of these budding branches home and put them in a vase. No doubt it's of no use
because these branches will die off soon but I wanted to give these buds a chance to bloom.

Anyway, branches start to sprout, the (willow) catkins are hanging from the trees, spring is
approaching and I can't wait to draw these wonderful changes.
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The first day (after two weeks of Christmas holidays) I was able to visit the forest I couldn't
because it was too windy.

The next day the wind had settled and lots of branches had come down, branches that could
have ended up on my head 🍃

This little bird's nest also came down. I took it home, after which I spend at least 20 minutes
shaking all the vermin and spiders from the nest 🕷

It's next to impossible to find out exactly what bird build this nest but someone on the
facebook Determination of Dutch Birds page suggested: garden warbler, common
whitethroat or the eurasian blackcap.
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