A pencil is:

Stronger than the sword

Stronger than the guns

Stronger than the gods

Charlie Hebdo S

My latest project, The Dallas aquarium! We went to the Aquarium and I saw S and A and I was struck by the colors, the difference in light, the influence to the two different light sources, and the beauty of the image itself of course.

I wanted to capture this image, this light! So I made a sketch, then a watercolor sketch, and then I brought a humongous canvas to paint it on.

The sketch:


This painting is based on a statue in the British museum. It’s somewhere on a bottom shelf in the Oriental section. Everybody has seen these Tang dynasty horses of course, sometimes they have a rider, or an attendant, but I have never seen them embraced. This statue is missing a lot; legs, tail, part of the saddle, the figurine, what’s left is the torso neck and head of a horse, and the lower arms of somebody embracing it. A gesture of love that’s how it seems to me. Also because those hands so delicately touch the horse’s neck.

I want that statue.
But even I can understand I can’t have it. But I can paint it, and it is in part mine now :)

For Bill in return for his poem.

American Eagle saddle Aafke Art design

The American Eagle saddle is a design I made on a vintage tree which didn’t have a horn. That gave me the room to add the Eagle head. The idea is inspired by American carousels. The american carousels from around 1900 are amazing.


I thought why not design and actually make an original saddle, a really special saddle like they carved on the carousel horses?

So there was this old vintage tree which we would not use anyway for anything else and the project was on! Here is the carving of one of the fenders:


You know, the very, very first attempt I made in leather carving was actually a feather!

here you see one of the saddle skirts, tooled and colored. Sorry for the bad quality.

American Eagle saddle skirt aafke art design

The cantle is carved, (that was quite difficult) and the rigging is in place. There’s still a bit of carving to do, guess where?

american_eagle_saddleskirts_en_rigging Aafke-art

For the Eagle’s head I had brought a piece of the wood they use for making wooden shoes. That’s the Dutch bit in this saddle! I spent a whole night cutting and carving wood, because I really wanted to show the saddle on the ”Equitana” horse show in Germany and I was seriously running out of time.  It was later to be painted but a stuck in one of the glass eyes for the picture. I left it a bit rough on purpose, that way it blends in naturally with the leather carving on the saddle.

American eagle head carving by aafke art

The finished head on the finished saddle!

American Eagle head designed by Aafke Art

The American Eagle has it’s own stand. I think it looks quite happy with it.

American Eagle saddle design Aafke Art

And a picture of me, with a classic quarter horse, the American Eagle Saddle, and a very Dutch sky in the background.

American Eagle saddle horse aafke art

Last month the Q took me to Fort Worth to see the Impressionist exhibition. The Kimball is a lovely museum, some beautiful artworks of course, but the architecture is gorgeous. Anyway, downstairs they have various statues from different eras and places and they have this lovely lady, from a time when women with a bit more substance were preferred.

I made this small oil painting of her. On panel, I don’t remember the exact size, and I am back in the Netherlands now. But here it is:

Snickers was visiting us for a few days, and he was irresistible! Snickers is the born despot. Always looking elegantly turned out in his shiny black coat, like a man in his best dress suit Fully satisfied with his own importance, his rights to snacks, attention, and taking his rightful place on the bed with confidence.
The Q however was adamant, Snickers had to be removed.

I had buckled already, I would have allowed Snickers on the bed for the whole night.

This majestic ruler had to be painted!

Here it is hanging in our new apartment, (don’t worry, I will do something about the color of the wall)

And here it is, finished!

So I was getting along fine, I had brought oil paints this time and I almost finished but I had to get back to the Netherlands. Another problem is that I haven’t been able to score some normal white spirit yet. Everything I have brought in America smells really nasty and gives me a bad throat ache. It must be very unhealthy :(  The stuff I brought was expensive too! The effect is that I really can’t paint for longer than three hours, and then I need some fresh air.

So this was the start, in acrylic:

And then I painted the thunder clouds, the pegasus is going to be black

But the pegasus is only in the ground layer. So it looks a bit flat still. As per usual I got some paint from the lightning on my sleeve and smeared it over the sky. I already managed to clean that up. pffffff!

Now this is fun! I used ”auto color correction” on my photo, and this is almost how it’s supposed to look when it is finished!

I’m glad I noticed those white blotches and could remove them, imagine I noticed them only now! Anyway, it’s really funny to see what I had in mind about this painting after the ”auto adjust”! Now I will ahve to wait to really finish it until I am back in America.

The sink was one of Pom’s favorite hangouts, she was totally oblivious of it being wet or not, she liked the sink, and that’s where she was going to relax!

Acrylic on Canvas

Yes, that’s why I was away from my blog for a long time! I was preparing my wedding! And I did it all myself. I arranged the marriage in Denmark, because of the paperwork. So, marriage license, paperwork, place to stay, invite a few people, became more people, arrange for places to stay, look up planes and trains, arrange a wedding brunch, decide on dress, buy material for dress, make dress, more people are coming, so arrange for a wedding dinner also, make coat, try to find fabric for coat, order a bouquet holder for the flowers, etc. etc.

So I have made two dresses, one marriage dress, one evening gown, and two corsets, and a tiara, and a nice warm clutch coat. I forgot my camera so I don’t have better pictures of the corset for now, but here it is:

The corset is made of white coutil with the same fabric the dress was made of as the top layer. The busk is gold plated, the lace is from England, it’s made by the last factory in England which still makes real cotton lace, made on antique machines, with antique patterns. They were the ones who also made the lace for the recent Royal wedding. But of course my wedding is way more important!

This is the back of the corset:

This is the dress, almost finished. My stand is antique, from 1880, and it is smaller than I am, and shorter too, so the dress hangs a bit loose. I used a vintage vogue pattern from 1953. I first made two toiles, before cutting the actual fabric. The fabric is a creamy white with embroidered vines with leaves and flowers. I brought fresh water pearls from China and I sewed one pearl on every flower. It also should have a petticoat underneath.

Here I am wearing it all! Trying out the snooty fifties model look! The petticoat was surprisingly warm. The gloves are vintage (the something old) The earrings and necklace were gifts from valued friends, (the something new), and I had sewn a blue ribbon bow inside the dress, and a silver coin.

The umbrella is a pagoda umbrella from the excellent Danish designer Lisbeth Dahl, I love the umbrella, and it was particularly appropriate as we got married in Denmark! I am wearing the coat here as well, it is made of a creamy white wool/cashmere blend, and lined with the same fabric as the dress. I did the flowers myself too. I brought the roses from the people at the flower market I have brought my flowers from since I was a student, the ivy (you can’t see it) is an ancient symbol of love, marriage, fidelity and growing together, and it is from my garden. I had three darker pink roses which a friend brought with her, they are a variety called ”Ribe Ruse” or something like that… This is important because we got married in Ribe in Denmark!

We got married in Denmark because the paperwork in the Netherlands made it impossible to get married in my country, and the process was horrendously complicated and we could set no dates aside and it was too problematic to get married in America. Also it took way too long!
In Denmark, EU country, Schengen country, it is very simple to get married. Very simple paperwork, very simple process, and I got in touch with a Danish Wedding planner who made the whole process a wheeze, as well as being very helpful with all the extra arrangements because we had a lot of friends and family coming.

So anybody who wants to get married and has too much hassle with paperwork and silly rules in their own country, or if you just want a beautiful, super romantic destination wedding, contact Rita at Wedding Denmark.

Aafke Art on YouTube

aafke at you tube




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