Amsterdam Dreaming

I’m currently working on a series of images of Amsterdam. My focus is once again on the architecture – I can draw nature in New Zealand but here I like to wallow in the richness and beauty of the architecture. I also choose to include the cars and daily life- these pieces are historically bound. This drawing is indian ink (black and crimson) applied by paint brush, with a tiny bit of gold paint. I use a brush because this produces a looseness which I find more appealing to the eye. Rulers and straight lines produce an entirely different effect.  The image is 92 x64cm and paper size is 100x71cm. This piece is for sale.

The Grachtengordel (known in English as the Canal District) is a neighborhood in Amsterdam located in the Central district. The seventeenth-century canals, located in the center of Amsterdam, were added to the UNESCO World Heritage List in August 2010.The Amsterdam Canal District consists of the area around the city’s four main canals: the Singel, the Herengracht, the Keizersgracht, and the Prinsengracht. Many canal houses in date from the 17th Century (the Dutch Golden Age). Of course over the centuries many have undergone restoration but this does not take away from the fact that their exteriors remain much as they were. Wandering the narrow streets you’re flanked either side by the towering buildings which creates even more of a sense of closeness in the City Centre.

I’m always blown away by the fact that everywhere you look there are bricks: brick building and brick roads- every one of these bricks has been layed by hand. Mind boggling. These places of course are highly sought after and cost a considerable sum.

Of late though there have been growing concerns about the numbers of tourists in the inner city and the numbers of properties that are being used as AirB&Bs. See

But wandering around the city its easy to understand the appeal. This picture depicts some of Amsterdam’s old warehouses which have since been converted to swanky homes. Originally many of these areas were the stomping grounds for the Dutch East India Company (VOC), who grew rich on sea trade. The oldest warehouses on the Entrepotdok were built in 1708, while others date from 1830 and 1840. For more on the history of warehousing in Amsterdam see

I like to draw because like the architecture the technique is much the same as it was 500 years ago. I like mark making- its flexible and mobile. I have always liked the stark of black and white, but slowly I am bringing more colour to my work. There is still a wide tonal variety that entertains the eye and leads it across the surface. There’s a touch of foliage on the left to soften the piece.




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