April 12, 2010

Dutch damsels - an ocean of tulips

I am back from yet another visit to the gorgeous Keukenhof gardens and the blooming countryside of Holland. Which is what has triggered this new series, "Dutch damsels", where I plan to go bonkers with tulips. Of every possible color. I have been to the gardens two years back, but that time it was nearly the end of the season and the fields were all empty. The gardens by themselves were great, with tulips in every color including black. Yeah right, black tulips. Quite a sight to behold. But the fields I think were harvested and we were quite disappointed at that. Having seen the long stretches of tulip fields in movies, we were so eager to visit them.

So this year, we made sure we visited Holland a little early in the season so that we don't miss the fields. This time however, the season itself has been rather tardy thanks to a long never ending winter. We planned our visit during Easter, but got to know that there wasn't a bloom in sight then. And then after rescheduling a couple of times, we made it during the second week of April. Though we were technically in the middle of the season (which lasts from mid March to mid May), there were only more buds than flowers. The tulips had not really come up, but the countryside was flooded with daffodils and bluebells. We saw acres and acres of yellow, so bright and cheerful. We had a great time wandering around the fields, posing for a hundred photos till we dropped dead. Great fun!

Dutch damsels #1
Dutch Damsels #1
Palette Knife on panel, 5 x 7 inches
© Nithya Swaminathan

I had planned to paint plein air, but then it was too windy and cold. This time I had even managed to carry my easel along, but had to ditch the plan due to the weather. Plus, we did not have too much time and I wanted to enjoy being there. So no plein air this time. Several paintings to come though, in the next few days/weeks. It's going to rain tulips in my studio, stay tuned.

I am going in with the knife for these tulips too, keeping it loose and almost abstract, though I have mixed feelings about it. I like it once, hate it another minute. And it goes on. If I am not too happy, I will switch to my brush. Let me know what you think!


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