August 1, 2005

The Amsterdam Notebooks—Page 1.

In the summer of 1993, I took a trip to Amsterdam, traveling alone and without a camera. I had a Mont Blanc pen filled with fountain India ink and two spiral-bound sketchbooks, and I was tremendously influenced by Bill Griffith's travel sketches, collected in "Get Me a Table Without Flies, Harry." I spent perhaps a week in Amsterdam and filled the two sketchbooks. When I got home, I xeroxed all the pages and assembled them in an order that made sense to me, producing 35 pages that I called The Amsterdam Notebooks. The other day, something, I forget what, reminded be of the Notebooks, and I decided to scan the pages an upload them one-by-one for 35 days. It's August 1st, so maybe it's a good day to begin. Here's page 1 (click here to enlarge):

Amsterdam Notebook

UPDATE: I just remembered what set me to thinking about the notebooks. It's in a comment of mine in this post. And if you're trying to read the text in that first picture without enlarging it, don't misread it. It says: "Art Rages."

DETAIL ADDED:

Amsterdam Notebook

19 comments:

chuck b. said...

Nifty! If I recall correctly (and I may not), in Norm Geras' blogger interview with you, you said going to art school was your biggest regret. Why?

Ann Althouse said...

Thanks, Chuck. Art school displaced the normal undergraduate education I should have cared about getting. And art school offered very little that you couldn't pick up on your own. It didn't involve any kind of rigorous training. It was mostly just going about doing your own work with various people around you who were also doing their own work. There was also a teacher ambling about, willing to chat with you. All you really need are materials and a place to work and some people to talk to.

Paul said...

I like them. I always wished to do two things, sing and draw. I can do neither. I have two nephews gifted like you. It's curious how that genetically jumps around.
Care to share what "Does it" means?

vaara said...

Lovely pictures. I'm envious! Not because you got to spend all that time in Amsterdam -- I live in Amsterdam -- but because I can't draw either. (I can sing, though.)

Ann Althouse said...

Mary: You might need to go to the enlargement to see that the sign says "Art Rages." I didn't make that up. It really was the name of a store. But the sign meant something to me that it probably did not mean to whoever named that store.

Goesh said...

You have an 'eye' for photography - try some blk&white stuff with people as your subjects, forget sketching

Paul said...

Mary, thank you, I have read your post several times and will probably read it more. I find it extremely helpful.
I was mostly kidding about the genetics part, though I certainly feel there is validity to that and more will be found to support it.
I am not on the intellectual level of most posters here, nor could be. I think Ann suffers my comments most of the time since brilliance does not always equate with rudeness. With effort, I can usually understand what she or a commentor is saying, sometimes not, leading to frustration, I'm afraid.
There is such a boring plainess to me that would lead me to ask questions as I do. Therefore the what does "Does It" mean is an earnest question without realizing the boredom of it.
If Ann ignores the question, it is an answer of sorts and I just assume the question is poorly asked or she is busy.
I stay here because I learn and I have learned from your answer and feel fortunate and hopeful that in the future you and others do not hesitate to help me learn. It is valuable.

Ann Althouse said...

Paul: I wasn't ignoring your question. I thought the correction of the sign to "Art Rages" would implictly answer it. But yes, "Does it?" relates to "Art Rages." Presumably, the shopkeepers were using "rages" to mean "fads" as in "It's all the rage." I was reinterpreting it as a verb to make an interesting sentence. "Does it?" is supposed to cause you to perceive the reinterpretation and then to wonder whether in fact art does rage.

Paul said...

I think this is where I say "Duh"
or crawl under something and hide.
I saw the sign Art Rages and thought, okay that's the name of that shop, nice they put it in English. Then my eyes just roamed around both pictures eventually falling on Does It? Does what? What's 2+ 2? I don't know....Thank you, now he gets it. (See genetically Impaired).
Ann, I never think you ignore me, it was a poor choice of words, I'm sorry. I wonder at how much you do; reading, let alone answering, it is a pleasure to be here. Thank you.
Mary, it is I that is grateful.

Kev said...

I couldn't believe until I clicked on the "Table with No Flies" link that Bill Griffith of Zippy the Pinhead fame actually produced a more "serious" work.

Menlo Bob said...

Spending time sketching Amsterdam sounds pleasant and appropriate. It shows a purpose I find lacking in most vacations. Sightseeing, shopping and eating seem like set-ups for a good nap. Some comments talked about wanting to draw or sing. I suppose singing your way through Amsterdam would be another option.

Ann Althouse said...

Zippy the Pinhead's not serious?

StrangerInTheseParts said...

Re: mary's post

Back in the early 80's Alex DeGrassi released a stunning piece of music on solo guitar called Turning, Turning Back. One of the most beautiful bits of music I've ever heard (as well as technically amazing; it sounds like 2 guitars playing).

He says that people are constantly approaching him saying they used the music in weddings and births, etc. But really, it's just about a trip he took to Philadelphia.

For me, the joy of art is that it exists beyond ANYTHING the artist can say about it or not say. It just is, and each of our reactions to it just are.

lindsey said...

I originally wanted to go to art school, but ended up doing a double major in art and foreign affairs aka I was a normal undergraduate. The art major was exactly as you described art school. The scary thing is I only graduated five years ago. Does anything change? Anyway, I'm not shocked there no longer appear to be any Michelangelos or Da Vincis given the poor quality of art education in this country. I've long felt I was robbed of something in my art "education" and my art was poorer as a result.

John Cunningham said...

Really excellent sketches! or drawings? anyhow, i hope you post many more of your drawings on the blog.

price said...

those drawings are the most beautiful things I've seen all day! another reason to look forward to tomorrow.

Joseph White said...

I wonder if "Art rages" is a pun on "outrageous". Just a thought.

Ann Althouse said...

Menlo Bog: Drawing on a trip makes you look at everything differently. Photography does too, but it's so quick to take a photo. To draw something, you've got to look at it for a long time. You learn it. It's a deep experience, quite engaging, and not like a normal vacation.

Kev said...

"Zippy the Pinhead's not serious?"

It's seriously funny, certainly, and seriously twisted. But the more I think about it, a travelogue by Griffith does make sense, because even in the Zippy comics, he does make some great observations of the human condition.