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VOLUME 38 NUMBER 2 | SUMMER 2020

Ojai artist’s adventure abroad L

ast summer I arranged a seven-day Quick Sketch Artists’ Rhine River cruise on AmaWaterways from Amsterdam, Netherlands to Basel, Switzerland. Renowned master drawing instructor Glenn Vilppu hosted the journey with his fellow students, and I herded the creative cats along the way. The “cats” were 23 artists, arriving from around the world to converge in Amsterdam for a creative travel workshop. Vilppu’s niece Laura Belevica with her film crew accompanied the voyage to capture moments for Vilppu’s documentary. Their pre-cruise journey began at the quintessentially Dutch Pulitzer Amsterdam hotel. Hidden amongst the city’s iconic canals, the intricate maze of 25 connecting Golden Age canal houses has an amazing collection of pre- and post-war art and décor. Every corridor and room is uniquely furnished with an eclectic, historic, whimsical array of antiques and lush, colorful textiles that created an enticing experience for the artists. The hotel foyer even has a baby grand piano suspended from its ceiling. As I entered my suite, opera singing

permeated my room. I drew back the exceptionally long drapes to discover a window too high to look through. Stepping upon a stool to peek outside, I swung open the shutters for a Rapunzel moment. Happily amazed, my prime stage view was of the floating-pontoon, live performance on the canal below. The annual classical extravaganza, the Prinsengracht Concert, was performing its sound checks for the next evening’s event. A memory to last a lifetime, I indulged in a siesta while basking in an extraordinary serenading breeze flowing through my window. The following day was filled with exploring canals, museums and visiting art stores to replenish supplies. Dinner at De Bajes Street Art Restaurant set the perfect artsy location for the group to become acquainted with each other. It was quite a diverse and extraordinary collection of guests. Including Ventura artists Lois Freeman-Fox and her husband, animator Paul Wee from the Simpsons, retired animators from Disney; creator of Dulcinea the painting robot Paul Kirby from Colorado; Ti Zhao from New

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by Valerie Freeman

Zealand and the list goes on. After dinner, we returned to Pulitzer for the evening canal concert. It was a drizzly night with lights glistening and the canal was packed with boats and the riverbanks and bridges filled with onlookers. Pulitzer hosted the festive after-party in their interior garden courtyard. It was bustling with musicians and dedicated patrons who have annually attended the concert for decades. Once aboard AmaSerena, the artists discovered they were in for a new experience of quick sketch. Being on a moving vessel, the view is in a constant state of change. Being a seasoned world traveler and several times a Guest Art Lecturer on Crystal Cruises, I am used to sketching ever-changing horizons. I love capturing the experience in my sketches, rather than replicating every detail in sight. Amsterdam, with its occasional sprinkle of rain, posed a different challenge for the outdoor artists with managing an umbrella and sketching at the same time. At times, their umbrellas weren’t always handy and watercolor

Profile for Ojai Valley News

Ojai Valley Guide Summer 2020  

Ojai Valley Guide Summer 2020  

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