#Giveaway Monday

Happy Giveaway Monday! To soften the blow of having to start a new week,  I am giving away a high resolution picture from the Keukenhof Gardens in the Netherlands, just outside Amsterdam and telling you about a great free book.

I use this picture as  background on my phone. It looks really good as wallpaper.

P1030933

Next up: This very popular book is free for a short time! I grabbed a copy for myself. It’s a romantic comedy, my favorite!

shesgottabemine

She’s Gotta Be Mine
Cottonmouth Book 1
Copyright 2011 Jennifer Skully

For the first time in e-book!

If you missed it previously, KOD Daphne Award winner “Sex and the Serial Killer” is back with a new title, “She’s Gotta Be Mine”, and a slight text revamp.  It’s still laugh-out-loud funny, peopled with hilarious characters in the small town of Cottonmouth, California.  Not to mention an alleged serial killer who’s too devilishly handsome to ignore.

4 1/2 Stars, Top Pick! “Skully’s novel is a triumph. It’s fabulously funny, with top-notch dialogue, terrific pacing and witty compelling characters.”
Romantic Times

“A witty novel that will keep you engrossed until the very end!”
Huntress Reviews

“An absolute delight.”
Road to Romance Reviews

Dumped? For her husband’s high school sweetheart he hasn’t seen in twenty years? Roberta Jones Spivey isn’t going to lay down for that, no way. Instead, she decides to reinvent herself. The new Bobbie Jones—new haircut, new name, new attitude—will follow her soon-to-be ex to the small Northern California town of Cottonmouth. And there she’ll show him—and his sweetheart—what a big mistake he made.

What better way to show him what he’s missing in the brand new Bobbie Jones than taking up with the town’s local bad boy—who’s also reputed to be a serial killer. Nick Angel is devilishly handsome and sexy as all get-out. In a word, perfect.

It’s all going exactly according to plan…until a real murder rocks the little town of Cottonmouth. Of course, Nick didn’t do it…did he?

~Previously published in 2005 as Sex and the Serial Killer~

Don’t miss the sequel, Fool’s Gold!

BUY

Kindle  
Kindle UK 
Kindle CA
Nook 
iBooks 
iBooks AU
iBooks UK 
Kobo 
Smashwords 
All Romance 
Coffee Time Romance

Here are three free recipes for cookies, some that are even healthful for breakfast!

http://food-hacks.wonderhowto.com/how-to/why-you-should-eat-cookies-for-breakfast-0159718/

The Rijksmuseum, Amsterdam, series 3 (Rembrandt)

My mother once told me that when she saw Rembrandt’s prints, she wanted to become a printmaker. She would talk rapturously about drypoint and other printmaking techniques. When I was in Amsterdam this spring, I enjoyed seeing the originals of this printmaking master who influenced my mother to dedicate her artistic career to printmaking.

This print captivated me because when you look at it closely you can see all the little lines and hash marks he used to make the dark areas and realize they were all scratched into a copper plate. My mother also spent time explaining to me the importance of knowing the light source when you are drawing and of course all the masters portray light source perfectly, but this print in particular impressed me because of the precision in showing where the light would fall and reflect and then rendering that by scratching lines into copper!

P1040232

P1040233

P1040234

This next one is gorgeous in person and I apologize for the blurriness.  I have to work harder at getting steady shots in museums without flash. This room wasn’t busy so I could have used a tripod.

The Three Trees Rembrandt Harmensz van Rijn  etching drypoint, burin, 1643 This is the largest landscape that Rembrandt ever etched and the ost painterly in execution. The low-ying sun, which shines from the right, enhances the dramatic effect, just like the storm dissipating at the the left. The location is unclear, but may be somewhere along the Zuiderzee.
The Three Trees
Rembrandt Harmensz van Rijn
etching drypoint, and burin, 1643
This is the largest landscape that Rembrandt ever etched and the most painterly in execution. The low-lying sun, which shines from the right, enhances the dramatic effect, just like the storm dissipating at the left. The location is unclear, but may be somewhere along the Zuiderzee.

P1040235

When I was between jobs in San Francisco, my mom told me about a part time job at Fort Mason Printmakers. I applied and landed the job so I was able to work there for about a half year. This time gave me a chance to hang out with her and a bunch of artists, the printmakers, painters, and ceramicists, which I loved.

Here is a picture of the printmaking room at Fort Mason:

Fort Mason interior 3

The day at the Rijksmuseum did me in. At the end of the day, I noticed pain in my hip that turned into a big case of tendinitis that laid me up for the rest of the stay. Being confined to the houseboat was nice, though, as I could look straight out at the canal from the bed while I spent a contemplative time drawing and painting on my Bamboo (a digital art pad). During this time, my mother passed away. I was grateful to feel so connected to her and felt that she was there with me enjoying Rembrandt.

Here are some posts about my mom:

Where it all Began (Mom’s in the first picture. Dad too.)

Beauty at the Beauty Salon (My mom is in the last photo, in the mirror, just a couple months before she passed away.)

Flowers for my mom: Keukenhof Gardens May 2013 series, 1 (I started my Keukenhof Gardens series for her.)

Yesterday, I planted some flowers on her grave:

Grave 3 Grave 5 Grave 8

De Oude Kerk (The Old Church), Amsterdam 2

The Old Church in the heart of Amsterdam not only serves as a place of worship but also as a concert hall, wedding venue and exhibition and reception area.

De Oude Kerk photo journalism exhibit

De Oude Kerk photo journalism exhibit

World Press Photo Laureates from Russia and the Soviet Union:

Altaf Qadri

Altaf Qadri
Altaf Qadri

Micah Albert

Micah Albert
Micah Albert

A door in the church

To see the previous posts about De Oude Kerk and the photo journalism laureates:

The Rijksmuseum, Amsterdam, series 1

I loved the Rijksmuseum. The layout is orderly, lots of light, the museum isn’t too big and the galleries are very spacious. But if you go out to get lunch at the cafe, realize that you have left the museum and have to get in line to get back in again. Nice cafe, though. But a bit crowded. The best thing about the museum is the art. Gorgeous.

Dutch Ships in the Calm William Van de Velde
Dutch Ships in a Calm William Van de Velde

Dutch Ships info

Cornelis Cornelisz. The Fall 1592 1
Cornelis Cornelisz. The Fall 1592

Okay, here are some close ups because while I was in Amsterdam on the houseboat, I was doing a lot of digital painting on my Bamboo. And discovering how hard it is to do feet. Check out these toes. (I know the photos aren’t too sharp, sorry, but you have to work fast in a museum so as not to annoy people and you can’t use flash.)

Cornelis Cornelisz. The Fall detail 1
Cornelis Cornelisz. The Fall detail 1

Then I was also trying to paint a torso from a life pose I had in an ebook I bought. Found out really fast how hard life drawing is. I spent about 20 hours on it and it didn’t turn out. Apparently, according to a friend who’s an artist, I need to take a life drawing class where they will teach me about anatomy and technique. Here’s what a stomach is supposed to look like:

Cornelis Cornelisz. The Fall detail 2
Cornelis Cornelisz. The Fall detail 2

Check out this sculpture. You don’t see this kind of thing in every museum.

Greyhound Quellinus 1657
Greyhound, oak wood, Artus Quellinus 1657

De Oude Kerk (The Old Church), Amsterdam

First, here’s some info about the church, from their website:

The Old Church

The Old Church is in the heart of Amsterdam right on the ramparts. It is the oldest building in the city and was founded by fishermen on the river Amstel. Around 1300 there was erected a stone church, dedicated to St. Nicholas. This church would become the imposing medieval monument that exists today.

The Old Church not only serves as a place of worship but also as a concert hall, wedding venue and exhibition and reception area. It is the living room of Amsterdam. That’s always been the case: Fishermen repaired their nets here, played the organ, and Sweelinck and Rembrandt went here to marry. Generations of Amsterdam residents, including the naval hero Van Heemskerck, are buried in this European monument.

De Oude Kerk interior
De Oude Kerk interior

Our experience in May 2013

We were walking, of course, as we walked so much in Amsterdam (afraid of getting in a bike crash) that I ended up with tendinitis in my hip at the end. On this sightseeing adventure, I was in front, picking my way around some construction work being done on the paving stones outside the church, and behind me, my husband was being propositioned by a “lady of the night.” Does that moniker still apply during the day? Well, you know what I mean. Now, this is a man who takes pretty much everything in stride, but he was startled enough to catch up and tell me what happened. His eyes were pretty huge! The lady in question managed to do this without me catching on. Pretty clever.

The church is right next to the red light district, we discovered.

The World Press Photo laureates from Russia and the Soviet Union were on display. These photos were fascinating and some of them were disturbing, as photojournalism can and should be, bringing to light experiences of people around the world, both positive and negative.

The church itself is amazing. You look at these tombstones on the floor and know that beneath them are people who lived in Amsterdam hundreds of years ago. And you think about their lives.

the tombstone from 1813
The tombstone from 1613
tombstone 1621
Tombstone from 1621, Oude Kerk, Amsterdam

That was a lot of death, so here are some thrilling photos of life at its best from the Photo Laureates, Wei Zheng and Yongzhi Chu:

Wei Zheng, China, 3rd Prize Sports Action Singles, A member of the Australian synchronized swimming team competes at the Olympic Games in London, on  10 August.
Wei Zheng, China, 3rd Prize Sports Action Singles, A member of the Australian synchronized swimming team competes at the Olympic Games in London, on 10 August.
Gymnasts
Yongzhi Chu, China, 2nd Prize Sports Action Singles, Young gymnasts warm up at a juvenile sports school in Jiaxing, Zhejiang, China.

Looking at these photojournalism masterpieces reminds me of Leanne Cole’s post yesterday in which she discusses art and photography. I highly recommend it: What is Art?

Purples of Amsterdam

This photo of Lilies is out of focus, but this masterpiece is the first thing you see when you enter the Van Gogh Museum in Amsterdam. The close ups came out better and show the brush strokes. The explanation is handy. The Van Gogh Museum does an outstanding job explaining every aspect of Van Gogh, including the science of studying and verifying his paintings. His influences are interesting as well. This museum makes a lot of knowledge accessible.

Irises by Van Gogh

P1040287

Close up of Irises by Van Gogh
Close up of Irises by Van Gogh
Reproduction sof Van Gogh's palette for The Irises
Reproduction of Van Gogh’s palette for The Irises
Close up of Irises by Van Gogh 2
Close up of Irises by Van Gogh 2