Sunday, May 30, 2010

Dutch Masters

This past week on my photography blog I did a series of these 3 rural Dutch scenes here in Holland, utilizing the PhotoShop craquelure texture to make them look like oil paintings.  When Astrid and I are out-n-about on our weekend car trips, I get inspired by what I see and sometimes can't help but "mess around" with my images, if I can get away with it.

But here is where it gets embarrassing (and shame on me for never taking an art appreciation class in college!).  I had heard the names of many painters all my life---like Rembrandt, Picasso, Dali, Vermeer, Degas, Monet, Van Gogh, Cezanne, Matisse, Da Vinci, Raphael, Rubens, Botticelli---names that had meaning to me even if I couldn't tell you whose painting was whose.  However, it wasn't until later in my life that I ever connected "The Dutch Masters" to a country called Holland/The Netherlands...where I now live!

DUH!  Can you explain that...the disconnect we have sometimes between language and meaning.  How could I not connect that there are great painters from The Netherlands who are therefore called DUTCH masters!

That reminds me of something from my early Sunday School days when we sang the "We're going to the mansion on the happy day express" song.  "The letters on the engine are J-E-S-U-S" but what I always heard was "the letters on the engine:  R-J-E-S-U-S." When I finally got it later, I just laughed and laughed.  DUH!  Of course I know how to spell Jesus.

See, language plays tricks on us.  And I'm talking about our own Mother Tongue.  What tricks will Dutch play on me, I wonder!  My second language.  Actually, it's my third language.  Spanish is my second language, which I can speak much better and faster than Dutch.  There are times with Astrid (and even at school) when I know I need to make a non-English reply but my spontaneous, unconscious response will be Spanish.  I know the Spanish word, not the Dutch word.  I know that it's not supposed to be an English word.  HAHAHA!  It makes me laugh when I write it now but DUH!  Language.

Did you know that in English cows MOO but in Dutch they BOE (pronounced BOO).  [Maybe Eliza can tell us what they say in Swahili.]  Oh, and we in English take photos but in Dutch they make photos.  We write things down and they write things up.  We sleep in over the weekend and they sleep out.  Go figure.  This is the beauty and fun of language.

But back to "dutch masters"...there are none better for me than the windmills and the sheep...and anything else that sets foot in the polder.  That includes all the gates as well as the cows and rabbits and geese and swans (almost every polder/meadow has a pair of swans that mates there for life and never leaves).

There's nothing else like it for me.  It's an art museum I enter almost every weekend, ooohing and aaaahing...and I know every "master" by name! 

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