March 2020


Whatchamacallit 1: Amsterdam painting.

Amsterdam, 2003

This painting of Amsterdam is something I acquired a long time ago.

The date on the painting is 2003, which sounds about right. I know that bought it before I moved to Germany – it was framed by Framemakers in Bloomington, Indiana. I am relieved to know that Framemakers is still in business, apparently in the same location: 314 West Kirkwood Avenue.

What I remember about the painting is that I was with a good friend who lives in Amsterdam. As I recall, we were walking around Rembrandtplein when we came upon an artist selling his work – this work – and it was, in our opinion, good. We then negotiated with him over the price. I do not remember what we ended up paying for two paintings, but if I had to guess, it was probably about 15€ each.

As I recall, she even made a comment that it was silly for us to be negotiating with him over the price because he needed the money more than we did – to be honest, though, this comment might be a fragment of my imagination.

The painting is wonderful because, to me, it captures the core essences of Amsterdam – those things that make Amsterdam, Amsterdam and not some other harbor city. Given its shape, the church in the background is the Westerkerk. In the middle you can see buildings shaped like traditional Amsterdam buildings – complete with furniture hooks at the top. The canals are evidenced by the bridges – with their arching over water. Last, but certainly not least, the bicycle.

This was not the first thing I had professionally framed – I think I still own one thing that I had framed before it, actually – but this was something where I can remember that the framing cost many multiples more than the art inside (something that, generally speaking, still remains true to this day).

Amsterdam hangs on the wall surrounded by other drawings, prints, paintings, and photos of places that I have been. For a few years, I made a point of trying to buy art everywhere I went – but this resulted in a few too many poor choices. Now I limit myself to things I actually really love – like this watercolor of Amsterdam.

The newest location specific framed art that I own is really recent: a 2020 Sapporo Snow Festival. But that is a Whatchamacallit for another day.

During the Covid-19 crisis, I am going to try and make a point of writing a blog post about an object in my home.

We’ll see how long this lasts.

1 comment to Whatchamacallit 1: Amsterdam painting.

  • Joanne

    Love the idea! Love the story. Thx for sharing this and for introducing this concept— perfect for reflection.