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Visiting Rembrandt's Studio


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Nastja and I visiting the windmills.

Back in 2001 I visited Rembrandt's studio in Amsterdam.  I remember realizing 'that's how you're supposed to paint!'.

There is a great museum where you can see how the dude lived.

That's all fine and historical, but what got me excited was his painting studio, which was near the top floor of the house.

I thought it was so cool.

So when Nastja and I recently visited Amsterdam guess where the first place we visited was?

Yep.  Rembrandt's studio!

Here's what I learned:

  1. The Old Master's would have their all the windows in their studio aligned to the north so they'd get constant (and even) light throughout the day.
  2. They painted on big easels that were super sturdy.  Even the most expensive easels today fail in comparison to the construction of them back them.
My, what a big easel you have!

  1. The old masters would have their students mix them paint all day (this was before any painter could stroll down the street and pick up a tube of paint).  The paints are simply a mixture of powered elements (shells, dirt, flowers, bugs, minerals) suspended in linseed oil.
Here I am mixing painting pigments into oil. Geeky but fun.

The next day I wanted to see how paints were manufactured.  So we rented a car and drove out to a charming little village full of windmills.  One of the windmills was specific to paint creation.

Turns out to these used wind power to rotate massive round stones that crushed minerals into pigment powders...

These massive wheels crushed chalk in order to create a powder for white paint.

The windmill had a colorful cabinet full of various powders and pigments.  It's crazy to think that back in the old days they used natural things to create color.  Now it's all chemicals.

Wrap Up:

Make a list of all the people and things that inspire you and then make it your mission to check them out!  Visiting their hometown or a museum is a great way to immerse yourself in whatever you're passionate about.  It also helps you forge a greater appreciation for life.

Seeing how Rembrandt set up his studio inspired me to start painting again.  I'll reveal my newest painting (featuring my lovely wife and baby mama) soon enough!

I hope you can find something that inspires you!


A cabinet full of jars with a rainbow of different pigments.

Need to get
a hold of me

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