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We take the train to Den Haag Centraal (after cycling to Leiden Centraal but with saddle slippage and perineum danger) and then to the Mauritshuis: I have to admit, so we can look at The Goldfinch by Carel Fabritius, the subject of Donna Tartt’s novel. And it is exquisite! the scratchy brushstrokes, the highlights, the feathered, well, feathers… And here’s Vermeer’s Girl With A Pearl Earring which is so soft and glows!

I’m drawing as I go, and writing notes of what to look up when I’m home. And then to the Gemeente museum and the Rothko exhibition. I stand in front of the paintings and let them grow over me.

After a day of art I’ve run out of sketchbook pages. In the jazz café, I dig out my i-phone and finally try the Brushes app I’ve been so dismissive of up to now. I draw the musicians with a big clumsy drunken finger…

(It’s not a real Rothko above. I made it up.)

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