Cycling history personified! On his 90th birthday, my bike builder is honored by Volkswagen.

Henk Kluver, the master craftsman who built my everyday bike, a Utopia Kranich, and made the coachlines on it, is 90, and in recognition of his lifelong dedication to quality transport, has been given a brand-new VW Transporter for being a “real craftsman” — that’s the “egte vakman” they’re searching for near the beginning of the touching video.

Among other things the video shows Meester Kluver assembling a near relative of my Kranich crossframe by hand, and, most interesting of all, coachlining it with a special tool.

90 and still working!

See my bicycle page  for my other bikes. This photo essay on my Utopia Kranich includes more images of Meester Kluver at work, and also of the 1930s version of my bike.

Andre Jute
Riding history

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SuperWhooper Escapes the Isle of the Damned

The Bandon River, on which I live, is one of the places the Whooper Swans overwinter. I often ride out on either of the two roads that flank the field on which they sit. You can get very close on one road, where cars have accustomed them to noise and people, and on the other you can look down on them with binoculars. But you shouldn’t conclude from this painting’s name that it is a realistic rendition of a Whooper; it isn’t, it is an allegory, a Whooper crossed with Dante’s Inferno, and I’ve crossbred it with a snow goose from some vague notion that a snow goose wouldn’t like the heat of Sodom & Gomorrah. The mind of a literarily inclined artist is awfully confused— er, I mean subtle.

Andre Jute: SuperWhooper Escapes the Isle of the Damned, acrylic on canvas, 2014, 6x8in

Andre Jute: SuperWhooper Escapes the Isle of the Damned, acrylic on canvas, 2014, 6x8in

I enjoyed making the Isle in the background so much in acrylic with a colour shaper that I’m ordering an oil bar (a thick stick of pigment mixed into wax that one applies directly to the canvas) of burnt sienna to slash at a larger canvas. I’m not ordering a set of oil bars because I really like working with water soluble oils and have plenty of other media, including normal solvent-based oils; we’ll see how I like one oil bar, then perhaps I’ll buy a set.

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Painting with bicycle found. Unfortunately, it’s a fraud!

Geocycle on the Thorn forum found the exact image I was thinking of. This is what I was looking for:

Fake bicycle poster with "Vincent van Gogh" background

Fake bicycle poster with “Vincent van Gogh” background

And this is what made me think of Vincent van Gogh, because he did paint the background.

Vincent van Gogh, Langlois Bridge at Arles

Vincent van Gogh, Langlois Bridge at Arles

Someone added a rider and a bicycle over a crude copy of a van Gogh scene. No wonder I couldn’t find it in the Musée d’Orsay!

Thanks to all who helped solve the puzzle for me by suggesting avenuses of investigation. Give Geocycle the big cigar!

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Painting of artist with bicycle? Who knows where to find it?

I’m looking for a painting of an artist with a bicycle.  He’s standing on an angle, perhaps coming up from a river, fields and maybe factories in the background. The bicycle is a Pedersen. Can you help me find it?

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Here I have  Robert Rosenblum’s beautiful book of the paintings in the Musee d’Orsay open on my treadmill and am paging through it, looking for the “missing” painting of the artist with a bicycle. I’m also in the photo; you can see my halo.

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But it’s slow work. There are about 900 pages in the book: here it lies on a box for a 100 canvas panels, so you can see how thick it is. Stewart, Tabori and Chang, who published it, give real value for money! More books of paintings from our shelves to follow until I find it, because it’s needling at me to know the painting exists and not be able to put my finger on it.

– Andre Jute

 

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Desiree (a dromedary) yawns, or perhaps intends to spit on the sketcher

Andre Jute, The Circus passes (without incident): Desiree (a dromedary) yawns, or perhaps intends to spit on the sketcher, 2014, approx 8x4 inches, acrylic on wax paper

Andre Jute, The Circus passes (without incident): Desiree (a dromedary) yawns, or perhaps intends to spit on the sketcher, 2014, approx 8×4 inches, acrylic on wax paper

There was some paint left over after I made a painting in my book of canvas sheets. It was still wet, so I couldn’t turn a page to make a new sketch. But I had the wax paper from my sandwiches… It pays not to be a litterbug!

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Andre Jute: Carpet of Flowers, Mishells, June 2014, Watercolor in custom sketchbook, A5

Where I cycled, and stopped to paint the carpet of flowers.

Andre Jute: Carpet of Flowers, Mishells, June 2014, Watercolor in custom sketchbook, A5

Andre Jute: Carpet of Flowers, Mishells, June 2014, Watercolor in custom sketchbook, A5

 

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If you can decipher Dakota’s cryptic message, you don’t want to miss this book!

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If you can decipher Dakota’s cryptic message, you don’t want to miss this book!

#iomtt #TouristTrophy GOD’S SCOFFLAWS by #Dakota Franklin now out. Get your #free sample! http://t.co/cjRKo4uSzT

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Bluebells from Ireland, pen and wash by Andre Jute 2014

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Bluebells from Ireland, pen and wash by Andre Jute 2014

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Andre Jute: The Fire that Ate Poacher Tom’s Cottage

Andre Jute: The Fire that Ate Poacher Tom's Cottage; acrylic on canvas, 6x8in; 2014

Andre Jute: The Fire that Ate Poacher Tom’s Cottage; acrylic on canvas, 6x8in; 2014

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IDITAROD by Andre Jute, reviewed by LeAnn Neal Reilly

IDITAROD a novel of The Greatest Race on Earth by Andre Jute

IDITAROD a novel of The Greatest Race on Earth by Andre Jute
Reviewed by LeAnn Neal Reilly

I very much enjoyed this tale of adventure, romance, and danger on the Iditarod Trail. Set in 1985, the heart of the story is an impetuous bet between one Rhodes Delaney, a sled-dog racer from Colorado, and James Whitbury, an Olympic gold-medal skier who also happens to be an MIT-trained engineer and inventor with a trust fund. (Yes, James is a bit too-good-to-be-true, but I’m happy to let that slide. After all, I actually know a few young men who could satisfy at least some of these traits. Mostly it’s the trust fund part that doesn’t convince me.)

Jute carefully establishes the main characters, including a monstrous wolf pack, before the actual Iditarod race begins, deftly weaving in details with a light hand. Initially misunderstandings and unfamiliarity color the nascent relationship between Rhodes and James (they met by chance at the outset), who train for the race of a lifetime in very different ways. Rhodes, the daughter of a Colorado rancher, will eschew corporate sponsorship to keep her father’s hand-carved wooden sled unspoiled with advertising; instead, she’ll work 12-hour days in a salmon-processing factory to raise the $20,000 to compete. But at least she’s bred and trained her own dogs and has half a lifetime’s experience racing. James, on the other hand, can afford to train and race, but he accepts sponsorship from Frontier Construction, getting dogs, training, and other elite help in return for designing and testing a lightweight alloy sled. He spends the better part of his training-year prototyping and testing a sled for production, but that’s okay. He’s got an experienced dog breeder and coach, along with the best nutritionist and gear that money can buy.

Once the race begins, so too does the story. Jute skillfully paces the writing to match the events. Though it moves quickly, the story never gets ahead of itself. At first, the story is told from Rhodes’s point of view, but at a critical, terrifying moment, it switches to James’s and then to a third-person view of the wolf pack, a distant but clearly festering problem. As the two racers face growing dangers and challenges on the 1200-mile trail from Anchorage to Nome, the wolves circle just outside their awareness but never far outside the reader’s. The viewpoints continue to alternate until settling down with Rhodes’. Jute ups the ante as the race draws to a close, heaping exhaustion and terrifying danger upon his two main characters. The final harrying sequence of events, while not nail-biting, does require sitting up straight, scooting to the edge of the seat, and paying attention very closely.

I particularly enjoyed the story because of its realistic, and thorough, description of the Iditarod race, its history, the trail, and what it takes to compete. For a brief (and irrational moment), I wistfully wished I could experience the thrill of riding on the runners behind a sled pulled by a dozen well-trained dogs. However, I’m not so keen on facing angry moose, bear, or wolves, nor do I wish to ride into the teeth of 40-mile-an-hour wind. And I’d prefer to sleep more than a few hours at a time, especially on a soft, warm bed.

I must also say that I found the romance between Rhodes and James both charming and a bit quaint (though I don’t mean anything pejorative by this). James has a gentleman’s manners from another era: he politely requests permission to be excused by an elderly woman at the beginning, and he gallantly charges into a blizzard to help Rhodes, then camps chastely with her.

It isn’t simply the romance that calls to mind a different, more genteel, era. There is a clear sense of propriety and duty throughout, a stiff-upper-lip sort of stoicism in the face of grievous difficulty, the understanding that the race takes precedence over everything else for Rhodes and James because they have said that they will run it, and their honor and sense of self are bound up in completing it to the best of their abilities. I personally am attracted to such characters.

IDITAROD a novel of The Greatest Race on Earth by Andre Jute
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