I totally fell in love with Ben`s work…I would like to share a few of his wonderful water colour paintings.
As you might have noticed from visiting my tiny blog, I am at home in Northern Germany. Northern Germans are often teased by calling them: “fish heads, shell pushers and dike tramplers”. I suppose, I am touched by Ben`s art because on one hand I know his themes well and because ….I can feel the weather looking at his paintings, on the other hand I seem to share his perspectives and perception of moods, colours, surface structures etc…Besides, the picture composition and other details of Ben`s aquarelles reminds me on Japanese paintings.
However, I am very glad that I stumbled upon his wordpress blog linked to his website:
Ben Woodhams is an English artist and illustrator currently living and working on the Danish island of Bornholm in the Baltic Sea.
After beginning a career in museums and art galleries as an exhibition curator and designer, Ben and his family moved to Bornholm in 2008, where he works as an artist, illustrator and educator.
Ben’s practice is founded in direct observation and specialises in birds, working primarily in watercolour. Studies of living birds are made in the field, while dead birds are taken to the studio. Moments in time, and the relationship between the process of observation and depiction, are the engines that drive Ben’s work – the tension between the ‘need’ to capture the moment or the vision, and the desire to let the medium speak its own language.
Recently Ben has been studying changes in the landscape through space and time. The patterns made by a passing flock of cranes, the rising tide within a rock pool, shadows moving over a rock during a day, an oilseed rape field blooming over a period of weeks, changes through the seasons and over years.
Of course, Ben is offering original paintings as well as limited printed editions for purchase.
Interestingly, he is teaching aquarell painting & drawing (in English and Danish language) for private and public groups (all age classes) additionally. He focus on observation-based drawing, watercolour painting and relief printing techniques and put emphasis on outdoordrawing and painting.
Just a few impressions of BORNHOLM – as a teaser that I don`t need anymore….Maybe, we will see each other on Bornholm island in 2019?
Thus, please participate in the European elections 2019.
These EU elections (23rd – 26th May 2019; in Germany: 26th May 2019) will set the course for the future of European nations and the European Union.
Basic decisions will be made in the following 5 years… Considering the dispute about the future scope of cooperation within the EU covering topics like: trade & customs union, freedom of movement, inclusion in terms of common social standards & workers rights, joint foreign policy, harmonized asylum / migration policy, EU armed forces, tax law, joint R&D and digital transformation, climate change issues, further EU East expansion etc., everybody should participate. Europe matters.
Of course, the EU needs to be reformed asap. Do you really want stakeholders to do it, you cannot support?
Even in the event that you want an EU exit, you have to vote. Fastest way to destroy the EU is to foster a Dexit, by the way. Maybe, a complete liquidation of the EU will provide the opportunity to create a better EU version, who knows? Okay, I do not want to become polemic and speculative. Whatever you prefer, vote!
Facing growing extremism, nationalism and emotional tensions between EU-hostile right-wing and left-wing parties like a “tug of war” across Europe, everybody has to show his/her colors in my view. Otherwise, non-voters should be silent and should not complain anymore.
Germany transfers € 2 billion each month to the European Union…these monthly rates make up € 24 billions per annum (2015).
Germany contributes about 17-18% of the total EU budget – as long as the BREXIT is not implemented. This is the biggest share paid by one EU member state.
Germany belongs to the EU members who are so called “net payers” (Nettozahler), which means that Germany contributes more money to the EU budget than it it gets finally back as financial aids & investments. In contrast to UK – another net payer who enjoys a 66% rebate, Germany doesn`t get any automatic refunding or discount.
Germany is by far the most generous net payer followed by UK and with a huge gap: France and the Netherlands.
In 2015, Germany received in total € 11 bn as financial support – including € 6 bn for agriculture & environment and € 4,6 bn to fund economy and R&D projects.
In 2017, Germany received with € 10,93 bn less EU funding. 56% of the EU money was spent on agriculture & environment, 19% on regional policy (in contrast to other EU countries that spend in avg 27% on regional development) and 22% on R&D. (source: the European parliament, budget at a glance website)
The membership fees are based on the GDP of each EU member state. Considering the fact that Germany is the European powerhouse and still performs quite well the GDP-based ranking of the biggest spenders looks different. The order of the ranking changes as follows: The Netherlands, Sweden, Germany and finally UK.
The EU members who take the biggest benefit of the EU funding (and EU-funded FDIs of Western corporations looking for cheap labor & low taxes, freedom of movement in terms of economic migrants) are Poland and Hungary, followed by the other Eastern European states.
In 2017, Poland paid € 3,05 bn and received € 11,92 bn funding. Hungary paid € 820,82 mio. only but received € 4,08 billion EU money. Considering this balance, it is in my view annoying that receiver countries like Poland & Hungary are not willing to share the burdens of the EU membership (e.g. migration issue) and seem not to share its underlying basic values & targets. My suspicion is that there are EU member states who regard the EU just as a cash dispenser, free labor market and a trade union….and / or a primary stage and candidacy for joining the NATO because of geo-strategically reasons.
Frankly speaking, I wonder why Germany shall continue to pay for the EU states without any own ROI – in the event that the EU is not able to jointly develop and agree on policies and therefore create an European block with greater negotiation power and more autonomy in terms of economy, R&D, defense etc..
Please, visit this EU website, where you`ll find an interactive, very interesting tool with financial statistics about each EU member state – EU Budget At A Glance…
Admittedly, the movie below is not unbiased. It tries to explain the German viewer that the EU membership is a bargain – it just depends on the carefully selection of parameters to create a statistic / ranking…. Well, I`ve learnt not to trust any statistic that I didn`t falsify by myself…😉
Furthermore, all these statistics doesn´t include the cost the German tax payer has to bear due to the huge influx of EU migrants into our social-, welfare-, social housing, education- and health systems that are originally based on an insurance business model. Only people who have frequently paid in the insurance budget have the right to get support…well… This issue is a total taboo topic in Germany and not discussed, despite of single minor issues like the payment of children support to migrants from EU member states. My suspicion is that these migration cost are higher than e.g. the cost for supporting asylum seekers from 3rd countries.
Another cost driver is the fact that many German companies invest in Eastern European EU countries to receive funding from the EU and take benefit of low cost labor, no workers or citizen rights and less industry regulation. Therefore, existing and new jobs are relocated to Eastern Europe and get lost in Germany. The German employees have to train the Eastern Europeans and are made redundant…or they have to work with old, run-down machines while modernized facilities are set up in Eastern Europe. From my experience Hungary and Poland are the preferred locations for FDIs of German companies.
In my view, today trade/economy, R&D, social & legal affairs and foreign policies cannot separated from each other anymore. All or nothing!…at least step by step. Otherwise the EU in its current form is the worst investment ever for the German tax payer.
However, nevertheless – although they are not complete – facts & figures are interesting. It is up to each individual to do her/his own cost-benefit assessment in regard to his own country`s EU membership.
These are screenshots of the above-mentioned tool…example: Germany
At Valaskjalf, Huginn and Muninn are sleeping. Arms & shields taken off, Fragile trust.
In Valaskjalf, Huginn und Muninn schlafen. Waffen & Schilder abgelegt, zerbrechliches Vertrauen
Note: In Norse mythology, Huginn (from Old Norse “thought”) and Muninn (Old Norse “Memory” or “mind”) are a pair of ravens that fly all over the world, Midgard, and bring information to the god Odin (= Wotan) & Frija (= Frigg), his wife.
In Norse mythology, Valaskjálf (“the Shelf of the Slain”) is one of Odin’s Halls, a great dwelling built and roofed with pure silver. In this room is a high seat, Hliðskjálf, where Odin & Frija can watch over the entire universe. Vali (one of the Asen-gods), who revenged Balders (= son of Odin & Frija) assassination, was at home in this 3rd hall of Asgard too.