Colour Block Art

I made these works when I attended the art academy in Bergen, Norway, in 2005. Colour Block Art always makes me happy so I thought I’d better put these works on the internet before I lose them on the old computer.

Three collages, based on the Norwegian landscape, especially the mountains around the centre of Bergen. I walked there a lot. There’s always water going down the mountains, in little streams, towards the fjord.


Zinc etchings. The plates are etched in two different depts, then they are inked with two different ink rolls, one soft, one hard. The hard one doesn’t reach the deepest levels. Colours don’t get muddled this way, especially when you use a more viscous ink on the harder roll, it will cover up the colour that was left on the top most level by the softer roll.

This way you can ink a plate with various colours at once and then print it in one go. No need for registering.


small collage in carton:


Wood reduction prints. Based on the Bergen landscapesCRW_0294



More small collages. Playing with shapes and the line that forms when planes meet.


Prints. Wood reduction with self made inks. Exploring non-rectangle workd.



fountainpen: Sailor Chalana lacquered bamboo

sailor chalana bamboe

Thinnest fountain pen around. This one I’d love to have but can’t find it anywhere. Sailor Chalana lacquered bamboo, golden nib.

I have a Sailor Chalana Silver Barley Maroon. I love it. The texture of the pen is very nice to hold. Also golden nib.

Sailor Chalana naast ballpoint

And I have an antique, a Boston Diamond celluloid pen. Also golden nib. Boston Diamond was a Dutch manufacturer.

This one was sold to me by the penshop in Nijmegen, Holland. Best fountain pen shop in the country and surroundings.

The Sailor Chalana I bought at Akkermans in Den Haag/ The Hague, also a fine shop that is to be recommended.

happy egg spelunking in the new house

I did a thing! We moved into a new house three weeks ago and today I went into the crawling space and investigated why we have damp problems. It’s a space under the living quarters, it’s barely 50 cm high. I was so brave!

It’s a bit of a maze down there, with dividing walls that have little crawl through openings. Only a petite human like myself can go through these. My husband was waiting at the opening of the maze, hoping he didn’t have to go in and rescue me.

There’s wet sand all along the west wall and also a “sink hole”. The coax cable goes through the wall here, we think it lets water in from the outside:

Floor beams look good. Dry:

Lots of cobwebs and calcified “spider winter fest dresses”:

The ground is dry save for 1 meter along the west wall and the north wall.

We’ve put a ventilator in to get rid of the damp air and hopefully the dampness in the sand. This will take a few weeks. We’ve asked a professional to come and have a look and probably install ventilation shafts in the outer walls. I sincerely hope the dampness hasn’t taken up residence in the woollen carpet that’s installed in the living quarters. We will be ventilating the living room a couple of times per day too.

This was quite a feat for me today. Now I’m also going out and walking to the bakery and get an oliebol. And I took a shower! I am working hard on getting rid of this stress and depression. But if things are too much I am fine with spending the rest of the day in bed. Spelunking and showering is enough results for one day.

To help with making myself smile I am wearing a new dress. Look how fun:

Wrong fabric (jersey, not sturdy enough to do the things I do. Like sitting on the pavement or spelunking. Also not lined so it clings to my underwear and is a bit thin.) Wrong shape for my body.
But who cares? Funny sunny side up robins!

We also bought some fun beautiful things for the new house. Hat stand and bird bath:
Hat stand is the only x-mas tree we have this year. I really didn’t have the energy to organize the tree and the decorating. It was a bit empty in our house, this week, because of that. But I spend the energy I did have on drawing a new catvent-calendar, with cats in the shapes of x-mas baubles and I had fun. So: good trade off.

Spend your little amount of energy on something you really like. Even though sitting down at the table to draw is no fun at all. This is a quirk of many illustrators, we’d rather think up excuses not to sit down and start, even though drawing is the thing we love most.

In the past few days, I have just sit down. Once I’m there there’s plenty of inspiration on that table. And I do like to draw.

Also bought two bird baths:

Photo’s by, the site of a nice man in the north of the country who likes stone, nature and birds, just like we do.

Lastly I think Zolpidem, known as Ambien to American friends, might interfere with Serotonin.

Most nights I take 2,5 mg of Zolpidem in the middle of the night, when my IBS wakes me up violently. The stress of the IBS gives me lots of excitatory neurotransmitters (serotonin and dopamine) which my faulty MAO A and MAO B enzymes fail to break down in a fashionable time. As a result of this I have a 1,5 hour insomnia and lay wide awake with a brain like a pin ball machine.

This happens every night and has caused my adrenals to give out, after a few decades. Seeing as they weren’t capable of providing me with anti-stress hormone cortisol to counter this stress and also counter the lack of Human Growth Hormone which is supposed to surge in your REM-sleep in the early hours of the morning. The REM-sleep I miss because I am awake. (Also they had to make up for a Progesteron shortage and counter Oestrogen dominance and endometriosis. Top it off with a virus, most likely Q-virus, and you get CFS/MEID which turns out to be a lot of mitochondrial hindrances and busted adrenals Addison’s disease.)

Anyway. I wake up somewhere between 2 and 4 o ‘clock in the morning (4.45 hours after I fall asleep.) I take 2,5 mg Zolpidem/Ambien and fall asleep for another 4 hours. I wake again in the morning and have no residual tiredness from the Zolpidem. It has left my system (thank you liver enzymes P450).

The thing is: Zolpidem acts on the GABA receptors. Or releases all the GABA that’s in storage. This causes the sleepiness within 10 minutes of taking a pill.

The thing the second is: don’t fuck with hormone receptors. They will react. They will get less sensitive. There will be other receptors reacting.

I haven’t figured it out yet but I suspect the GABA action of Zolpidem/Ambien causes effects in the serotonin-receptors. I have been very sad the last two weeks. Of course this could be many things. The moving house. Female hormones. Dark winter days.

But I didn’t take Zolpidem tonight and today I am happy again. My own self. The happy egg with high serotonin levels because I am homozygote for both enzymes that are supposed to break them down: MAO A and MAO B. (I have the opposite of what people with ADD have.)

Sleep well or be happy. I will alternate I think.

handling depression

Today I had to handle some serious depression. I’d like to talk about it, mainly to record what I did so I can do it again.

Thing is: I don’t want to spend the hour or more writing it up.

In shorthand:

About these thoughts about the world falling apart, life gloom, world doom, trying to find a right attitude towards all this misery = these are the wrong questions. You are going about it wrongly. These are not the legit problems neither is your approach the right one. (you are trying to sort something with logic and reason but it’s ultimately about the meaning of live and that’s not a subject founded in reason and logic).

Secondly: your brain chemistry is off. Don’t try to fix it with thought or will power. Human kind is optimistic, curious and playful in nature. If you are not these things than your brain chemicals are off. This needs to be remedied with chemistry. (Don’t feel guilty or weird about taking store bought neuro transmitters. You’re just supplementing a shortage.)

Hormones are neuro transmitters. These are powerful things. You also need the right minerals. Zinc, Lithium, Molybdenum, Selenium. Vitamin D. Buy them. Sun isn’t going to work.

In my case: blood pressure is too low and isn’t pushing stuff into your organs including the brain. Take salt. Take a cup of black tea. Lady gray with full fat cream.

Do this: actively shut down this train of thoughts. We will think about this another time, tomorrow, at 14.07 o’ clock to be precise. For 24 minutes. But not now.

Now. When you feel a bit better, chemically, there are some things about the state of the world that need to be discussed. Because your feel of doom and gloom is with merit.

Thing the first: word has always been on fire. We’ve always been threatened that the world would collapse in our life span. Cold war. Acid rain. Hydrogen bomb.

At each of these era’s the people living felt just as under threat as we do now from climate change, burning Amazon and loss of forest world wide etc. (Make no mistake: these ARE threats and we ARE at risk and it IS the eleventh hour.)

What I want to say is: people live under global threat for decades now. Those generations have found a way to cope, way back then. Perhaps we can learn from them. (It has something to do with choosing your scope of life. Impulses from outside that radius must be met with a hard skin.)

Thing the second: it’s been only 100 or 150 years that we concern ourselves with global trends and threats. Before that we just didn’t know. We knew a bit about European wars going on. The crusades. Coronations. But it was all “somewhere else” and quite detached from daily life.

Thing the third: This having an opinion about global things and how society should be is something from my generation and a bit around, 1920 – 1980. We grew up in the society that took care of you. We had social studies and history at school and learned to identify large patterns and we took lessons from history. Coupled with a sense that as a society we should stick together and take care of each other. Through government.

This has changed. Nowadays government won’t help you. You need to help yourself. Privatisation is an example. Profit models applied to care services are too.

The thing I want to say is: we as a generation have a handicapped point of view. We are biased towards old political habits. We have our eyes closed to how society is nowadays.

Thing the last: we are handicapped by our human ability to think in terms of cause and effect. We CAN predict the future. We can correctly predict that and how the world’s weather will grow more extreme. How things will be destroyed. Things on which our health and well being depends.

Science and logic are the systems of this ability. They are magnificent. They make our progress possible. Put man on the moon. Unravel galactic truths and mysteries.

However. We are easily lured in thinking that this cause-effect-way of looking at the world is also the correct way of experiencing time. It’s the way that chops up an hour in sixty minutes. A minute in seconds.

This is not the whole truth. Time also exists in another way. The way you know when you sleep. When you pet an animal. When you meditate. When you practise mindfulness. When you lie in the grass and close your eyes. When you are playing a videogame and are immersed.

Neither one of these two time-flows is the correct one. Neither one is better than the other. Both exist. Both are worthy.

OK. Hour is up.

Final thing: nobody blamed Bill Watterson for making comics. Nor Astrid Lindgren. Nobody said: “You should have saved the world instead of this scribbling you do.”

I am allowed also.

And as it is the thing I like best, this is a subject I can turn my attention to when I am in need of active tuning out thoughts of world gloom and doom.

But also, since it is difficult: it is also OK to just sit on the couch, knit a bit and binge watch series on TV. At least until I feel human again: optimistic, curious and playful.

Bergen: day on the couch

Well, today I crashed. Not adrenal crash, thank god, but I found myself crying over lunch at Godt Brød organic sandwich shop and knew I had to take the venicular up and lie down for the rest of the day. A pity because it was another sun filled day in Bergen and I had plans!

But lots of nice things happened over the last few days and here are some of them:

Beautiful textures on the mountain side of the roads.

A dodo for my dear friend The Woolly Dodo and a unicorn too!

The museum of Natural History just reopened after restaurations and we would have loved to visit there. It’s part of what made me cry.

I bought a funny cat illustrated mug for myself:

“password hint: favourite animal starting with a c.”

“I tried cow and calf and crab…. How about centaur?”

The table in the apartment I sat on yesterday and drew some art. Such a view!

I frogged a lot of Serra cardigan because I made some mistakes I’d rather not live with.

And finally: I liked what I saw in the mirror. By colour coordinating my wardrobe I can now just pick any dress shirt and hand knitted vest that’s in the closet and they all go together. With wrist warmers too. And skirt.

I save time and (mental) energy by this. No time wasted on what to wear. My condition, Adrenal Insufficiency, comes with the weird symptom that I now have trouble making choices. I’m fine with deciding, since decisions are lead by pros and cons. But a choice is a choice between two options of similar value, just different content. And somehow I have trouble navigating choices.

(I go with “left” now, mostly.)

This wardrobe trick really works for me and I’ve made all these sympathetic shirts and vests and they are so fun to wear and comfortable too. I am really content with how this plan works out. I felt very nice wearing this combination today, even if it was just in the apartment. Felt like an urban illustrator 😊

only one day per week is for drawing


Inktober day 1: “ring”

Inktober is here and I love doing that and just draw every day. Turns out I can’t. Today it’s the 7th of October and I’ve been feeling bad and inadequate all week for having only drawn day 1 and not draw on any of the next days. It’s what Inktober is about, after all: getting in the habit of drawing frequently. Every day preferably.

Turns out I can not draw every week.

Tuesdays are for ceramics.
Wednesdays are for sewing (lessons).
One day I must stay in bed and not want to do anything.
One day per week I have a meeting out of townm “far” away. It’s usually a council meeting about manure plants or biomass plants; last week it was the annual ceramics fair and yesterday it was a textile workshop at the national textile museum. These meetings are important.
One other day I’ll have a useful appointment close by or at home. It could be the dentist; a moving company coming by to make an offer; the builder who explains the plans for next door.
One day I like to see a friend.
That leaves one day for something my heart desires such as drawing.

On any day I must put in the effort to get out of bed. To get dressed. To organize food. To do the minimum of house chores. To rest. And to calm down in the evening so I can go to sleep.
On the days without appointments this leaves, when done right, about 45 minutes to do something I want. Twice a day if I’m lucky and have had a non-eventful week otherwise.

I’m conceding that I have not healed to the level of a normal healthy person… that I have a chronic illness and limited energy. I have one day per week to draw. Today was that day. I did not draw on my cat-art-business-plan-thingy but I did draw a few more Inktober drawings:
Day 2 “Mindless”:

Mike the headless chicken. Lived for months after getting his head chopped off.
Day 3 “Bait”

Day 5 “Build”

Day 6 “Husky”

I had fun. I love to draw.

Every time I draw it gives me such enjoyment. I have a hard time getting started (really! I have to circumnavigate procrastination while there are so many other things I could do) but once I’m going I’m going. Today, these are all just warming up drawings. Once they’re done I’m ready (and eager!) to do the real stuff. The cat stuf. But by then it’s been 45 minutes and I’m tired and I need to take a break. Which always last an hour if not more.

If I’m lucky I can then return to drawing. Today I did some sewing instead (still working on that August quilt. That I was going to start and finish in …. August.)

But now I know. I have one day per week for drawing. No use feeling bad about the other days. I still get a lot done those other days. I’m not keeling over, even though there’s a lot of pressure such as the heat wave, the stress of the court procedures and those darned neighbours that have their builders cause a ruckus for whole days on end (days when I have to retreat to the cabin because I cannot escape Fight or Flight when the whole house vibrates) Any drawing or preparations I get squeezed into those days is a bonus.

I feel more calm now, with this knowledge. Even if it means my cunning arty business plans are even flimsier than I thought.

I will also take in to account that I get a lot of drawing (or sketching) done when I’m out of the house and in a city, in a café or library. Do more of that. Bring sketch book everywhere.

moving house, naming priorities

This is my house, we’re putting it on the market next week:
It’s a marvelous house! Historic, at a canal in the historic city of ‘s Hertogenbosch.

Lots of pictures at the end of this post.

One month ago we were having a talk, just checking with each other about how are you doing, how will we be doing the next five years, are there things in the running of the house hold we should change. And out of the blue my husband says that, actually, he’s ready to move. Move away to the country side. He’s done with being the custodian of the inner city, of the history. He would like to live a more internal life for the next decade. Focus on living together in a house, in nature.

This suits me fine. I will miss the city life. I am fond of city spaces and how people use and experience the city. But I am more fond of my husband and I would like to explore this new adventure with him.

Health wise I have now found my optimum. I am not well but I am functioning well enough. It means I have to set priorities and living in a quiet house, somewhere in nature, will nurture me more than an interesting city that offers impulses all the time.

In the past four weeks we have decluttered the house and done all the chores we’ve been planning for years. My husband is delighted with the space and room we have found. As am I!

For the first time in my life I now tidy up after myself. And enjoy it.

Look, this is my attic studio:

You see my press in the far right. I am going to use it soon, it is at the top of my priority list.  Wood block reduction prints. And blind printing.

Being an artist is my top priority, it’s my “daily duty”. My other “daily duties” are fighting manure fermenting and biomass plants; co-running the house-hold; managing my health and social engagements.

These are the things that have a place in my every day life. House hold and health are every day things. They get combined with one of the other three. So each day I determine: is today a day for social fun, for making art or for fighting pollution? That’s how I start my day. Because of my health it is OK if this main theme doesn’t get my attention until 14 o’clock, because that’s about the time my body gets going.

Besides three things that have priority every day there are my hobbies. These are my past times. My sit-down-and-enjoy-the-moment-things. They are luxury and are meant to be enjoyed. They are particularly enjoyed in a nice decluttered room!

My hobbies are knitting; spinning; quilting; ceramics, sewing clothes and doodling. For ceramics and sewing lessons there are fixed days in the week, because I have lessons in a studio. The other hobbies I do as I feel like them. But I should do one every day. It makes me happy.

So that’s how I do my days now, and it fits my health profile.

Here are some more pictures of my house. Lots of winter pictures somehow…

View of the bedroom at the back, over the river Dommel:
achterzijde uitzicht oliemolensingel winter 2018

view from bedroom at the front, at a Winter night:brede haven straatverlichting 1e verdieping uitzicht

My cat wants something….lillepoes wil kattengras

Poekie enjoying early Spring in my back garden:poekie in de tuindeur

Spring 2019, I saw how the harbour at the front made light dance in my bedroom door:weerspiegeling gracht op de eerste verdieping

Poppies at my front door every year:
poppies bij de voordeur

View from my bed room at the front across the whole harbour towards the inner city of Den Bosch:winter kerstboom buren brede haven 2018

View straight ahead from the first floor bedroom at a Winter night:winteravond 2018 brede haven den bosch

Sun rise at an early Winter morning:zonsopkomst winterochtend brede haven 54

Full winter panorama of Brede Haven ‘s Hertogenbosch:

determining the meaning of life: don’t use logic.

In the last decade I’ve learned that logic is not the right tool to evaluate (human) life with. Our knowledge of cause and effect does not render logic any authority for appraising life. Logic is just a tool for survival. Some specimens use talons to survive, some have whiskers, others have a brain. Probing the meaning of life with any one of these is legitimate. One is not a better tool of assessment than the other. Logic has as many shortcomings for judging life as do talons or whiskers.

One of those shortcomings is that logic uses premisses and those premisses are false for this particular task. Yet they are rarely examined when following a train of thought that leads to a desperate view on life.

Some of these premisses are: “What happens next is important.” “Human life is important.” “Human life is insignificant in the grant scheme of things.” “My life is important.” “My life is not important.” “Time is important.” “The flow of time is important.” “Time dictates something.” “Time waits for no one.” “Things should be different.”

These are all false because they have no place when trying to determine the meaning of life, when trying to attache a value to life. For example they prevent proper validating a gesture of care, of physically holding someone. And I hope we all agree that touching someone, holding someone, has a place when determining the value to human existence.
Another example: time flows different when you hold someone. When you cuddle your cat. When you’re about to fall asleep. When you meditate.

If you do accept any of these premisses and jump aboard that train of logic you’ll inevitably arrive at a dark destination. Not because the journey is wrong but because the depart was not fitting the quest and you shouldn’t bring a train to a daisy fight with kittens.

You should know that the very fact that you are trying to understand and overcome life and the world with your brain is a sign you are trying to regain control over something. It’s a defence against a feeling of powerlessness. That’s the real station of departure.

It is this knowledge that helps me actively step away from these trains of thoughts. I can’t ride them out, I know I can’t win on the logical plane. I should not examine the place of the court system in society. Not analyze the role of women in cultural interactions. Not ponder the way we humans organize our society. Destroy the natural world. Transport cattle and pigs on the roads. Dispose of our waste.

And although I cannot see the falseness of the premisses when I feel this way I have grown to trust that they are. Distraction is the solution I apply until I feel well again.

Haapsalu Blue Train 00252:
 Haapsalu Blue Train 00252pic by David Allen Wizardgold

you get the illness that humours the universe the most

OK, so I have this ME thing down now. I take my supplements, I take my hydrocortison, I take my rests, I wear my ear mufflers, I eat the fibre free FODMAP no oestrogens low tyramine diet and I take my daily walks to get the intestines moving and clear my brain chemistry. I have a life again! I’m not thinking about my body all the time, I’m thinking and doing other things. :)

Now guess who got bursitis of the hips?

No walking, sitting or using stairs for me.

Guess who lives in a house which has every room on another level starting with the two living rooms having a 1.20 m height difference between them and a kitchen that’s below ground level? Guess whose art studio is in the attic? Guess whose sewing room is somewhere half way?

Guess who now cannot attend events and knitter parties specifically chosen this year to celebrate recovery and getting back a life? I cannot get there because I can hardly sit in a car or train.

OK new game.

Guess who started to see double when she spend Summer 2014 resting on her back for ME with her first iPad about 30 cm from her face?

Guess whose orthoptist then told her it couldn’t possibly be caused by having your iPad up so close? So I spend the next few years enjoying my daily rests (and nightly insomnia) like that.

watching sid the science kid on the ipad pic by jenny cu

Guess whose diplopia got significant worse? I’m at prism 6 now. That’s really bad. Guess whose orthoptist now tells me this iPadding hurts my eyes and all the kids are getting diplopia and nearsightedness because they are buried in their electronics? I’m so hip.

(don’t talk about hips)

Guess who doesn’t need reading glasses anymore because the nearsightedness cancels out the ageing eye? Guess who still needs glasses because diplopia is up close too.

Guess who needs her eyesight for her most dearest activity: drawing?

Final question: guess who has the kind of personality to implement solutions in a rigorous way and get things sorted?

Muffin Tin Monday - puzzle time! April is Autism Awareness Month! pic by Melissa for Autism Awareness Month.

I am standing and typing this. I have arranged a stand up workplace in the front sitting rooms. I’ve brought my drawing equipment here. I am thinking of bringing the sewing machine here too. You can sew standing up.

I’m getting new glasses. I have a timer that reminds me every 20 minutes to look up and gaze afar, resting my eyes.

I found a blog about aligning your skeletal structure, your posture, so the long muscles and tendons work the most efficient and do not bother the bursea. It’s Nutritious, blog from Kate Bowman. I now re-adjust my post every 7 minutes or so. Until it’s a new habit.

This is my timer, from Bengt EK Design:

Because life is so funny…