How Does a Cow Catch a Hare ?

It looks messy
I am an organized person but when I am painting everything gets messy

This question has been keeping me up late at night. I wake up thinking about it and now I am determined to find the answer, because simply; I don’t know. But it is literally my job to find out. As an artist I need to find creative ways to capitalize on my talents. I always thought it would be easy once you learn to excel at the skill of painting. It is a no brainer, right? You work every day, you go out in the world and you meet people who want to buy your art. Nope.

How to sell your art

There are many courses these days that promise to teach you how to be a professional painter and make money, or at least how to grab the attention of the art scene, the potential buyers or colleagues. With the precision of a rocket scientist and the enthusiasm of the most cheerful person you might know, I have been following every step available to me. First I went from gallery to gallery in the heart of Sarasota, in the heart of Miami, in Wynwood, everywhere I thought I would have a chance to hang my work on the walls. 

What makes you happy?

After my self confidence took a beating, I thought; “Whatever they are saying, this is not making me very happy.” I self-published many books, wrote blogs, stories about my paintings and sent them to magazines and art shows but nobody seemed to care. I organized exhibitions, went to art fairs, dragged my work to empty walls wherever I could find them. Some people think success is a matter of traveling the same path year after year until you finally meet the person who cares. I don’t believe this. If I keep this going for another year, there will be nothing left of my original uplifted energy. There has to be another way. It is not enough to follow the business models of others. That won’t work for me.

The Law of Attraction at work

Somebody told me that the “Law of Attraction” works for everybody. So I have been sitting in meditation for weeks now envisioning my ideal contact who is going to help me get a showing for the 300 paintings rolled up under my bed. I don’t think I’m coming up with an answer. I made a list of all options I could think of and I worked diligently at the list until I felt I was completely at the end of all the possibilities. I was literally running out of fuel.

My own easel

I woke up one morning and decided I would sell an easel. I have many, so I wouldn’t miss one.  I photographed it and put it on Craig’s list for $30. A couple of weeks later I got a phone call from a woman who wanted to buy it. She walked into my life like a fresh breath of air. She was retired but still energetic, wanted to learn to paint, but above all, she had a gallery and was crazy about my work. We talked like old friends and she opened a whole new door for me.

The impossible became possible

Later in the day I thought about this Dutch expression, “How Does a Cow Catch a Hare?” which means “You never know how the almost impossible is going to happen. You never know your luck” The expression in English is something like; “A blind man may sometimes hit the crow”, which is not as funny as the picture of a cow running through a meadow after a hare. The most important part of the story is that an artist, all artists, needs to find their own unique way of finding the people they want to meet. There is absolutely no business model, nobody who can tell them how to succeed, other than learning to follow their inner voice.

Sometimes that inner voice tells you the weirdest things you can imagine. That is how the most unusual situations have happened and took care of the biggest growth. We humans know consciously so little but our subconscious mind knows exactly how to get somewhere fast. This is why it can be very liberating to give it all up and say, “I don’t know, anymore.”  I don’t know how a cow catches a hare. All I know it that magic does happen.

The Art of Living

It is never to late to find your destination and go after it.
36″ x 48″- 91 x 122 cm, oil paint on linen.It is never to late to find your destination and go after it.

I started my life in a small village in the South of the Netherlands surrounded by water. Sailing was what alleviated the difficulties of hay fever. While moving ever further on to the sea, I became excited about the feeling of limitlessness I saw, being on a vast body of water. The sense of freedom appealed to me and made me happy. I hoped to make a living at sea but as a woman with poor eyesight, the odds were against me.

Moving through life

I decided to try and earn a living as graphic designer and then buy a boat. Working at big companies as an art director was not as satisfying as I thought it would be. The weekends were spent racing across the English channel as crew on various sailboats. Sometimes I went further away and one day in 1985 I saw the most beautiful boat I had ever seen. A sophisticated, elegant, beautiful vessel called Velsheda was participating in a race off the coast of St Malo. My dream was to sail a boat like that but it seemed impossible. This was only for very rich people.

The dream

I promised myself to work harder, to make a career and hopefully to get lucky one day, but the dream vanished behind the desk of the office where I had buried myself in work, not realizing I was bored to tears, in the “exciting” world of advertising. When the opportunity came to sail on a windjammer from London to Amsterdam in the Tall ships race, I boarded the Belem. This event provoked in me a deep desire for freedom and adventure. I quit my job and moved to the Caribbean. I couldn’t imagine spending my days in the grayness of an unsatisfactory life. It became a long journey into the unknown.

 

Paradise

To survive in a strange environment I started decorative painting for people and from there I was asked to paint murals. This led to painting canvasses. I don’t think I ever called myself an artist, nor was there a conscious decision to do so. After some painful events in my life, I used the reflection of the images I painted as a way of healing myself and thus the world. It was cathartic and good.

 

Home again

One day, after I painted a large abstract painting inspired by a white Bird of Paradise, I saw the image of the Velsheda again, that day in St Malo. A voice asked me, “What do you really want to paint?” I knew the answer; sailing boats, and especially the J-class.  By now the dream of ever being part of sailing the so-called “Greyhounds of the Sea” seemed beyond reach. Painting however was part of my daily life and it allowed me to draw the sailing world into mine. The imagination is a powerful tool.  It lifted me up from an undesirable reality to a new world of limitless possibilities. I painted my dream.

I knew I had created the world I live in today and I am taking full responsibility for it. By doing that, I know that I am in control of the rest of my life and I can create anything I want, just like I do as an artist. I can bring every image alive on the canvas, in my imagination and thus in my reality. The picture here shows a person at the helm  of a beautiful boat, fully in control of his destiny. The fact that the sun is setting at the end of a long day does not bother him. It is the powerful feeling of moving toward the ever-expanding horizon. It is a happy feeling of moving towards infinite possibilities.