The Art of Living
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.
Not knowing where to go
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.
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 a less than satisfactory life. It became a long journey into the unknown.
To survive in a strange environment I started decorative painting for people and from there I was asked to paint murals. It was physically hard labour. Painting images on a wall 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. Being sensitive to energies of other people, I studied with Andrrea Hess to understand how they work and what my energetic place in the world is. She introduced me to Bob Proctor who explained that my life was controlled by paradigms. These two people helped me to overcome obstacles and led me to growth.
The reason why we want change
One day, after I painted a large abstract canvas 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.
Birds of Paradise
After all the rich experiences I feel mostly that my life itself has become a piece of art, and just like in a painting, I don’t know what will be next. As long as I keep moving and creating, I can correct mistakes, dark area’s and erase all that I don’t want. As a master I create life’s experiences, just like I do as an artist. The paintings are merely witnesses of the moods and thoughts of a certain period. The future is visible in the images I am painting at the moment, I just don’t know yet how to read them. I can bring every image alive on the canvas, in my imagination and thus in my reality.
It is Never too Late
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 the powerful feeling of moving toward the ever-expanding horizon.