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.



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.

3 Replies to “The Art of Living”

  1. July 9 2016
    My Dear Jacobina–

    I’m still here listening and seeing your beautiful paintings.
    Each of the three shown on this email has its own haunting
    loveliness and mood. In your words life is so much more than
    it seems to be on an ordinary morning upon awakening to 
    the subtle aches and anxieties of daily living. 

    I love being in touch with your mostly inspiring and beauty-
    filled life you’ve made for yourself…because it is what you want…
    and you have grasped the ways to make it happen for you.

    I’m stuck fearing wanting anything too much. Rather, I move 
    on adjusting my living…as life presents itself to me. Fearful of
    moving outside of the frame of my current existence. Accepting
    limitations as real and defining. Unwilling to care for my self.


    1. Bill, what a touching comment. Thank you so much. I woke up with this fear of wanting too much too.  I literally thought “Who are you to ask the ultimate treasure of the world?” Knowing however that not wanting enough and thinking we are not worth it is against our divine nature. You know that. What I can dream and desire is also seeking me! I know that. It is my smaller self that keeps cutting me off this divine power and this is probably the same for you, as we are all humans. The older we are, the more the paradigm is engrained in trying to prevent us to be happy.

  2. Dear Jacobina–

    Thanks so much for the reply. I am in the middle
    of this continuing dilemma. Please feel free to 
    post my message to you…perhaps others will
    recognize their own REAL constraints on living.

    Part of me knows that if I persist in not expecting
    anything wonderful, it is because I will not allow
    myself to hope for, or dream of anything I want…
    as the past has convinced me that it is dangerous
    and can be depressingly disappointing.


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