Feeding and Weeding

Sunset in May

 Nothing magical will be achieved without effort

This morning I woke up with an image of feeding a monster. Once calmed down with a cup of coffee, I contemplated what the dream meant. What does the word feeding mean? … feeding is the act of taking or being given nourishment.

An almost full moon rose in the East the day it was my turn at the Hermitage Artist Retreat to feed the newly arrived artists on the beach. It is a treat and a tradition to organize a friendly welcome to travellers who came from northern States, often having left snow covered streets that morning, at their place of origin.

Serving dinner is a paid job and as soon as it came available to me I grabbed it with both hands. Some people warned me that this was a tough assignment, walking through loose sand with baskets of china and silverware, tables and chairs. Some people said, “Don’t do it, you are crazy!”

Yes, I am.

I am also strong and physically healthy and prepared to walk the extra mile to create magic.Almost every week at the end of the day when winds have picked up and blow warm air from the North Eastern corner of the Gulf of Mexico, I drag folding tables close to the place where the waves curl over grey sand.

The wind makes it tricky to throw the white linens over the tables and keep them put before I can secure them with heavy white plates. Another challenge is to hold the napkins down before they land on the sand by securing them with a knife. If all goes well the rest is set in a matter of minutes and the chairs surrounding the scene can finish the job.

Cooking the meal is not part of the deal. I pick up the food from a local restaurant Lock’n Key and keep it warm in the oven until everybody has enjoyed a glass of wine and a snack. I bring the warm meal to the beach.

I was thinking about my dream in which I was feeding the monster. Nothing in my life is taken lightly or escapes my attention. With curiosity I dissect images, sounds and meetings until it found the right place in my mind and heart. My conclusion was this; Feeding the monster stands for everything I am fearful of. Nourishing this fear will make it grow.

I chose that morning to not feed my fears and weed them out. The image lost power like an inflatable monster loosing air.

When I am feeding the artists I am not only giving them tangible food. It is actually not about the food, nor the wine although both enhance the experience. It is about the energy that was put into the experience of eating food while watching the sun set. It is about the company of accomplished artists who have interesting stories to tell about their work, their life and their expectations. It is about all of our energy and achievements brought together under starry skies, the torches flickering in the dying wind. It is about all that we add in making something extra-ordinary happen in this world, brought together in the couple of hours the meal lasts.

Feeding is nurturing the beauty and the magic while weeding out all negativity, dying from malnourishment. It is a matter of choice.

Galleria Mare is basically closed for the summer, but if you wish to make a purchase, we will open it for you. Just call 786 457 1606. The first planned exhibition is Wednesday September 6, 2017 on which date I hope to show you a series of new paintings, still to be discovered.

You can also go to the website http://www.jacobinatrump.com/shop/, make the purchase and I will deliver it to your home address

The Art of Letting Go

Night Watch

A painter makes stuff or is it more?

When you move a lot from one house to another you realize how much stuff you have. Especially a painter who makes even more stuff to hang on walls realizes the accumulation with every move. I developed my own philosophy about gathering stuff. I am a person who loves to buy new things. As I develop my taste for more exclusive items I always seem to find better objects, more beautiful, more shiny or more enriching. The older ones all of a sudden seem dull by comparison and what do you do with the dusty stuff?

How much stuff do we need?

The dilemma seems ludicrous sitting next to my dying father who needs to let go of much more than material things. I found a poem which expresses beautiful the words that encourages to let go but I feel that words are not enough. How does it feel for him standing on the threshold of entering eternity? Of course it is impossible to drag the heavy dressoir of my grandmother to the gates of heaven but even if it would be possible, why would you want to? It is another world entirely.

When you are dead you can take experiences but not the stuff

So if you don’t need all that stuff anyway why buy it? Because we live today in a material world with a dense body. I love to surround myself with stuff. This life on Earth is so dense, with heavy objects like cars and furniture. Especially our clothes in a cold climate where the temperature tomorrow will be twenty degrees requires heavy boots to walk over frozen paths. I cannot help thinking about all this because I want to understand the feeling my father is going through now he cannot speak anymore.

It is the experience that comes back in my paintings

He cannot take his memories with him, all the things he has learned over time, the experiences he has built, nothing goes with him. Is it an art to learn how to die if we all are going to do this only once? Can I learn from him how to do it? What else do you take with you other than your soul, your essence?  When I saw my father last Sunday he could still speak some short sentences. He said, “I don’t think I will live that much longer’ ‘No, I said, I don’t think either, since you have not eaten or drunk anything for a week”. “But, he said, If the weather is beautiful I want to be outside and work. There is still so much I want to do” so, all that, he needs to let go off. He needs to let go of the drive to live.

It is the color of the oils that enrich the world

The way the sunlight hits a leaf or a flower is not material, neither is the fog over the meadows or a kiss in moonlight. My father always made an art of letting plants grow in a way he designed it in his head.  When it grew into a beautiful yard he would sit smack in the middle of it and listen to the birds. As children we thought this was boring, but later I learned to appreciate it. All of this he had to let go off.  A smile of a loved one, a thought of something to build, a plan to travel… it is not only material stuff that he need to let go of.

Sitting next to him writing this while his breathing is heavy. It is art that moves beyond stuff.

Goes

Traveling

“Goes” is a name of a city. In English it means ‘to go’, a verb.  She goes to Goes. Jacobina is leaving Englewood to go to Goes.  It is pronounced as Goose but the G is guttural, a sound not used in the English language. I would not be surprised if the name has something to do with geese but I haven’t googled it and now I don’t have time to do that so I leave that up to you to check.

(My sister-in-law has just looked this up for me and apparently it derives its name from being founded by the banks of a creek called the Short Gos (Korte Gos)).

Holland

I am busy getting ready for my trip to the Netherlands. It shouldn’t be a big deal. I need to just pack a suitcase and drive to the airport but while I’m grabbing all my stuff together I see that my American passport has expired. From that moment on it is just one thing after another that needs to be fixed, updated or rediscovered. Dust has been gathering on my traveling life and the excitement grows as more and more things are becoming rediscovered. Black sweater? I haven’t worn that for two years!! Shoes? I never wear shoes.

A couple of weeks ago I had already taken steps to renew my American passport.

Dutch passport

I still have my Dutch passport, which also needs to be renewed, but that can wait until November. I felt a sense of urgency as I ran to Walgreens drugstore to get my passport photo taken. I don’t want to be picky on quality but the photo that was taken was absolutely terrible. I received two but I knew immediately that the Dutch authorities would not accept them. Anyway, as I was in a hurry I sent the blurred image to the US Department of State together with a cheque for $110 and the forms I had filled in.

A couple of weeks later a beautiful sealed document came in the mail, navy blue with gold lettering and filled with colored pages of the statue of liberty, an eagle and all sorts of symbols that this great country has. I am extremely proud of this document with its awful passport photo. It is a document I will cherish. It was earned at great personal cost. What makes me feel so good about this country? I experience a sense of greatness when I drive my car over the highways in Miami between the skyscrapers like a smooth rollercoaster ride, high up in the sky. Humans have been able to do extra-ordinary things by digging deep into their inner resources and creating their dreams.

I feel that a part of this society is resonating within me.

In many ways however I will always be Dutch in my everyday life. Since I have had a roommate, it has become clear to me that there is a difference between American and Dutch people. The trashcan is three times fuller than usual, the clothes dryer runs more often instead of the sun drying the laundry on the washing line. When I opened the fridge one night a huge bottle of Cherry Coke fell on the floor. Lying awake at night I can hear some television station talking nonsense and I think; this is American culture and I am never going to adapt to it.

I will not forsake the country where I was born, the tiny country of the Netherlands. I love it too dearly. I have chosen to embrace the best of both worlds and I am well aware of the differences.

PS. Heidemarie Burke made an unbelievably beautiful passport photo for me for my Dutch passport.

https://vimeo.com/186082606

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.