Recently I met an amazing artist on Instagram, Angela Smit. I love her drawings and journaling and she uses a wonderful colour palette. What I adore is the calmth and space in her work. For a long time I wanted to do some more journaling. I saw she had a great art exchange with my art friend Claudia Kerssemakers from Claudia’s Artbarn too and I simply asked her if she wanted to create a book with me, too. And she said ‘Yes!’.

How it works? We both buy a journaling book and create some pages. Some of them can be filled completely, in some of them you leave some space to be filled in by the other. Preparing for the book we asked each other what our theme would be. In a way, our themes can overlap, but they can also stand alone. Everything will be connected in the end. Angela’s theme is about nature, of course. She wants to see how the nature around her house is changing, how for example a tree will be a bird hotel in the first place, and after its dead it will offer a home for fungi. For me still flowers and women are my favourite painting subjects. Flowers, women and how to integrate them.

I was slightly ahead of Angela, because I already had finished some pages of the book before we decided to work in that particular book. O, I need to tell you something about this amazing book, it has all kind of pages; burlap, linen, canvas, paper, Kraft paper etc.. It’s really inviting to work in, so when we were sure we both would work in this particular book, I started right away. At a sudden moment I said: “Somebody needs to tell me to stop or else I fill the book!”. A good solution was to send the book to Angela and simply wait until her book is on my way too.

It was a bit of a hard change for me to work on regular paintings after working in the book. I really love mini projects like creating a series of mixed media angels, a few small landscapes and the book feels a ‘mini’ side project too. It really gets me playing. Painting on a very large canvas is very dear to me, especially in the first phase of just starting somewhere. I now have a piece on the easel that started as a brilliant flower piece. I enjoyed working on this one so much and it was almost finished.

Yesterday, when I was just working on some flowers, suddenly a woman came up in this painting. It turned out to one of my best portraits ever… But was there enough space for her in this particular painting? I wished I had taken another painting for her… or that I even haven’t started working on a portrait.

It seems my theme and ‘goal’ that I set for the art exchange comes back here in a hard way: How to integrate women and flowers? I guess thinking too much about it, will not give me the answer. Choosing between flowers and a woman doesn’t seem an option either. It already happened. Now they have to be in the painting both. But I wish I could simply had a ‘Duplicate’ button to click on and have two paintings…

Nothing is really lost, I keep telling myself. Just take some time… it will develop itself. Sometimes I only have to be someone who’s watching things grow. And see how they change into something else, in a miraculous way.

To be continued!