JOYFUL GRATITUDE #148
Last Thursday, at work, we had our annual talent show. The acts were fantastic, often poking fun at the absurdities of our organisation and we laughed a lot. I love seeing colleagues showing up in a new light and being vulnerable. It’s heartwarming and a lovely way to get to know colleagues just a little bit more.
I contributed some photos to the wall of art and I really enjoyed this mini-exhibition alongside the pieces of my talented photographer, painter, illustrator and sculptor colleagues. For me, it was particularly interesting to see my pictures printed, as opposed to only on screen, to note how the details and colours work in the physical photograph.
I’m grateful that we have this opportunity to celebrate people’s artistic qualities and discover what they like to do in their free time. If it was up to me we would do many more creative activities in the workplace;)
As I write today, a black and white postcard of a photo by Brassaï showing a misty scene of Montmartre in the 30s, sits on my desk, a souvenir from the exhibition we visited Sunday at the FOAM museum. I hope it will inspire me to practice getting more of those atmospheric black and white shots, a challenge to play more with light.
As for colourful inspiration, we also had the chance to dive deeper into amazing art by Van Gogh, Millet and many others, exploring that quiet part of the museum at our own pace, without jostling crowds of tourists to soak up the bright colour palettes.
I am grateful for a great weekend spent being tourists in our own city with my Mum and Walter, filling our well of inspiration and of course we enjoyed many good meals, a wonderful classical concert and fun chats together.
After the climate strike in Amsterdam, which I attended with my hands in my pockets, a little voice inside me made it known that it wanted to hold up one of those creative hand-painted placards cobbled together from old cardboard and coloured paint at the next march.
I’m trying to listen more closely to my inner desires, and be in tune with what lights me up, so last Tuesday evening I tore apart an old moving carton, covered the kitchen table with old newspaper and got to work. I first drew some drafts in felt-tip pen on the back of an old envelope, then lightly drew the outlines in pencil on the cardboard and finally got down to the fun part of painting with bright colours.
It was dark outside as I carefully painted the letters and images, I listened to podcasts and felt completely in flow, not feeling time pass until I looked up and it was time to go to bed. My creative practice mainly consists in photography and writing, which both involve technological tools, so picking up an analog paint brush and bright acrylic paints felt very grounding. I’m glad I satisfied my inner placard holder who was very happy to hold it up amongst thousands of other slogans during the march on Friday in Den Haag. I am so heartened by the tens of thousands of people who made time to march and make their voices heard.
Photo by Paolo S.
I really enjoy sending and receiving snail mail, so I’m very excited to announce that a selection of my photographs are now available as postcards and greetingcards on Etsy! I’ve kept the design simple, so the cards work for any occasion and there is plenty of space to write. I love the idea that these cards will be given for ordinary moments or special occasions, and sent by mail all around the world!
If you are interested in purchasing some of your favourite pictures, please head over to my Etsy shop. When buying a set of cards, you are helping me spread my art into the world and take the first steps to grow my independent small business.
Next I will be looking into making larger prints, let me know if you are interested in a specific photograph and what format. In general, please contact me if you have any questions and I would love to hear your feedback and suggestions:)
JOYFUL GRATITUDE #121
Last night Paolo and I went to see People, Places & Things, a play about an actress struggling with addiction. The acting was superb, the stage set-up and lighting very clever and the play is so well written and paced that I sat on the edge of my seat for the full two and a half hours.
I feel gratitude about this experience unfolds in different layers. I am deeply grateful that the playwright and the Theatergroep Oostpool dare to address these hard topics, to break the taboo and raise awareness around addiction, the havok it wreaks in families’ lives and the incredibly tough process of recovery.
In preparation for the play the cast invited a doctor from a rehab clinic to ask him questions and understand addiction and recovery better, in order to more acurately and respectfully be able to portray the characters’ struggles. I am grateful for their sensitivity and effort in research which delivered a realistic insight so the audience could feel to a certain extent what it can feel like.
I was also deeply moved by how this play bears witness to the question we all grapple with of how to live our lives in these ever-changing times where things are often precarious, and how manage stay in the present moment in the face of uncertainty.
JOYFUL GRATITUDE #92
Today I was blown away by the Studio Drift exhibition at the Stedelijk Museum. I am so grateful for the calm moments spent being mesmerised by blooming flowers whilst lying on the museum floor with my friend and discovering the gorgeous installations together.
I could feel my brain tingling with excitement at all the connections and stories, the movement and shadows, the unexpectedness resulting from this combination of design, technology, data and inspiration from nature. I also loved that there was a full room showing what goes on behind the scenes to bring these artworks to life: prototypes, materials, sources of inspiration and preliminary sketches. A lovely reminder that the incredible finished artworks are the fruit of a lot of experimentation and mistakes.
JOYFUL GRATITUDE #80
Last weekend Paolo and I spent 4 days in London, a trip sparked, not by the wish to witness the royal wedding close up, but by Paolo’s gift for my birthday last year: a workshop with one of my all time favorite writers, Elizabeth Gilbert. The workshop was amazing and I am still processing all the magic that happened that day… It was the best gift ever!!!
Next to that we were really lucky to explore the city under the sunshine and blue sky. I’m amazed by how much we experienced even though we took our time. It was so much fun to roam the streets of my university days around UCL, go hunting for Caravaggio paintings in the National Gallery, catch up with dear friends, try delicious food in trendy new spots in Kings Cross, browse lengthily in second-hand bookstores, seeing Hamlet at the Globe theater and much more.
In the first days of the new year, I was visiting my boyfriend’s family in Rome and we decided to look for an excursion a little further afield that was easily accessible by public transport. We chose Orvieto, a fortified town on the top of a massive rock.
Stepping off the train it was grey and misty, but as we rode up the hill in the cable car we pierced the clouds and at the top, from the walls of the fortress, we found ourselves overlooking the most beautiful sea of clouds over the valley.
There is an amazing cathedral with incredible patterns and dizzy-making columns on the facade. Once inside, we pretended to be part of an organised group and tagged along to listen to the explanations of their very knowledgeable guide who was pointing out the stories and details of the frescoes that made them come alive. Some of the paintings seem like they came straight out of a science-fiction scene including lasers and 3D effects.
Orvieto is a small town and I was glad to be visiting it off-season (despite the biting cold) as I can imagine it can get swamped with hordes of tourists in the summer. I particularly enjoyed exploring the winding streets a little outside the touristy center, looking at the details of the old stone houses overlooking the valley and imagining what must have been like to live there in the past.
How to get there by public transport: take the train from Rome to Orvieto station (approx. 1 hour), then simply cross the street where you can buy a ticket to get on the cable car that will take you right up the hill (it leaves every 10 minutes).
JOYFUL GRATITUDE #60
I am so glad to have taken this week off work. January does not seem like the ideal time as it is cold and the days are short, but actually for me this feels like a deeply needed re-set before the year starts in full again. Free time is so precious and it is a real pleasure to have time to switch off completely. I feel like I’m filling the well little by little and my batteries are recharging.
It’s funny how a few days feel much longer being away from our daily routine. These days have been a perfect blend of relaxing, creating new memories and laughing with friends and family, enjoying going to the theater and being inspired by art, exploring local places by foot in the sunshine and going further afield to discover a medieval village above the clouds…
JOYFUL GRATITUDE #59
These days I’m enjoying spending time with my family. Having a bit more than just a couple of days together means we can do more than just scratch the surface on how we are all doing and what is keeping us occupied. Over many lengthy meals, cups of tea and pieces of homemade cake, we’re slowly getting past the talk of day to day topics to deeper conversations, and that’s where it gets more interesting and I feel like we really connect.
With my Mum and sisters, we spent a really fun afternoon of art and collage around the kitchen table to manifest all the wonderful things that we would like to call into our lives for 2018. Then over breakfast we were making grand plans to travel together for 2019. It is in these quiet times that there is space to dream big. I’m looking forward to what the future will bring us!