A revealing selfportrait.

I’m asked to reveal seven things about myself by Marie-dom and Desiree.

When I looked over at Marie-Dom’s site, she did a twinkle-in-the-eye selfportrait and I immediately thought it was a great idea. There has been quite a few selfportraits going around, all of them great. I’m thinking Anita, who did them all different and exciting(I’m only linking to this one post, but be sure to scroll down, she had done many!), and three-for-the-price-of-one from Suzanne, a very instructive series by a contemplating Diahn, a squinting Jana, an intense Martin, a first ever selfportrait by Serena, a dramatic Kate in the shadows and Joan, who took her lovely selfportrait on as a challenge, Linda who also showed us her beautiful first attempt, Ujwala, who tried her hand at a great monotype and Bill, who has his wonderful selfportrait, done in oil(I think?) on his home page. I am sure I missed many who did their selfportraits.


Compressed charcoal on paper

So here are my 7 revealing “things” – all of them to be found in the selfportrait above.

  1. I can lift my one eyebrow while lowering the other. I can do it both left side and right side. It was usually the threatening face of disapproval I gave our children….and Hartman.
  2. I have always worn bandannas and scarfs and bands and turbans and hats and all sorts of whateverings in my hair and on and around my head.
  3. Aging eyes force me to resort to reading glasses lately. I’m zooming in and out trying to figure out life in small print.
  4. Aging lips on the other hand, allow me to wear more dramatic colours. I have to stay away from shine now, but I can go for dramatic reds. I look stunning. Like Ava Gardner. 
  5. As compensation for all the rest that is sagging, my cheekbones are lifting. I wanted high cheekbones all my life. Like Sophia Loren.
  6. I have an olive skin and dark circles under my eyes which may explain why I am mistaken for being Portuegese, Spanish, Greek, Egyptian, Iranien and Irakien many times. 
  7. I am not witty, but I have a good sense of humour and I laugh easily. I hope that’ll explain my wrinkles.

Whoever is reading here, you are invited to just simply reveal seven “things” about yourself.

Facts and tender emotions

Once upon a time, there was a young girl, reflecting on a home and a husband and a family. I planned on having a home with a garden, a handsome husband and 5 wild sons. I placed my order. I got it all, except for the 5 wild boys. I met Hartman,(one of four wild boys!) and we were given two adorable little girls. We couldn’t be happier. This was a little over many years ago. Some time between then and now, they have blossomed into two beautiful, independent and strong willed young women.

Today, with some misty eyes that I suspect may have been tears, I waved goodbye to our Liandri-child, the youngest. This was my second experience in letting go and it was just as hard as saying these goodbyes to our eldest Marinell, four years ago. Although Liandri had done her own thing for more than a year now, she was still very much part of the breathing of our home; in-and-out with friends, parking tickets all over the house, shoes in every room, Godzilla-footfalls reassuring me of safe arrivals late nights, an angry door slamming somewhere, loud music resonating from her room, a freshly baked delicacy from her hands every now and then…

She has taken off today, passport and backpack. All on her own. Traveling, working, discovering. And she leaves behind a mother and father who are sad and happy, scared and confident, but most of all grateful and proud. I know she’ll come back and it will be different, better. But tonight the house is very quiet and empty and I have for company only the memories of twenty wonderful years. Tonight I am once again changing, adapting to the cycle of life, accepting facts with tender emotions. I know she’ll always find her true north. Her legs are strong. I know. We helped build them.


My atelier; a place of rituals.

Earlier this week, Sharon posted a beautiful art cabinet on her blog her husband made her and she wondered where everybody else paints. And so here I’m showing my atelier. Since I don’t post photo’s on Africantapestry, I present two sketches here that I did this morning and then I got tired. There is just too much detail and I took forever to decide what to sketch and how and how much – too many decisions for me. If you’re interested in seeing photographs of my atelier you can go to Myfrenchkitchen, where they are listed under “My atelier” on the sidebar.

Having this little space, which is my private little niche in the world, forces me to bend the knee before some daily rituals. I’ve come to enjoy them, look forward to doing them, meditate them. For most people it will simply be impractical schlepp. I love them. Lighting the fire every morning in the cold, wet winters…. cleaning the fireplace every morning in winter….waiting for the atelier to heat up, in the meantime fetching my coffee and the cats, opening and closing the vents for the heating, checking the humidity levels, chasing out unwelcome spiders. Even Hartman has to dance to the rythm of my atelier. He always has a stack of chopped wood ready for me in the cave and small pieces in my basket for starting the fire. He even lights the fire in the mornings – the deeper we move into winter, the more he misses his morning train, the more it becomes my ritual. Here in my place of rituals, life forces me to slow down. It’s a place where I am surrounded by memories of the past and inspirations for the future.  It is here where I dream and try to paint it. Write it. It is here where I allow all my multiple personalities to roam free. Unfortunately… we roam too much, dream too much and achieve too little.

Hartman transformed the old stable in the back of our garden into an atelier for me just a few steps of years ago. I helped of course…did all the designing and supervising! We restored the old beams, the walls, the old manger, the fireplace. Hartman installed heating (fed from the fireplace), plumbing for an old porcelain sink, electricity, high speed internet connection, overhead lighting, a bookshelf from an old ladder found in the cave. We dismantled a bedroom dresser of my mother and turned it into a cabinet holding the sink. A couch from Hartman’s parents, armchairs from his grandparents,  lamps, an easel, a farmtable, a little coffee table from my childhood……and I had my atelier; a place where everyting has a heartbeat of it’s own. A place of rituals.



Copper and quince to feed the soul

I haven’t been doing much of anything lately. Here are two somewhat messy paintings. But that’s OK. Life does get a little messy sometimes. Out of that will come the order.

Copper pots and some quinces. There is one lost pomegranate which doesn’t really look like one. It is. I only treated it badly. 

The rest of the quinces are waiting to be cleaned and sliced and slowly baked in a little water and sugar until beautiful dark red with a lovely thick syrup. Then put into sterilized can fruit bottles and savoured as accompaniments to meat or on their own with a dollop of crème fraîche. That(the cream version) will typically happen on days like I’m experiencing lately; feed my soul some goodness and lots of it…open up a jar of dark, red quinces in a comforting red sweet juice, bring out the crème fraîche, a spoon, get in front of the tv with the cats, lots of throws and a few very soppy, teary dvd’s….”Message in a bottle”…or the likes; I will definitely want to cry. Then I’ll just succumb and dig in.



WC on Fabriano HP and some pen lines on the bowl with fruit. (30,5 x 23cm)

Pears from art afternoon

Pears on a plate from art afternoon with Casey.

I’d like to redo these…I was so tired and I left early and the whole painting looks tired. It was such a beautiful, simple set up, I wish I did a better job. We were sitting outside and had a new friend in our little group of two, a beautiful French lady, Nicole. She did the pears in oil. She lives right opposite Casey, so maybe she can persuade Nicole to post her pears in oil…?


 WC on Fabriano HP 30.5 x 23cm