Someone special.

Saying goodbye is always hard. And even harder, when you’re the one staying behind. We said goodbye to very good friends last week who returned to their home country after many years here in France.  For now I’m  sad, but tomorrow or the day after or next week, all will be OK again and I will start planning our visit to Australia. A friendship with such deep roots, cannot be pulled out.

…may the road always rise up to meet you…

goodbye

Sometimes people come into our lives who leave a distinct impression, who change our lives for the better and we only realize it much later.

Joanna came into mine years ago and added so much richness to my life, which I only fully realize now. We were so different, yet shared so much. We were tolerant und understanding of those differences and appreciated the uniqueness of each of our personalities. Those differences even started  rubbing off, making us enjoy what we’ve previously disliked.  We were frequently off to les brocantes, searching for rose coloured glass for her and old stuff for me. We would stroll through nursery gardens and rescue half dead plants  to see them bloom in our gardens the next season. We had lunches in little hamlets and drove all the wayout for a chocolate dessert. We “coffieed and caked” whenever the opportunity showed itself. We disagreed on movies and cracked up with Mamma mia. I tagged along in her search for clothing and she told me to wear brighter colours. I listened patiently when she ranted about Air France and she got me out of bed when I was depressed. I supported her in her cardmaking and she constantly encouraged me in my art. We baked tarte tatin and searched for new pressed veggie juice recipes.

She saw me when I was happy and gay and handed me the tissues when the world was all wrong. She saw my house when it was sparkling and smelling of roses and she washed my dishes when it started crawling out the door. I saw her when she was beautifully coiffed and I saw her when she was digging up the garden. I saw her when she went through chemo and I saw her when we celebrated her first clear check up and we laughingly celebrated with a coffee and cupcake. She pulled weeds from my garden while she was sick and I prepared dinners for those difficult chemo times. I took photos of her without her hair and we played around with wigs and bandanas. I took photos of her after her hair had grown back and we laughed about the impact of time.

Thinking of Joanna makes me smile. She talks a lot, she jokes a lot, she teases a lot,  she laughs alot. She turns passivity into action. She can’t grow old for her spirit is too young. Like her,  I want to laugh a lot and joke a lot and tease and I also don’t want to grow old, because my spirit will be too young.

Cartoon illustrations

Invigorated by spring and salads and fruit and spring vegetables and all the great art I see everywhere, I feel myself bursting with ideas and inspiration. Apart from loving painting, I also love writing and I’m getting more and more a feel for illustration. Writing and illustration make a good combo, so; for my writing which I’ve started with a while back, I’m considering doing some illustrations for as well. I have tried my hand at one or tow before which can be seen here:

Absent

Egg in a pocket

Singin in the rain

Something that needs fixin

…shut the gate!…

houtoediehek-3-13-2009-3-34-11-pm

illustration done in rotring pen and watercolour on Fabriano artistico HP.

We have a friend who’s a farmer. His pride is his huge selection of animals, and especially his bulls. But he also has vineyards. And his biggest struggle is to get the farmhands to remember to close the farm gates behind them, so the cows and bulls don’t roam about in the vineyards. After stripping his temper once too often, he promptly planted a post on the gate on which, in no uncertain terms, he forcefully sergeant-majors them to keep the gates shut. The punchline on the illustration is written in my mother tongue, but it roughly comes down to: “Keep the @&*#@.. gates shut… the cows are in the vineyard!!”


Absent

I have been absent for quite some time and after receiving some very caring emails, I thought I should at least give some explanation here. 

I’ve run into some health hiccups a while ago, robbing me of all energy and all willpower to maintain or produce any kind of act, let alone be creative. Thank you for the concern and supportive emails I’ve received from friends out there. I hope to be back with full vigour and energy soon.

…”Wanna talk?”…

And now it feels very “flat and empty” to leave on a note like this, so since I am here for a whisper of a moment behind the computer, why don’t I use the opportunity and time well and fill it with nonsense… After all, nonsense is quite a creative invention. And a very creative excuse. As well as a creative brush-off: “Oh, don’t talk such nonsense!” Probably what you’re thinking right now.

While I am here in front of the keyboard, searching for the right keys after so many weeks, and for that matter, the right words, I might as well try and do it creatively or at least then, call your bluff creatively… I’m not sure I know exactly what I’m saying, but it sounds creative to me. Like nonsense, sort of. What is nonsense? Something that doesn’t make sense….surely creative then. Doing and saying the suspected and at the last minute, adding an unsuspected twist…cunningly creative. Or speaking in utter incomprehensible sentences, or talking about things you know nothing of…defintely creative! Or to shut up someone who is actually being very creative in the use of thoughts and words and you have no clue as to what this person is saying….stupidly creative.

Once, a few years back, I was in the company of interesting people (or so I thought), around a beautifully set table, sharing a wonderful meal.  As usual, I was the listener. At some stage, the conversation turned to people and bad driving skills(is it a skill?). So I thought I had something interesting to add to this part of the conversation and so added my humble and creative opinion (?): “I think women are more inclined to use their indicators than men…” and without being given a chance to explain the science behind my madness, I was stared upon with shocked horror and brushed off with a creative missile launching: “Now the only time you open your mouth and it is to talk nonsense…?” That scarred me for life, I haven’t opened my mouth since(?) until now…  “Oh, nonsense!”

Something that needs fixing

The ironing is always behind.

I have to iron. I have to see sharp folds and straight flat edges on shirts and linen and skirts and yes, T-shirts. Except of course jeans. No straight folds there. That makes them look nerdy. I learnt that from my daughters.

Sketches done with rotring artist pen and water wash in moleskine.

Like with a desperate diet, I start off every Monday with the determination to iron immediately when something comes off the line. Just to see my diligence fade into submission by Wednesday. The result is a growing mountain of washing and a leaking cup of courage. So I let the mountain run its course… after all, it is already there….and wait for the magical day when my cupeth runneth over again.

I’ll probably always have this habit that needs fixing.