Thursday, January 12, 2017

The last walk of 2016 (and a blog break)

My last walk of 2016 was done on December 30. I'm afraid of fireworks, so the last day of the year I mostly stayed inside. I did however decide to make that last walk count and I took the bus to the west side of the island and went on a long hike in the widest landscape you can imagine. And of course I took pictures. And of course I'm sharing these pictures here for you enjoyment.

While walking there I was overcome with the sheer joy of having the privilege to live on this amazing island. There is just so much beauty right on my doorstep that it sometimes overwhelms me. I hope these pictures transfer a bit of that feeling of the endless space that surrounds us here and how wonderful it can be to stare forever into the horizon.

Now even though I live on a beautiful island, it is not the only island the Dutch Wadden Sea has to offer and it has become a bit of a personal tradition for me to visit one of the neighbouring islands in the midst of winter. This year I will revisit the smallest island, Schiermonnikoog, for a week and that week starts tomorrow. In other words: I'm going on a little vacation! Yay!
Because of this I will be having a blog break again. I know I just had one during the holidays, but rest assured that when I come back I will have plenty of beautiful pictures to show you, so there's something to look forward to for us all. :-)

Until then I wish you a wonderful and artsy time!

Monday, January 9, 2017

The last of the Morning Book

I didn't plan for it, but somehow I managed to finish my Morning Book on exactly the last day of the year 2016. When I started the book in February I had the overambitious idea that I would be filling several of them, but as time passed I chose to do so many intricate pages that took more than one sitting that it was very slow going. I don't mind really, I like how the book turned out and if it did anything for me it is to confirm my absolute addiction to patterns .

Here are the last eight pages of the Morning Book:


You can see that in the final stage of the book I became a little dash crazy. ;-)

All in all I worked on this book for 270 morning sessions of half an hour. I started in February and took a break for the whole month of July. Also I didn't do it on vacations or when I was away from home and even every now and then I even skipped when I just didn't feel like it. Still, I think 270 mornings within ten months isn't so bad.

Filling this book was a very satisfying endeavour and also a great training in patience. I am almost sorry the book is finished. Almost. I already decided beforehand that I would continue doing my morning art practice, so even though I have closed this book another one is already begun. But I will tell you all about that in another post when I have a bit more to show about that.

Wishing you all a wonderful and artsy day.

Thursday, January 5, 2017

Welcome to 2017

Hello all! Welcome to a shiny brand new year! I hope your holidays were just how you wanted them to be and that the next year will bring you everything you wish for, or at least everything you need (not always the same thing after all).

Usually at the end of the year I do a bit of a recap on the past year and a forward look to the new one, but 2016 has pretty much left me exhausted and I am thoroughly done with it.
About a year ago I was full of ambitious plans and ideas and looking forward to working on all of them, but then...well...then life. You remember life right? That thing that happens while you're busy making other plans? Let's just say life happened a lot in the past year.

Things varied from stuff breaking down in my house, health issues, other people's health issues, people even dying, unexpected unpleasant surprises around every corner, tiny injuries, things going wrong with either me or people I care about, to stress about a neurotic new cat, a true cancer epidemic all around me and a lot of tiny little annoyances, grievances and setbacks of a more practical nature that in themselves were no big deal but they piled up sky high.. Let's just say this year started with my molar breaking off during my vacation and my diabetes getting out of control and ended with a leakage in my bathroom and Spooky having an injury in his eye that meant I had to take him on a nine hour round trip to the main land to see a vet the day before Christmas. And in between there was a lot more fun. And don't even get me started on national and international events! Sigh...2016, stop already!

Going into 2016 I chose the words 'Live Softly' as my theme, but life basically gave me a case of 'And The Hits Just Keep On Coming'. By July I was so done with things that I even took a blog and (mostly) art break for a whole month and at the end of the year I basically just didn't feel like making any plans at all. No themes, no word of the year, no nothing. And I am wonderfully okay with that.

Looking back on my blog, Instagram and Facebook and my own memories of course there was plenty of good stuff in 2016 and I don't look back on it as a horrible year, just a rather tiring and relentless one. In fact I think the one thing that keeps me going in general is my ability to see good and beauty around me and to keep my eyes open for those things. Photography and art are good ways to stay focused on the better things in life. Without them I would be lost. The journal helped me vent, my pattern drawings and morning art helped me meditate and calm down, my walks cleared my head, and good people made me laugh. I had some wonderful trips and vacations to get some perspective and I got so much sweet stuff in the mail (both snail and e-) from all of you. Thank you.

Still, for the next year I am plan free, and that is exactly what I need. I have quoted a Vonda Shepard song  (Maryland) in my journals regularly that I would like to quote here too:

I've been thinking 
 I've been thinking I've been thinking too much  
I just want to live now for a little while
and cast my dreams to the wind

That's basically it. I just want to live now for a little while and not set goals or intentions, make plans or have ambitions. I basically just need to let myself be. And strangely enough it's a very comforting thought to give myself permission to do this.  It basically comes down to just enjoying the things I enjoy doing and of course I will share them with you on the blog and social media, because sharing these things makes them visible to myself and I have a tendency to get lost in my thoughts sometimes and lose my way. If I do have any intentions it is to explore my own joy and enjoy my explorations. That's all, that's enough.

Wishing you all a wonderful and artsy 2017!