Creativity plays a huge part in my life and always has been; I grew up in an artistic family and it’s something I am very proud of. Both my father ánd my grandfather (from my mother’s side of the family) are -and in my grandfather’s case were- amazing autodidact painters and were mentors to me throughout my creative life, always encouraging me to find my own creative path.
As a child, I visited many art galleries or went to museums where I set eyes on famous paintings from Dutch painters such as van Gogh, Vermeer, Bruegel, Rembrandt, et cetera. In my gut feeling, I knew that art was to be my life’s course. I am simply not made for a 9 to 5 job; I am free-spirited, unconventional and a little bit of a bohemian. However, making a living out of art is almost an art in itself, it is very difficult (Vincent van Gogh comes to mind), but doing what I love most is very important to me.
I started drawing and painting as a very young child and animals were my favorite subject to draw. I spent a lot of time watching my father paint in his atelier; the smell of paint and the soothing brushstrokes of his brushes made me calm and had an almost hypnotizing effect on me. And it still does; whenever I smell oil paint or acrylics I get thrown back 20 years into the past. It is a comforting scent to me.
Wherever I went I always had a little sketchbook and some pencils with me, and, suffice to say, drawing was my favorite lesson in school. I excelled in it and it won me high grades.
Yet, there came a time where, when I was an adolescent, I quit drawing and painting due to some traumatic experiences that happened to me and it simply stopped having a place in my life. I wanted to have nothing to do with it. But once a creative always a creative, I did start to seek out other creative outlets in which I could find some solace and I found it in photography and writing. I worked as a model a little while, but I am now entirely dedicated to spending time behind the camera instead of in front of it.
I absolutely love to venture out into the world and photograph it the way I see it and I do so as often as I can. I always bring with me some vegetarian sandwiches and a thermos bottle of green tea with Jasmine; a favorite of me as of late. Besides green tea being very healthy, it also makes me feel calm. Grounded. Awake. And the scent of Jasmine makes me happy.
What I do is, I travel to a place (preferably nature or old graveyards) and go sit in a quiet spot, drink some tea and become one with my environment whilst scouting for things to photograph, sketch or write a poem about.
I used to be a coffee drinker for a long time, but a few years ago I found coffee to be a little too aggressive for my body. It wrecked havoc on my skin and the jittery feeling I got from coffee started to annoy me a lot.
Slowly I started to detox from coffee (which was tough!) and had green tea instead; I began to notice that I started to look forward to having my cup of daily green tea early in the morning, which was not the case with coffee. I simply consumed coffee to avoid the headaches a caffeïne addiction gives you and to feel instantly awake. I have to say: I feel so much better now without coffee, and green tea actually makes me feel so much more productive, awake and present than coffee did.
In 2015 I finally picked up painting again and I particularly found utter happiness in painting with watercolor paint; something I used to do together with my dad.
I remember the first watercolor painting I made, when I was very little, was a sunflower field in the Provence, which reminded me of summer vacations I spent in France with my family. Unforgettable memories I hold very dearly.
I am an early bird; I like to wake up very early in the morning and think, in all quietness, about my next project. I simply love to spend time at my (oftentimes chaotic) workplace, with all my materials laid out in front of me, a large pot of tea on my 1930s tea warmer, to simply relax and become one with my brushes and paint. Painting and drinking my tea calms me and makes me forget whatever worries I carry with me.
I am also an herbalist and my pantry is stocked with all kinds of herbs I use for tinctures, salves, and teas, et cetera. One of the things I love to do is painting herbs in my herbarium with watercolor paint and at the same time brew and drink tea of the herb I am painting; it makes me feel close to nature, which is what I love.
Of course, as someone who works with watercolor paint, I often make the mistake of dipping my brush in my tea mug instead of the water intended for my brushes. Coming to think of it, I should really get me those two mugs that are on the market that have “Paint water” and “Not Paint Water” printed on them!