Mid-Winter, Yule or Christmas Gift


Here is my idea; if you buy my book at Amazon (Amazon.com, Amazon.co.uk, Amazon.de, Amazon.it, Amazon.jp, Amazon.fr), I will reward you with a second book plus a few of my lovely Holly gift tags. Or if you prefer, my Feng Shui mini prints. One book you might like to keep; the other you will love to send to a friend as a Christmas gift. I have 4 books available ‘Birds, Butterflies, Fish & Botany’ for this offer.🎄🦌🎄

Promoting your book is really hard. It feels like nagging. But I know you will be happy with my booklet. It has generated a few 5-star reviews on Amazon.com, Amazon.it, Amazon.co.uk and Amazon.de. and that says something. It says that people are happy focusing on art, nature and mindfulness.

I especially like a remark made by a reviewer. She says that my booklet will be much appreciated by those who can’t venture out in nature (the ill, old, or temporarily city-bound people) and are in need for nature’s beneficial influence. I like that, because such remark confirms to me a circle of events. I venture out in nature and bring something home, a piece of wood, a feather, an impression or a photo of mushrooms. In my studio you will find buckets with old, dry wood covered with lichen, shells, feathers, and a few bones found on the beach or in woodlands. In other words, I take in nature and its inspiration leads to my drawings and the stories in ‘Birds, Butterflies, Fish and Botany’. Upon reading my booklet, readers experience nature and feel like they have been in nature. Such feedback makes me very happy and I hope this happiness is circular too.

Take care! And take care of the birds. I do year-round feeding and not a day passes without me enjoying our gang of feathery visitors.






My Celtic Art Project

My Celtic Art Project 

This is my contribution to my “Who are the Celts’ course at Oxford Department for Continuing Education, week 5 ‘Celtic Art’ (2017). At the end of a demanding study week the participants were challenged to make their own Celtic art, a drawing, woodwork, or poem, whatever your prefer.
I managed to finish my Celtic Art project within a fortnight because it was a lot of drawing. Strangely enough, I was always in awe when I saw Celtic art but I was never challenged or commissioned to make Celtic art.  I had to remove my anxiety for too much rigid mathematical organization (the patterns and swirls) and focus on the hidden mythology, faces and animals. Although I love Celtic art, I have always feel resistance to make it as it seems to limit artistic expression to its theme as the patterns are strictly organized and repetitive. The article on the enchantment of technology inspired me too to embrace  a geometrical challenge for making Celtic patterns.  Anyway, I am not going to say: ‘I did it’, but I enjoyed the challenge!

Used: Golden/Silver ink-pens, an ordinary Bic blue pen, art paper, a protector and many rulers.

Note: preliminary sketches trying out mathematical organization, a large original drawing, a print & a small postcard. I printed the title of this artwork with a Celtic letter type:

Golden with Silver & Lapis Lazuli Celtic Plate
with Boar, Hidden Face & Swans
© by Paula Kuitenbrouwer



Available in my shop.

Holly or Ilex aquifolium

I appreciate Holly very much because I understand its attraction. In the middle of a cold, bare winter, there is a happy green bush yielding lovely, bright red berries. In past times being without electricity, light, central heating and experiencing hardship and grey, dark days, this green bush was an eye catcher. Even for me now, despite the luxuries of the 21st century, Holly holds this attraction. It whispers to me; ‘I am colourful during the winter. I keep your spirits high and hope doesn’t dwindle if you surround your house with me or bring me in to decorate your hearths’.

Holly is Ilex. Or Evergreen. What name do you use? Why do you like Holly? Or maybe you don’t?



Per 10 at paulaartshop.com

Feng Shui & Holly Small Cards

I have worked on the 5 Elements of Feng Shui, of Taoism, so to say: Water, Wood, Fire, Metal and Earth. I loved working on them as they asked for an interesting, visual attractive and symbolic interpretation from my part.


I also worked on small notebook, journal or diary cards of my various Holly drawings. Apparently I have something with Holly. But I am not alone. Holly has a strong cultural resonance. We use it as Christmas decorations since Victorian times. During pagan times it was customary to bring holly boughs in to decorate the house. Holly was a powerful fertility symbol and protected your family against ill-fortunes. As is said, Holy planted near a home helps to repel poison and protect a farm or home from lightening. As much as it is used to protect against lightning outside our homes, at Yule tide, we bring Holy in to our homes to remind us that trees are green and that the green will return after Yule when the darker days grow shorter.


Beautifully detailed 5 Elements of Fire, Wood, Metal, Earth and Water, artistically interpreted and printed op Eason Ivory or White Linen Card, 260 gsm paper. Five cards. Or a multiple of 5 cards. Size 9 by 9 cm, that is about 3.5 /3.5 inches. These circular compositions show exquisite details and skill. They are engaging, invite exploring your ideas about what are elements, what do they represent and which role do they play in your life. Are they in balance in your life, in your home, in your work-place?

Water: Paula has drawn a cut through that shows water in a pond. As water is so minimal visible, it is the lotus growing in the lotus pond that shows indirectly water.

Wood: Again Paula used a cut through, showing the growth rings, representing wood. Counting the growth rings of a tree is a way to tell how old a tree is.

Earth: Next to a cut-through that shows soil and dirt layers, Paula shows how we use dirt since prehistoric times, to make ceramics and to built stone walls. This is a solid drawing representing the grounding and soil character of earth.

Fire: There are flames in this drawing, in one of its outer rings, but Paula used the fiery petals of red tulips to present the fire element, its passion and dominant red colour.

Metal: Paula shows a metal and beautiful teapot with white-washed and golden decorated tea cups. This drawing is done with Derwent metallic coloured pencils using Bronze, Gold and Silver. It works: prints shows a metallic shine that communicated the metallic element. Frame this drawing with metallic frame and its crisp white background works effectively.

I loved doing some notebooking with the Element Cards, indexing their colour range.

Stay well, stay happy & healthy.



Have a look here for more art…

at http://www.paulaartshop.com

Yule, Originals & Birds

Lots to share with you. I am going to make it visual with few texts.

First of all, there are now many originals in my Etsy and www.paulaartshop.com shop. Here are my Goldfinches, feeding in Thistle seeds and nearby is a Vanessa cardui who needs thistles as host plants. Plant, bird and butterfly are thus related.

Here are my Autumn Tree Fruits. Original is for sale. The piece of driftwood is beautifully bleached.

Next, my Hoopoe parent with 3 cheeky juveneils should fly out to a new owner. Hoopoes are Israel’s National Bird.

My Wood ducks, also Carolina ducks are about to nest. Nearby your house? Perhaps in your home?

And my Collared Doves are a perfect Wedding or Engagement gift. Seldom has a bird with dull colours captured the hearts of so many. Apparently you don’t need Wood duck’s magnificent plumage or Hoopoe’s beautiful crest to become a symbol of love. Doesn’t that give you hope?

Tuscany, in oil. Small board panel. Fixative applied. Still, never expose it to direct sunlight.

This it is for now, but there is more soon.

I hope you all are splendidly well. We are and we are still enjoying Ireland and looking forward to Halloween, Yule and Christmas. Not the commercialized and watered-down Halloween and Christmas eat-rest cliche, but a meaningful time in which we dive deep into what Halloween, Yule and Christmas once symbolized.

Stay happy & healthy!


Prehistoric Hands Invite and Confirm Communication with the Dead, by Paula Kuitenbrouwer

Positive hand-prints are stenciled with red ocher;

white hand images are achieved by adding pigments around a hand

I like to present an idea about prehistoric positive and negative hand-prints that are found all over the world and dating from circa 40.000 to 1.000 BCE. I read a message into the difference of red and white hand-prints. The message, to my understanding, is that both hand-prints testify of successful communication with deceased souls. Why I have come to this thesis, I will explain.


There is research stating that prehistoric peoples believed that the soul of the dead lived on in rock or stone reliefs. If this sounds strange, think of modern examples that resonate with this belief: we have the venerated Wailing Wall, we touch stone tombs, crosses, statutes, and monuments or lay flowers at the foot of them showing our respect.

Thinking that the soul of the dead lived on in stone isn’t hard to imagine as stone is everlasting (apart from some eroding) and impenetrable. The ever-lasting and impenetrable quality of stone symbolizes death; people are away for ever and out of reach. But are they? Not to prehistoric peoples who lived in their world full animal, nature or ancestral spirits. For communication with the deceased, the living sought their ancestral spirits in special places; deep in caves, high on mountains or hills.

We do the same. We visit graveyards, throw flowers in bodies of water, send our prayers to heaven. Or we hold close memorabilia, things prehistoric people didn’t have. Imagine being without memorabilia to hold close in times of grief. Imagine how important it was for prehistoric people to communicate with the dead; to ask for their advice and wisdom. Or to invite them back into the world of living, which was an obvious thing to do as prehistoric people lived with the spirits of their dead, they were dwelling in their house, in their lakes or on nearby hilltops. Inviting back family members or tribal leaders who had stood out and were important or even regarded irreplaceable, isn’t a huge mind-stretch when one assumes his or her spirit is lingering nearby and shamans could journey to the spirit world to communicate with these valuable and beloved tribal members.


There are many different interpretations of the functions of cave hand stencils. They are seen as ancient fingerprint identifications; ‘I have been here in this cave’. Or as traffic signs, informing us about the location of fertile hunting grounds, or they were handshakes (one tribe is greeting another tribe). In any case, hand-prints were serving a form of communication. The most remarkable fact about prehistoric hand stencils to me, for me observed as an artist, is that they come as positive and negative prints, creating red and white hand images.

Making red and white hand images requires a different technique, which, to me, shows two different communications are expressed; the message of light-against-dark hand-prints versus dark-against-light hand prints.

From here, we could assume that the hand-prints that were red, were the hand-prints of the living expressed with red ocher being the colour of blood and thus of the living. The white hand-prints are the hand-prints that expressing and representing the deceased. They are white because being dead is being bloodless, pale or white.

A cave that shows hand-prints, both reddish and whitish, holds a message to visitors that this is a sacred place, a ‘thin’ place, a penetrable place where communication with the spirit world is possible and successful. Supportive of this thesis is that a few speleologists (Chauvet cave, France) felt ‘spirits of long ago’ after discovering a prehistoric cave.

On some cave paintings many hand-prints are found, illogically applied, some easy within reach, others not so easy to apply. It seems like that prehistoric people were trying to locate the thinnest place of the walls, that, as a thin veil or membrane, was hanging as a semi-permeable divide between the world of the living and the dead, allowing communication with the dead. As a doctor feels a patient, as an artist feels a canvas, as a blind person feels a face, so prehistoric people felt a wall, trying to make contact and marking their hands as red, as from the living. Where they felt contact with spirits, with the deceased, they set white hand-prints to mark communication was established. Should they return to the depths of a cave, they could use the marks on the wall.



We know that hand-prints were often applied by women (Professor Dean Snow of Pennsylvania State University) but certainly not all of them as there are also hand-prints of both genders and of all ages. Still, it is important to know that most were female hand-prints. What is the extra value of women over men? Let me be succinct and point out to reproduction. Only within a woman’s body reproduction can take place and a soul can descend into a fertile womb. This quality of a woman had her, more than others, touch prehistoric cave walls inviting a spirit back into her womb. Again, I like to point out how prehistoric caves resemble human flesh, with their stalagmites and stalactites resembling membranes, male and female genitals.

To enter Earth’s womb made prehistoric people set of long and laborious journeys into dark and dangerous deep caves. Then, arriving there, in a womb like interior, performing or reacting a conception ritually (and perhaps not only ritually as the cave of Laussel suggests), but more importantly spiritually by communicating with the dead must have been a consolatory and a rewarding ritual when, a few months later, a baby was welcomed to the community. Communications with the dead might have been assisted through shamanic rituals, enhanced by the illusions the visual stimulating cave paintings created, and by the intake of paint pigments, which might have been used as psychedelic drugs.

Perhaps shamans or psychedelic drugs weren’t even needed. Imagine changing stages of consciousness by dwelling for a longer time deep in a cave that is completely dark and still, in a cave that isn’t affected by the outside world. No rain, no wind, no thunder, no light other than that of torches and ear deafening silence. Imagine the smell of smoke and a sense of being inside a living organism that shows its fleshy interior. This was the strange world where the dead lived as it was cold and dark, yet it looked alive and organic too. Here you were as close to the dead as possible and here communication with the dead should be able to take place.

A combination of a wish to communicate with the deceased, alternating stages of consciousness, and the belief that the dead were dwelling behind these fleshy walls, inside an organism in which you had descended too, here contact with the dead was possible. Although the deceased lived in stone, these fleshy coloured walls, seemed to move and pulsate under the lights of torches, and these walls didn’t look impenetrable.

It was a matter of finding the thinnest spot, but touching, by feeling the wall. And thus, the thinnest curve in a rock that allowed communications were touched with red hand prints. And if prehistoric cave dwellers felt communicating with a deceased family or tribal member was answered, a white hand print, was added with a white hand stencil signature.

A supporting idea for white hand prints marking established contact with the dead, is to be found the hardship a small community suffered by crawling into a deep cave, a seriously dangerous and laborious task, a task that was only worth to be undertaken if it served a cause worth its hardship and danger. Bringing back a wise dead family or tribal member would fit such cause. Not only as a remedy against overwhelming sense of loss, also to regain wisdom, elementary knowledge or status to a tribe.

What can be brought up against my idea? Many things, like that some hand prints were from men and children. However, it isn’t hard to imagine a grief-stricken child in need for communication with a lost parent being helped by other tribal members or their shaman. Refuting my idea by stating that if white hands represented the dead touching and answering to the call, these hands should have been mirrored, fails as one can’t touch a stone wall from within. But one can use different coloured hand-prints.


Putting a few aspects together; hand prints serving communication, prehistoric people thinking that their ancestors lived on in the world of rock, most hand prints were applied by women, supports an idea that pregnant women were assisted by their tribe or community to enter a cave, touch the ancestral world in order to communicate with a deceased soul to invite them back into the realm of the living. Red hand prints were left on cave-walls as to testify people attempted to contact deceased tribal members, white hand images were added as a sign communicating with the dead had taken place.

Hand images have emerged around the world over a period of some 40,000 years. Any symbol, be it a hand or a circle, can represent a multiplicity of meanings and motives or change in their meaning related to rituals, sacred rites or ceremonies. I have highlighted only my idea. There are many ideas and theories.

Paula Kuitenbrouwer

Artist/Writer/Philosophy M.A.

N.B. Inevitably I am, as a lay person, simplifying and generalizing archaeological research. I hold a degree in Philosophy, studied ‘Religion and Rituals in Prehistory’ at Oxford Department of Continuing Education, and have read many books on prehistoric art. My essay is presenting an idea, unpretentiously, and it welcomes criticism.

Feng Shui Elements artistically interpreted by Paula Kuitenbrouwer

This are Feng Shui’s 5 Elements: Water, Earth, Metal, Wood and Fire, drawn as artistic interpretations by Paula Kuitenbrouwer, Dutch nature artist living in Ireland.

These circulair compositions, that are printed on high quality art paper with lightfast pigments, show exquisite details and skill. They can be used at home, for Feng Shui workshops and in office rooms. They are engaging, invite exploring of your ideas about what are elements, what do they represent and which role do they play in your life. Are they in balance in your life, in your home, in your work-place?
As from ancient times philosophers discussed the elements of life. What were the building blocks of life? Many manuscripts were written on the elements of life, some adding air, aether and void as an element too.

Today the best known elements are for school students the periodic table and to Feng Shui specialist the 5 ancient Taoist elements.

Water: Paula has drawn a cut through that shows water in a pond. As water is so minimal visible, it is the lotus growing in the lotus pond that shows indirectly a body of water.

Wood: Again Paula uses a cut through, showing the growth rings, representing wood. Counting the growth rings of a tree is a way to tell how old a tree is.

Earth: Next to a cut-through, that shows soil and dirt layers, Paula shows how we use dirt since prehistoric times, to make ceramics and to built stone walls. This is a solid drawing representing the grounding and soil character of earth.

Fire: There are flames in this drawing, in one of its outer rings, but Paula prefers the fiery petals of red tulips to present the fire element, its passion and its dominant red colour.

Metal: Paula shows a beautiful silver teapot with white-washed and golden decorated tea cups. This drawing is done with Derwent metallic coloured pencils using Bronze, Gold and Silver. It works: the print shows a metallic shine that communicated the metallic element. Frame this drawing with a metallic frame and its crisp white background works effectively.
All elements are available at Paula’s artshop individually and as a series.

Paula Kuitenbrouwer is owner of http://www.mindfuldrawing.com and can be found on Instagram as @mindfuldrawing.

Albino Mandarin Ducks

You would be surprised how many colours I have used to draw this Albino Mandarin Duck Couple. Original drawing; one available only. 8/10 inches. At http://www.paulaartshop.com

ORIGINAL DRAWING of an Albino or White Mandarin Duck Couple (Aix galericulata) at http://www.paulaartshop.com.

Affordable art series.

Mandarin Ducks are colourful ducks. Having said that, take their colour away and you still have outstanding beautiful ducks. They symbolize loyalty and love. 💖💚❤️In Feng Shui it is said that having Mandarin Ducks in your home (painting or picture) attracts love and loyalty. And why not? When guests come in, they notice this picture of love and loyalty and that is subtly stored in their minds and hearts. They don’t see a print with one object, but with two birds that love each other for life.

Notebook Need

Where ever I go, my notebook goes with me. Its aestethics is important to me; my notebook is made of faux leather (vegan, I hope), it has brown and white sub-notebooks inside, and a bamboo pen goes well with it. Inside are my name & business cards, decorated with ‘Birds, Butterflies, Fish & Botany’ 😉.

My notebook contains to-do lists decorated with Japanese origami stickers and paper, ideas for essays drawings, paintings, and sketches.

When I was a teenager, there was only one kind of notebook available.  Classroom girls all had the same notebook, with different colours but all with a worthless mini lock and a mini-key. Now, in our digital age, there are so many different ones, made for different needs and for a wide range of personalities.

Remember it was said that the computer would make our desks book-, snail-mail- and paper-less? No such thing happened. On the contrary! We still have way too many books; we buy newspapers and we have sketching, drawing, Japanese, Korean, decorative, packing and so much other paper; there is more instead of less.

Do you have a notebook? How do you use it? To inspire others or to act out inspiration? To digital detox? As a memoirs for your children or for yourself?