Midwinter Musings

I have sent out 50+ Christmas or Yule cards this year. Up to today, I received back 5 written cards and 3 digital texts. That is about 50 minus 8 replies which equals 42 unanswered wishes. That is more unanswered wishes than last year, and the year before, which shows that handwritten cards are becoming obsolete. Still, that isn’t the point that I like to make.

Art Cards by Paula Kuitenbrouwer

What do midwinter best-wishing cards actually mean?

I finished my ‘Who are the Celts?’ course beginning of December, and there are still moments when I dwell in the Iron Age. Christmas cards were invented in the Victorian Age, so why should I relate them to ancient rituals? Well, it has to do with midwinter.

Wood burned Christmas Ornament by Sorriso Design on Etsy.
Wood burned Christmas Ornament by Sorriso Design on Etsy.

Midwinter was a dark time during the Iron Age and also during the Victorian times. Flu and winter bugs were (and still are) bothering us and we were confined to our homes. Livestock that wasn’t supposed to last through the winter was slaughtered and one would see food storage diminish during the dark months. There wasn’t any Christmas shopping the way we do now. Would there be enough to eat? There wouldn’t be any stores reopening the day after Christmas. Was the remaining livestock strong enough to ensure food for the coming summer, and would they be able to reproduce themselves? Was there enough food kept in storage for the dark months ahead, and was it well preserved? Midwinter was an anxious time and one could only pray to (the/a) God(s), ancestral and nature spirits to be granted health and see the return of the green.

A Wren Family by Paula Kuitenbrouwer on www.paulaartshop.com
A Wren Family by Paula Kuitenbrouwer on http://www.paulaartshop.com

In these dark times, people felt the need to make offerings to (a/the) God(s), to ancestral or nature spirits. But slowly we forgot about them. In Victorian times, the feeling of sending out a prayer or wish was still lingering in our ancient minds but now was penned down on beautiful marbled cards and delivered by post. However, these wishes weren’t addressed to (a/the) God(s) or spirits, but to family and friends.

I love sending out cards as it is such old tradition. If we all wish each other a Merry Christmas, a Joyful Yule or a Marvelous Midwinter, wouldn’t that help us, despite the fact that we have antibiotics, electric light, and refrigerators through winter? Would it help us to know that other people kept us in their thoughts and prayers? Wouldn’t an effort of sending each other Best Seasonal Wishes, to keep each other in our minds and hearts, help to stay healthy through the dark winter months? I think so. I think it is a good gesture and it shouldn’t be forgotten.

Winter drawing with winter garden birds and evergreen, Paula Kuitenbrouwer

I need to followed up this with a disclaimer. I don’t blame people for not sending back cards. I am not frustrated or sad that sending cards seems to belong to the past. We are increasingly busy, distracted and some say that sending cards isn’t good for our carbon footprint, one would just send an email or text.

As long as we wish each other well during the dark times of the year, the old ritual of keeping each other in our minds or in the light of a warm glowing heart, isn’t lost.

I wish you all a Merry Christmas, Joyful Yule, & a Marvelous Midwinter.


Inspiring Creativity


I’m happy to report that my booklet is doing well. I have 5 available at 15 Euros including shipping. Mail me at mindfuldrawing@gmail.com if you like to receive it via Paypal. It will come in a nicely decorated envelope.


I like to show its title and cover in detail, yet I like my book also to look as gift. Hence the very nice wrapping paper that I bought at Avoca.


I love the weeks before Christmas, Hanukkah or Yule as my artists friends and  I exchange  postcards. It is inspiring to see their creativity. Here are Sybille’s and Debbie’s cards; full colour and, of course, beautifully handmade. I keep them for years.


At Blurb, Etsy and at Paula Art Shop, I have now the option to buy a print and my booklet with one click. My art shop has a direct check out, setting up an account  is not needed.

If you like to receive a postcard by me as well as my name card with information about my book; mail me at mindfuldrawing@gmail.com. I will be happy to send to you a lovely decorated envelope, like Sybille and Debbie have sent me.

Isn’t it nice how your mailbox, at Christmas, becomes a surprise box? Instead of boring advertisements you find colourful envelopes with your handwritten name. There are stickers, stamps and small doodles on the envelope. When you open it, colours burst out and you hold a card that expresses human warmth, creativity and a reassurance that handmade still exists and hasn’t been crushed by digitization. Bravo for handmade cards.




Artists Inspired by Nature Treasures: Sybille Tezzele Kramer, Liliya Tereshkiv, Lois Mathews and Paula Kuitenbrouwer

Sybille Tezzele Kramer, Liliya Tereshkiv, Lois Mathews & Paula Kuitenbrouwer

Sybille Tezzele Kramer:


Italian born Sybille Tezzele Kramer draws inspiration from her direct surroundings in Sud-Tirol. Sybille shows her appreciation for weeds with her drawing, named Erbacce/Unkraut. Notice Chamomile, Poppy, Alchemilla, Foxtail grass and Dandelion. Also, notice the smiling face of the weeds. Weed smiles because it is stronger than all the poison that is used. And why using it? Why do we categorize some plants as obnoxious weeds and others as ornamental plants? Why do we say some stones are pebbles and others are gemstones? Sybille creates a three-dimensional effect by drawing a heliocentric composition. Read more about this lovely drawing here. Sybille’s Erbacce/Unkraut/Weed is available here. The original Erbacce is touring through Italy as a mobile exhibition ‘Lo Sguardo Obliquo’.

Liliya Tereshkiv:

Liliya Tereshkiv, a Ukraine born artist, also living in Italy, is the woman behind Sorriso Design. Liliya shows us how nature inspires her by picking up leaves and pine cones and looking at the blue sky. Here is her lovely Etsy shop full woodwork, jewellery and home decoration. Have a look, you will be surprised. More of Liliya’s nature photos are here.

Lois Mathews:

For years I’m enjoying the walks Lois Mathews records at her delightful blog  Sketching on Whidbey Island. If there are sketches directly inspired by nature, they are Lois’ water-paintings. I don’t like to sit in front of a screen, but that all changes when I read Lois’s records and nature studies. Did I just feel a bit of fresh air? Or did I hear a songbird? Do I noticed footprints on the walking track? Lois’s nature journal enchants me.


An empty wall, wood and driftwood treasures and a few of my prints. I’ve put them together for a playful exhibition of a few of my prints. My birds and butterflies feel perfectly at home in their natural environment.

There is nothing definitive or pretentious about this, I can add and remove things without damaging the wall. There is bark of an eucalyptus tree, a honeysuckle knot, pine-cone branches, driftwood, some wooden pegs and prints.


Paula at Etsy

Paula at Amazon Handmade

An invitation to have a look at my work…..


I invite you to have a look at my portfolio at Etsy. A good thing about having a online shop is that it gives you a quick and pretty overview. So, hop over to Etsy and have a look.
My portfolio is also at www.paulaartshop.com (paula+art+shop.com)

At Etsy I sell affordable prints and originals are at http://www.paulakuitenbrouwer.com

Pumkin with butterflies by Paula Kuitenbrouwer

And here are recommendations and reviews:

“Lovely item and a very helpful seller – many thanks!”

“Shipment was very fast and the product was very high quality. Thank you – I’m very pleased”

“What GORGEOUS ARTWORK you do! I always wished I was more artistic, I love to draw but only have limited talent in that way. I love you depictions of nature, just beautiful! Thank you for sharing that”.

“Hi Paula, I love your drawings and looking at them I can really feel the quiet moments and simple pleasures we can get from nature. Very calming, indeed! Many thanks”.

“You are a wonderfully talented artist Paula with a beautiful technique for making tender images that warm my heart to look at. Thank you”

“Paula, like you I love nature but you have an amazing capacity to capture nature at it’s best with your wonderful drawings. My best wishes for your continued success – people will fall in love with your wonderful talent”.

“The detail shown in the drawing of the Tawny Owl is amazing. This is another amazing piece from your Collection. Warm regards”

“Paula, I loved your nature arts. I do like stumbling upon feathers once in a while and collect them for their beauty. They seem like magical gifts from nature”.

Questions and orders? Contact: mindfuldrawing@gmail.com

New drawings and paintings are regularly uploaded



Gift Cards




Dragonfly and Swallowtail Butterfly

Blog2 Original Dragonfly Swallowtail Butterfly coloured-pencil drawing, postcards, and mouse-pad, copyright Paula Kuitenbrouwer

To view this Dragonfly & Swallowtail Fine Art Card close up, click here.

On an ideal day, after home schooling my daughter, I have plenty of time to draw. The clock doesn’t seem to tick…..the day will last forever. Inspired by teaching the Great Masters, I start a new oil painting, carefully preparing it with a white-black under layer, time to start cooking is still far away.

Christmas-Happy Holidays Cards

(my Christmas-Happy Holiday Fine Art Card, my Gift-cards, old church-books, German herbal bouquet, Korean decoration and Italian fabric)

There is even enough time to toy with my camera.

How does your ideal day look like? You need 48 or 72 hours extra in a day?


Paula Kuitenbrouwer sells exquisite fine art cards of her drawings as well as reproductions, and of some drawings smaller business-, gift- or mummy-cards. See Purchase in the header for what is available as well as the price list. In case you like to commission Paula, contact her at mindfuldrawing@gmail.com

Pumpkin Fall Autumn Harvest Halloween Fine Art Card

Autumn 2012 copyright by Paula Kuitenbrouwer

On show, my Pumpkin, Fall, Autumn, Harvest, or Halloween drawing. Cards are printed too. Let me explain you the theme and composition. This year I’ve combined garden birds, two Parus major ‘chickadees’, with fall fruit: pumpkins, apples, and acorns.
Last summer I’ve been hoping to find a Stag Beetle. I couldn’t find one, so I was happy to draw one. It slowly makes its way to the acorns and apples.

The chickadees in our garden give us constant delight and inspiration: they are dominant, noisy and funny. I can’t stop looking at their wonderful colours.

At the end of our street, there is a pumpkin patch. It is so nice to see the orange spots growing bigger every time we drive pass it.

Acorns…well, they keep us awake at night because they fall on our roof. When it is windy, we run to our front door with our hands covering our heads, afraid to get bombarded by them.

I’ve aimed for a diagonal composition. The Stag Beetle guides your view from down-left to up-right, to the last upright leaf of the big orange pumpkin. Normally I would put big objects in the back, but I liked the large orange pumpkin to dominate the drawing. The small green one offers depth being positioned behind the big large pumpkin. My signature is hidden in one single straw.

I wish you a lovely autumn season.

Paula Kuitenbrouwer

Pumpkin compositions by Paula Kuitenbrouwer


The Woodpecker Family

Woodpecker Family copyright Paula Kuitenbrouwer, photo Thomas Kluck

I’ve finished my portrait of a woodpecker family based on The Hamlyn Guide to Birds of Britain and Europe. Daddy Woodpecker inspects his home. Mummy Woodpecker feeds her son. Notice that a female woodpecker has no red cap. Both male and female have a red belly.


The original Woodpecker drawing, with Fine Art Cards


Paula Kuitenbrouwer