On my desk…

Are you, like me, still trying to put 2005 resolutions into effect? Having confessed this, I am never behind with reading. I have always read and I never have stopped reading. Which books are currently on my desk? Well, study books, leisure books and life-style books.

My study books are related to my course ‘Who were the Celts’, at Oxford Department for Continuing Education and these books are hugely interesting. Academic books are worlds that take you on a journey. You find yourself updated, upgraded and transformed when you close them. You work yourself through decades of academic research which is a luxury. I didn’t have to become an archeologist to read about latest findings! Many well-educated archeologists are getting their hands and knees dirty from working at digging sites and I can comfortably sit in a lazy chair and read about their findings.

The Quest of the Shaman by Miranda Green is next on my list and also I am trying to find some answers in ‘Farming in the Iron Age’. The books by Barry Cunliffe were essential to the Celtic course and are now full with scribbles and notes that I used for writing the required two essays for passing the course. I am a huge fan of studying at Oxford Department for Continuing Education (ODCE).

Although I have gained inspiration for months and months ahead by studying the Celts, I am already eyeing the next course at ODCE.

For leisure I have read about Beatrix Potter, a lovely and beautiful book given by a kind friend. This books isn’t about our youth-time favourite bunnies but about the artist and her artwork goes well beyond her successful children’s books.

My father and I read in ‘Historopedia, the Story of Ireland from Then till Now’ during Christmas. The ‘now’ doesn’t interest me much, the ‘then’ all the more.

And yes, I have fallen prey to all those pretty, small leisure books with tidbits of pleasurable wisdom: Hygge, Lykke, Lagom, Ikigai & currently Simplicite. They fit in your handbag and can be read anywhere and at any time.

‘Indoor Edible Garden’ is one of my ambitions. I am growing sprouts and micro-greens and I am learning a lot! I can now feed the family 2-3 rounds of self-grown vegetables per week, which is such pleasure because I know they haven’t been sprayed with pesticides.

Drawing and painting? Certainly. The creative well never dries up.  However, 2018 is a sabbatical year for study and for working on long-term plans. That is what ancient studies do to me; they make me think in longer stretches of time.

What about you? What are your plans for a creative 2018? What is your current favourite book?

Stay happy & healthy,

Paula

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.

_MG_2901
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.

Paula

Studio Pictures: MindfulDrawing.com

 

Paula’s prints are at Etsy.

Here is Jamie’s Poetry website, a website full resources.

Saunter through Patricia’s colourful garden here!

Marts, For Much Deliberation is one Trinidadian geographer’s attempt to compile as much geographical information as possible from existing internet resources. Very interesting!

Sybille’s, my Italian art friends, most colourful website is here.

Lilliya’s beautiful Etsy shop is here. You should see how she combines wood with silver. Elvish, magical, very skillful and beautiful.

Linda is a great and unstoppable illustrator and story-teller. Enjoy her weekly blogposts here.

Stay happy & healthy,

Paula

 

 

Peony Time

Pioenroos print met pioenroos

A real Peony, a printed Peony and notice the one on the Korean flower vase.

Tulpen en Pioenroos peony print.jpg

Peony and Tulip art prints of pencil drawings by Paula Kuitenbrouwer

Beach treasures

Beach treasures. Before you think Paula has painting pebbles, I didn’t. That awesome white stone with that intricate wine red pattern, that is dried seaweed. Nature is a great artist.

Desk with 3 prints I.jpg

On a desk with 3 art prints by Paula Kuitenbrouwer.

Dog Sketch

And my darling daughter drew this cute dog. I framed it straight away. My daughter’s shop is at Etsy too, click here to say hello by giving her perhaps a whole lot of hearts?

Love,

Paula

My Etsy & my Art Shop.

Save

Lotus Plant Drawings: Botanical and Symbolic

Two Lotus Prints

Lotus Plant’ & ‘Lotus Pond with Tortoise’

by Paula Kuitenbrouwer

In preparation for the upcoming birthday of the Buddha, I have drawn two different views of a lotus plant. Much venerated in Buddhism, the lotus is one of the ‘Eight Auspicious Symbols’. It is also a delight to draw, as the textured leaves and petals of the plant encourage the kind of finely-detailed observation and drawing work that give richness and texture to an image.

For my first drawing, ‘Lotus Plant’, I researched and focused on all the interconnecting parts of the plant. Most drawings and paintings of the lotus concentrate on the flower itself; the next part, the stem, is submerged and thus often merely hinted at. And the roots, although many of us will be familiar with them as edible parts of the plant, are rarely depicted in art, since they grow deep in the muddy bed of the pond.

For a Buddhist, this concept of living in three mediums – mud, water, air – signifies a progression. The soul journeys from the muddiness of materialism, through the water-world in which we live and experience our daily, day-to-day lives, and thence beyond, to enlightenment in the ethereal world of light and air. That these parts are all connected, roots to stem, stem to flower, is reflected in my drawing.

My ‘Lotus Pond with Tortoise’ shows the flowering plant, partly in water, and blooming just at the surface. A tortoise, resting on a rock, looks up at the lotus. Such a bright and beautiful flower is an inspiration to all who see it, tortoise as much as human.

In Asian culture, tortoises are sacred. The longevity and tenacity that they symbolize seemed to me to be a wonderful way to celebrate what the birthday of the Buddha means. We need to live long and work hard to reach enlightenment. And if the ageing process is enlightenment in slow motion, as John C. Robinson describes in his book ‘The Three Secrets of Ageing’, then my combining of the symbols of enlightenment with those of longevity expresses this process.

Paula Kuitenbrouwer

Lotus (Botanical) at Etsy

Lotus with Tortoise at Etsy

 

 

Lotus in pond, with roots and dragonfly

Lotusbloem met wortel

Lotus Plant, copyright by Paula Kuitenbrouwer

Scientific name: Nelumbo nucifera.

A lotus plant grows in a pond. Lotus-roots are edible and nutritious. Have you ever seen them in an Asian food shop? Do you know how all parts of a lotus plant connect? I didn’t and I had to do some research to get the botanical facts right.

A lotus plant is a highly esteemed symbol in Buddhism as being one of the “Eight Auspicious Symbols” of this religion. The roots of a lotus flower extend into the mud, the stem grows up through the water and the flower blossoms above the surface.

For a Buddhist this living on 3 levels, in the mud, in water and air, signifies progress. The soul progresses from the mud (read: mess and materialism), through the world of water in which we live our daily life and experience our world, higher up to enlightenment in the ethereal world of air and light.

There is a saying or consolation for when things are difficult; ‘A lotus only grows in a muddy pond’, stating that in order to flower, to bloom, one has to accept the mud, the mess, chaos, dirt or ugliness.
In Buddhist art lotuses are all over the place. Sometimes Buddha sits in an opened lotus-flower, thus symbolising his awakening.
Paula
Prints at Amazon Handmade or Amazon Handmade, or via mindfuldrawing@gmail.com with banking payment or paypal.

Fall Harvest Dangling Display with Berries, Eucalyptus, Birch, Chestnut & Brambles

I’ve drawn ‘Harvest Dangling Display’ after I collected the first autumn leaves and fruits in our garden and nearby park. Left to right: Berries, Eucalyptus, Birch, Chestnut, and Brambles are dangling on a piece of driftwood that I found bobbing in an Atlantic Ocean tidal pool at the east coast of Ireland. It has this bleached grey colour and texture that I find very pretty.

Prints come with a Hahnemühle Certificate of Authenticity & Hologram System that is designed to protect the security and genuineness of this limited edition and reproductions on Hahnemühle paper. Printed details are amazingly clear.

harvest-copyright

Details:

 

Print is available at Etsy and at Paula’s Art Shop

Paula

Spring Into Style with Art, Prints and Crafts by Paula Kuitenbrouwer

My Butterfly Mugs Paula Kuitenbrouwer

Who told you mugs are for tea or coffee exclusively?!

 What tulipmania?!

Tulpenschilderij, Paula Kuitenbrouwer

Who told you combining geometric designs and botanical prints won’t work?!

Who told you blue tulips do not exist?!

Blue Tulips in Studio

Back in my studio….

Working on framing my high quality artwork prints

 

Bye for now ❤

Paula

at Etsy

 

Four Seasons In One Day: Ireland

Wood and Stone

I’m very happy to live in Ireland. This island has four seasons in one day. If that isn’t enough, Ireland has stones that look like wood and wood that looks like stone. The changeable elements and wonderful collectibles, what more to wish for?

Paula

At Etsy

P.S. Driftwood and stones of Killiney Beach, Ireland.