Donating Renewing Inspiration Part I

What do you do when you face another international move and you are only allowed to bring a maximum of x square meters of personal belongings? You donate; you donate like mad. In South-Korea, I donated baby and toddler furniture to a local orphanage. In East-Europe, I donated to local friends. In Belgium, I drove a few times to a charity shop and in Ireland I posted furniture and stuff on Facebook (all was collected in no time). At home, I have a circle of friends and the Dutch vintage shop Kringloop for donating stuff and furniture. Shedding skin is never a sad thing; it is a good thing to donate. It de-clutters, it forces you to move one, and as a result you do not live in the past.

But what about my art? Luckily my older drawings do not take up much space. I store them in a portfolio and 4-5 portfolio maps may be heavy but square-meter wise are neglectable. Still, it is a good thing to go through your portfolio and say bye-bye to drawings and paintings that haven’t sold and therefore one could depart from. Nothing is holy or beyond scrutinizing its beauty, usefulness or what feelings objects provoke.

What Helps You To Select?

I have read books on this and I like to offer three perspectives. The first one is by the famous Marie Kondo. She offers you a selection criterion stating you must love an item in order to keep it. I discussed this with a friend and we both think that is too simplistic, after all you can love trash, you could love useless stuff, or you are attached to an object because you feel obliged to pass it on to the next generation.

Then there is Eva Jarlsdotter’s decluttering’s working thesis encouraging you to do research into what items (furniture, clothing, a huge basket full laundry) costs as in taking up space, working on your emotions (for instance irritation), or as costing you time (to clean, to move around). I did this for our laundry cycle and drew interesting conclusions which lead to changing habits.

Art inspires art: my ‘Ode to William Morris’s Trellis’ on a painter’s easel with our new Morris’s wallpaper in the background.

Last, there is William Morris, the much admired and famous British multi-talented artist who simply states that:

‘Have nothing in your houses that you do not know to be useful or believe to be beautiful’.

Perhaps all three combined offer the best evaluation, Jarlsdotter’s economic thesis, Kondo’s minimalist strategy, and Morris’ passionate direction. We need to surround ourselves with only beauty and useful things because it makes living so much more pleasurable.

As an ode to William Morris’ passionate and inspiring call for more beauty, about a year ago I chose his elegant Snakehead wallpaper and renewed our bedding. Shedding skin does not have to be a bad thing. The effect can be very uplifting. And, despite these beautiful photos, it does not have to be expensive. Our local vintage shops are full of lovely and affordable items. They say that one person’s trash is another persons’ treasure. But let me say; one person’s treasure can be another persons’ treasure. Donating is important; gifting is important. It causes a flow of things, it prevents stagnation, and it offers you a renewed feeling.

My Mandarin Duck Gouache painting with William Morris Wallpaper in the background

The most important thing, next to William Morris’ advice, is that you need to surround yourself not only with beautiful and useful things but also with things that hold good memories or radiate inspiration. To me, personally, this rings truth because art inspires art.

In ‘William Morris in 50 Objects‘, I read more on Morris’s quest for surrounding yourself with beautiful things. I quote from No. 24 Morris explaining the importance of the decorative arts. He regarded ‘beauty’ as a basic human need that could only be satisfied by the best possible art. By ‘art’ he meant not just paintings or sculpture, but the home furnishings that surrounds us in our everyday life.

Donating Renewing Inspiration Part II is here.

Paula Kuitenbrouwer

At Etsy

At Linktree

At Instagram

Trellis ‘Ode to William Morris’

Finding William Morris in Nature

One day I was admiring our local herbal garden and found myself in William Morris’ Trellis wallpaper design. To celebrate this moment of seeing artwork by the most famous Arts and Crafts Movement artist being alive right in front of me, I set out making a large watercolour painting. I believe the Arts and Crafts Movement and especially William Morris’ designs strengthened the human-nature connection.

Trellis Design

This watercolour makes a lovely wink to past artisan times. Morris designed a simplified trellis with perfect squares, which I stayed true to. But instead of climbing roses and bluebirds, I have chosen passionflowers as host plants to a hummingbird and a butterfly. I have paid much attention to drawing an Arts and Crafts frame, in dark wood with embellishments.

Work in progress with lots of blues and greens and a live model leaf of our own passionflower.

Morris used different ground colours including blue, dark grey, taupe, and the off-white which I will do too. Blue symbolizing heavens, the ethereal part of life and dark, wood brown representing our earthly life.
I have used some gold and iridescent paint so that light offers an enriching effect on this watercolour painting.

Ode to William Morris with bits of gold and iridescent shine.
Watercolour Painting Copyrighted by Paula Kuitenbrouwer

Size is 46 by 61 cm or 18 by 24 inches. Horizontally oriented. I always use Arches High Quality Art Paper, satin because of its soft satin feel and because, to me, it is simply the best. This artwork will need an off-white or softly coloured passe-partout (mount) and a frame. You will cherish this original artwork for years to come!

‘Trellis with lush Acanthus and Passionflowers, a Hummingbird and a Butterfly.’ (Passionflower is the host plant for hummingbirds and fritillary butterflies).

Should you like artwork that matches your William Morris wallpaper, consider commissioning me. I look forward to work with you.

Paula Kuitenbrouwer


Etsy William Morris Inspired Artwork ‘Trellis

Etsy William Morris Inspired Artwork ‘Bouquet of Flowers’

Etsy William Morris

Abundant Acanthus; A Lovely Gift for a William Morris or Plant Loving Person

Abundant Acanthus

‘Abundant Acanthus’ with plant motifs by William Morris and me. Here are the ‘work in progress’ photos and musings.

I have drawn this large graphite drawing with so much pleasure despite that I became dizzy from all these swirling botanical patterns. But isn’t elegance worth a bit of suffering?

Take care and don’t forget to water your plants during the summer heat.

Paula Kuitenbrouwer

At Etsy

At Instagram


New Work in the Making

I am working on the successor of ‘Praising Plants‘, ‘Ode to All Oak Trees‘ and ‘Sophisticated Succulents‘ and returning to William Morris for inspiration.

For years, William Morris didn’t appeal that much to me because I was still under the influence of my study of Dutch Baroque floral painters. They, as no one else, could create depth and a feeling as if you were looking at a real bouquet. These Golden Age masters positioned their composition in such way that a large flower vases, with all seasonal flowers, would stand proudly on show and you could -in your mind- walk around it. You would admire not only the flowers but also water-drops and insect that rested on big and small petals. But, of course, you were looking at an illusion. Dutch floral painters studied flowers, one by one, made sketches on them, and then set up a composition as if all flowers were all in bloom at the exact same time, which is never the case in nature. A wonderful illusion; a much admired illusion.

William Morris looked one dimensional compared to these baroque painters, yet, I learned to see that compared to modern flower designs, Morris’s work certainly isn’t one-dimensional. He may not create as much depth as I would like to see, but he weaves flower stems, creating the feeling as if you are in nature and looking at bushes, trees, and flower beds. Some flowers are near, some further away.

My drawing will have another lovely title using again a two word alliteration. You are invited to guess. However, before doing that, one needs some botanical knowledge and isn’t that not exactly what makes us love William Morris? He educates and inspired us with his design, botanical knowledge, and colourful palette.


William Morris mainly scatters and extends broad leaf foliage, flowers, and sometimes animals for the purpose of creating a repetitive, yet not too repetitive, wall paper design. There is a difference in what we expect from wall-paper, a painting, and from a mural. We expect a mural to trick us like Harry Potter on Platform 9 ¾: we like to run into the world that is suggested by a mural. Wall-paper, on the other hand, aims at supporting the design and décor of a room. Wall-paper must suggest less depth than a mural or painting, but more than a brick wall, by weaving the stems of flowers and using the technique of foreshortening, Morris does exactly that however not overly.

I have yet many white spaces to fill up with my own designs; this way of freehand drawing is enjoyable. 

Here you find more on my William Morris Trellis watercolour painting. (Click here)

Paula Kuitenbrouwer   

My shop is at Etsy & and my portfolio at Instagram

Trellis by Paula Kuitenbrouwer