There is a heatwave. This week temperature will go above 40 degrees Celsius here too. Together with information about huge fires in the arctic and many millions of people who have to leave their homes because of flooding or lack of water. It all starts to look and feel very apocalyptic.
I have always felt related to the many different stories in the mythology or sacred texts of different cultures about the big flood. The flood where the Gods of God destroyed all living beings to punish them for their sins. As a child I used to have nightmares about a huge wall of water coming over the land and destroying everything.
Whithout supernatural powers doing anything special we seem to be punished for our sins, punished for the burning of fossile fuels, punished for greed and lack of moral development, punished for lack of solidarity. The word puishment is not correct it is more a logical consequence of this behaviour. It makes that we have to face the extinction of many species, of animals and plants and of our fellow human beings. We might even have to face our death as a consequence.
It can make me feel very angry, and very depressed. It can make me feel to hate it all and not wanting to be part of it. It can be quite difficult to find a place where life is simply good and happy and where that shadow is not hanging over you. I call home that place where people are naturally friendly and loving and caring about one another and about all living beings around them and where all can thrive, where Life is pure and simple. People may say that I belief in fairy tales and that I should get real, but I refuse to believe that human Life in it's essence is anything different than that.
Meanwhile also the anger and desperation needs a heart willing to feel it. Like a caring mother when her child falls asks where does it hurt? Wit her loving attention the pain dissolves and the healing follows. Whatever emotion the heat might rise let it be accepted as it is, let it have its space with respect whithout overreacting on it.
I wish I would be better in doing what I think that should be done.
Waves of emotion seem to be like the emotions shudering a huge human body. The earth and all the living creatures on it are like that body. Every living being is like a single cell in this body. Every cell is a world on it's own and has it's own specific appearance and specific functions though it has the DNA of the whole and is connected with the whole body. Very much like a hologram. Very much like all human beings being different but also very much the same. What I feel is what "we"feel and we only have to let it be to let it continue in a flow ever changing ever the same. The emotion is like a wave trough the body fluid affecting all cells. We all know the same kind of emotions altough we subscribe them to different circumstances.
In order to understand the world around me and make some sense out of my experiences and perceptions I have to write.
Back to painting. Stop moving, travelling, time to process all that is done. I paint paint paint. I notice that forms come and dissolve again, colours too. The works stay in a formless flux. Like most of my works actually. I do feel good in that formless, slow, continuously transforming movement. It is only when it moves too fast that I start to feel uncomfortable and start to think too much.
Some people really don't like the absence of clear forms in my work.
I was thinking about my letters, home, my homesickness and homelessness and the line it marks in my history. I would love to bring that story to an end.
The feeling of being home and being totally relaxed and at ease often goes together with images of endless spaces, like the universe, the ocean, wide empty landscapes with views as far as the eyes can see... The space makes me feel free and very joyful, an ecstatic joy, a giggle, the enjoyment of adventure making me run or even fly. It is so much fun to move in that freedom. I am myself again but it is not me. I am stone and earth, I am wind and sky, I am stars and sand, I am water and light. I have many faces and am many creatures. I am home.
Solid matter start to drip and mould in my hands, like the dripping watches in the painting of Salvador Dali. While mixing the elements new Life appears. Yellow and blue, as light and water creating the greens of plants. Red sparks as boosts of energy from which forms start to grow, rippling outwards.
We just returned from a ten day trip to the heart of Russia. It was refreshing to be confronted with that otherness of a different culture, a different way of experiencing life.
I give some impressions of places which attracted me:
These wooden houses awakend memories, visions and dreams I have captured a couple of years ago, lying on the edge of my awareness. It was as if whispering voices told me what has happened there in times past by. Like when you wake up in the morning after a dream and part of it you remmber and part of it quickly slips away.
This looks like an embodiement of an imaginary reality. It was a great place to observe the meeting of cultures and the "in between place" of east and west.
This shows the clash of the dreamworld and everyday reality, which sometimes looks a bit threatening.
As I feel it, it is as if there is something hanging in the air which might quickly transform this holographic illussion into a new image, maybe better, maybe not better but definitely different.
Often I felt like being in different realities at the same time.
And often I was remembered of the great Russian literature, the vastness of everyhting, the landscape, the depth of emotions, the complexity of human relations, the multigenerational family dramas taking place in very different parts of the world, and all of it observed and experienced with so much telling details. It touched my heart.
That great capacity to be very precise in observations was remarkable in paintings in musea as well.
There is no need for reforestation in Russia, plenty of wildness and forests and no private ownership of nature. It did place some questionmarks by my recent projects and concerns. Tough climate change is there also clearly observable.
Today I did have a last visiting opportunity in the beautiful light appartment in Leuven where I have done several exhibitions. I do feel grateful for every piece of work which has found a new home with new owners and for the money, (much more than I dared to hope for) which has been transferred to support reforestation projects. I did miss trees and forests in my immediate envoronment so often during the yearrs I did live in Belgium. Glad that I finally found a way to do something about it.
This exhibition was a good experience.
I am also grateful, for the life this place allowed me to live. It has given me a new conncetion to birds and opened my eyes for the constant changes in the sky. It also has changed my experience of space. I never before had so much space to live in. It changes your thinking and perspective and that renewal was a very good thing and did bring a bettter balance in the things I value.
Now looking forward to work again and create something new.
The last day of my exhibition in Leuven is approaching. It will be on the 18th of June. I am happy that till now it has been quite succesful and quite some works are gone to new owners who agreed to sponsor reforestation projects. Happy also that in this very small way I can contribute something in restoring the damage done by humanity.
The last weeks have been extremely intense and often stressful. Not easy to stay centered and balanced. I am very much looking forward to more peaceful times and to reinstalling a workspace, a qiet place where I can concentrate on creating again. There are a lot of patterns and images in my mind which ask to be worked out. But the new adress of my workspace is still unknown.
Tomorrow there will be an exam and finishing my first year of studying Traditional Chinese Medicine. It is like understanding in a different way the movements of natural energy, creating sickness and health among all other natural phenomena.
We are in the South of France looking for a quiet home and workspace which is reachable with public transport like trains. It is hot and humid and sometimes suddenly very chilly. You feel the fertility of the earth pushing in wave like patterns. The earth is breathing in her own particular rhythm, which is different in different locations. Those differences are fascinating.
Many bidrds are singing their beautiful songs, soothing the heart. The warm humidity creates an amazing diversity of insects. The insects make me think of human beings. They are very often in a rush on their way to something, they can get quite annoyed when obstructed in their projects, and there are so many of them. Often they come more close than is pleasant.
The trees grow very high here.
I remember what my plan was some years ago. Lying down under the trees enjoying the natural world and visualising how everything I don't enjoy that much on this planet tranfroms into something beautiful and harmonious. I strongly believe in the creative power of our minds and imagination. I imagine all plastics to fall apart and dissappear out of the waters. I imagine all diversity in life forms to return to this planet and evolve further. I imagine the air and water clean and pure, a joy to be in and breathe and feel. I imagine the people happy and healthy and kind and loving. Lots to do once you get started.
Those are sold, the buyer did donate the price directly to reforestation organisations I chose to sponsor
Those are in option:
I am ready for a final exhibition in the appartement in Leuven where I used to work in the year past by. After moving out most of the furniture, the big and light spaces look like a real museum or gallery.
Open door on Sunday 9 June, Wednesday 12 June and Tuesday 18 June from 15 till 20h. Or on appointment.
Address: Alfons Smetsplein 3G bus 401, 3000 Leuven
There is quite some work which I would love to give another home and another owner. Some is for sale and some is available by making a donation to specific organisations who fight global warming by taking care of reforestation especially in tropical countries where the forests function as the lungs of the Earth. Fortunately that is also beneficial for the local communities of those countries.
Money can be given to:
Here are some impressions:
A selection of individual works present there in acrylic:
A selection of individual works in egg-tempera:
Some of the drawings:
And there are some sculptures in stone and in wood. You can get an impression of them on the portfolio page of this website.
In front of my window there were two pigeons building a nest in the Christmas tree. It was wonderful to see their commitment to the work and each other and observe their collaboration.
But today the tree looked empty. They seemed to have abandoned their project. I really did an effort not to disturb them.
I am still in the rather uncomfortable in between homes state, with lots of boxes and my stuff in many different corners, spread over different places. A new studio/flat the old one, the garage in between. It gets on my nerves. Last time I wrote about experiencing health. Now I experience how the discomfort and stress of this transition stage damages my health.
It doesn't have to be stressful but it is, because of its connection with old memories and emotions.
I thought I knew by now, that home is in my own heart and a bit larger in my body and that I only have to relax to be at home anywhere and everywhere. But it is difficult to do because of attachments and instinctual reactions.
It feels that my home has to represent who I am, and my stuff is composed of objects which support my sense of self and the continuation of that self in time, by the objects which carry my memories. The wooden shoes which my mother used for many years when she worked in the garden. The embroidery book of my grandmother, the little cupboard made by my grandfather, those objects represent my roots, my childhood memories, my identity.
When you grow old and die you have to let go of it all. I don't have children with whom I share my ancestors. How come that what I have, is so much part of what I experience as being me? It can't be the same.
I always wanted to live with very little possessions, like a monk or a hermit. Spiritual matters used to be so much more significant and important to me. But that is an attachment too. Spirituality is just like matter significant and irrelevant at the same time.
Great saints or great healers and doctors also grow old, have illnesses and die, just like other people. They only had a different focus of their attention, different from most other people, but that doesn't mean better.
I still feel like I am playing in a bad science fiction movie, with that endless amount of artificial materials around me, plastics, metal, electronic devices, wifi waves, dirty smells and ugly noises. It is impossible to ignore technology.
There was a time that I really tried to ban that all out of my life. I lived in a tiny old house, and did get rid of almost all plastic, metal and electric stuff. I did use preferably handmade objects. I did grow some vegetables in my garden and did eat lots of wild herbs. What did inspire me at that time was what I had experienced during my stay with a tribe in the jungle in Indonesia. What you touch every day leaves a trace in the body. It did feel so much more vital to touch only those handmade simple objects. But life forced me to let go of that dream. Now I try to embrace everything and erase my prejudices and preferences. Sometimes that feels like a liberation and sometimes it feels like a denial of who I am.
Again that construct of who I am makes me feel dissonant. It is not a pleasant feeling. It is the source of all suffering according to the Buddhists. And the suffering stops when you can let go of the attachment to that idea of who you are. I try to figure out how to do that. Would my behaviour and my choices be different? I probably would be less stressed and could leave a lot of things which I now just do to manage te stress.