Posted in Hello from the studio

Just showing up

When I started this blog I thought I would be writing every week or at least every two weeks, but my illness got in the way. 2022 started with a major relapse of my post-covid symptoms, one I found almost impossible to overcome. I wasn’t able to do much of anything at all. I could hardly walk, couldn’t concentrate for more than three minutes, couldn’t find words (just normal, ordinary words); it was useless. I felt useless. I found myself wondering, is this it? Is this what my life is going to be from now on? I spent most of my days in bed and on the sofa. I only went out of the house to take the dog out for a walk with my scooter. I was gaining weight, losing even more muscle and feeling lonely and depressed. I was in a downward spiral and I was very aware of it, but didn’t know how to stop it. Or did I?

It was a remark someone made about overcoming creative block that made me realise: it all starts with just showing up. So, I dragged myself over to the studio and just sat there at first. I started sticking some images and patterns in my journal. The next day I added words and created some poetry. In the weeks after that I made some collages. I bought a gel plate and got hooked on it. And I started to feel better, because I had made something. This was what I needed. This was and is my medicine. How could I forget?

One of my gel prints in my journal

Since then I am doing a lot better. I started a new therapy which is very helpful. I have more energy and I’m walking more and farther each day. I’ve also been more open about my feelings toward my loved ones, instead of keeping it all in and ‘staying strong’. Things are looking up and I spend more and more time making art. I even caught myself thinking about the future and making plans. 🙂

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Posted in About me

Art as medicine

It’s the 30th of march 2020. After planting a new hedgerow in my garden I sit down in my lazy chair with a cup of coffee. I suddenly feel like I will never get up again. I am exhausted, I can hardly get the cup to my lips. I have no idea that, from this moment on, my life will change dramatically. Over the next few days I get sicker and sicker: it’s Covid-19. I don’t know how or where I got it. I get pretty sick, but luckily I do not end up in the hospital or worse.

Now, almost 20 months later, I am still a wreck. I am one of the ‘long haulers’ with PASC, also known as long-COVID. I am getting better, but it’s a slow process. I had most of the common symptoms, but the biggest and remaining issue is fatigue. I have so little energy that I am not able to do housework or walk the dog. Let alone work. I use a walker for short distances and a scooter to walk the dog. I am fortunate that I have friends and family helping me out.

To prevent myself from getting depressed I started journaling and making art again. I am a trained artist, but my teaching job was so demanding, that it left little time or energy for making art. But now it’s become more important then ever. Spending only 30 minutes in my studio changes my day for the better. I started out with small things, like decorating my journal with pictures from magazines and drawing on scraps of paper, so I would not put the bar too high. I made collages with teabags and made drawings on some of the smaller pieces. Yes! This was exactly wat the doctor ordered.

A few months on I am able to spend more time in my studio making collages and blind drawings. I’m thinking about painting again. Things are moving forward! That’s why I decided to share my joy with the world on this website and on Instagram. I’m hoping to expand my art making, while I am recovering from my illness. But I’m taking it slow: no pressure and one day at a time.