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Our lives are like a suitcase filled with stories and experiences. My husband and I currently live in beautiful Canada, in the large province of Ontario. We are originally from The Netherlands and Belgium, and after years of traveling we have found a home on the North American continent. For us, a home would not be a home without cats; many of our feline friends have traveled the world with us. A lot of pages on this website are dedicated to many of them. But do keep checking back to read new stories about my art and my adventures all over the globe and do let us know what you think – we love reading your feedback! The big top menu will help you navigate all there is on this website….
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- ‘The moody monk’
High time to show you one of the pieces I have been working on recently: ‘The Moody Monk’. This painting is based on an experience during a trekking through the Himalaya in Nepal.
It was 1992 and I had decided that I wanted to do something extreme to keep life interesting 🙂 I chose a walking trip to Mount Everest Base Camp. It was a four week adventure that I still remember very fondly. It was all done on foot and one of our destinations was the ancient monastery of Tengboche. It is a beautiful place in the Khumbu region. A big white building with colourful ornate windows. On the afternoon of my arrival, some monks were leaning from the window, staring at the new group of trekkers walking, or rather: stumbling in my case! into the village.
Descending or ascending…
I remember this trek as a pretty difficult section of my adventure. I had hurt my knee at the start and found that I had changed my mind about what I liked best: ascending a mountain or descending. In the beginning I loved to descend. I went like a mountain goat, but had no walking technique whatsoever and my knee suffered for it. So after 2 weeks, I found much more peace and pleasure in the climb. It was like meditating. The trek to Tengboche initially seemed unsurmountable, pun intended. “All you have to do is descend 1 kilometer and climb back up another kilometer”, said our guide with a beneficent smile. As if that was the easiest thing imaginable. It was not, believe me! Descending required the utmost care with regards to my injured knee. And climbing, at an attitude of almost 4 kilometres, required me to stop every 10 minutes to catch my breath. I was still learning….
Catching a breath at altitude
After 2 weeks of walking, my general physical condition was at its peak. I had trained for 6 months prior to the trip. But nothing really prepares you for these extreme altitudes, when you do this for the first time in your life. I was lucky not to suffer from oedema of the lungs, a common symptom of the dreaded altitude sickness. But taking a breath was a different story. You know how you take a deep breath, and sigh, to fill and clear your lungs? Well, at 4 kilometers hight, it takes 5 such breaths just to get enough oxygen in your system.
Stay where your feet are
It was on this part of the trek that I learned to stay where my feet were. What I mean by that is: not look forward to the road (read: climb) ahead. Not look backward either. But stay in the moment, take one step at a time and just deal with that. It worked so well, that I developed a rhythm and was actually surprised when I made it to the summit and saw the glorious white walls and magenta ornate windows of Tengboche monastery. Later, when I went for a walk with my camera, I was able to capture a shot from afar of the monks hanging out of the windows, observing us. It was not a clear picture, but good enough to use as the basis for a painting. As the painting developed, the monk turned out as a moody character. I hope you will still enjoy it 🙂
On show in Waterloo
It is currently on show in ‘The People’s Gallery’ at the Artstore in Waterloo. The gallery is closed on Sundays and Mondays, but other than that open to the public. Lots of nice works by other local artists in the show as well. And for those of you who need art supplies: there are many goodies on sale!
If you pay a visit to the show, feel free to leave comments in the guest book. It is always such a joy to read comments of visitors with whom my paintings resonate.
There is a second painting, also based on a Nepalese experience. To read more about that one, follow this link:
- ‘The moody monk’
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- New monthly exhibition in ‘The People’s Gallery’, Waterloo, Ontario