Art Journals, Storytelling and Windmills

my art journal … work in progress

Hello! I have started a “creativity journal”. Here’s a look at the painting I did in the cover. .. I found this miraculous white book covered in white canvas, just begging to be my new journal, and I decided to paint this Dutch windmill on the cover!

Everyone has stories in their mind, no matter how buried… mine is just a pouring out from the heart this year, like water out of a jug into my art. I will just tell you one story right now:

I painted a blue and white windmill because my mother comes from Holland. We grew up with Dutch things in the house. We had lots of blue and white, Delft pottery. One day I counted the number of windmill pictures in my front room and found at least twelve there, not only featured in my grandma’s oil paintings, but also all over my own collection of tiles and pottery!

My dear grandmother from Holland, Oma, used to tell this story to me: a few generations ago, in our Dutch family, we came from a noble woman, who fell in love with her couchman (or horseman), and married him. She was cut off from the family fortunes, because he was “way beneath her station”, but she loved him. What can you do? She made a brave decision to marry for love.  I’ve been doing some genealogy and trying to identify the couple in this love story.  I’ve found a likely match to be Leentje Van den Bosch, the daughter of a merchant in Friesland, and her husband Willem Visser, who was a wieldrager.  Because the name Van Den Bosch has some royal connections, and wieldrager translates into English as a “carriage wheel” bearer or owner.   And I feel comforted, just saying these odd names and words from Holland, using funny vowels… it is just like my Oma is talking again. It just sounds like her.

For Dutch masterpieces of this location and era, look at the art of Rembrandt and Vermeer. They were both poor, Dutch men and would hang out with people like merchants and wieldragers. I am sure of it! When I look at the art of Rembrandt and Vermeer, I see Dutch love stories in their art, that feel familiar to me. In their paintings of women, I see real people who think and feel. I think they loved and “got” their women folks, and saw and painted everything they “got”… all the woman’s expressions and eyelashes!

So then, how does your own stories go? Wouldn’t it be cool if when greeting people, we greeted them by saying  “how does your stories go?”  And if you had a new white journal, what might you paint on your own cover? Feel free to respond below.



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