… out of the house to paint, for sanity …

Painting of Kynance Cove, Lizard UK – Ashen Venema

How did this come about? My son was adamant I had to get out of the house and meet people again. So he signed me up for a day’s local multi-media painting course. After endless months of social exile due to the pandemic lock-downs, this was a momentous adventure. The tutor, Julie Collins, does lovely watercolours. The spaciousness of her work appealed to me.

Photo of Kynance Cove by Ashen Venema

I enjoyed painting Kynance Cove from a photograph of mine, taken years ago, when a group of Sufi friends visited the Lizard peninsular in Cornwall UK. The arranged visit was in honour of Sitara, a dear old friend and teacher, who fondly remembered her childhood holidays at the Lizard.

Given that thousand-and-one things interest me, since I’ve been working on my novels I closed many doors, in an attempt not to spread my energy too thin. I usually paint an image maybe once a year, but never had any input regarding painting skills. The above image was created with water colour pencils. I stopped before I could mess it up. I like the unfinished feel of it

My next painting project will probably be leaning on a photo of my little soul dance on a beach during the 1980s. A style may emerge or not, depending how much time I’ll devote to practicing with watercolour, which I came to like for its fluidity. I discovered, not for the first time, that painting, well any art, is immersive, like writing … a way to forget oneself. What keeps calling me is ‘collage,’ maybe with incorporated Haiku, since Haiku seem to come of their own accord. The idea is to collect them into a chapbook. So, who knows what will happen.

First I have to overcome an existential problem. Earlier this month a UK Government letter threatened me to apply for settlement, a scheme that’s been going for a while, which I thought did not apply to me, since I have documented leave to remain indefinitely in the UK since the 1980s, despite my Dutch passport. After endless futile attempts to contact a suggested helpline, I nearly knocked down the local citizen’s advice office to get an appointment for help with the application, since online forms terrify me. So wish me luck.

Still struggling with the new wordpress format, SIGH.


Filed under Blog

21 responses to “… out of the house to paint, for sanity …

  1. Love the painting; love the impetus to get outside for sanity. And wishing you inner sanity around WP format (I, too, am finding it super challenging – just bring back the old editor, please!!!). And above all, best of luck with the authorities. Who needs any more stress than this past year has already dumped on us???

    Liked by 2 people

    • Thanks Sarah, for your heartening words. Stress can’t be avoided, as long as it does not overwhelm. That’s where creative activity comes in, it tunes us into an immersive zone and soothes the soul. ☼


  2. I too love your painting. I’m sure it awakens your soul. Plus, you did a good job with your blog. I have had a terrible time even getting into my blog. I TOTALLY want the old format back! Enjoy breaking out of the pandemic cage and Good Luck dealing with getting your citizenship straightened out. I don’t envy you.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thank you Gwynn. Getting this last post approximately right took over an hour. I may have to explore the wordpress user’s website and their help advice to get my bearing. A while ago I even chose to pay for this platform, to get rid of advertising. There’s just so much else I need to spend time on.
      Take care, lot’s of love.

      Liked by 1 person

  3. Philippa Rees

    For a moment I thought you had passed my door on the way to The Lizard! You have reminded me of the immersion one gets and I should try and get back to it, instead of hoping the world will recover. Never was a pot more watched, or boiling less promising!

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Lovely painting. The minimalist feeling is what draws me in. ~nan

    Liked by 1 person

  5. the painting is lovely… “‘squisite’ is what i was going to say… admin is horrible: i wish you luck. thanks for being my friend.

    Liked by 1 person

  6. A beautiful photograph and painting. I love your choice of color and the light touch of your pencils. And the fact that there’s more movement in the painting than in the photo. Good for your son for getting you out of the house. Too much solitude messes with my mind and ability to converse. Does it do that to you? I wish you well with the citizenship issue and new WP format. I’m still resisting the change.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thanks Jean. As much as I like solitude, I also need social interaction and the inspiring company of friends. Admin has always been a pain, especially when it comes to online forms. I’m glad I’ll have support for what should be a formality. WP, there’s a whole different way of sequencing that needs remembering. As of now I’m swimming with the process.


  7. Rob

    Many thanks dear Ashen for sharing the fruits of your undoubtedly prodigious talents in the visual arts.
    By the way, when I first saw the photo of you standing on the beach, initially my central nervous system interpreted the figure to be a small child teetering on the very edge, where the sea meets the sand, shingle or tussocks of shore-line flora…..what ever it happens to be. You know, the way a child or young puppy behaves on it’s first encounters with the ocean. Took me a while to comprehend that it was grown-up you there.
    Re this disgusting, mean and inhuman British bureaucracy that has recently pushed it’s idiot way into your life. Like I said when you told me on the phone….it makes me feel ashamed of my country. Indeed I wish you all success in dealing with it. As the British expression has it, “don’t let the bastards grind you down!”


    • Prodigious talents, ha, ha. BTW that’s my son standing on the beach, probably in Denmark during the 1980’s
      Re: the other matter. Could be a catching up exercise to counter the lax bureaucracy from previous decades. Not easy to have achieve a balanced and fair system.


  8. Gorgeous painting and photo, Ashen. So lovely!

    Liked by 1 person

  9. I love your rendition of your painting Ashen. Collage appeals to me too, I’ve had a stab at it. Wishing you good luck with those blooming authorities.

    Liked by 2 people

  10. Bartl Jenny

    Great paintings … continue love Jenny

    Liked by 1 person

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