Friday, 27 December 2013

Maybe you're still here ....

5 more days ..... Can't believe the year is almost over.... And what a year it has been. With very low lows but luckily also some highs. But for me 2013 will always be the year my sister died. I still recall the sinking feeling in my stomach when I got that phonecall, the feelings of bewilderment and denial and disbelief. There are days I still can't believe she's gone, that I still think she'll be there when I visit Belgium... But she wasn't there when I went there in October, and it was such a strange and sad experience to see her husband and her 3 beautiful daughters walk in the door. Without her...

Life isn't fair. I guess we all know that. I'm blessed that I still have 3 sisters left. And I feel as if the bond between us had become stronger since it happened. That is something to be grateful for. But her death has made me afraid and uncertain. I almost look with dread to the new year ahead. Thinking: what's in store for us now? Who else is going to go? Very morbid thinking, I know. But some days I can't help myself.

Do you remember this little mini-painting I made during AEDM?


When I was making the backs of these little canvasboards to take them with me to the market, I realised this painting didn't have a title. So I went to  my file where I keep all kinds of sentences and words and phrases that I like and where I look for inspiration for titles. And one phrase jumped out at me: "maybe you're still here". I knew right away I wanted it for this little painting, it just seemed to fit. And then the weirdest thing happened: I turned it over to look at it again, and I suddenly realised that it looks a lot like my sister. The same hair, the same lips. It was as if she was there and she was saying: don't worry, I'm still here, I didn't really leave.

It has been standing near my computer since then. No way I was taking it to the market with me. This painting will stay with me, it'll never go somewhere else. Because maybe, just maybe, she is still here. Somewhere, around us, not being able to contact us but being able to leave little messages like this. And like the rainbow on the morning I flew to Belgium for her funeral.

This'll be my last post for this year. I don't want to end it in sadness. Because there have also been a lot of happy things this year.  It's just that at this time of year memories often become stronger and more overpowering. It'll pass, I know it will.

Meanwhile, I have been adding more layers to my new painting. This is how I ended last time:


It bothered me a lot, I had the feeling I didn't know how to paint anymore, got really frustrated but in the end I kept going. It got a lot more layers after this ....

This is where I am now: (I'll show all the different layers when the painting is finished)


I was looking for figures in there and I saw a rabbit. A rabbit! I never see rabbits. I see birds and faces all the time, but a rabbit! The kids saw it too, and thought I should use it. But I didn't feel like having a rabbit in my painting. So I resisted, turned it over and over and over. But the rabbit kept appearing, and in the end I went with it. And now I really like it, it looks so sweet, almost as if it's asking for a kiss.... ;-)

Not sure yet what to do with the upper left corner. It's far from finished. But I'm glad the painting finally started speaking to me. Working out the images is the fun part.

Well, that's it for now. I'm linking this as every week to Paint Party Friday, the last one of the year! It's a great bunch of artists that link up to it every week, not only do they share beautiful art but they share so much more than that. Last week they had a virtual "tea-party" for Tracey, a well-loved artist who is battling cancer and is crazy about tea. So many artists made an artwork with a tea-theme for her. It must've been such a great feeling for Tracey to see it all.

I want to wish you all the best for the new year ahead, and thank you from the bottom of my heart for keeping this blog alive, for visiting me and leaving encouraging and uplifting comments. It has meant more to me than I can tell you, and I want you to know how much I appreciate it. Here's my New Years' wish for you:


I'm taking a few weeks off blogging to enjoy the summer holidays here in Australia. Thanks so much for being here, for being you, and have a safe journey into the new year ♥ ♥ ♥  See you there!



35 comments:

  1. Your work is always beautiful. Your sister will be with you in your heart as long as you need her there. Hugs, Valerie

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  2. You are so strong and my thoughts go out to you. This must have been a difficult year and yes your sister is always with you, that will never change.
    I hope the new year is kind to you and your family and your wounds will begin to heal. much love x

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  3. Dankjewel voor alle mooie kunst die je afgelopen jaar hebt laten zien en ik hoop dat we elkaar in het nieuwe jaar weer kunnen inspireren tot het creëren van mooie dingen. Ik vind het konijntje schattig en hij misstaat niet tussen je figuren. Geniet van je vakantie, een goede jaarwisseling en de allerbeste wensen voor het nieuwe jaar voor jou en je gezin!!

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  4. I always look forward to your work. I love how it goes through an "emergence" process. Just lovely! I lost my only sister (eight years younger than I am) 8 years ago. She's there, I know it.

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  5. Dear Denthe, sorry to hear about your sister, I have 4 and cant think of life with out any of them.
    Love your new painting, so strong and beautiful :) Happy new year :).

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  6. So very sorry about your sister and my thoughts are with you. She is still there, somewhere I think. Your little painting is a wonderful reminder of her. :) And of course, your artwork is absolutely gorgeous and the many layers of painting is turning into something very spectacular I think. Best wishes for 2014! I look forward to seeing more of your beautiful art.

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  7. Of course your sister is with you, she will always be there, in time the sadness will pass and joy will remain. Love the new painting, especially the rabbit, although to me it looks a deer. Hope, no I know that 2014 will bring many lovely things to you. Hugs Sharon.

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  8. I am sorry for your loss. Of course her loss overshadows many of your experiences this year. Nothing can take her place. I am glad you decided to keep the painting. It will bring memories of her to you when you look at it. Your painting is beautiful. I like seeing it come into fruition. I send my best to you, Denthe.

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  9. Lovely work. Enjoy your break and thanks for the beautiful new year wishes, we all have to keep hope in our heart. And time does heal.

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  10. Beautiful and vivid artwork! Always enjoy the rich color you bring to your art. Wishing you and your family the best, and hope that the new year brings you good things!! Thank you for sharing!

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  11. Beautiful post about your connection to your sister who has passed away. I have lost so many of my family and I am an only, so the holidays always strike me as a bittersweet time because so many are gone. So glad you felt your sister there with you....And I love your rabbit...wonder what the symbolism of rabbit it? Have a wonderful new year and break. xox

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  12. Your work is so beautiful and so expressive. I also suffered a huge loss this year, late fall. It is good you can continue doing your colorful and happy looking paintings. My muse seems to be out to lunch. I'm hoping she returns in 2014.

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  13. What a lovely way to remember your sister. My mother says when the wind blows my father is talking to us, because he loved the wind song from paint your wagon so much. I am amazed at what you found in your picture, perhaps the bunny is telling you it is a new spring and time to create new things, because bunnies are a spring symbol

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  14. I hope that 2014 brings you much joy and good health Denthe. Your sister will always be with you. As long as you think of her she is alive. I always feel my son Val and one time I felt that I heard him say "mom." Be happy Denthe and strong. Thanks for stopping by my blog this year. I always appreciate your visits and glad I got to know you through PPF. Your artwork always inspires me. You are very creative. God Bless You.

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  15. Thanks for sharing this beautiful post. The discovery of your sister in the painting and the appearance of the rabbit seem linked to me, some thing of the world beyond is now influencing what you're doing and how your art is progressing. The sadness we carry is what gives our work depth and brings a universal element to what we create. Have a great new year!

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  16. I love the rabbit! I know exactly what you mean, sometimes there's something in a painting that just insists on being present. It's that wonderful serendipity--

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  17. Oh Denise I love the spirit of this post! Somehow I knew that was your sister in the painting...the eyes looks so real as though they are speaking. I communicate a lot with my eyes, I always have and so I may distinguish it more than others! You will get more signs she's around if you are open to it!! Gorgeous....and the new painting, well it is very very spiritual and once it's completed I would look for the meaning of all the animals in it! Sorry for all your pain this year but I hope you have a wonderful New Year and a nice little holiday! Much happiness to you and yours!

    Hugs Giggles

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  18. What a beautiful story, when you think you can't stand another minute, a flash (turning the painting over and seeing your sister) happens and God brings you through it. . .it will take years, I totally understand that, but you at least have a piece of her now that you didn't have before. Many Blessings and Go into the New Year with peace in your heart and a new understanding. Janet PPF

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  19. Dear Denthe, this is a touching story of the image and your sister and your feelings. I feel for you, because sisters are so wonderful and I'm sure she reads this and sees the gorgeous image and is with you ...
    Much love to you, you love and for you too light, love and joy!
    your Erika

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  20. Oh no I so remember that day when I read about the death of your sister and my heart went out to you and you know my heart still goes out to you now. It makes me cry when I think about it. I have two sisiters and losing any of them would break my heart so I can maybe understand a little of what you may be feeling. Many hugs for you Denise!!!
    I know I am not always able to come and visit you here but when I do I always leave with a warm feeling, your colours really speak to me and then finally seeing your face in the post bellow shows that same warm feeling in your smile! I am glad to know you as a blog friend and I want to wish you a wonderful 2014. I hope it holds many good things for you. ManonXx

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  21. Dear Denthe, my heart goes out to you! Having your sister die this year is extremely sad. I understand your disbelief, it's so difficult to comprehend the loss of one we held so dear. I feel the same over the loss this year of my dearest longest life friend, Patty! I still talk to her and await her phone calls ...that no longer come.

    I love your art and how the spirit figures appear to and for you. Like magic! I look forward to more in the coming year! Thank you for it and for being you!

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  22. Beautiful post Denise! Wishing you and your family the very best for the new year - i know how you feel about your sister as i lost my brother 3 years ago in a freak accident . . . but good comes out of bad, as now i have become a lot closer to my sister-in-law.

    the painting is coming along so gorgeously - i adore the rabbit, and birds, and girl, and colour, and everything about it - have a great holiday break and see you next year!!!!! love from Joyce

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  23. Hi Denise,
    Thanks for your lovely comment on my latest art. Although I feel I have a lot to learn from Orly yet...I am going to be there at Tracy's on the 18th/19th..Yeah!...I look forward to meeting you.!
    I am so sorry to hear about your sister passing, and felt so warmed by your story about the painting you can't let go. Thank you for sharing. xxxx

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  24. Sending you a big hug to begin with! Loosing a sibling is very sad, a part of your life and childhood is gone with your dear sister. Sad thoughts and fear can come to your mind, hopefully you will be able to focus on the good things in your life. I'm sure there are many!
    Your art is always so beautiful to see grow! Love the little rabbit :-)
    And thank you for the beautiful quote and the artwork you added it to, I love the two heads!
    All the best for you in the coming year!
    Ilona

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  25. I am so sorry to hear about your sister passing,my heart goes out to you!
    A beautiful story!

    Much love to you!
    xoxoxo
    Susi

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  26. I am not even sure I knew about your sister's death. What a tragedy and I am guessing she was still young. Please acccept my belated condolences and know that 2014 is going to be a healing and soothing and a good one for you and your family. xx

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  27. Oh, how I loved this! Your experience with your painting is so special - and it really made me smile. Thank you for sharing your year with us and I look so forward to playing more with you in 2014 :) xo

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  28. Denthe,
    I thought of you when I was creating my art for my sister. I am so lucky to have her in my life, and I can't imagine what it would be like to not have her with me for all of the special times in my life. I have the similar question in my head. What will unfold in the new year? This year began with a horrible start, but has ended in a very positive way; but like you, that nagging feeling is in the back of my mind. I wish you a happy summer vacation and the best new year possible.... full of love, happiness, success, good health and of course, art...imagination and the continued courage to create and share!

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  29. what a lovely post - I think it is beautiful that the little piece turned out to be so like your sister and it is only right that you keep that for yourself. I can't imagine losing a sibling ( I have only 1 sister) and my heart goes out to you and to her husband and children to have lost her so young.
    I love this new piece and am delighted you went with the rabbit who insisted on being seen!! I adore rabbits - there are several in the rescue shelter at the moment and I always bring chopped carrots as a little treat for them - they love them and are always eager to see me appear!

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  30. A perfect title for the painting. Wishing you a Happy New Year 2014!

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  31. Prachtige blogpost, ik wens je een gezond, gelukkig en creatief 2014!
    Groetjes Karin

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  32. My thoughts and prayers are always with you. I wish you the very best in the New Year. Stay strong and remember the good times with your sister. She is with you all the time. Sending you my positive prayers and your work s truly expressive and beautiful.

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  33. Wonderful art you show this post here and my favorite is the last one...so sweet the pose of the two loved ones :) And wonderful story about the painting without a title first...I can feel that the ones that have passed away are still so near herer with me..I can feel it so clear very often! Big hugs to you and I wish you an artsy, happy, healthy and magical new year to come ♥ Conny
    Piaroms Art Journaling

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  34. Such a beautiful and heartfelt post Denise... I got goose bumps reading it... I am sure that was a message from your sister... and I LOVE the painting... I keep scrolling back to look at her... and honestly.... it is like she is looking back at me... love the rabbit... so very sweet... wishing you and your family a beautiful and happy 2014...

    Jenny ♥

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  35. Hope you are enjoying your holiday!! Just wanted to say I miss you!!

    Hugs Giggles

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Thanks for taking the time to comment! I love hearing your thoughts about my work. Because I'm getting too many spammer comments nowadays, l have banned anonymous users from commenting. Hope this isn't a problem for you !