Wednesday, 19 December 2018

An overview, a goodbye and a very big thank you!

As 2018 draws to a close, I've found myself reflecting on last year's new year resolutions. And finding that, once again, time flew by too quickly and I didn't find time to do some things I really wanted to do this year.

JANUARY: I started out the year well with a sketch a week :-)

It's been a long time since I posted (except for the one post about my calendar) And that has its reasons. I already told you about the non-art-related business that was going to take up all of my time in November. Well, it turned out it also took up all of my time the first half of December.... I also had a market the first weekend of December and a group-exhibition that is still going, and my todo-list seemed endless. I needed to post updates on Instagram and Facebook, I needed to update and reorganize my Society6-shop, I needed to get things ready for the market and make publicity for the exhibition, and, and, and, ....

FEBRUARY: finished a painting "Find the light" 

And while I was stressing away about not being able to make art and not being able to keep up with my blog, I suddenly had a wake-up moment. I realized I don't HAVE TO keep up. I realized I don't have to blog every week, I don't have to post on Instagram and Facebook as often as possibe in order to market my stuff, I don't have to create just so I have something to post on the internet, I don't have to do markets and try to make money with my art, I don't have to keep up with other people's posts. I am responsible for putting all this presssure on myself to keep up and it's time to stop. Just like that.
Time for a break.
Time to back off.

MARCH: Finished another painting! "Teach me to fly"

That's a big decision for me. My blog is very important to me. I love the people I met through my blog, the possibilities it has created, the interactions and discussions with like-minded individuals.

APRIL: started a third painting

But: it's taking too much of my time. Not just my blog, but the internet in general. I look around me and I see people glued to their screens. Not talking, not interacting with "real" people, but fixated on that little (or big) screen in front of them. My kids do it, my neighbours do it, my friends do it, I do it. And it saddens me and scares me and I have had enough. I long for evenings without a screen, I just want to sit on the couch and read a good book or knit a sweater, play some board games with my family, do things together, interact with real people.

MAY: started my map-paintings again

And I want time to play. To paint, to try things out, to experiment without the pressure of putting something out there. Make art just for myself and for the fun of it.

JUNE: experimenting with weird faces and alcoholmarkers

While I was living in Australia I didn't have a job anymore and I tried to make a small business with my art. I might have succeeded had we stayed in Australia. But back in Belgium I soon realized it would be so much harder here. Much less opportunities for unknown artists to get out there and be seen, less galleries and the ones that are there prefer well-known artists, plus having your own business is so much more expensive here. So I looked for and was lucky to find a part-time job, so I still had time to make art.
At least, that's what I thought...

JULY: journal play

But it turned out that the 2 days I don't have to go to work were filled with household duties and grocery shopping and administration and all kinds of daily life-duties that took up all of my energy so that I didn't have anything left to experiment and play. Art became a duty in order to be able to put something on my blog. Okay, that sounds harsh, and it wasn't always like that, but it did become one more thing on my todo-list.

AUGUST: painting colourful slippers for the warm summer weather :-)

And so for the new year I choose to back off, to get back to my inner circle of family and friends and leave the internet alone. And ever since I made that decision I've felt a huge relief. The internet and social media has given me a lot over the years and I'm thankful for all the great people that I met (that's you!) and all the things that I learned. But it's taking up a too large part of my life nowadays and I want to have it back and spend it on other things.

SEPTEMBER: doodling again, and making plans for a doodle-calendar 
(which in the end I didn't have time for ....)

What does that mean? I can't give up this blog completely, it's too dear to me. So I will post approx.  twice a year an update of my work, of what I've been doing. Maybe none of my followers will remain, maybe no one will read what I write.
So be it.
It's the risk I've got to take. I will also write a newsletter twice a year (you can sign up for it here, or via the link in the sidebar).

OKTOBER: I participated in Inktober and managed to make 31 drawings in 31 days! 
I'm still amazed by that ;-)

And that's it. My Facebookpage, my (new!) Instagram and my Pinterest won't see much action anymore. And that's okay. For now at least. Who knows what might happen in the future.

NOVEMBER: I finally put my new calendar up for sale. Many thanks to all who 
already purchased it! If you're interested: here's the link :-)

So I want to thank you for being here and sharing your news and your comments and your wisdom with me. I have hugely enjoyed interacting with you, and I've learned so much from you. I will still visit every once in a while, I'll look on from afar, and of course you can always contact me through this blog or via e-mail.

DECEMBER: my very last art market. All that is left will be given away or kept for myself ...

I just want to share with you something a friend of mine posted in Facebook, and that really resonates with me, and helped me realize that this is the path I need to take right now. It's by Brandon Stanton:

"The general trend of media and art has moved in the opposite direction. Content has become more bite-sized, more consumable, and less nuanced. In a world of decreasing attention spans, brevity is seen as the only way to compete. Importance is placed on the quantity of output rather than quality. Many ‘social media gurus’ teach that success is frequency of contact. Publish or perish. Either you constantly remind the world that you exist, or you will be forgotten.

I’ve spoken with a lot of artists on the Internet who feel burned out by this dynamic. They feel stifled by the treadmill of daily content. It can be impossible to reconcile the demands of social media with the demands of art. Social media tells you to go quickly. Art tells you to go deep. Social media tells you to replicate what works. Art tells you to experiment. Social media tells you to always be visible. Art tells you to disappear, figure something out, and come back with a discovery worth sharing. It’s not an easy puzzle for artists to solve. Because social media is the lifeline to our audience, and artists can’t survive without an audience. But it forces some tough questions. Is your purpose to create art? Or is your purpose to create an audience? And what happens when those two things compete?"

Sorry for the lengthy post. But I didn't want to just disappear. I feel I owe it to my followers and my internet-friends to explain why I won't be present anymore. And it's always fun to do an overview of my artistic year :-)

The only thing left to do is wish you all the very best for the holiday season and the new year that awaits us. Let it be full of love, full of laughter and full of joy.

Just one more funny ;-D

 And this ....

Take care! I'll be back ♥ ♥ ♥


  1. Enjoy your break from the internet. it def can be too much and take away from so much in life, not worth it, better to take a break no matter how long

  2. Always be true to you! I always make my art for me. I understand totally what you mean! You will be missed! Sending you Big Hugs and many Blessings!

  3. Sounds like a good plan which will no doubt bring you lots of positive effects! Have fun! Will read your updates as they come... cheers from Vermont! Carroll

  4. I received my 2019 map calendar. I love it! I thought about asking you to compile your inktober drawings into a PDF for sale. Your quotes are always the best. You will be missed. Take care.

    1. Thanks so much Linda! It means a lot to me when people enjoy my calendar. I've wanted to do something with my Inktober-ladies, but I couldn't find a print-on-demand-shop that prints the size I wanted (small and square). Never thought of putting them in a PDF but I'm open for suggestions. You can always e-mail me if you wish: denthe.schilderijenatgmaildotcom :-)

  5. I will miss reading your blog but here's to new adventures and living life!!

  6. I hear ya'! And I know EXACTLY what you mean! We will miss you but understand your decision. Have a wonderful Christmas and a great productive New Year! :)

  7. until we hear from you again...thanks for letting us know.

  8. what gorgeous works of art!!! Although I will miss you I completely understand. I certainly wouldn't be able to keep up with blogging, and other social media on a regular basis if I was trying to also juggle art time, selling the art, working, and taking care of family and home! I will certainly watch for any new art or post that comes along the way from you at any time you feel inclined. Have a beautiful Christmas and a very happy New Year!! Hugs!

  9. I completely understand! I feel as if I'm just constantly trying to come up with something new to post on Instagram. I used to make art because it was fun. I may take a page out of your book and step back from all the craziness. I'll definitely miss you, your beautiful art, and your funnies. I will always follow you even if you post only once a year!!!

  10. All the best to you, I think it’s definitely going to be a wonderful experience to be one with yourself and not so torn. Sorry I found you so late, but you have already made an impact. Enjoy!

  11. I wish you all the best, I will miss your lovely art. Hugs, Valerie

  12. LOVE the shoes! And the paintings from February, March and April. They speak to me and the colors are so beautiful Happy PPF!

  13. Thank you for the possibility to become familiar to your exquisite art. I wish all good things happen to you in the year 2019,
    and have a happy Christmas season 🎄💜

  14. Well, you know I will miss you. Please stay in touch via email. You inspire me, encourage me, and allow me to see in different directions. All the very best to you with love.

  15. Enjoyed the art year in review.
    • ★ ¸☆´.•´MERRY ¸☆´.•´
    ★* 。 • ˚ ˚ ˛ ˚ ˛ ••。★ CHRISTMAS。* 。
    ° 。 ° ˛˚˛ * _Π_____*。*˚
    ˚ ˛ •˛•˚ */______/~\。˚ ˚ ˛
    ˚ ˛ •˛• ˚| 田田 |門| ˚Peace. Love. Joy.

  16. I have been stepping back a lot too - it is so necessary and feels right for me in the new year too. I do hope you keep on painting though - I love the art you create :) Happy PPF from Number 19 :D

  17. wonderful and strong post to remind us all what is important ~ good for U! Lovely creations ~ hope we will your lovely work again, though ~ You are so right about 'people glued to the screen' ~ I too stop in the evening and watch a movie and knit and read later in bed ~ Need more people contact too ~ thanks for reminding me ~ Xxx

    Happy Holidays to you,
    A ShutterBug Explores,
    aka (A Creative Harbor)

  18. I love your art, as always! As for the internet break, I've been thinking along these lines too! I probably will attempt a similar break myself in 2019. Have a good Christmas. All the best for 2019!!

  19. Beautiful artworks. Wishing you all the best, I understand completely where you are coming from with the internet. Take time out for you and do the things you love and enjoy and keep those close even closer.
    Wishing you a happy PPF & Merry Christmas Tracey

  20. I just wanted to say Merry Christmas and Happy 2019!! I will miss you and your beautiful art! Big Hugs!

  21. Hello my dear friend!
    Very Merry Christmas wishes to you and blessings for you and your family Denise!

    Thank you for filling my world with your beautiful art and quotes as well your friendship.
    I also want to thank you for explaining to me what I have been going through! LOL What you described as your needed break, well, I started mine a month or so ago...funny how we reached the same point in our lives at the same time!
    I look forward to your newsletters and our emails, because I love to write back and forth with you.Your letters always fill my heart with gladness!
    Denise, may this journey lighten both of our lives and enrich our souls!
    Sending huge hugs and lots of love to you,my friend!
    Jackie xo

  22. well if you're even reading this, I say don't leave the blog. It's a way of connecting and communicating. Pare back no IG or FB but keep the blog. It's all you. I will sorely miss your posts. It's like a friend moving away.
    Do what you must of course. Personally I love to blog, it centers me and keeps me in contact with lovely people. I don't do other soc. media. I talk to everyone I come in contact with almost too as I limit the computer time.

    1. that's why I'm not leaving the blog LeeAnna, I will post less frequently but I will still post. And I will always read the comments on this blog :-) Thanks for leaving them ♥

  23. SO much of what you said resonates with me. All the feels, and the struggles. I applaud your step back and send you mad loves across the miles. I’ve cut down on my posting and have noticed a big decrease in follows but like you said- I’ve decided to create for myself and not just for daily posts and while I feel that lifted weight, it’s still hard to not feel discouraged. I won’t let it stop me, because as long as my soul is happy- in the end- that’s all that matters ��
    Enjoy life my dear!
    Erin- @happilywego

  24. Hooray for you! I think you will love it. I also think you *might* post here more than twice a year but I hope your experiment is a great success! I took almost 2 months off Facebook recently and it was pretty great. Hope to see you around! :)

  25. Your quote from your friend is very timely for me. I long ago gave up on constant content from my blog. I only check in periodically now. It takes time and effort to write a blog post, it's a creation in itself. If I'm creating a blog post, I'm not creating art - and I need to make sure one isn't supplanting the other.

    I haven't found the balance yet, but I think you hanging onto this place to check in now and again might feel good too. I hope so. :)


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 !