Dear readers,

we’ve come to the end of this year…already!
Time is rushing by so fast I feel its velocity might toss me off the planet sometimes.
Gosh…almost 2018 already! High time to review, look ahead and fuel our minds with a little, or no…a lot of inspiration ♥

LIVE workshop Writing and Illustrating Tanka

Two weeks ago, I taught the LIVE workshop Writing and Illustrating Tanka. It was a great success…I’ve never before had a group work so diligently and quietly. Teaching online is great, but teaching LIVE and seeing the immediate response was very fulfilling as well. The moment that little blush appears on a cheek is priceless! It sure is worth doing again.

Here are some photos and Tanka of the day, with kind permission of my students:

We spent the day in a cabin in a lovely garden. A little less picturesque in winter than in the summer, but nonetheless a nice place to be.

We spent a day of color and word play and I’ve never seen a group of students work so quietly for so long.

The results were colorful.

And it was so enjoyable to see how every one of the students worked in their own style.

I love teaching art classes that don’t go from A to Z. I like to invite people to make the lesson their own, their work their own. I’m one of those teachers who is proudest of those who don’t really listen… 😉

Besides a lot of color there were also a lot of lines, some abstract, some more illustrative.

And as always the power of visual communication was great!

I will do a post about the Tanka that the students wrote that day another time. They’re in Dutch, so they deserve a little special treatment before I post them here.

Art Supply Swap and Bullet Journal Vlog

Yesterday I uploaded a new vlog on YouTube. I had received a lovely bullet journal to review from Mint Printcess that I wanted to show you guys. And the weeks before I had swapped some art supplies with Claudine. She was keen on the markers I didn’t use at all and another thing or two. And she gave me the oil-based art supplies she never worked with. It’s so cool to have all this new stuff without slaughtering your piggy bank for it. And our fingers are itching to get started with them!


It is a really good idea to clear out art supplies every now and then. It seems so much fun having a lot of them. But sometimes it just reaches that point where they weigh on you instead of inspire you. And that is the time to say goodbye to some of it. I know that everytime that I do, I feel that much better and more inspired because of it…and as you can see in the video, swapping is a great way to do it!

What’s in store in 2018?

For me, this past year has been one of self reflection. I love teaching art. But something else was tugging at my sleeve that I couldn’t shake off. I am not yet going to spill all the beans because it’s in a premature and fragile stage. I’ve decided I’m going to dedicate (most of) my time to writing the book I’ve been working on for two years now. I had planned on doing it side by side with online teaching, but in reality it felt a little like doing both half and that didn’t feel right. So, for now I will not be launching new online courses and write my book instead…(although I’ve already felt a new surge of dynamic energy and inspiration straight after taking my decision, so who knows what might pop up this year anyway!?)

I will keep making and sharing art. And I will certainly keep uploading new art supply reviews and process videos on YouTube. I just love connecting that way. And besides, what better way to cool down a steaming mind, right? I have welcomed more than 1.000 new followers on YouTube this year and have found it to be a really great social medium.

My wishes for you…

This week I attended the funeral of a man over whose loss nobody mourned. People mourned over the grief he’d caused during his life and the things that they’d missed from a father, a grandfather, a brother, an uncle, a brother-in-law. In a way it was the saddest funeral I’ve ever attended in so many layers of grief.

And still we can learn from people like him, whose example we shouldn’t take (which is exactly why). So let’s do the exact opposite of what this man has done throughout his life. What I wish for you is this:

I wish for you to feel gratitude during your life…during big moments, but even more so during the wee daily moments we tend to take for granted. Life and everything in it is not a right…it is a gift.

I wish for you to look your loved ones in the eyes and take a little moment to feel what they mean to you. Look at them. And SEE them. What do you mean to them?

And I wish you a sniff of courage to tell your loved ones what they mean to you. Thank you, sorry and I love you are the six most important words and also the six most forgotten words between two people. Make sure you feel them. Make sure you say them. Make sure you receive them.

Christmas Break Inspiration

I wish everyone a very Merry Christmas, happy Yule and a really great New Year’s Eve!!! That you may be sparked with inspiration and that all your wishes may come true ♥

I’m leaving you with some wonderful inspiration for you this X-mas/End-of-year holiday, hoping you will be able to enjoy some creative time to let your sparks take the shape of art…

If you feel inclined to close the year and welcome a new one, I can highly recommend these for a moment of reflection:
Susannah Conway’s Unravel Your Year
Susannah Conway’s Find Your Word
The Year Compass in many languages

A super endearing video about a little boy making the most touching clay art dolls:

Paulus Berensohn isn’t with us anymore, but he’s cooperated to do this wonderfully inspiring video:

And if this video makes you hungry for more, you could check out To Spring From the Hand, a documentary about him, his life and his work

If you feel like Art Journaling a lot at the moment and if you’re crazy about music, my friend Marit’s Top 2000 Blogparty may be just what you’re looking for! Go check it out here!

Then this lovely video about Journaler Kolby Kirk and the Muir project:

A peek into some really lovely sketchbooks by PearFleur

Have you ever tried this painting technique yet? It’s really nice to do and brings lovely, unexpected outcomes. You can do it both with fluid acrylics and with watercolor paints:

Well, that’s it for now…I’m stretching out for some holiday fun and relaxing the next couple of weeks. Meeting up with friends, having family over, beach walks with dog planned and just a whole lot of cocooning to refuel and get started with the next year. How are you spending these holiday weeks?

Love and many hugs, Mandy