There was much more to March than I wrote about yesterday. It was a month filled with joy and flow as well as with deep sorrow.

Tusk at the beach at Cadzand. Our last day at the beach with him.

After much debate and many tears, we had to take our beloved Tusk to the animal shelter. After our move, we weren’t able to let him run and play freely with other dogs as much as he was used to. In the beginning we thought it was the move, the sudden change that had shaken him  a bit. But soon it became clear that something more serious was going on. Back in Oss we had three huge meadows very close by the house where dogs could run freely and play together. But in this town they’ve never heard of such a thing. And it wasn’t until after we’d moved that we found out about that. And that dogs aren’t allowed to walk unleashed anywhere here. The closest place where I could do that safely was a 15-minute drive. And I just couldn’t do that 3 to 4 times a day like he was used to. And Tusk became half the dog he used to be. We saw it coming for a while, but loving him so much, we tried to deny the fact that we were no longer the right home for him. But it got from bad to worse and he started looking more miserable by the week. His expression was down right depressed, his fur lost its shine and his stomach and bowels were constantly troubling him. He became a nervous wreck. We felt so guilty for taking him away, having failed him so. But when our life took a sudden turn westwards, our situation changed too much for us to be able to keep Tusk happy. So, after thorough enquiry at the local animal shelter, and after many sleepless nights, we took him there. It was one of the hardest things I’ve ever had to do in my life. For I loved that dog to bits. But ironically it was love that was the motivation for the parting. Giving Tusk the chance for a new owner who has all the time and space to let Tusk run and play freely. Even though I feel we did the right thing, I still feel very sad. I can’t wait for the day the animal shelter calls us to say Tusk has found a new and good home. He so deserves it.
Yesterday we went to the forest with only one “dog” (for as far as you can call our swinely Corgi a dog) for the first time. It was a bit awkward. I constantly missed the black shadow running through the trees.

No beloved shadow here...

Oh, and did I mention that Silke is nothing short of swinely? She loves nothing better than a good mud pool!

We still sometimes doubt if Silke really IS a dog. She sometimes behaves like a times like a seal...and at other times...well, piggish!

But in March, many, many more things happened:

The sun came out...

I watched the beautiful movie Transylvania.
I wrote my artist’s statement.
I registered for an open art studio event this September.
I made many, many sketches for new work.
I am well on my way with the new 2012 Sketchbook Project limited edition.
I walked on the beach at sunset for the first time this year and found some lovely treasures (will surely follow soon!)
I found a printer who can make wonderful art prints of my work for me of better quality than I could ever achieve at home.
We had lovely friends over.
I had an intense and inspiring e-mail exchange.
We had lunch and dessert on the beach, in the sun, sunglasses on!
I made serious work of collecting freckles.
I spent two afternoons sketching in the garden, in the sun.

If only this was my garden...

I went to bed earlier and slept more.
I watched piles of arthouse movies when hubs was working overtime.
I heard bird song almost every morning when I woke up.
I saw the worst movie ever made (oldest daughter’s choice…do NOT, I repeat, do NOT waste time on The Witches of Oz unless you  need a serious drug to combat isomnia.
I found my mojo and courage back.
I went to a flee market and bought a lovely Chinese Calligraphy set, beautiful gothic dress for eldest daughter for this year’s Castlefest and a huge pile of books for next to nothing.

I studied how geese actually swim from a bridge...

And much, much more…
So now it’s on to April and for today it means hard work on my 2012 Sketchbook Limited edition.