Work in Progress

Maandelijks archief van september, 2016


The start of creating a painting, begins with the most enjoyable part there is. I even think it is the best part, just like Christmas. The week before Christmas you let your mind work about all the preparation ahead. Where to put the tree, how to decorate, what to eat, and which movie to watch after the first day of Christmas has passed.


Exactly the same with painting. First there is an idea and then an image in my head. What do I want to do with it? Do I want to paint, draw, or just put in storage for something even greater? If the image sticks, I start making a story around it. When the story really fits the subject, the whole image starts to emerge. When that moment arrives, I usually am stoked, and I really have to start collecting the materials I need.


And that’s where the next enjoyable part sets in.


Going to the art supply store.

In layman’s terms…. Shopping.


art supply store


I have a renewed an old favorite store of mine. One that I forgot ever since I  didn’t have to go to school in Amsterdam anymore, after I became ill.

Ramon reminded me of the store, after my usual supply store didn’t have what I needed.

So off we went to Amsterdam, and like a kid in a candy store, I wanted to touch everything, and after the touching, I wanted to buy everything! After spending way to long gazing through all the shelves in the store, resulting in totally forgetting what I came for, Ramon gently pushed me to the counter, to focus on the task at hand. Making sure I didn’t forget anything from my list, and finishing my order. Off course there slipped a brush or two,

three, six……. into my hands, while drooling over the gazillion different kinds.


Happy accidents I call them.




‘Oh noooos, Ramon…. look what slipped into my hands….

Well, now I have to buy these as well, because I can’t remember which pot they came from….’


In the meantime the preparation continues. Making pictures of the things I want to paint.


Ramon took me for a drive through the farmland, in search for cows grazing the fields. The day was warm and sunny, and every time we spotted cows, Ramon drove as near as he could, so I could make pictures up close, to get every detail. It was quite an adventurous drive, and it still makes me smile when I think about it.


And then it begins.




The blank canvas doesn’t stay blank for long. But I always hesitate when I have to start. Because once the first line is drawn, the image becomes reality, and there is no point of return.

I sketch the image roughly on the canvas. Trying out the design, making it fit the size of canvas. When I am content, I start to paint.




Painting with oil paint, you work with layers. So you start with the basis.




I started with the clouds and then made my way to the skyline, and the rest of the landscape. While creating the grass, the painting really starts coming to life. I remind myself of my sketch, and make a rough doodle with the basic color the subject holds, to make their place in the picture.




I usually take a step back at this time, and just let it stand on the easel to see if it’s the right setting. When it is, I continue to work things out, adding more detail. I always tell myself the story of what’s happening in this picture when I paint, and sometimes more things are added. In my story there once came a farmer, driving on his tractor to go see his cows. But when I showed it to Ramon, we both agreed this was too much, not adding anything extra to the picture. So the farmer had to go. And that’s the great thing about oil paint. If it doesn’t agree with you, then you just remove it by using a piece of cloth dipped in turpentine.




When the painting is done, I let it dry, but sometimes still little details are added or changed. When it’s drying on the easel, I keep looking at it from different angles at different times of the day. When I’m completely satisfied, I give it a small signature that doesn’t stand out too much. Then I finish the painted canvas with two layers of varnish.





My baby is ready to be shown to the world.


happy family


Our agenda has never been so full, as it is nowadays. Almost every day of the week, some visit to a doctor, therapist, group therapy, psychologist, dietician etc., is planned. Every day is about getting better. But today was the first day after almost two months living this way, that a dash of real life was add to it.

Ramon went to work. Off course on a very slow and simple pace, with a duration of two hours maximal, just to see how it would go.

I think we both were a little nervous when he left. I decided to clean the house while he was gone, ánd because I had to stay at home anyway. Waiting for my medical food to arrive, and my new Freddy Pants, that would be delivered somewhere between 12 and 6 o’clock.

When Ramon came home, he still looked good. Tired, but good. I was glad to hear he had a nice time, being around his colleagues again, and organizing his desk again. I still had to wait for the delivery of my pants, so Ramon was about to go for a walk on the beach with Kuzco. I felt a bit disappointed, but maybe it was just a good thing for Ramon to clear his head while walking and playing with Kuzco on the beach.

But luck was on my side, when just in the nick of time, the delivery guy rang our doorbell.


Disappointment. Mode. Off.

I jumped into my new Freddy Pants, after I almost ripped my leggings from my butt, out of haste.

Because, duh…..

New Freddy Pants!!!!

And to the beach!!!!

With Ramon!!!

And Kuzco!!!


kuzco and joyce


So off I went…. together with my darling husband, cutest doggy, and one pair of awesome looking cheeks in denim.

This was a really good day. The weather was absolutely wonderful, so we could clink some glasses at the Beach Inn, to celebrate everything there was to celebrate.

And according to Kuzco we had  a lot!  to celebrate. And it took waaaaaaaaaaay to long.


silly dog


So long, that Kuzco really didn’t like us anymore, and sat on his lonesome on another bench to mope. ‘Boring humans….’


moping kuzco


We really don’t understand what a terribly hard knock life he has…..



the main event


Today, we got the opportunity to enlist Ramon to the gym my dad and I go. We drove early in the morning, extremely happy this was made possible. Ramon still has to fight some anxiety issues, one of them being, afraid to work out without the oversight of the physiotherapists. He still has two weeks of physical therapy to go, and then has to maintain it somewhere in a gym, by himself. So what better place to go, then a gym where he feels safe, and I can join him for as long as he wants or needs, me as a personal mascot. I can even show him some pointers on how to perform an exercise or two.

‘I am nervous for enlisting myself. How absolutely crazy is that!?’ Ramon said with a slight tone of anger in his voice. But I knew the feeling. Don’t know the theory behind it, but definitely know the feeling. I was nervous the day before, for going to the gym myself.

It felt great again though…. naturally.

But when I sat in the changing room to put on my gym shoes, I was worried I would disappoint myself, by not showing the same strength, as I did the last time I was here. I wanted to give it my best, even though I was fully aware I would have to start at a much lower level.

But once inside the gym, working out each exercise with extreme focus, my dad hovering over me, telling me how great I was doing, I forgot every doubt, and every anger over my loss of strength and stamina.

When I got home afterwards, I was totally drained. In a way, I was happy Ramon felt like crap. That meant this Saturday, would be one spend on the couch and in bed. So after a great nap, my body hurt like hell when I got up. The muscle tension was already making its entrance, which meant I really made good effort in the gym……

And my body has gotten soft of all this time doing nothing….

But hey….

It made me smile bigtime. This is the kind of pain I like. Inflicted by myself, and knowing it is for a good cause. Making my body strong again.

I decided to watch a movie while Ramon stayed in bed, hoping he would feel better after he would sleep a little while longer. I watched a golden oldie. ‘The Main Event’ starring Barbra Streisand and Ryan O’Neill. There was a time in my life I watched this movie almost every week. I could synchronize each line by heart, and of course sing the theme song in full splendor.

Today, after not having it watched for over a couple of years, I could still remember every line. But what made me smile even more, was loving the way Barbra was coaching Ryan. And in a way, I pictured myself and Ramon in those characters. So when Ramon is going to start in the gym, and I accompany him for some moral support, I think I will try and find something that matches the great outfit she is wearing when she coaches him in the gym. With shorts as short as they are, I think Ramon would overcome any feeling of anxiety, if there would still be any.

This weekend was a good one. Making the best with the little energy we got, with a little help of the most beautiful Indian Summer we could wish for.






joyce kleine


I thought I could do it. I thought I was well taught after all those years of therapy. I have the knowledge, I am supposed to have the skill, but somehow I have lost it, lost myself.

I’m a mess.

During the absent weeks of writing, I fell into a deep, dark, but well-known place. And it was there before I even knew it. All the old unwanted habits returned bit by bit. They seeped through tiny cracks in my chipper positive self, that appeared during this year after one blow after the other. It’s not quite over yet, but it already feels like the Year of Hell, and I’m like captain Janeway, trying to keep my ship and crew intact. I fear the upcoming months ahead, to finish me off.

I recognize my old ways, they felt normal, but not in any way comfortable anymore. My OCD was trying it’s best to return, and thus reviving my perfectionism. It made me angry and sad, nothing I did was good enough for me. I had to do something about this, because I wasn’t helping anybody with this behavior, first and foremost myself.

I reached out for help. That was the most important thing I could do for myself. I talked to my psychiatrist, and I got in touch with somebody whom immediately invited me to join a seminar for 5 weeks, to be surrounded by people in similar circumstance. I joined Ramon to his seminars for heart patients. And through all that, had the best talks with Ramon, to put it all together. I got new insides, a fresh look on things, and a reminder how I used to use my learned skills in the most adequate way, and try to do that again.

It’s hard work, but on the other hand surprisingly easy. I’m still a mess, but I am dealing with it. One of the suggestions my psychiatrist made, was to finish the painting, and start drawing again to finish my story of Benjamin and Kuzco. Focus on the things that make me happy. Try to go to the gym again on Saturday mornings. But most importantly, start writing again, to keep my head and emotions straight.

She told me that two weeks ago. I have finished my painting, and am actually proud of the result. I didn’t have to keep telling myself that it was done, it was done. But just until today, I could make myself sit down and write. For days on end I thought about what to write. Not that there wasn’t anything to write about, there is so much going on. But I was too much a mess, for putting thoughts into words. But today was a good day to start.

So… I’m not quite a mess as I felt a couple of weeks ago. Still in the back of my mind though, I keep fearing the upcoming months. There is still me and my odd, still not explainable pain in my abdomen, and other strange ailments that go along. Halfway through October, I will have an endoscopy again and some other tests, and I hope they will provide some answers to make me feel a little better. Because, when physical pain isn’t dominating, I am better in handling the rest.

For now, I am going to enjoy a beautiful autumns day with Ramon. The sun is shining, the bright colored leaves are whirling in the air, and everything smells so nice. I am glad I was finally able to write this morning. It makes me feel good about myself, and it feels like I’m on the right track again.








Instagram requires authorization to view a user profile. Use autorized account in widget settings


Joyce Kleine – Work in Progress