Work in Progress

Berichten met categorie Colour me Joyce

History in the making


The Rijksmuseum in Amsterdam had its grand reopening in 2013, after being closed for over 10 years. I have visited it many times before the restauration, it was one of my favourite museums to roam through. So naturally I’ve visited the museum after it opened again, and loved it probably even more than before. All these years I’ve always wondered through the museum on my own, never once let me guide through the museum with what I always thought, an ‘art-expert’. I loathed those people, those so called art-experts. The ones who walk around their galleries pretending there is knowledge behind making art, and trashing the ones they believe are unschooled. In my opinion there is no knowledge, only triggering an emotion. You either like it, or you don’t, nothing more, nothing less.

But a few weeks ago, I had the opportunity to visit the Rijksmuseum again. This time we got a guide to walk us through. It was the best visit ever in my life! This lady was no so-called art-expert. She was a historian and probably just as great as an art lover as I am. With passion she told about the story behind the paintings, the life of the artists, and the era behind each painting. I loved it! When we walked by Vermeer, she told the most entertaining story behind the Milkmaid. It is a little painting of a woman standing alone in a room, pouring milk into a Dutch oven, and is full of symbolism. A symbolism that tell us that it’s nothing more than an erotic picture that was made for a rich customer that put it in his private little room to help him ‘relief himself’. A painting that was painted to earn some hard money to survive hard times, and buy tools and materials to make more paintings to sell. Vermeer was a poor man, and his work was not as much appreciated by the big crowd as Rembrandt did in his prime. So he never ever expected this little painting would be watched by millions of people. Let alone, telling a 20 minute story about it with people eagerly listening to.

And that made me think. I am still just a poor little artist, no big name yet, but draw and paint as if I am. There certainly are works on my shelve that I don’t have high regards of. And other works that holds a special meaning to me, but other people don’t quite see that as much. A work such as this one. One I will most likely be hated for, by the subject itself when he comes of age. He probably would say; ‘O my God, how could you draw me like that!’ with an overly dramatic sound teenagers usually make about a lot of things. But I know now, that I can assure him, that in many years from now, people will probably gaze at this drawing in awe, and tell a 20 minute story with people eagerly listening to. To hear that that particular piece of art is the favourite little boy in the artist’s life. Where it is the transition of the still little baby toddler, to the first stages of becoming an adolescent. The part where the artist makes it tangible to herself, letting go of her most favourite part of childhood, by drawing a proud little boy showing the exchange of his baby teeth to make room for his new ones, and thus a new era of stories and drawings to come.

exchanging teeth

Waiting room


his royal highness


I went to the hospital today to get some test results back. While I was sitting in the waiting room, my mind was working overtime, what to say, how I physically feel. For a while my health was stable, but at the moment it’s going south again. After talking about it with Ramon, we’ve noticed some similar things are happening in the same order as it did a few years back. And I can tell you, that sort of messes with your head. Because I really don’t want to go down that road again. And now I know that the results do not match my physical complaints, I start to worry a bit. Because even that is a carbon copy of a few years back.

So memories are coming to the surface, and I remember how I felt when I just got ill. I was so thankful to have our oldest cat, Spooky around me. At that time, I couldn’t go out of the house, because the amount of seizures were extremely high at that time. I felt like a prisoner in my own house. I made myself believe that I must have been a terrible person, and this is my punishment. Because why else would I have to live with this terrible physical pain, which made me unable to have a simple conversation with someone, to go outside when I wanted to, unable to sleep a good night’s rest, walk around the house without hurting myself, or even make myself a nice cup of tea or a hot meal without burning myself.

This lasted for three years, until finally they found the right medicine at the right dosage. During those three years, Spooky and I became the best of friends. Besides Ramon, who had to go to work during the days I didn’t have to go to the hospital, Spooky was there with me 24/7. That creates a special relationship. Yes, with our cat. Our cat wasn’t an ordinary cat anymore, I projected my thoughts and feelings on him, made him like a human being. And that’s how he saved me from going completely nuts.

So when the three agonizing years past, I could finally start some kind of living. Ramon suggested to start drawing and painting again, and to make Spooky and our other pets, my main subject, seeing they filled my hart with joy. And so I did. That’s how my stories began, but I haven’t showed you the drawings and story yet that was my first. And I don’t know why. Maybe because it contains my early drawings, and I feel that it shows, or that the story isn’t good enough, because I let myself be influenced too much by other people’s opinion. Or maybe, just maybe, it’s all because it’s just about Spooky. He is still, even though he passed away, my dearest friend who was there during my darkest days, and nothing does his memory just.

But sitting in the waiting room of the hospital, I not only thought of what to say to the doctor, but I also saw images of Spooky popping up in my mind, and thought of some drawing I made at the time, where I lay on the ground after a seizure, and Spooky, who was his royal highness in my imagination, came to aid, as he always did. That made me smile for a bit.

So why not post the very first story where it all began? Maybe it’s not a great story for some, but isn’t that the case with every story ever told? And that goes as well for art. I would only diminish the memory of Spooky, by not telling this story and show you the drawings. And all this came to mind, while sitting on one of those unforgivingly spartanian waiting room chairs, thinking of something entirely unrelated to my consult, or so I thought.

So I will sit down and put the story together with the drawings I made, so the story can finally come to life, like I initially intended to. And Spooky is yet again, near to soothe my mind.


joyce and spooky

Rally championship

racing mobility scooter

Often time’s people have asked me if it isn’t dangerous to ride a mobility scooter with three wheels. I always thought that was the weirdest question, and certainly a poor argument to not want one because of just that. I never in my mobility scooter career have ever flipped over, nor did I believe that was even possible, because it only has two pictures of speed to choose from, go as slow as a turtle, or as fast as a hare. And I for one, have never seen a turtle or a hare flip over, when making a turn.

So, it might be the strong believe of safety, that I became a little overconfident, and always try to push the maximum out of my ride. With my navigator Kuzco, sitting at my feet, I often feel like camel trophy meets superbike, crossing the many tight hairpin turns throughout the dunes, sometimes covered with wind-blown sand. And we always end smooth and safely at the beach or back up again.

Me and my navigator had things going smoothly, without even saying a word, we understood what was needed. The cooperation was magnificent. I’m sure we would have won every race, if there were any, just by us working so well together.

Until a few days ago.

I could only just write about this after a couple of days when it happened, because my pride was seriously dented. After some good old fashioned mental coaching from Ramon, helping me out of my disbelieve. Was it me, or was it Kuzco who was distracted for a moment, or was it too much sand on the road. It couldn’t be my misjudging the turn, the speed, nor the exact timing of hitting the accelerator. We were the masters of the mobility scooters! This wasn’t supposed to happen.

While we were steering through the fourth hairpin turn, there was something that made us spin out of course and made a flip over, just to land in thistles and catch weed. We both stayed in driving position while we flipped, so Kuzco’s left side was covered in millions of sticky seeds, and I had a left side that looked like a page written in cuneiform script. All the thistles left each its own scratch.

And while Kuzco and I lay there like two little turtles on their back, Ramon, who was on his bicycle behind us, stopped only to laugh really hard and loud. No help there, what so ever. I even thought I heard him say through all the chuckles, and gasping for air, ‘why do still sit in that chair as though you still riding. That looks so silly!!’

With a blind spot covering my eyes for a second, I pushed the scooter back on its wheels, as if I was a healthy strongman on his strongman champion’s league. I even think I could lift it up and put it on a barrel, but instead I got back on my chair, and placed Kuzco between my feet, and proceeded the course. Only this time a bit more careful.

On the road


Mama gave her children one last hug before she went to work. ‘Promise me you will look after your little sister, Dante? I have to go to work now. Give me another big kiss you two, I love you very much. Be nice to the babysitter, and behave. Both of you.’ She said with her eye on Angel, who was trying to snatch Dante’s I-pad out of his hands.

‘Yes, mama, we love you. See you tonight.’ Dante held his I-pad tighter, and received a little kick against his leg from his sister. ‘Haha, catch me if you can. You can never catch me, I’m way faster than you Dante!’ Angel started running, and when she was sure Dante didn’t follow her, she let herself fall on the couch. ‘I’m bored Dante. What shall we play?’

‘I don’t know. What do you want to do?’ Dante dropped next to her on the couch, his feet could almost touch the ground, which made him feel like a real big brother.

‘We could play outside, or we could go to Grandma.’ Dante said while trying to push his toes to the ground.

‘Yay, to Grandma!!! I want to go to Grandma!!! But how do we go Dante?’ Angel clapped her hands and bounced up and down on the couch.

‘Well… we go by bus. I know how it works. I’ve seen mama do it. We only need money to buy bus tickets.’ Dante ran up the stairs to get his piggybank. ‘You get yours too Angel!’ he yelled down below. When both piggybanks were on the table, Dante gave a swing with a hammer and broke his piggy. ‘Now yours, Angel.’ But Angel snatched her piggy from the table, and tears role down her cheek. ‘No, you can’t hurt piggy, then she’s dead. I love my piggybank!’

It took quite some convincing, but after hearing how many coins were in that piggy, and the promise Angel could smash her own piggybank, she gladly gave a swing.


‘Ow, Dante we are so rich!! Look at how many coins there are. Now I can buy a pony! Yay, my very own little pony!!’ Angels danced in circles, clapping her hands of excitement, totally forgot the reason for breaking the piggybanks at the first place.

Ignoring Angels happy dance, he grabbed his backpack, and filled it with Angel’s favourite stuffed animal, all the coins properly matched by colour in each its own baggie, and off course his Bobo-magazine, where there was an item drawn, of how Bobo goes on adventures. And this time was about a trip by bus. Knowledge rules the world.


And off they went, on their adventure. Holding each other’s hand, as they crossed the street to the bus stop. They had to wait for the bus so they both sat down, and Dante checked his Bobo-magazine to see what comes next.

bus stop

A bus stopped, and Dante asked the bus driver if he could stop at Grandma’s house, because that was where they were going. The bus driver smiled, and asked where Grandma’s house was. Dante had to think really hard, but then he remembered. Grandma lived nearby the big shopping street. ‘Well, that is exactly where I stop. I will give a sign when you two adventurers need to get off.’ The bus driver gave them their tickets, and Dante couldn’t believe how many coins were still left. All though the big ones were almost all gone.


The bus doors slide open, and the bus driver waved them good luck. When they stood on the pavement, Dante looked around. He began to feel a little nervous, because he didn’t know exactly which way to go. But he took a deep breath, and started walking. He couldn’t let Angel know he lost his way. Angel didn’t suspect anything. She only jumped up and down seeing all the shops on a row. ‘Can we go shopping Dante? I would really like to try on grown-up shoes like mommy’s,

high heels


and go to a make-up store, and try on all the lipstick colours of the rainbow,

mirror mirror

and then I want to go on the merry-go-round at the end of the street. Can we, can we Dante?’



Dante shrugged his shoulders. ‘Yeah, why not. Let’s make the best of it.’

toys in store


They went to all the stores they wanted, and even took three rounds on the merry-go-round.


They only had two copper coins left, so they had to start walking to go to Grandma’s house. ‘Which way Dante? I am so tired, are we almost there yet?’ She grabbed her stuffed animal to hold at her nose while she sucked her thumb. Dante looked left, and right, and left again. ‘I don’t know, maybe ask someone who knows. Excuse me sir, do you know where my Grandmother’s house is?’

But no one knew. Angel started crying. ‘I miss my mummy, and my nanna. I don’t like this adventure any more Dante. I want to go home.’ Dante put his arms around his little sister. He wanted to cry as well, but he had to stay strong for Angel. If only they stayed with the babysitter, this would never have happened. They sat on a bench, and Angel put her head against her brother, still crying.


‘Hé, aren’t you the Grandchildren of Mrs. Kleine?’ asked a young girl who passed by. Dante looked up with a frown, curious who asked. ‘Yes, we wanted to go to Grandma, but I don’t know where her house is any more. Do you know?’

The young girl smiled. She happened to be her neighbour, so she took them to Grandmother’s house. When Grandma opened the door, she looked very worried. She thanked her neighbour, and gave Dante and Angel a big hug. ‘Where were you, we were so worried! The babysitter called to say that she couldn’t find you when you were supposed to be playing outside with your sister. What were you thinking of?’ Now Dante started crying. ‘I’m so sorry Grandma, we wanted to go see you. And I thought I could do it by myself. I’ve seen mama do it so often. And Bobo makes adventure trips by himself, so I thought with a little help of Bobo, we could too. But after the shopping, and the merry-go-round, I was lost. I’m so glad to see you again Grandma, I was so scared.’


Grandma gave a big kiss, and squeezed him tight. ‘All is well now, thank God. I will get some milk and cookies, and call your mother to tell her you are here. She will probably be a little angry with you, but I know she will be relieved to hear all is well. But promise me you will never do this again, until you are old and wise enough to do so, and only when you’re allowed to.’ Angel snuggled on the couch and fell asleep, and Dante enjoyed his milk and cookie while telling of his adventure, together with Grandma.


The other work in progress



While I was stirring my oatmeal on the stove, the only thing I could think of was, still three days till Saturday. Even though my body is so tired today. It’s funny how something can become so addictive. It’s only one day a week, so how can it possibly. Or maybe it is just that. It’s only one day a week, and I am eager to want more. Or maybe it is because it is a remainder of my healthy life, or simply because I am good at it. And seeing my body growing and reacting so well to the iron, on only one day a week.

When I am angry or sad when my body even dares to shut down while I am lifting, my father always reminds where I came from. Three years ago, he took me to the gym, only to sit, watch and smell the particular smell of a gym. I missed it so much, and after a moment in life where I thought it was the end, we thought it would stimulate my thoughts and mood, to just only be there. That went on for quite a while, and then when I was able to slowly strengthen my body again, the physical therapist encouraged me to continue his work under the guidance of my father, a bodybuilder, who has 50 years of experience in the gym, at the place I so loved being. And so it began.


henk kleine


From the beginning my father made me buy a notebook, that I now call my bible. Every Saturday he writes down everything I do, and my job is to keep track of my thoughts, my energy, pain levels, how many seizures I had during the week, and how much food I could sustain. That is a great way to remind myself to be grateful what I have accomplished, even with all the pain in my body. And a great help for the doctors to use as a guide to see when and why something got worse, health wise.  It also keeps me pushing to do better next time. Those two little letters, P and R, Personal Record, has such a nice ring to it. And I made many over the last three years. Even though it’s filled with spikes of better and worse health.

When I am in the gym, my father hovers over me. The hazard of damaging myself while having a seizure during a workout, makes me restricted to use cable and machine only, but even then, he keeps a keen eye on me, so little to nothing can happen.




There was a time where I reached a limit. I knew my muscles could handle more weight, but the rheumatism in my hands prohibited gains. So I got me some lifting hooks and stuck magnets on them for a better grip. So when I need to pull, those hooks take over where my hands let go. And that is something I also love. Finding new ways to make things possible. With my father’s experience, and my own eagerness, we find ways to hit all the muscles. Maybe a little less than ordinary, but enough to still make me grow stronger. But I do believe that not only the act, but also the mind is a strong factor in the willingness to grow. Everything I do, I do with a strong mindset and focus. I picture the muscle in my mind while working on it, and silently whisper: “I Demand You To Grow”. Maybe it’s silly, my father always smiles when he hears my whisper, but I am convinced it only works as good, when you believe. And that it not only works in the gym, I have learned in life as well.


flexing in the gym


his royal highness58


Its Sunday morning, the early rays of sun are filtered through the lace curtain. Ramon lies beside me, and is still fast asleep. Today the wind carries the morning wakeup call from the rooster from the park to our window. You can only hear it when all the other background noises are muted down because they too, are still fast asleep.

It is the time I love most of all the day. It is still so pure, and honest, and it is the time where I can stare and softly touch his skin without him knowing. After all these years I am still in aw with his handsomeness. I know every new gray hair, the sound of his breathing, every twitch of his face while he is dreaming. I still have to pinch myself when I am at this moment.

This is the most beautiful person to me, in the whole wide world. And I love that in this pure and honest moment, his body reacts to my touch, even though he is fast asleep, and he pulls me tight when my hand brushes against the lines of his skin. The gentle but sturdy pull you feel when you are loved by the other person. I always have to sprinkle him with little butterfly kisses, so I won’t break the silent moment of this strong emotion between two souls that are so intertwined with each other.

That is what we are. Intertwined. Not what my second therapist accused us of. A doctor/patient relationship, that was unhealthy and had to stop. I was so hurt by her statement, and made me doubt our bond together. She made me doubt many more things about myself, but that was something I needed at that time, to get stronger in my own believes I think. And now I really know she was only mistaken in her words, by only seeing it from her professional point of view. But I would rather call it the deep and purest form of love. The kind of love, where you respect one-another, be strong when the other needs it, and can show weakness when there is the need for, and stimulate each other, to be best that they can possibly be, so you can be the most beautiful soul that makes you glow from the inside out. And that is what I believe, the light that people see in ones eyes.

So this beautiful Sunday morning, I again, gaze at his face. I softly brush his hair sideways, and follow the line of his strong eyebrow. I can’t wait to start the day with him, but first I snuggle a little bit closer to him, close my eyes, and draw his handsome face with my finger in the air. And with a smile I know, that I know every line of his beautiful face.


The rocking chair




I often use this drawing to send to friends and family as a congratulation card for either pregnancy or childbirth. To me it presents just that, although the making of this drawing symbolize my grief.

My father once took this rocking chair from the side of the street. It was ready for the dumpster. It only needed a good painter to make it as new, and I always wanted a rocking chair for when Ramon and I would have a baby. My father knew that, so he gave it to me. I painted it as smooth as a baby’s bum, no brushstrokes visible. I upholstered it so when I would sit by its bed, I could sit comfy for the hours I imagined, watching our little bundle of joy. With a one haired brush I painted a tiny logo for a finishing touch, and every time I sat on the chair, I slowly cradled my hopes and dreams.

So when we learned that we couldn’t have children, on top of everything else we had to digest at that time, I only wanted to sit and cradle my grief with big silent tears in the middle of the night. It wasn’t until Kuzco, that I could fully enjoy the chair for just what it was, a chair. And I didn’t mind it anymore that is was used as such.

Now when I look at the chair, I feel happy. I made some good memories while rocking that chair. My little puppy needed rocking too, and I could still hum my lullabies to someone falling asleep on my lap. And I could still sit comfy for hours, watching our puppy making his cute little barks and twitches while he dreams.


sleeping puppy Kuzco



Maybe if you have seen my early works under the Art tab, you would have guessed I had therapy, or are relieved to hear I did. And I am so grateful I did, even though at that time my seizures were still about 60 to a 100 a day, and being there 10 hours a day, 5 days a week, felt almost impossible to go through. Looking back, I amaze myself I pulled through, and even manage to learn so much.

I followed group sessions, one on one sessions, woman-counselling, cognitive therapy, EMDR therapy, had to participate in team sports, and like school, I always chosen last… wonder why this time. No one ever wanted me to be their trust buddy either, where they had to trust you, you would catch them, if they let their self fall backward. Strange, right?

Followed some sort of “art” class, and one of my all-time favourite, music. Where you had to make a lot of noise with your instrument of choice. Picture yourself with the greatest hangover, or if you suffer any form of headache, in a room full of deeply emotional disturbed people, letting go their feelings all together at once by banging their instrument as loud as they feel to. How would you feel?


Well, let me tell you that I always chose the smallest cowbells around, and during the music session I ended up picturing all my fellow disturbed people staked to the ceiling with parts of their instrument through their stomach. Yes, I had some anger issues.

After a year Ramon managed to convince the doctors there, music and running and jumping sports is a no go for someone suffering 24/7 intense headache with multiple seizures. The therapists of the mental institution were convinced my seizures were a result of not coping well with my emotions, so they never took them serious enough as they were. It was a cry for attention that should be ignored, and they thought it was even a good therapy for every other “nutcase” walking around there, to either help or ignore while I lay on the ground during a seizure when we had to walk on the compound from one building to the other.

Even though I didn’t always understand their work method, in the end, it all thought me a lot. It helped me to stand up for myself, set boundaries, recognize my strange quirky behaviour as a means to survive, and managed to do something about it. Learned to be me.

The only thing with working on your mind-set and all the other stuff that comes along with it, is that you are never done, never finished. And that’s something I can be discouraged about sometimes.

Just when you think you get it, something happens where you just reach for that old, and once so comfy coat. The only difference is, now I see, feel and hear my old ways of handling situations, so I sit, read back my cognitive therapy papers, and once again teach myself how to do better next time. That old coat has lost its comfy fit anyway, so even if I wanted to stay in my old coat, I could never. I’ve learned too much to know how much fun it is being me. The new me, even though it takes endless time of learning.





‘How long have you been sitting here Dante?’ Grandpa asked as he sat down next to Dante on a bench.

Making a deep wrinkle with his brows, Dante sighed. ‘A long while. Too long a while even. The fish won’t bite.’




He pulled his rod he made from a twig backwards and threw his line out in the water again.

‘Maybe you’ve caught all the fish from the pond, and there is nothing left any more.’ Grandpa looked at the bucket standing next to the bench full of little fish.




‘Nope, that’s not it at all Grandpa. Last week I went fishing with Ramon, and that was totally bad ass. We went fishing for the biggest fish in the world. We had to go to the store to buy a suitable rod, and squirmy little things in a jar called bait. It was so gross, but it was necessary to get the job done.’


box of maggots


‘Wow Dante, how did it go? Did you caught the biggest fish of the world?’

‘Off course I did! That’s why the fish don’t want to bite any more. They are scared of me, because I have mastered the biggest fish. He probably showed all the smaller fish his scar on his lip. That was where the hook went through. I had to set him free, but that wasn’t easy, because he was mad he took the bait. He popped into the water when he felt it tickling under his belly when I held him near the water.’


big fish


‘That’s amazing Dante! I can imagine all the fish are scared of you. But maybe if you say sorry to the fish, and wish them better luck next time, then just maybe they will try to catch your bait.’ Grandpa padded him on his back.

And just when Dante yelled ‘Sorry fishies!’ something pulled his fishing line. And what do you know, a fish took his bait. ‘Yay Grandpa, you are right!! I will always say sorry to the fish, and treat them with the best bait. Now I really am the best fisherman there is.’




And with a big smile on his face, Dante leaned back and took a big bite of the sandwich grandpa brought him.



new born


Little Angel turns three in a few days. Time flies by so fast. Where she was just a happy little baby, full of smiles and funny faces, she now is becoming a real lady. An Anna Wintour in the making. She loves make-up, shoes, pretty clothes, glitter, ruffles and nail polish. But she is as rough and tough like her brother. Maybe even more than her brother.

Her birthday wish list was all about Frozen. So princesses and musical songs are going to rule this year, probably in company of go-kart’s and skateboards and a bit of soccer in-between. So Ramon and I will buy her a princess Elsa dress this year, I think. Because you can only sing Let it Go, just like Elsa, when wearing a same dress like her, but the arias have no limits to where they are sung. So I can only imagine you need a couple dresses in stock, for when a dress doesn’t survive a flip flop on the skateboard or a sliding in the muddy grass.


fashion girl


I will call my sister to ask for Angel her dress size. Because she is growing much bigger and faster than my head can comprehend. Everything changes, but some things remain the same.

She still is full of smiles and funny faces, and I hope dearly that will never change.


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Joyce Kleine – Work in Progress