April 7, 2014

Now Showing: Dutch Masters from the 21st Century

The frames arrived and Little Bird, who flew here from Saskia's birdhut in the Netherlands, is thrilled to see his relatives on our newly painted kitchen wall.
I can see them perfectly during the 22 hours a day I am standing at the kitchen sink. In fact, the other night,  I was finally washing out the pot I set to soak in early 2004 when I realized that I was not the only one watching the birds. The psychotic cats are clearly distraught.
I brought home the cat painting many years ago from an Outsiders' Art Fair in New York. (Don't get me started on the stupidity of "outsiders' art," it is apparently a movement--of course--of works created by people who didn't get formally trained in art. You know, like, um, just about everyone? Does that mean sentences created by people who didn't get an MA from the Iowa Writer's Program are "outsider's words?" And if you are untrained and dare to paint a landscape, are you an outside outsider?? When you are draw a studio model, are you an inside outsider???)

I told you not to get me started.

What I meant to be telling you is that the artist of the cats is from The Netherlands, like the artist of the birds. According to Kunst and Vlliegwerk, which is the gallery employing/representing her, she is a schizophrenic woman who showed her talents in the activity center and now comes to their studio to paint. Mostly cats. Her name is Tineke and here's more about her.

I love the part where Tineke will make elephants or dogs, but only when asked. And that she "highly likes" to work while listening to Alice Cooper! I asked a ton of questions and was told that most of the money goes directly into her account at the institution. I could only hope they were truthful.


However, they didn't have Google Translate when I bought the painting. And I'm getting a little nervous about this situation because it seems that  "kunst vliegwerk" apparently means "art crook." When I google the artist's name, I get the Dutch version of Paris Hilton.  Saskia, I'm petrified that you are pulling out your short little hair and screaming in Dutch, "how could she not know that this gallery is infamous for exploiting disabled artists!!!"

I love really, really love my psychotic Dutch cats. And now, I love them loving the work of another artist from the Netherlands, this one completely sane. (Because filling one's home with bird skeletons and dead frogs and building an empire of miniature creatures that have their own artwork, tea sets, and quilts, is clearly a sign of fine mental health, right?) I love my Dutch outsiders.

And I hate not wanting to know the truth.



  1. Pardon me while I double over in laughter, not at the work of both artists from the Netherlands, one whose work I so love (Saskia) but I couldn't stop laughing at how you explained your 21st century Dutch masters. You are the master of wit..and it felt good to laugh so deeply. Thank you and have you considered setting out a shingle proclaiming your health affirming powers via the written word ?!

    1. What a sweetie you are, Marti. When my words touch, the connection is medicine for me, too.

  2. yup...again. you are Hot!.....
    i would retract my question from Saskia and just force myself to Believe.
    it's a wonderful story, true or false and a wonderful story is a wonderful story and those
    are Wonderful CATS....

  3. chuckling away here with my first morning coffee at 1:33 am thank you Julie!

    1. You guys....here I am, caught in the throes of an Ethical Crisis, and all you guys can do is laugh!!??!!!

  4. finally I manage to squeeze in some blog-reading-time and stumble into this post full of surprises....like Marti, I am laughing, smiling, chuckling, you do have a way with words Julie, honestly you are the inimitable word-artist-extrodinaire (for lack of a better term)
    Your tongue-in-cheek sense of humour has such a voice of it's own, I am never bored nor disappointed when visiting!
    I am honoured to be joined together with Tineke Scholten, I had not heard or read about her before, but will google her later on...btw love the frames!
    just to set your mind at rest 'met kunst en vliegwerk' is an expression that roughly translates as 'by hook or by crook' if that is any consolation

  5. 'met kunst en vliegwerk' ...how funny that Google thinks it is "art thief." Now I know that there is no sense of irony or subtlety in computer translators and I also have a nifty phrase to bandy about when and if I visit the Netherlands. As in "excuse me, could you please tell me 'met kunst en vliegwerk' where the bathroom is..."
    Glad you like the frames, it must be weird seeing your work get a life of its own without you!