When I came to live in Portugal, the landscape was a vast gray plain. Black and gray parts that once formed a beautiful scenery together, now lay there like dead, completing the picture of an apocalyptic landscape. The great forest fire in 2017 had left almost no blade of grass untouched. Pieces of rock, stone, ancient ruins, which for years had been hidden among the eucalyptus and mimosa, were exposed under the gray sky. Especially the stones on the narrow path to our house were in plain sight. Because they were usually lying around loose, you had to be careful not to stumble over them. Sometimes that happened to me, but more often I fell for them figuratively.
In the Netherlands I worked as an illustrator. After several years I had developed a very personal style, and I created my work partly by hand and partly by computer. I was often very happy with the end result and so were my clients, but the road leading to it was always full of tension for me. It always was a long road, because the style was time-consuming and therefore unprofitable. I didn't find any satisfaction in it anymore. I didn't know how to continue and thus I gave up my work.
When I emigrated to Portugal, I did not focus on designing anymore, but instead enjoyed an 'offgrid life' in the middle of the forests. My former life of busyness, distractions and luxuries had given way to peace, nature, wood stoves, spring water and stones. Lots and lots of stones...
To radiate a bit of hospitality, the idea for having a nameplate arose. I took one of the flat stones near our house and painted "Shalom" on it: a Hebrew greeting. The result was surprisingly good, and for the first time in a long time I experienced real pleasure in creating a piece of art. This was the beginning of a series of painted stones, that have since found a place in many a household.