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Dear First name / friend,

After the kind response on my paintings in the last newsletter, I'm popping into your inbox with my regular newsletter with a quite personal story this time, and also my favourites of this month of course.

If you're new and thinking “who is this?": scroll to the bottom to find a short bio.

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Growing pains

Dit stuk heb ik eerst in het Nederlands geschreven, omdat ik me makkelijker daarin uitdruk.

Lees de Nederlandse versie hier.

I have a complex interesting relationship with Drenthe, where I was born and raised. Eight years ago I moved to Rotterdam, on the other side of the country. My relationship of 10 years was over and I lost my house. The separation didn't go quite as you'd hope, so I pretty much lost all my money, too. 


When you have little to lose, you are free to make choices from your heart. I did what I felt I was supposed to do, and which was basically the reason for everything I had lost: illustration and writing. Until then I mainly worked as a graphic designer and photographer, and although I enjoyed it, it was not my life purpose. I felt the flame ignite and wanted to follow it. I took part-time jobs to pay my bills, eventually found my beloved 40m2 apartment in Rotterdam and rebuilt my life. 


I regularly travelled to Drenthe, because my family lives there. Short and hectic visits evolving around the family. There was no space yet for my own relationship with the ground, the landscape, the culture, my memories and how I felt about it. I was mostly surviving at that time. Although I felt something brewing, I didn't immediately allow it. Once life calmed down, I ran less from freelance job to freelance job and found a house where I could build a base, there was room for my thoughts about my home grounds. 


I feel resistance, but also love when I think of Drenthe. It feels like home and at the same time it's a place where I don't belong. As a young graphic designer there, I was often criticized. When I was an illustrator, it got worse. Who did I think I was? Did I feel I was better than others? Why is a job at the city council not good enough? 

I did not yet have enough self-confidence and self-esteem to stand up for who I was and am. Imagine what they would think if I became a painter!

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Before I knew I was leaving the province, I participated in an exhibition. All the work I made revolved around the theme of finding myself and leaving. One of the works said: 'home isn't where our house is but wherever we are understood'. You can love a plant so much, but if you don't give it space and water, it won't grow. Two months later I left for Rotterdam, by myself. I was welcomed by people who understood me and offered me the space to grow. Rotterdam was my fertilizer.


After more than eight years in this city I have blossomed, but I cannot deny that my roots lie in Drenthe, and are therefore also the basis of who I am. I started to feel to need to explore my relationship with the place I was born and raised.

What is the influence of more than 300 years of farm workers in my genes? Is this why I feel guilty for not using my body physically to work? How come I'm an artist when my grandparents couldn't even go to high school? Am I denying my heritage by choosing a different path?

I feel like I've made a big leap on the timeline: from peat worker (where my grandparents as kids didn't even have running water or electricity in the house) to artist, all within two generations. Shouldn't there have been steps in between, shouldn't I have had a 'normal' job to make the transition a little smoother?

Partly I think it's because I don't have kids. I don't have to lay a foundation for the next generation so I am free to follow my dreams and create a life that fits me. After me, my family line ends and what I leave behind are all the stories, illustrations and paintings I made that tell who I was.


Tomorrow I will travel to my home grounds again

But this time not to visit family: I'll try to start an inner dialogue.

I'm bringing a big sketchbook, pencils, paint brushes, paints and canvasses in case I feel like jotting things down. I'm inviting the feelings in and see what comes from it. I have no idea what will come out of it, or if anything will come out of it for that matter. It's an experiment, and I'm looking forward to it!

I will be staying in a converted barn surround my farm fields, close to where my ancestors dug canals and worked the peat grounds.

I hope to write to you next time with my findings!

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The barn on the right is where I'll be staying for a few days this week

Free paper printable: ice cream

When I'm visiting the UK in Summer I always get a Mr Whippy-ice cream, or 99P-ice cream. It's a cone with soft, fast melting ice cream with a chocolate Cadbury-flake on top. Can't get one now of course so I made a paper version of it! I've made this available to download for you so you can make one too :)

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Left: one of the last Mr. Whippy's I ate in the UK. Right: my paper version.

6 things I liked

Every month I read dozens of articles and about 4 books, watch a couple of shows and films, and always have my eyes and ears open for good stuff. Each month I make a careful selection of my favourites, especially for you.

“This life is mine alone. So I have stopped asking people for directions to places they’ve never been.”

Glennon Doyle, from her book Untamed (which I recommend)

01 / wonderful tv show My friend Dagmar texted me. “Watch Starstruck on BBC. You'll love it.” So, I did and I ate it up. Gobbled it down. Loved every bit of it. So: watch Starstruck on BBC. I hope you will love it too. Here's the trailer.


02 / philosophy book After mentioning stoicism in my last newsletter, Jaella emailed me asking which book I recommend to start with. I'd say The Daily Stoic by Ryan Holiday is good. I got it from the library a while back and just ordered my copy because I want to make notes and keep it.


03 / productivity article “We will always have more tasks to complete than time to complete them. How do we decide what to prioritize? It turns out, not rationally at all.” I loved this short article.


04 / an appreciation of David Hockney I found the video below very interesting, to understand how artist Hockney looks at art. If you want more, here's a lovely flip-through of Hockney's sketchbook by the artist himself. His Yorkshire sketchbook is on my wish list by the way.

05 / article on moving to the country "When Rebecca Schiller swapped the city for a rural dream life seemed idyllic. But however far you go, you can’t escape your self." Interesting article! Although fleeing the city has done wonders to my mental health.


06 / how COVID changed ambition A food-for-thought article. I've been re-thinking work and life a lot since last year. I was always running around like crazy, working one job after the other without pausing. Now, I value time and well-being so much more. 


bonus / what Bram liked A woman tells her cat that he has to start paying rent. (Bram is my partner and he asked me if he could share his favourite thing each month in my newsletter).

event in the netherlands

Waarom zou je goed geld moeten verdienen als maker?

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Nou ja, niks moet natuurlijk. Je moet het vooral zelf weten 😊 Maar ik kan genoeg redenen geven waarom het verrekte handig is om wél te verdienen aan je werk. En dan heb ik het niet per se over geld verdienen in de zin van kapitalisme, of dure auto's kopen en een villa aan de Vinkeveense plassen (maar dat mag ook als je dat wilt). Ik heb het over vrijheid en geluk kopen, jezelf ontwikkelen en een leven bouwen waarin je niet in paniek rond rent.


Wil je meer weten? 

Op 9 september tijdens het Hart voor Design-event in Middelburg (Zeeland) ga ik een half uur in gesprek hierover. Dit event is ideaal voor professionele designers en beeldmakers en heeft een mooi programma met lezingen, workshops en netwerkmogelijkheden. 


20% korting

Nog mooier: als je de code MARLOES21 gebruikt bij het afrekenen, krijg je 20% korting op je ticket. Laat je me weten als je komt?


I got quite a few new subscribers, so a warm welcome to you! If you want to read more, you can find my previous newsletter here


Hope you enjoyed this letter from me to you! Please know that you are always welcome to reply to me. If you want to let me know what you think of my newsletter, or want to share something: feel free. See you next time!


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“Who are you?!”

Good question! I'm Marloes (Mahr-Loose), 36 (crikey - time flies). I'm a writer, illustrator and artist living in the Netherlands with my partner Bram. I'm an anglophile and I love pancakes. I started as a graphic designer and art director 14 years ago (did I mention time flies?). Then freelanced as an editorial and portrait photographer and have been working as an illustrator and author for the past 11 years. Also, I started painting landscapes last year. I've been sending newsletters for over 10 years, taking others along in my journey and share all that I know about life as a freelance artist.

find me on instagram as @marloesdevee


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