Monthly (and sometimes more often) newsletter from Marloes De Vries
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Dear First name,
I went in search of my core values. It was enlightening and that's how I found out that 'connection' is a common thread in my life and work. I share my insights with you here and, of course, lots of other things.
Grab a cup of tea or coffee, and I hope you enjoy reading this!
This month:
  • New online class: newsletters for illustrators and artists
  • Behind the scenes
  • Pondering: establishing connection (+ figuring out your core values)
  • 6 things I liked

Behind the scenes
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I am putting the finishing touches to two paintings (see above) that I started over a year ago. Some works take time.
I went to see Hockney's Eye at Teylers Museum in Haarlem (on show until 29/01). A small exhibition, but interesting nonetheless. I went for a photo for a women's magazine, for an article about burnout and my trip to England.
Currently, the house is covered in a layer of dust as we are getting a new toilet. Bram and I travelled to Linz am Rhein (Germany) to ease into the new year without fireworks. While there, I made the drawing below.
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In the pipeline
A number of illustration projects, including a book on relationships for a Belgian publisher, illustrations on meditating and on psychology. The latter two for US clients, which I will write about later. 
I find that my work is shifting more and more towards psychology, which is my great love alongside art, so the pieces of the puzzle are falling into place.

Online class
Newsletters for illustrators and artists
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I am incredibly enthusiastic about newsletters. I love reading others', but I also enjoy creating my own one immensely. I've been doing that since 2010, but from 2020 onwards, I send my 'Note from Marloes' every month and my e-mail list grew to over 7,500 subscribers.
Are you an illustrator, visual artist or other image maker, and want to hear my tips and advice? Read more about the online class here.

Establishing connection
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The psychologist asked me to write down what my core values are.
I found examples online, and had a whole list.
Then he asked me to tick off all the values that are not mine and that I don't do for myself. I was left with a pretty compact list.
What keeps coming up is 'connection', both in my work and private life. Interesting, because somewhere I find connection also a bit nerve-wracking. After all, I fear being disappointed, not being accepted, or being abandoned. As soon as you connect, the risk of that becomes much greater.
I was also recently asked to write an artist statement. There too 'connection' popped up a lot.
A paragraph from my artist statement: "My goal is to encourage others to get closer to themselves. That way, you can live a more authentic life, making connection with others easier. When we are more connected as people, it creates a world where we understand each other better."
This week I came across a quote by Brené Brown:
“Our connection with other people is only as solid and deep as our connection to ourselves. In order for me to be connected to you, I have to know who I am. I have to be connected to myself. And I think what we end up doing is we end up desperately searching for connection with other people, when we have no idea who we are.”
If I want to make people feel connected in my work, I will also have to be deeply connected to myself. That means taking time to stop and work on myself. And not always cramming my schedule with work so that I don't have time to spend with myself.
'Being busy' is the best excuse to run away from yourself and what you really want. I realise this now that I am facing burnout. Very confronting, but before, I didn't want to listen.
I hate picking a word for the new year and making it a theme, because it limits me too much. But I think being more aware of my core values is going to give me guidance to stay close to myself. Because feeling connection with myself is something I often find challenging, as a people-pleaser.
If I were a multiple socket outlet, I'd have to plug in my own plug before I can give any energy to others (I'm quite done with 'put on your own oxygen mask first, before you can help another' 😉).
In my paintings, 'connection' is very clear, through my exploration of what home is. Feeling at home is all about connection.
In my other work, be it illustrations or newsletter writing, I find that I am energised by anything to do with connection. Not in a superficial, but in a profound way.
I'll keep following this thread and see where it takes me.
What are your core values? 
Here are a few examples of values (please note: I don't know the website). 
Which of your chosen values are only for or of you? Which values are for the benefit of others? Put your values in order of importance.

6 things I liked
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1) This video by Elizabeth Gilbert, on the difference between a hobby, job, career and a vocation. I shared this years ago, but repetition is good.
2) The film Where the crawdads sing. The trailer does not do justice to the film (like so many trailers), so just go watch it and let the story carry you away.
3) This new British detective series: Karen Pirie.
4) I cannot listen to music in the background: I need to be fully immersed in it. I therefore listen very little. But this month I discovered Ludovico Einaudi. Exactly the kind of music that takes me to other lives and worlds.
5) Documentary about Hilma af Klint, the first abstract artist, although the art world does not want to correct history.
6) A book that touched me: On Connection by Kae Tempest. On connection beyond superficiality.
“If you allow approval to define you, you will have no choice but to allow disapproval to define you when it comes.”
Kae Tempest (poet, performer, recording artist)
If you want to share anything with me, or comment on this newsletter, feel free to respond to this email. I hope you have a great month!
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or via Tikkie for Dutch people.
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