Journey One: Museums and Tulips

The first thing I spotted after arriving in Utrecht, was a handmade calendar. 31 days of May in little squares, one for every day. Some had already been filled with notes, appointments, visits… Later my friend who took upon herself the job of being my personal secretary of that time filled them all! And I started my journey. The art museums, a lesson in art history. So many paintings. Luckily I recognized some from reproductions. It made it easier to absorb the amount of art I saw. There must be as many paintings in the Netherlands per square meter as highroads... It took an hour to travel from one museum to the other. I passed by Dutch landscapes adorned with flowers in May. May is my birth month, the month of beginnings, butterflies and the greatest blossoming of spring. My month. And here I am again and I have butterflies in my stomach. Amazing landscapes, stripes of colorful tulips cultivated like potatoes here. Cruel tractors that cut all the charming beautiful heads off! Off with their heads, as the Queen says in Alice in Wonderland… Mountains of buds gathered in heaps beside the roads. These 31 days passed by. As everyone knows, first impression counts, and this country managed to enchant me for much longer!

Journey Two: Gallery Mandala Ei

Between the fields seen from the distance because of the flatness of the landscape was Gallery Mandala Ei. I arrived at Gallery Mandala Ei straight from Rastede Palais in Germany where my pictures were exposed in luxury exposition rooms illuminated with Amsterdam chandeliers. A lonely barn among freshly fertilized fields. The view and the smell didn`t impress me at all… But soon I discovered what a powerful "ferrari" was hidden behind the doors. Joep with his courage to be himself, no compromises, against the grain, the only possible way for an artist to show his individuality! My first exhibition in the Netherlands was there. Joep hung my painting upside down… and ruined all my current ideas. He taught me to search behind the rules.

Journey Three: Kunststation Leerdam

Next journey leads to Leerdam. At the train station there were no more tickets to be bought. The usually crowded, noisy interior becomes a room of contemplation and admiration for art. The momentous atmosphere interrupted by the frightening view of a huge, yellow dogface train all of a sudden turning up just a few meters behind the immense window. A magic artistic island created by a group of artists working and living there.

Journey Four: Mail Art

Traveling back to Poland by car in the summer took me from sunrise to sunset and few hours more... Rinus Groenendaal was convinced the country where I live lies somewhere on the other side of the Ural Mountains, close to China. But it took faster for a letter from him to arrive at my home then for me to get there by car. The fantastic example of mail art awaited me at home, such a nice surprise, such a warm welcome! In my atelier there is a huge box of letters with prints, drawings, poems, paintings, and collages from Rinus. Such a pleasant feeling of a letter in a mailbox, childish curiosity: what’s inside the envelope? Not so common anymore.

Journey Five: Exhibitions

Joep organized almost twenty exhibitions of my paintings in the Netherlands. To quote my friend, the Polish musician Ryszard Tymański: “It took me a great deal of time, and effort to shake off my previous manneristic neatness which did not fully express my real feelings and helped to hide my emotions.” It was Joep who showed me how to express my real emotions.

Journey Six: KunstKijk

Return and a new beginning. I am very grateful to Joep and Elly for inviting me to take part in KunstKijk. Recently I have had the experience of teaching painting in my studio. It’s called Color Spa. Working with my students has rekindled my curiosity towards still life and I feel I’m doing a long lost homework. My exhibition One to One is about a moment in my life when I feel I've got a chance to start from the beginning again. The idea is to put away thoughts, impressions, interpretations and to paint what my eyes see. Concentrate on the combination of colors, shadows, read the patterns, shapes. To draw the Magic from the natural world, and discover my illusions and expressions in it. Now I know that I can find my strength in nature and not only in my learning. Elly once said I am like an upside down jar full of butterflies. They can't fly to the world until I turn the jar and let my emotions out. Thank you very much for having me as a guest in the friendly atmosphere of Elly`s house. It is here that I’ve been able to free the butterflies.

Agnieszka Olędzka. 2014