Author Archives: Geertje Geertsma


As I searched for words to express an undermining apocalyptic feeling that regularly creeps up on me, I was interrupted, what timing, by Jehovah’s at the door asking me, “How can you be sure that all the misery in the world is not God’s punishment?”

And yet, very close by, in the woods, in the park, and even in my small town garden, mushrooms grow. They are as real and tangible as it gets. Thus I focus on that which exists within my field of vision, a biodiversity in all its glory and with the most fantastic manifestations that exist. I perceive the wonder and there is love.

Top Floor, Room 40.

Being so in love that it feels like everything is taken as one organism through the senses. Eating together as one, listening to music, dancing, beholding the world and being touched. So does it matter where we are?


Once I was in Paris with my fresh lover to celebrate life. In Musée d’Orsay he sat down … waiting for me. Art turned out not to fascinate him much after all and so ‘our’ eyes became his eyes again and my eyes became mine again. I saw just about everything there was to see in the Musée d’Orsay, while he sat impassively, patiently and somewhat stoically, waiting.

At the very top, in room 40, I met Odilon Redon and my love shifted. Through Redon’s eyes I saw the beauty of the sea, we shared our fascinations and we understood without needing words that Venus must have been born from a shell and we laughed together about this … we forgot the time.

I would still want to mention that the love for Redon proved more enduring than the other one. GG


Clockwise or anti-clockwise?

There is a shell named Conus Marmoreus that became famous because Rembrandt etched a still life of it. Since then, the shell has been known as the Rembrandt shell. The Rembrandt shell was once displayed in Rembrandt’s Kunstcaemer among other exotic collectibles.

Suppose you want to reproduce this shell just like Rembrandt, or in other words mimic Rembrandt’s idea. Then you buy a Rembrandt shell because you want to know what the shell looks like in real life. You want to understand the shell.

At least, I do.

Then you’ll notice that something doest’t fit. You see, the Rembrandt shell does not exist in real life. Possibly Rembrandt didn’t know that but in the whole world there is no clockwise Conus Marmoreus to be found!

So, then what?

You can paint an anti-clockwise Rembrandt shell, just as Henk Helmantel did. Maybe because you can’t resist correcting Rembrandt or because it is not in your nature to make a non-existent shell. Everyone has his or her tendencies.

Or you render the shell counterclockwise just like Rembrandt.

Then it doesn’t even matter what material or technique you use, it is the Rembrandt shell anyway.

Choices …