ART: Maria Tiqwah

Quite a while ago I discovered the amazing artist Maria Tiqwah on Facebook. I asked her if she’d  like to be on my blog and though it has been a while since the first time we spoke, she still agreed to it. Lucky me and lucky you, because she makes amazing things. I think she is super talented and her work should be out there more! Maria was born in Boskoop (Netherlands), in October 1982. Already since a very young age she is fascinated by animals. Her first words (yes, before ‘mummy’ and ‘daddy’) were ‘cat’ and ‘fish’. Because her love for animals, she always drew animals. That is also where her inspiration is coming from. She says: ‘Animals move me, amaze me and fascinate me. They make me smile and that smile I want to pass on via my paintings’.

In August 2011, Maria watched a horrible video about the bio industry. She decided she didn’t want to contribute to this cruel industry any longer and she gave the sausage, she just got that morning, to the dog of her employer. At first she thought that veganism was a little extreme, but when she did educate herself and found out what was behind dairy, eggs and honey, she became vegan. She only uses vegan materials to make her paintings. When she became vegan she checked everything and luckily it turned out everything she was using was vegan already. She only uses 1 little brush for everything. She doesn’t like to use 20 different brushes and 100 different colours. She rather shapes her brush in different shapes and mixes colours herself. For her paintings she uses a combination of: soft pastel, water colours (aquarelle) and a white gel pen on paper. She likes soft pastel as she can work faster and it gives nice bright colours. ‘The water colours are perfect for sharp lines and details’ she says and she uses the gel pen for the white bits in a painting. For the aquarelle paper she uses, she always has to make sure she gets the right one as some paper is made with gelatine. She used to use oil based paint and then she would sometimes work on a painting for 100 hours, within 1 year. With he technique she is using now, she can finish a painting in about 20 hours. She makes about 10 painting a year now.

With her paintings she wants to show people the love, beauty and individuality of animals. This way she hopes there will be more respect for animals. This is why she also used a few of her paintings to create organic, ‘Happy Vegan T-shirts‘. Take a look, because I can tell you, it’s totally worth it (+ worldwide shipping)! At the moment she doesn’t have any particular plans for the future, but she will be on VegFestNL in Utrecht (Netherlands). She was there last year for the first time and she loved it. So make sure you check her out when you’re there! She would also love to find a nice vegan friendly gallery for her paintings (Tips are welcome!).

Maria is quite a busy woman, because making beautiful paintings isn’t the only thing she does. She also runs her own green advertisement business. Some clients are: ‘Partij voor de Dieren’ (Party for the Animals – a political party in the Netherlands) and ‘Dier & Recht’ (Animal & Right – a organisation for animals). Last year she also published a little book with her paintings, called ‘En nu wat Vroluks‘ (direct translation: and now something cheerful). It’s a little book with her paintings, combined with poetry (from several writers) about animals. She also volunteers, doing some graphic design work for Dutch organisations: ‘Nederlandse Vereniging voor Veganisme‘ (direct translation: Dutch organisation for Veganism) and for ‘Melk, je kan zonder!‘ (direct translation: Milk, you can do without!). And if this isn’t enough yet, she also volunteers for Plenty Food. This is a plant-based development aid organisation that helps families in Africa. At the moment they have a project running, where you can buy a fruit tree (€12,50) for a family in Kenya.

Nowadays Maria lives, with her husband Raqib, in Istanbul. They fell in love in 2005 and in 2009 they decided to move to the popular Turkish city. For them it’s the perfect place to live, as both cultural and geographical, it’s in the middle of the Netherlands and Kurdistan (where her husband is from). You can buy her work, though she doesn’t like to send her paintings via the mail. The easiest way would be to come to the VegFestNL in the Netherlands (28/29 of October 2017) or to plan a trip to Istanbul! You can always contact her via Facebook or by email: maria@colourfulgreen.nl. At the moment she is only doing free work, but in the future she will maybe do commissions too.

Something Maria would like to pass on to you all:
Follow your heart and enjoy life, to be vegan in a non vegan world isn’t always easy! Also she would like to share something she finds really helpful herself: a presentation about ‘Sustainable Activism’ by Melany Joy.

I want to thank Maria very much for letting me share her story and art with all my readers. 

Do you like Maria’s work? Is it the kind of art you would get for yourself? Please let me (and Maria) know by leaving a comment below or via Instagram by using #PlanetManel. Thank you! X

ART: Elise Klinkert

If you read my travel posts about Holland, I’m sure you know that my mum works at hotel-restaurant Rikus. I always mention RIkus as I always go to my mum when she’s working. Do you also remember that in my first post about ‘Holland Groningen/Drenthe‘ I mentioned the artist Elise Klinkert? She makes beautiful paintings, from animals (mainly horses) and also people. Her work is some sort of dreamy and magical. I especially like the paintings with the horses, but there are also some people-portraits I really like. Always when I go, I hope there are new paintings I like and I’ve never been disappointed.This is why I like to tell you about her and her work. 

Elise Klinkert was born in 1967 in the Netherlands. She now lives in the north of the Netherlands, with her husband and 2 children. As a child she actually never painted. She was good at drawing, but she never decided to do something with it. She has always been creative though and designed and made other things, like jumpers, cardigans, teddies, lamps and even a wedding dress. Now, since 20 years, she is a stylist for fashion and advertisement photography. For the last couple of years she’s also been active as a photographer herself. Only 3 years ago she started painting and she feels that this is her future. When she paints it feels like everything comes together and this is what she wants to do. She is completely autodidact when it comes to painting. In the back of her garden she created a little studio. It’s very quiet there and she can completely focus on her paintings, whilst looking at an old magnolia tree and the birds singing in the background.

As a vegan I was curious why she chose to paint a lot of animals. But she actually doesn’t have a clear explanation for that. She loves animals and if something touches me she wants to translate that into a painting. ‘It’s that simple’ she says. For me this is a very clear answer of why she chooses animals automatically. Animals touch you, they’re so pure, honest and majestic. Nature and emotion are her biggest sources of inspiration. Most of the time it’s just that one moment, that glance or that right atmosphere she tries to translate through her paintings. She finds it very important in her work. She doesn’t make some sort of plan of what she should paint. She paints what she feels. This means that sometimes she started something, but then she doesn’t touch it for months. Then later on she will work on it again. It also means that some paintings will never be finished and end up in the hearth. ‘That’s part of it’ she says.

She mainly works with acrylic paint, but sometimes also with oil paint (like the ‘White Goat’ here on the right.) She definitely prefers acrylic paint, as she has difficulty with the mediums you use with oil paint. She also likes to use acrylic paint better, because oil paint is bad for your health and for the environment. Depending on the painting and her mood, it can happen that she finishes a painting in a matter of days, but it also happens that it takes months and that she does other painting in the meantime. Elise also does commissions, depending on the clients wishes. If you’re interested in her work, I recommend taking a look at her beautiful website. Here you can see all her art work and all the other things she does. At the moment she is looking for a nice gallery what suits her, so all she has to do is paint.

New York
About a year ago she notices an art competition: The Equus Film Festival Art competition! Everybody who makes art, involving horses, was invited to send their work. As she likes to paint horses and she does it quite often, she decided to send some of her work. She made it into the competition and was invited to join. The first round was choses by the public. Everybody could vote via Facebook. After that, out of the winners, a jury of experts picked the winner. Elise Klinkert won!! She never even dared to dream about winning this. It felt all very surreal to her and it was totally unexpected.So last November she flew to New York, with her paintings, to exhibit her work at the Equus Film Festival! ‘You understand, this was an amazing experience!’ she says. The painting you see on the left, used to hang on the wall at Rikus and I saw it many times. She couldn’t bring this specific painting, as right after the news that she was going to New York, it was sold instantly. The painting on the right is one of my personal favourites. In my opinion she totally deserved to win as I’m a big fan of her work. So without any doubt: congratulations Elise!

I want to thank Elise very much for letting me share her story and art with all my readers. 

Do you like Elise Klinkert her work? Is it the kind of art you would get for yourself? Please let me (and Elise) know by leaving a comment below or on Instagram by using #PlanetManel. Thank you! X

ART: Limppu by Laura Witick

laura-4Via Facebook I came across ‘Limppu’, the artist name of Laura Witick. I saw this beautiful image of a pig she painted. (My eyes always seem to spy pigs..) The painting really got to me. It had my full attention from the first second I saw it. I absolutely love it! It gives me goosebumps, makes me feel incredibly happy and it makes me want to burst out in tears at the same time. I think it’s amazing and Laura is a beautiful person, as she is involved in different animal rights organisations, donates part of what she earns with her art to all sorts of different charities and she is vegan. I really wanted to interview her and write about her, so more people will get to know her and can enjoy and support her work.


lauraIn March 1991, Laura Witick was born in Kokkola in Finland. It was right then when her father gave her the nickname ‘Limppu’, what literally means ‘loaf of bread’ in Finnish. Unfortunately he can’t remember how he came up with it anymore, but nowadays she still goes by that name. When her real name got mixed up because more people are called ‘Laura Witick’, she decided to use ‘Limppu’ as het artist name.

Laura always loved drawing and basically started as soon as she was able to hold a pencil. At first she only drew animals, mainly fish. As a teenager she also started to draw people’s faces and she was especially intrigued by drawing eyes. Until the age of 18 she only drew, but then she also started painting when she got her first acrylic paints set, gifted by her mum. Laura is a vegan artist and so she makes sure the materials she is using are vegan too. That means she is using synthetic brushes, acrylic paints from art‘Winsor&Newton’ (note: the colours ‘Ivory Black’ and ‘Payne’s Gray’ are not vegan) and canvases from ‘Daler-Rowney’ for her paintings. For her drawings she uses the pencils from ‘Faber-Castell’ and drawing paper from ‘Canson’. To see what other art supplies she uses, you can click here.

lauraWhen Laura was 6 years old she started Kokkola Art School. It’s an art school for children and young people. You would think it was something she’d love, but the unexpected happened, she quit after a month. She only wanted to draw, paint and mould animals, but because that was not the only thing they did there, she thought it was boring. Though a year later she did attend the entrance exams again and she got in, again. She went to art school for 8 years, but when there was only 1 year left before graduation she quit again. This time because she was moving to Lapland. It didn’t really upset her, as she didn’t have any interest of continuing anyway. Since then she never applied for any art school again. She can be very short about it: ‘I really love art, but I don’t love studying it’. Nevertheless, she did graduate from ‘Upper Secondary School’, ‘Visual Arts’ oriented and she has completed a Fine Arts Diploma in there too (5/5). She has also did several art courses in the ‘Adult Education Centre’ of Joensuu.

laura-2Laura is not just an artist who likes to paint animals, because she also has a Lutheran priest education and she’s a Master of Theology. She believes that God created animals for independent purposes and not so much for the nourishment of humans or for any consumer goods. She has based her views above all on the story of creation, where all beings are depicted as vegetarians. Laura tells me something else what I found very interesting. In her words: ‘Like the famous animal theologian Andrew Linzey deduces, the rule of humans cannot focus on killing or usage of any created being, because humans didn’t have permission to eat animals in paradise despite their rule over creation. The nature of domination is a protective rule. To act as the image of God means the ability of humans to intermediate the love of God’. 

laura-3Laura gets her inspiration from every day life. Most of the time it’s when she is doing something very irrelevant to art, like grocery shopping or reading a book. Any time of the day a great idea can pop into her head and when that happens she feels the urge to paint it. At the moment Laura is creating her first art exhibition, called ‘Mercy!’. It’ll be about the relationship between God and animals in Christianity. She hopes that her art gets more people interested in animal rights. She wants to make the world a better place, for all of us. She’s aware of the fact that it mind sound idealistic and a bit naïve, but I think that people like Laura is what the world needs. Now more than ever.

laura2Laura is self-employed and she also does commissions for a living. If you are interested in her work you can go to her website, her Facebook page or her Instagram page. She will have her first Art Exhibition next year in Joensuu from the 5th of October until the 30th of October, 2017. Joensuu is in Finland, unfortunately for us in the UK, but I’m sure it’ll be worth going. (Finland trip?) Keep an eye on her website and profiles so you won’t miss the exact date!

A personal message from her to all of you guys reading this:
Be nice to all! Peace and love, Limppu.

I’m a fan! How can I not be if somebody is so talented and then uses her talent to make the world a better place? What do you think of Laura and her beautiful work? Please let me, and especially Laura, know by leaving a comment below or on Instagram by using #PlanetManel. Thank you! X