Poetry? Email List & RedBubble Shop

I have started an author’s email list. Would you like to get updates on future publication and art projects? Then you should sign up! My email list will also be the first to have access to any discounts and coupons on future projects.

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I have also just finished setting up my new Red Bubble Shop! I am excited to make my art work available to you and the world. Please check it out and tell me what you think. See something you like? Share it with your friends. Even if you don’t care to make a purchase, sharing my shop with other will help me fund my upcoming publication projects. You can find my Red Bubble shop at MaryGWriting.redbubble.com.

I wish you a blessed New Year’s Day, and Year!

When Creativity Holds Darkness

Anyone in the habit of communicating their creativity has had moments where their work is tinged with shadow. Some artist thrive in that dark place. Are you one of them? I walk the line on how dark the words I write are, and don’t believe in denying the sad, angry, or even ugly emotions and experiences we all carry. I choose to hold them, look at them, learn from them, then try to let them go.


But what to do when that darkness overshadows all other emotions when you create?


First, decide if it’s something you want to happen. Is the ugliness necessary to YOU? Is it something the world needs to see?


These are extremely personal questions. I will tell no one the way you express your creativity is wrong, or invalid, unless you are hurting other people. I will probably choose to not view your work if it’s overly dark for my own mental health. But that doesn’t invalidate it. Your art can still teach the world if you choose to share, and people decide it’s something they like. Make sure you tread that line carefully.


What if you answer no? No, you don’t want this darkness. Then you should ask is where is it coming from.
During the year I lived in The Netherlands, my boyfriend, now husband, took me to the Rijksmuseum in Amsterdam. It was a great visit, but it also haunts me.

The Corpses of the De Witt Brothers is a c.1672-75 oil on canvas painting by the Dutch Golden Age painter Jan de Baen. 69.5 cm × 56 cm (27.4 in × 22 in)
Jan de Baen’s painting is the piece I will never forget. I almost walked right by it, the last small painting on the wall. It still stopped me dead in my tracks. I didn’t linger long, because it disturbed me. But I had to look closer to understand what it was. Then came the questions.


“What is that painting about?”
“What is the story behind it?”
“How could people do that to each other?”


The history behind the painting is pretty complicated, I will let you decide whether you want to look it up. The short answer is the two brothers depicted in the painting, were killed for political reasons.


As I remember viewing the painting for the first time, I ask myself, what was the artist thinking? Though the painting is attributed to Jan de Baen, it might be the work of an unknown artist. The exact reasons for its creation are not known for sure. Regardless, it’s a gruesome reminder of historical events. Which brings us back to what must the artist have been thinking?


Perhaps he had been asked to record what happened for the sake of history. Perhaps it was done for more political reasons. Was it a seen he has viewed himself? If so, was he releasing trauma? Witnessing violence like that would leave any human mind scared. We can’t know the answers to these questions, because we can’t ask the artist.


No matter what the motives and emotions behind the piece where, it’s important. Do I hate it? Yes. But I would argue it’s necessary. A necessary ugliness, a necessary reminder of human crimes. There are many works of art like this all around the world. Their darkness will not let us forget the mistakes of the past.
So what do you do when your own work haunts you? Do you have a story that needs to be told? Is its ugliness necessary? I would urge bravery and prayer.


It may be a darkness that you need to express and then release. Or it may be a darkness the word needs to acknowledge. But be kind to yourself. Be careful with your spirit, and if you need help with your journey of creativity mixed with shadow, reach out to a fellow creative who can support you. Or a mental health expert who can guide you.


Some people will disagree with me. They will recite things like Philippians 4:8 NIV. Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things. In reply, I would say, these works of art hold truth. Though the truth is ugly, it’s not something we should turn away from.


As a Christian, I often wear a cross. The tinny silver emblem of my faith is a work of art that holds darkness. It is a reminder of injustice, torture, and death. But is also my hope, the hope of this world. Should I turn away from the darkness of Christ’s death on the cross? Never.


Some artwork is created only for the enjoyment of morbidity. Again, I will say as long as you are not breaking any laws, or hurting other human beings, I don’t believe in forbidding you that kind of creativity. If this is you, I would like to ask you a question. Do you know your why? Is there something deep inside you might be neglected, that is the reason you enjoy dark art? Is it something you need to deal with?


For those of us who do not purposely seek dark works of art, may we be brave to telling the stories that beg to be told. May we be strong and not be trapped in darkness, but be able to let it go.

©Mary Grace van der Kroef 2020

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Remembering Grandpa

Original painting by Mary Grace van der Kroef

Remembering the smell of you
Sawdust, rich and fine

Remembering the touch of you
Prickly whisker hugs at night

Remembering the sight of you
Hands dipped in earth

Remembering the sound of you
Low, gentle, holding mirth

The card games played,
the things you made,
the books you read to us.

Did you know you
left these things?
Treasures, truth, trust

Remembering the things you taught
Gods generosity

Remembering is all I’ve got
Remembering you, loving me

©Mary Grace van der Kroef 2020

King of Blue

Original painting by Mary Grace van der Kroef, on 8″ by 8″ canvas board.

In the early morning gray,
I see you.
In the trees that shed their leaves,
I see you.
King of birds of blue.

You’re a brightness in the morn,
clouds are filling up with scorn.
As bits of white fall,
you’re the brightest blink of all.

Heaviness is falling down.
Let it fall.
Building on the pointed posts.
Let it fall.
You’re still a king through it all.

Blue because of shifting light,
magnificent through winter white.
Unafraid to face the chill,
that amplifies your royal thrill.

Don’t fly away my Kind of blue.
I’ll look for you.
For the frozen months, remain.
I’ll look for you.
Jay of Blue, my morning view.

©Mary Grace van der Kroef 2020

Floating Silhouette

Original painting by Mary Grace van der Kroef.

Silhouette upon the waves,
floating over unknown graves.

Ever on towards the light,
yet ever shrouded in the night.

Hear the sound as ripples pass
as the wind propels its mass.

There the ship of constant dreams
journeys on through all extremes.

No port to find, no home to hail.
Forever doomed to onward sail.

Glimpse the Captain where he stands,
points ahead with outstretched hands.

Dreams aglow within his face,
of loneliness there is no trace.

A hero or a madman? Both.
Holding on to dreamers oath.

Passing towns and shipping lanes.
Care for them? None remains.

Busy chasing swirling thoughts,
lost in future plans and plots.

If only he would look this way,
see my wave, remember day.

But ever focused on he goes.
When will he end? No one knows.

© Mary Grace van der Kroef 2020

One Harvest Moon

Original drawing by Mary Grace van der Kroef.

It’s 5:30 am.

Mr. Moon is peering through my window.

Wearing his harvest glow like a luminous gem.

Pulling the clouds around himself like a soft collar.

Starting to dip beyond the trees top most branches.

Casting limbs and lingering leaves in to dark silhouette.

It’s 6 am.

The tinny child at my side sleeps.

October’s chill shielded by our shared blanket.

Mr. Moon, don’t wake her again.

It’s 6:30 am.

The sky is deepest navy blue.

Mr. Moon, your framing glow is dipping low.

It’s almost time to say goodnight.

My day starts with a sleepy blur.

I can almost hear a murmured purr.

“Goodnight little Mother.”

How can I be upset?

Dressed in his best, yet lonely.

It’s 6:45 am.

Navy turns to dusky blue.

I have almost lost his golden view.

His exit bringing frosty fog that creeps and crawls.

It’s 7 am.

Sky now misty purple.

How I wish he’d come again.

©Mary Grace van der Kroef 2020

Hummingbird of Green, Ruby-Throated Hummingbird

Original painting by Mary Grace van der Kroef.

Do you hear the hum?
Do you see them come?
Darting here and there
Flitting everywhere

Figure eight in flight
Flashing feathers, bright
Tantalizing hover
Then darting off for cover

Tinny glory beam
A mesmerizing seen
Living dancing jewel
Fed by natures fuel

Hummingbird of green
Ruby Throated sheen
The glimmer of your hue
Beauty that is true

©Mary Grace van der Kroef 2020

Raptor King, The Bald Eagle

Simple practice drawing. By Mary Grace van der Kroef.

Feathered glory
talons tight
wingspan stretched
ready for flight

A power house
the Raptor King
awe inspired
words you bring

Confidence
through every pore
predator
to your core

Using winds
heights to soar
gliding close
to sea and shore

Eagle Master
of the sky
no need to ask
the rhyme of why

©Mary Grace van der Kroef 2020

This week marks a new chapter in the life of my family. We have started homeschooling. We have chosen a unit study on North American Birds. Mothers can learn too! So I have stretched my artistic wings while teaching for the first time.

I rarely start my writing with a set theme. But here is to trying new things and learning alongside my children. Baby steps, my friends. Simple beginnings, better endings.

Isaiah 40:31 – But those who hope in the Lord will renew their strength. They will soar on wings like eagles; they will run and not grow weary, they will walk and not be faint.