The Story Behind the Ease Unforeseen Collection

My “Ease, Unforeseen” collection of 5 abstract acrylic paintings is an exploration of my relationship with ease.

Ease, Unforeseen 1. Acrylic on stretched canvas. 40 x 40cm. €235.

An uneasy relationship with Ease

I’m brave, persistent, and willing to work hard for what matters to me. This has served me well in life and gotten me through several difficult situations, but truth be told, these are strengths I overuse, and while they’ve helped me in many ways, they’ve ruined my relationship with Ease!

I’m not sure when Ease and I first began to drift apart, but we’ve become well and truly estranged from each other for at least a dozen years now. I suppose it’s unsurprising, since this is when loss, chronic illness, and disabilities entered my life. I could also blame the responsibilities and pressures of parenting and adulting in general, along with our modern Western culture of toxic Capitalism. Whatever the causes, I have a pretty poor relationship with Ease. I never anticipate Ease, nor am I any good at spotting opportunities for Ease, and when I do come across opportunities for Ease, I tend to find ways to turn them into worry or work instead!

The grace – and bewilderment – of Unforeseen Ease

Lately, life circumstances seem to be offering me an opportunity to learn to trust, accept, and enjoy moments of Ease. Our family recently uprooted and moved from South Africa to the Netherlands. Deciding to leave and letting go of South Africa was so very hard, and we braced ourselves with the expectation that settling in this side would be very tough too, for at least a few years. Some of the settling in this side has been tricky, and lots of it has been time-/ energy-/ money-consuming, but it’s also surprised us by being full of Unforeseen Ease, abundant support, and wonderful feelings like safety, liberation, joy, awe, and even a sense of belonging already.

My analytical mind – no doubt influenced by past traumas – has been bewildered and somewhat suspicious of all of this Ease. It’s been warning me that this won’t last. Telling me that I should feel guilty about it because so many people are having a hard and horrible time. It wants to know how and why it’s so Ease-y. Maybe if I understand it better I can trust that the Easy-ness is robust and just as real as the tricky stuff, and allow myself to relax into it. Like checking that the chair isn’t rickety before sitting down to rest. Or – more cynically – at least I’ll be ahead of the game when it all comes tumbling down!

Re-membering and re-creating new ways of being

As I often do when I’m processing something and pursuing new ways of being, I turned to art and to re-membering what I’ve learned over the years through people who are special to me, I’ve been thinking about what my dear friend, Laurie Foley who sadly died in 2016, would say about it. We had many many long conversations as we both grappled with how to live with the traumas, fears, and uncertainties of our diagnoses. Laurie was so good at using her supreme analytical skills and incisive intuition to get to the root of an experience, and equally good at knowing when to leapfrog analytical thinking and embrace life’s beautiful mysteries.

I know exactly what she’d say about all this Unforeseen Ease, because she’s said it to me before.

I created these 5 abstract acrylic paintings intuitively, without any planning at all. My only guidance was that, as I worked, I thought of Laurie saying to me, “Stuff your pockets!”

Flowing with ease

All 5 paintings ended up as watery landscapes. Water has such a sense of abundance and ease, doesn’t it? Even when encountering obstacles, water keeps flowing easily around, under, over, and gently wears away at the obstacles. These water-scapes all feel like peace, rest, and contentment to me. And I especially love that the process of creating these artworks felt so full of Ease. I didn’t plan, overthink, doubt. I just rested and played.

May we all be wise to the ways that trauma, illness, disabilities, grief, toxic Capitalism, and the social injustices of the world estrange us from Ease. If you’re also feeling estranged from Ease and rest and play seem like impossibilities in your life right now, I’m so sorry. Hang in there. Trust that Ease is just as real as all the hard stuff, it can arrive in the most unexpected times, and the hard stuff doesn’t have to be over or fixed for you to find and enjoy moments of Ease. May we all have more opportunities for Ease (foreseen and unforeseen) and be observant enough to notice those opportunities, big and small, when they’re there. And when there’s Unforeseen Ease in our lives and it feels unfamiliar and weird and we don’t even know what to do with it, may we all be lucky enough to have a smart friend who’ll encourage us to trust it, rest in it, and “stuff our pockets.”

Ease, Unforeseen 2. Acrylic on canvas board. 25 x 25cm, €140.

Ease, Unforeseen 3. Acrylic on stretched canvas. 25 x 25cm. €140.

Ease, Unforeseen 4. Acrylic on canvas board. 25 x 25cm. €140.

Ease, Unforeseen 5. Acrylic on stretched canvas. 21 x 25cm. €120.

Original artworks, now available for purchase

These 5 original abstract paintings are available for purchase within the Netherlands or internationally. Email me at and I’ll be happy to provide you with a shipping estimate.