Our Trip from Haarlem to Nederwaard


It all went very well untillllllllll.

We discovered she was making a lot more water than we expected. The bilge pump working we decided to move on to get as close as possible.


We had some bridges on route but being so low, we could take most of them without waiting for the bridge to open.
Some hairy moments when the bridge waiter said something else than the lights, which we will never do again we look at the light.


We moved onto the Noord, not just a big river also big boats with big wash.
The boat was like a bouncing ball and leaking, safe habour reached, not our home mooring.
The repair started the old fashion way, pushing jute into the caps to seal the planks of the  hull. An automatic bilge pump was installed with more safety equipment, a lifejacket is no luxury on the rivers.


A week later we set of again towards our mooring. The sad thing is that they closed a lock in Alblasserdam which means you need to cruise all around. A cruise with non closed lock would have taken 1 hour now it took 6 hours.


A small shortcut just past Hendrick ido Ambacht take you away from the big boats and their waves. Natuur is coming back alive here which was once an industrial area which is now in decline.


We came past my home town Dordrecht right by the 3 rivers point we crossed to the other site, to go east onto the Beneden Merwede.


Past the entrance of the BiesBosch which we will do one day, only this time we went on to go into the Peulen Sluis which would bring us on the small river De Giessen.


The lock goes right under the high way A15 but is no biggy for us after the canals in the UK, where we had to do all the work ourselves. The lock-keeper has a camera and see you coming, you need to keep an eye on the time.
After the Peulen sluis we phoned the next lock keeper and they stayed open a bit longer for us.


The still waters made it pleasant cruising in the Albasserwaard.


The perfect Mayday with flowering Hawthorn or better called Maythorn.


On route we made some note of brilliant moorings, like this one near a fantastic windmill, how could you miss it.


The aim of the boat is to find stillness to create special photos and to reload our own energy batteries.
Holland is a very busy place with fantastic waterways and the inner waterways were we are living give pure tranquility.

We are moored here by the white mill where the big job has started of restoration of  the Juni. In between the work we disappear gently to some away mooring to wander around.
Perhaps the woodwork on the boat will bring in more money than the wooden sculptures. One thing is for sure one day she will be a shining beauty, now it looks like a patch work of wood-rot.




Inside Juni


Tomorrow we will pick up JUNI and start our first and also long journey from Haarlem to Alblasserdam 95 KM with only 5 locks.
Our stuf is on board waiting for us. In that tiny cabin is our bed and an other great ting is we will be cruising under cover and no longer out in all weather like on the narrowboat.


The old wanderlust

Juni will be cruising along the old windmills in Kinderdijk.

To make it all more fun in Juni a mindful photography course will be done with her.
You will be cruising with mAgdA on Juni to some special spots to create them silent reminders of natural beauty.

snipa Juni






Number 3

Our wandering has taken a different perspectief. The years on the Narrowboat Wanderlust 1 made us realise the beauty of slow motion. A narrowboat can only cruise at the speed of maximal 4 miles an hour.
So Wanderlust 2 went to a new owner, it was too fast for us (80 kilometres an hour).
Yep, Wanderlust 3 is in the planning.

Marina Overwaard Kinderdijk

The future Marina


We live now in a water rich area in the middle of the big rivers of Holland.
Boats need to be here.
Big, small, they all have their own function in this area.


working in a flood forest

simple working


We already picked our first mooring spot on route, a ‘flood forest’. Once upon a time you could find lots of ‘flood forest’ all over this area. Slowly but certainly they are bringing them back and appreciating them forests.
It is wet and swampy and at times the forest has wet feet, the trees don’t care, even drive in it.
People make still a simple living in these forest by maintaining the forest with cutting, pruning, coppicing the trees.
The aim these days is to increase wildlife habitats.


Bird Collage

Bird oasis


The birds in the area sure appreciate the efforts made. The above photos are made on a spring Sunday. Many of the birds were just coming back and the sky was filled with them. The camera in hand is perfect for macro photos but not so good for bird photos, still manage to get some of them clear enough.
They all are water birds just like DabeArtists. While seeing these birds, the decision was made to have a little sailing boat to cruise amidst the birdies.
We have seen some which we really like, so one day we will have a float again. The windows will be filled with some of our art as always. Perhaps next year we attend some water festivals with our art.
We are hoping for one of the old Dutch sailing boats like a Schouw well we keep our fingers crossed.


Klein Hoefblad bloem, Coltsfoot flower

Spring is here

have a wonderful spring




To paint the campervan we needed a good place where the van good stand outside as well as inside.


New Design Old idea

We went to the farm where Berth has a storage ‘shed’ which was once his workshop. When he picked up a piece of wood you saw the sculpture evolving in his head in the place where so many of his work evolved for so many years.



We had a design for the van to make it a followup of Wanderlust I the narrowboat by using the same colour scheme. In the end we went against it and use green for the background of the painting and the poem. Wanderlust II is not a boat she does not float, she does not roam at a gentle speed, she moves us long distance. Somewhere you have 150 different greens, the green of spring is different than the green of summer. The summer green came with an edge of winter green, the hardware shop does not have the colours of an art supply shop.



We made our own green with the colours of Wanderlust I and a long mixing stick from the workshop. The prime colour is there waiting for the final touch of gold and red, in the end she follows the colour footsteps of all the other wandering vehicles we had.


you know the meaning

One site will have a poem the other will bear words and dates which make you question what you see, as when art becomes a documentation we will loose our aim. The van is not just a van it will be a story, a poem, a vision and a way to be.



The crew of Wanderlust is on route again, only this time we choose to go on the road in an old campervan. After long consideration we had to move into an other direction. The winter in Portugal gave us time to think not only about the Art Retreats but also about DABE-ART. We came to the conclusion, us artists love the aspect of bringing art to the people, as we did on our narrowboat. The idea of a static shop somewhere in Wales went into a large pit with a tree planted right there.


Great Crested Grebe with young.

We love the wandering, discovering of old and new places, getting inspiration while on the go, meeting people.  The narrowboat had her limits, the places she could bring us had to be near water or otherwise well, boat on dry land goes nowhere.


a boat as roof

So an other vehicle was needed, our old idea of a wandering gallery in a campervan came back out the cupboard. More research was done into the possibilities and here we are in Wanderlust II on the road again.
Just 3 weeks ago we got this old lady, she needed some work on the engine and now she brings us where ever we wish. The next step will be to give her a special paint job so she stand out in the traffic jam.
Some of the lines will be made with letters forming a poem in 3 languages as we going through cultures and languages.


up in the sky 4 Spoonbills

Our first trip went to some old land for one of us, the place she was born and grew up. The trip took us to Strijensas, last visited 41 years ago. Places do not always alter in the wrong direction, this place certainly not. In 2006 they created from some old agricultural land a nature reserve, rewilding bringing back the wild and beautiful. Now 11 years later it sure looks just like a small wilderness with lots of water birds coming and going. The cows are still there but more in the shape of the wilder variety who wander along the area like kings and queens. While just around the corner on the other site of Het Hollands Diep you find a big industrial area with chemical industrie and power station.


industry and nature can go hand in hand

Boats move backwards and forwards with all kind of cargo right along the edge of the reserve. Wildlife do not mind, just give wildlife a change and it will wander along the track it creates herself. The area is not big but that doesn’t matter. On the edge is a marina with a camper place, for 7 euros you can park your camper right in the marina next to a channel. A very quiet spot with lots of walking and cycling tracks and not to forget boating.


eating Willow for a pain in the neck

The Netherlands finally join other countries into providing special places for campervans to stay, so you don’t need to go to the more expensive campsites. Right now while writing this we stand on a camper place by a farmer. We are surrounded by ‘Polderland’ land which once has been reclaimed from water. The ‘Polder Alblasserwaard’ has 22 camper places by farmers they are well worth visiting with fresh eggs for breakfast right next to you.


camper place on the farm

The area is known by the Dutch as the place by the big rivers, it is surrounded by ‘De Lek’, de ‘Waal’, de ‘Noord’, de ‘Beneden Merwede’, de ‘Boven Merwede’ and de ‘Oude Maas’, de ‘Dortsche Kil’, de ‘Nieuwe Maas’ and finally Het Hollands Diep which is more than a river.

In-between these rivers you find hundreds of small and bigger canals to channel the water away every day by low tide. The use of Windmills for this job goes back for centuries and the fight against water goes even further back. Here on de ‘Polder Alblasserwaard’ you find 19 windmills in a row but be aware it is very touristy so full of busses, the best time to visit is during the winter months.


pumping water

We are not here for just playing tourist info but for business. We have been excepted for several Art markets and festivals. They select the people who can join Art markets in Germany as well as The Netherlands, which is not a bad thing. Our first market will be in Dordrecht on 6 August from there we go to Venlo to set the navigator to Amsterdam, followed by De Bilt back to Dordrecht after which we go into Germany to Hamm and Dortmund. In December we go slowly but certainly south to France and ending in Portugal where we have an exhibition the whole of February. Follow us on Facebook or Twitter to stay informed.

Here on the blog we tell you about our ventures in-between the markets and festivals.

Now we start the painting and writing of the campervan.


such a lovely Willows 




While writing this the river flows by, outside my window. Where we are the river flows substantially due to being influenced by the tide, we are around 20 kilometres upstream from the Atlantic Ocean. The tide difference can be up to 3.5 metres, right now the tide comes in while the wind comes from the South giving the river a rushing flow going up not down.


our Yurt by the river site


The Rio Guadiana ends her flow between Vila Real de St Antonio in Portugal and Ayamonte in Spain, creating an impressive estuary which is on the Portugese site a nature reserve. At the end of the river (or for some people the beginning) you not only find several different water-birds including the Flamingo but also salt pans for the winning of the famous sea salt. At times human activities can go easy hand in hand with nature even depends on each other, the salt pans provide for the birds as the ocean provide for the salt pans. The Guadiana has a rich history with many battles therefor you see lots of castles along her shores. Now the castles are nothing more than tourist attraction as the European Union provides no need for canon fire anymore.


traditional boats

The journey of the river starts, as all rivers, high up in the mountains of   Castilla-La Mancha   in Spain from which she flows interacting with other rivers winding and binding through Spain entering Portugal just the south of Elvas.  In modern days she feeds many reservoirs, providing water for agriculture and swimming pooles alike. The last part of the river forms the old border between Portugal and Spain, where we are.


The wild part Rio Guadiana 

Much of the river stays wild winding through rocky cuts leaving her imprint in the landscape. When looking from above you see the many arms/branches of her site rivers/streams like a watertree in the rocks. How fluid breaks down solid rock year after year carving with patience a ’tree’ sculpture in the surface of the earth. Not only water flows down with the river, also soil, sand, pebbles, branches and all kind of debris which at times we better not recognise. We see small islands coming pass build up by reed with branches holding onto each other to become the resting ‘boat’ for birds hitchhiking on the tide. Yet, all this flowing and moving doesn’t stop the river to be totally silent, being like a reflecting mirror for the land.


pure silence


You can navigate the river up to Pormaroa, where you find a small jetty for pleasure boats, just down from the remains of the old big jetty from which the train would fill the boats with copper from the mines. Many international boaters, on a variety of yachts, take rest of their sea adventures on the river. They come from different countries been on many seas having plenty of stories to tell and songs to sing. Many of them settled, like us two canal dwellers, on the shores along the river where you see many simple ‘temporary’ buildings and their boats rest close by for trips to the Azoren, Madeira or further an ocean.



The land wanderers also find a great resting place along the river, where they park there campers or vans of all kind of descriptions, contemplating on their next part to wander of to. So really, we didn’t wander of much from Wanderlust, just a different direction and certainly a different flow. No more locks to fill and empty, the bridges do not swing that much here. The water still let our wondering flow, giving us other directions for inspirational mentions by observations. We seem to be a bit on a flow here but it sure feels good.


camper reflections

This morning, before posting this blog, we saw Flamingos on the salt marshes, life is good here, sorry no camera with me.



We at dAbe Art always combined our commercial art with the not commercial art.
We create art for a market, for what people want to buy, as we can’t live from fresh air alone.
Together with other artists we feel strongly that commercialism blocks creative freedom and you might get trapped in making the same thing over and over  again.

ik zie, ik zie wat jij niet zie

ik zie, ik zie wat jij niet zie

We would not have the groundbreaking work from Vincent van Gogh, if he would have painted what the market at that time demanded. Artists even loose their artistic freedom when working as community artists or creating funded work. The funding bodies are now a market themselves as they have to justify the money they spend, with other words thick the boxes. Artists also loose on health and safety, the insurance. At times the monetary value of the insurance is higher than that of the art work.

ground breaking

ground breaking

Dabe-Art used their own money for all projects which reflect their artistic expression and the spend time was never wasted though not paid.
We sell to eat, we live to create. We like to explore and love to push boundaries.



Right now we are starting once again a meaningless, boundless, aimless project in which we take the freedom to reflect and prospect. A project divided in two, the upper part where we sell and be commercial, the lower part where we act out our freedom to be artists. Or perhaps split into a front part and a back part or a left and a right or an in and out, cleave the subjects. We will be asking other artists to join us on this journey. Before you ask, yes we, again, will be planting trees on our route. Oh and before we forget: the art retreats are a part of our commercial exportation, but when you are interested we will add on the abstract expectation.

do you see the meaning?

do you see the meaning?

Dabe-Art started the experimenting, the researching, the possibilities. We opened up some old ideas, which lay buried under sheets of dust. We look and search once again we might enhance the new into our old perspectivity  (new word) perhaps a new world.
We will use this new space not only to sell put also to explore and to feel your anticipation.

pick this up

pick this up


dAbE Art


The Wanderlust is back on the canals enjoying the tranquil feeling of being afloat. Behind us lays the Willow Spiral.



The Willow Spiral was a part of Spiral Journey 2015, we planted it together with the boating community of Mercia Marina. It is the only Spiral of the Journey which will be permanent. When we came back this year the planted Willow had a hard time yet as how Willow do it survived and with a bit of help started to grow once again. We filled the caps, pruned the dead bits, cut the grass.



The slate on which the poems were written had broken, so we even picked up the pieces of the poems. On the bare slate new poems appeared, clearly poetry is a part of the Spiral.
With poetry in mind we had an other community event writing haiku or wishes. It was a lovely sunny day with many walkers joining in with us.



We created a small seat in the centre of the Spiral with a small Haiku box filled with little canvas flags ready for a small poem, wish, dream, remembrance or any other messages to be taken by the wind.
The seat is sheltered by a stick Tipi, to create that special place for reflection.



The Willow will now look after themselves as some sure prove by ‘eating’ up the string which hold them. Nature will move in and take care while human write to remember the strength of nature.



The Wanderlust moves on.









beach dreaming

beach dreaming

The idea of making small scale landscapes based on big scale landscapes, has been brewing for several years now. The making of big gardens lay behind us but gardening is still a part of land art. Only a narrowboat does not have much space and a roof garden was a big question. How will a garden effect the roof? Think about the rust it could create. A small roof garden was the compromise with a bit of experimenting in mind. The garden came on some wood so water could flow away or on some rubber matt to let in air, plus protecting the paint.

roof top garden last year

roof top garden last year

After two years the paint was fine, no more rust under the roof garden than on the rest of the roof. So the old idea of ‘Zen-Scapes’ came back on the agenda of the Wanderlust as a part of making our products more diverse. Landscape inspire many artists in just as many ways; photography, painting, poetry, land art, sculptures and gardening. The Japanese gardens reflect on landscapes and in certain ways garden-design in Europe also show small scale landscapes. While standing on the cliff tops in Pembrokeshire by Trefin looking down on the small beach surrounded by a rocky landscape something started to develop.

Trefin Beach, Pembrokeshire

Trefin Beach, Pembrokeshire

How can you “terrascape” a landscape like that in a pot, micro landscaping. You see the big rocks yet there are so many small pebbles, pieces of driftwood and even drift glass. While writing a land art poem on the beach the collecting of material started, small material to create small landscapes.

circle made with found material of the beach some only 2 MM big

circle made with found material of the beach some only 2 MM big

The beach by Trefin relaxes the mind and body just like so many other landscapes, just like zen gardens. The simplicity of emptiness shows in every Japanese garden, they use just a few plants with not too many flowers. The opposite of an English cottage garden which is filled with flowers of every season except during the cold winter months. The Japanese always use rocks and gravel or sand, they create a relaxing atmosphere while behind the wall the hassle and bustle of life goes on. The Japanese garden becomes a place to relax, a place to escape.

rocky water

rocky water

How to get that relax atmosphere of water over rocks in a pot, how to get the colours and reflection into a pot?

water reflection

water reflection

In this example only one rock is used washed on the sand and the glass pot represents the water.
The air-plant can’t be placed outside, it is more something for on the coffee table. Air-plants do not need any soil and can be used in a creative way but will not survive outside. We only have very limited space inside the boat and most windows are filled with sculptures some discussions later, better look at outdoor solutions.

Zen scape

Zen scape

Succulent plants survive with very little soil and even grow right on rocks. The problem with these plants is: too much water will kill them and some can only handle a little frost. We are now working on a system to protect the plants which will also protect the roof. The roof will be filled with ‘Zen-Scapes’ each reflecting a landscape somewhere in the world using special little objects found in that landscape. At times they will be simple and others will be big.

simple Zen Scape

simple Zen Scape

The wing will fly away as the ‘Zen-Scapes’ need the light and not the red light of the wing, which function was to give some shelter from the elements yet still look like a boat. The wing also made people aware of us, we are more than a moored narrowboat. We are back to the drawing board how to fit all the different elements on the boat.

stilte   silence

stilte silence

The Mercia Marina will create a bee garden and the boaters will place some bee attracting plants on their boats. There are many succulent plants who flower and many who attract  bees and butterflies. We will arrive at the Marina around 25 March and will start trading not long afterwards. The roof top garden with the many ‘Zen-Scapes’ will be developed right there, right than.


roof top garden in 2014

roof top garden in 2014





Photography has everything to do with light, exposure, shutter-speed, aperture, film sensitivity to light (ISO).  Photography gives you the possibility to play with light, even alter the light. When we print the photos we take away that light as the printed material has no concept of light and blocks it out rather than let it in.

water reflection

water reflection

Living on the water shows me everyday reflection of light. Light comes in waves, yet water need to be without waves to reflect. The reflection can be a mountain on the horizon or the drops of water under a floating feather.

floating feather

floating feather

For the floating art project I went deeper into the aspect of floating reflections, the little picture within the big picture. At times the falling light creates shadows and at an other angle it creates a reflection. Two objects were chosen; the feathers of the geese and the fallen leaves from the Oak. On my knees, often even on my belly, I hanged over the canal with my camera almost touching the water surface. It became an act of balancing to capture the silence reflection of a floating feather or leaf.
After some weeks I started to recognise the perfect light for the photo I wanted.

Glass Landscape

Glass Landscape

Than came the printing, working with water, I asked the question what resembles water the answer for many would be Glass. The idea for printing on Glass was born. The see-through feature of Glass created an other dimension onto the printing. How to print a photo where you can see through yet still see the photo, next to this how to print on glass.

towpath feather

towpath feather

Research started while i was still figuring out the final result. I could imagine the see through feature of Glass, so the floating subject of the photo would float through any landscape, the landscape which was behind it. Creating art for the window an other extension of Glass and light.
There are several printers who print on glass as a part of indoor design, specially kitchen. When i was talking to them they didn’t really understand what i meant or what i wanted to achieve. After a visit to Format Festival in Quad Gallery, Derby i found a more artistic orientated printer.

factory feather

factory feather

Now i had to make the photos more transparent so you can see through them. Photoshop is a new territory for me but i had to learn it quick and smart. The good thing of being on a boat with two artists you can dig into other peoples experience. The notes for this quick course will not go away as i will need them again.

rain shadows

rain shadows

Some more detailed telephone calls were made with the printer. In the past i made prints on stones and driftwood as a part of an other art project. The printer told me whatever is white in the photo will become the colour of the material it was printed on, this would become a problem with the feather. Well the technic moved on and this problem was solved. The colour white is in the process the fifth colour, the ink droplets are in two layers thermo-hardening resin. Not a cheap process but a long lasting one after 10 years the colours would fade less than 20% in an outdoors setting. You could hang them outside in the garden, my mind went wandering but had to stay focussed on the float project.
The glass was ordered using toughed Glass with rounded corners for safety reasons as they would be displayed in public places.

exhibition QPAC

Exhibition in Queens Park Art Centre in Aylesbury


On a narrowboat the windows are not straight and the boats moves a lot, therefor 4 holes were drilled in the Glass to safely hang it in a narrowboat window. The final result became better than expected the reflection of light played around with the Glass. Rain drops shadows added to the art or even the reflection of the landscape in the photo.



landscape reflection in a photo

landscape reflection in a photo

Follow the Glass Photos on  Artists on the Canals tour, hope to see you somewhere on our tour and if you give this magic word you will get 20% reduction on the Glass Photos, opaque

see you