Residents – Current & Past

Marieke de Goeij, Artist in residence May 2017

Marieke is going to make a book about a very personal experience which (unfortunately) also happens to be a very common experience nowadays.

Dear Me,

A few years ago we got into a little rut together.
I though we were doing great. We were living on the beach in Australia – created a freelance life as an illustrator – helping local changemakers - and enjoying life to the max. This was it! The life! Happy. Right?
Well… you harshly reminded me that you did not agree somehow. Suddenly you gave me sleepless nights. And then some more. And then panic attacks came. Fear. What was this?!? And more fear. Why was this happening?! And anxiety. And depression. And you removed all hope.

Until there was nothing.
This was the end.

Two years later and we are packing our bags once again. It has been a very bumpy ride and there were many times I wanted to give up – but you did not let me. We made it. We are back. And ready for the next step: 6 weeks of quality time together.
It will be just the two of us in the middle of nature. No phones or TV or social media or advertising or… any other distraction to drive us apart. Just the birds and the bees and the flowers and the trees. And silence. Or chatter. Or emotions, pains, memories and joy.  Anything that wants to come up is welcome.

Will we like each other when it is just us?
Will we be OK just by ourselves?
We have to find out.
You are the one person I will spend the rest of the my life with.

I will bring an idea: let’s take this time together to write down and illustrate what we have learned over the past 2 years. From being reduced to nothing – to being truly alive again. How we have faced the anxiety, depression and burn out and are now a more beautiful person because of it. An illustrated book just for me and you. So that if we ever fall again – we will know how to get up – and grow through it together.

This time you seem to agree.
We have arrived at the Moinhos.
Paradise exists.
Let’s get creative honey.

Lots of love,
Your best friend,



Emma Ruth Levie - Artist in Residence at Moinhos do Dão September & October 2016

Emma about her experience being in the Residency:

If I had one sentence to describe what my residency at Moinhos do Dão has brought me it would be this one: ‘Moinhos do Dão has awakened my senses’
Fortunately I have a few more.

After two years of being graduated from art school, I was searching for some rest and peace, in the restless career I chose for. When at home (Amsterdam) I always feel like I’m running and doing nothing at the same time. I felt I needed some time away from my beloved people and city, that bring me a whole bunch of joy and distraction.

While here I created a daily routine for myself, it went like this:

reading, breakfast, walking, coffee, reading, walking, swimming, lunch, practicing Portuguese, painting/drawing, reading, cooking, dinner, reading, sleeping
(I occasionally took a shower, checked my e-mail and did the dishes too.)

What became most clear to me during my weeks at the Moinhos, is that I feel healthier when there are less decisions to make, that beauty is always around, and that nothing is ever the same. I walked the same path to the village every day, and every day, there would be something new to see, to smell, or feel.
Every day something else would attract me to its beauty. One day it would be a leaf, the other day a plastic bottle with a bright yellow top in front of a concrete wall, and another day it would be a smiling woman with crooked teeth. 

 Being here has showed me again that beauty is always around, and that it’s easier to find it when there is not too much distraction. I think that as an artist it is very important to remind myself, that in moments I don’t find inspiration, all I have to do is change my focus, take a closer look, or widen my view.

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