Marja de Jong

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2018 in review


At the end of 2018 it is a good moment to have a review of the year.
This year has been the 6th year living in the railway station in Hiirola. During these years the place has changed from a neglected area into a warm and cozy ambiance for an artist who likes to live and work in authentic buildings.

At the end of 2017 the car was removed from the tax and insurance and I switched to the use of public transport. My mobility has been limited through it, but finally it works well. The bus stops at the station and even it does not have an high frequency it is useful. In spring an  electric bike has been added to my transportation possibilities.

My birthday in January has been silent as I did not celebrate it. I started with different series of small paintings and applied for participating in the Konstrundan in September.

The winter was a bit strange as the cold came late and the snow too. February and March the temperature was a long period from -15 to -25 and finally the snow layer was about 50 centimeters. Even in the beginning of April the cold did not want to come to an end. Heating was no problem. A short period the water pipe was frozen, but I was prepared for it.

end of winter 2018

Snow is one of my favorites and at the end of March the layer of snow was quite high, the wood store was almost empty, then the snow melted and spring came and a very nice summer after it. At the beginning of November the wood sore was full and when the first snow was falling, at the end of the month the snow layer was growing and at the end of December it was 20 centimeters.

cutting trees north of the building

The railway company is cleaning up the borders of the tracks. As there is more wind during the year, more trees are dangerous and they started to cut as many trees as possible. This February the huge trees at the north side of the building have been taken down. Some men with motor saws and a crane truck did the work and after a week the area was empty. It is a pity, the trees were impressive, but the power of the railway organization knows no mercy.
Now I can see the building of my neighbors, which is not bad, and I have to think about a plan for this area.

The winter and spring has been used to work on different series of small art works, ending in different publications.
The first series is an ABC for children.
It was a great experience to work on it. Selecting the words to the letter and thinking about the designing of it has given me a lot of fun. I started with a Dutch version, but it was so nice to work with that I expanded it to an English version and later to a Finnish edition.

ABC for children

This alphabet can be edited in different languages and can contain an own selection from the paintings.
In 2018 10 unique copies are published, 7 copies in Dutch, 2 in Finnish and 1 in an English version.
All the paintings are collected on the web page acrylic ABC.

After this children's ABC I continued with an ABC about different cultures in different times. It was the intention to represent information from all over the world and in different periods of human development. The book is completed with short stories from the point of view of a child that could have lived in that period. Some information about that time is added.
The first edition is a limited edition of 50 copies which are numbered.

ABC growing up


In 2018 new renovating activities have taken place. Like working on the veranda, the doors at the backside and the painting of the building.

renovation veranda

After the podium in 2016 and the roof partly over it in 2017, finally the building of the veranda could start. To make a new entrance the old entrance has been taken down, and the rotten parts were taken away and from the bottom a new construction appeared. The floor of the veranda got a beautiful layer of timber and in total it gives the building a great outfit. The area will be used as an area between inside and outside.

painting the details of the railway station

The painter returned for the second time and painted the details of the building in a beautiful light grey. Next year he will finish the painting with a second layer of yellow

greetings from Hiirola railway station

In May my brother and his son visited me.

The summer came and it was a warm and sunny summer. Sitting on the podium looking around over the yard it had given me a lot of satisfaction. Mowing the grass is a huge job, but every time it gives great feelings and after it is done I can sit and feel great.

In summer I have been participating in some art camps organized by Secret Garden in Wanha Koulu in Vehmaskylä. The art workshops are nice possibilities for new experiences.

The second half of August I visited the Netherlands to celebrate the 90st anniversary of my aunt, a sister of my mother. A great opportunity to meet on different places several friends and relatives. I crossed the country from Amsterdam, via Lelystad, Utrecht, Veenendaal, Grave, Rotterdam to Ridderkerk.

After coming home I attended the transfer of the sculpture created by Lucien den Arend in Kangasniemi. An impressive work on the roundabout at the entrance of the village (route Jyväskylä - Mikkeli).

The annual Konstrundan took place on September 8. and 9. I applied in winter to take part in this event and was accepted among 6 other artists in Mikkeli. In total over 40 people were visiting my atelier and we had lovely chats and discussion about my work and how it is to be an artist from Netherlands in Finland. The formula is inspiring for the participant and inviting for art lovers.

konstrundan 2018

The organization of Konstrundan is publishing a magazine with all the places, participant and an image of their art work. There is a website with all the information and they organize a lottery. Here you find the review of 2018.

konstrundan 2018 visitors


During my stay in the Netherlands the carpenter has prepared the new doors which are planned to replace a window in the gallery. The doors are lovely, I am so happy with them.  The small and ugly previous entrance has been changed into double doors, so much better fitting to the style of the building. The hand made doors are wonderful.

new doors in the gallery

Just before the Savon-Rata päivä , the railway day,  the doors were ready and again the visitors could see how this building is returning in  its old atmosphere. It is remarkable that the old stations are now in use by private persons who all have a warm feeling to the history of this historical heritage. Artists love these buildings and are treating them with respect. They develop a future for it and protect the buildings  from decay.

Around 150 visitors came by museum train, by car and were 'inspecting' the yard and the building.

2018 savon-radan päivä

The village committee, Hiirolan Kylätoimikunta, offered coffee, snacks and enthusiasm and different kind of local handicraft has been offered during the event. Again a successful event.

2018 savon-radan päivä

At the end of the year the gallery with its new entrance transformed into a Christmas ambiance. The different new series are exhibited and the lights are joyful.

gallery at christmas 2018


gallery at christmas 2018


This year has been a harmonious year, with its different art activities, the birth of a new family member, the publication of different books, the experience with my new electric bike, my visit to the Netherlands, the continuation of the renovation of the building, the nice meetings with art lovers, the attention of and cooperation with neighbors and village people, the new experiences in art and the lost of 20 kilos of weight.

In 2019 I am planning to publish some new books and working on new series of art, the renovation and painting of the railway station will continue, if selected  the Konstrundan will be on September 7. an 8, the railway track will celebrate its 130st anniversary the first Saturday of October, I hope to see friends from Finland, the Netherlands and other countries; using my new bike will bring me on places where I never was; if possible I will visit the Netherlands in summer or beginning of autumn.

happy N ew Year

The railway station has a Christmas outfit and is decorated with special fabric and different versions of Christmas trees and lights. The dark days is a period of being inside, reading books, painting a new series, dreaming of what can happen next year and being silent to listen to the sound of the future.

At the end of the year I whish you all a wonderful 2019.

Marja de Jong
mobile 00358 (0)50 4625 675

| marja de jong | atelier (at) marjadejong (dot) com | +358 (0)50 4625 675 |
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No reproduction by any means or in any language without prior permission of the author.