A slightly different annual review & outlook

Cranes in Hafencity, photo by Marc Volquardsen, © 2018

I still have many »construction sites« to complete, but like Hafencity, I am looking forward to a positive future. This quotation from Tom Hanks goes well with that:

Never give up because you don’t know what the tide will bring the next day.

That this would not be an easy walk was already clear to me at the end of April when I got the diagnosis »brain tumor« in the hospital Buchholz. But what a storm I would have to face, with all its ups and downs, can only be understood by those who have experienced it themselves.

Therefore, my heartfelt thanks to all those who have accompanied me on this path and continue to do so. I carry them deeply in my heart.

  • Dr. Langer and Dr. Lücke, from the Asklepios Clinic Altona, without whose surgical interventions I would probably not be among you today,
  • the care teams from the Intensive Care Unit, the Intermediate Care Unit and the Neurological Unit of the Asklepios Clinic Altona,
  • the teams from the neurological ward of the rehabilitation centre in Soltau
  • and, of course, physiotherapy and occupational therapy, what have they pushed me!
  • Not to forget the speech therapists.

The care and respect with which all these teams have worked deserves my respect. I can only express all my admiration and gratitude to these teams. They never let me feel the nursing crisis, although I know it exists in Germany.

  • The practice team around Dr. Seehars,
  • the team of the Epilepsy Center Rotenburg around Dr. Streger,
  • Dr. Schieder’s oncology team,
  • my friends and neighbors who are always there for me when I need your help.

My special thanks go to my family, especially my husband and son. What my husband gives me in love and support cannot be expressed in words and I am infinitely grateful to him. The three of us cried and laughed together – priceless.

It is hard for outsiders to imagine how my illness turned my life and that of my immediate family upside down. But we stick together and gain strength for our future, as the saying goes:

Yesterday is history
tomorrow is a mystery
but today is a gift.
That is why it’s called the present.

10 Years of Blogging – and the Winner is


Congratulations to Gaby Nieuwenhuizen, who wrote the 18th comment of a total of 40 comments (including the comments on the German article).

Today we made it modern and simply generated a random number between 1 and 40:

So we only had to count the comments from above…

With that, dear Gaby, you have won this picture:

Astrid Volquardsen - Aprilschauer über der Außenalster - Öl auf Hartfaser
Astrid Volquardsen – Aprilschauer über der Außenalster – Öl auf Hartfaser

10 Years of blogging

I’ve been blogging for 10 years now, more precisely since July 2008!

I can hardly believe that. Especially when you consider that followers have been there since the first day.
In the last 5 months it has been interrupted by clinic and rehabilitation stays, but so far there have been 1,172 posts and almost 2,000 comments!

This must be celebrated and therefore I draw a picture from my Hamburgensien series:

April shower over the Alster lake, oil on hard fibre, 22×30 cm
Incl. shadow gap framing
© Astrid Volquardsen, 2017


Anyone who comments on this post within the next 14 days will be entered into the draw.
The closing date for entries is Sunday, 28 October 2018 at 12:00 pm CET.

»I’ll be able to paint again!«


I have five weeks in the neurosurgical department of the Asklepios Clinic Altona and two weeks in the rehabilitation clinic in Soltau.

What had happened?

At the end of April I was admitted to hospital with a seizure and shortly afterwards I was diagnosed with a brain tumour and dislocation of the right shoulder.

Astrid at the evening before the operation


Just a week later, I had my brain tumor surgery. The night after the operation, bleeding in the brain made an emergency surgery necessary, followed by a week in an artificial coma in the intensive care unit.

My right extremities were temporarily paralyzed by the bleeding and I had massive disorders of speech.

So my relief is all the greater that all my body functions have returned and I will be able to paint again. Since my right arm was fixed 4 weeks after my seizure, it will be a long process. But I can stand independently again and walk some steps with support and more and more movement and strength comes into my right arm.

Astrid is able to stand again


In addition, the next few months will be accompanied by chemotherapy, which I have already started in rehabilitation.

This short report was written by Marc in coordination with Astrid.

Plein Air: Cherry Blossom at the Alsterlake


Is there something more beautiful than this glorious spring day after this long and cold winter? A most beautiful morning, all the people are in a good mood, light everywhere, and the cherry trees are in full blossom.

I stand in front a  music university and the breeze is bringing me the sounds of a students aerie. Sigh. Cherry blossoms are falling down the tree. A 4 year old comes along with her mother, stands in awe, throws her arms in the air and shouts: »Mum, it’s snowing.«

At the end of the week I will be back, finishing this painting.

Sketch: Hamburger Colonaden


For the last weeks it has been a bit quiet on my blog. First there were the workshops and now its spring and I am hunting for my next motivs. Before I go into the oilpainting I investigate the scene with my pencil sketch.

Sketch; Colonaden; Astrid Volquardsen

Sketch: Das Hardenbergsche Haus or the home of the gardener


Das Hardenbergsche Haus, Goucha, pencil, ink


Last week I was giving two pastel workshops in Hannover. In between I had a break which I intended to use to sketch at the Herrenhäuser Gardens.

The Gardens are a heritage of the kings of Hannover. »The Great Garden has always been one of the most distinguished baroque formal gardens of Europe« (wikipedia) and I wanted to spend some time there. But a storm was coming in and even though the sun was shining, a fierce wind was blowing from the east and it made it impossible to sketch outside. So I took refuge  in my car and did a sketch of the house of the gardener. Well, he actually derives from a noble family and hold the position of a privy councillor.

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