Carried by God Through Rough Times

2020 – 2021 / Oil on linen (aluminium frame) / 215 x 160 x 2,5 cm

This work is inspired by a difficult period of Van de Graaf when he made regular walks along the beach to clear his mind and to leave issues behind. During that period he also often read the poem ‘Footprints in the Sand’ (author unknown) which also inspired this painting. While working on this series he was inspired  by ‘’To The Stars’ by Max Richter’ which gave him a feeling of the connection with the spiritual world and the romantic cliche of the futility of human beings, which refers to the work of Casper David Friedrich and Anselm Kiefer (especially the work ‘Athanor’ in The Louvre).

The painting is about hope, trust and faith in difficult times. While this painting is inspired by a personal experience, at the same time it is very universal, because every person is going through tough times during life. Van de Graaf finds it interesting that the very personal can connect with the collective, like songs often do. 


Footprints in the Sand

One night I dreamed a dream.
As I was walking along the beach with my Lord.
Across the dark sky flashed scenes from my life.
For each scene, I noticed two sets of footprints in the sand,
One belonging to me and one to my Lord.

After the last scene of my life flashed before me,
I looked back at the footprints in the sand.
I noticed that at many times along the path of my life,
especially at the very lowest and saddest times,
there was only one set of footprints.

This really troubled me, so I asked the Lord about it.
“Lord, you said once I decided to follow you,
You’d walk with me all the way.
But I noticed that during the saddest and most troublesome times of my life,
there was only one set of footprints.
I don’t understand why, when I needed You the most, You would leave me.”

He whispered, “My precious child, I love you and will never leave you
Never, ever, during your trials and testings.
When you saw only one set of footprints,
It was then that I carried you.”

(Author unknown)