A Painted Wall

In december and januari I show this painting at Bote Kiers (Jacob van Lennepstraat 10, Amsterdam).
It is over 12 m long and 70 cm high. I used craftpaper and mixed media. 
Come and take a look!

On sunday 29th of januari there will be a good bye party for this painting from 16.00 till 18.00 hours.

You are welcome to come and celebrate one of the biggest pieces of art I ever made (more to come!)

'Let's go tribal!'

available as print on a whole range of products here

is this chrismas?

'Is this chrismas?'

This pattern appeared suddenly in my artjournal/diary today.
The original was made with brushpen (ecoline and indian ink). 
Adding a little photoshop gave the drawing an extra flavour.

available as print on several products here


Tomorrow I will be making some arty or not so arty chrismas-cards in my galery/studio/shop. 
Who wants to join me? 
Feel free to come and make some yourself. 

open from 12 till 17

By the way: 
The collage shown above contains a blue enveloppe from the taxoffice, paper leftovers found on the floor of my studio, some gold paint and some penlines. And a very little bit of photoshop to color the chrismastree ball, which turned out black after scanning the collage. 

just playing around


I have been thinking about blue and blue flowers for days now. I've tried several designs, but nothing seemd to work out properly. Of course this one is again completely different than what I had in mind. But then again it's... 'just playing around'!

'Just playing around' was made with brushpen (ecoline and indian ink)

available on REDBUBBLE

Geluksweekend in Leiden, 12 en 13 november 2016

12 en 13 november is het Geluksweekend in Leiden. Als Happy Artist doe ik natuurlijk ook mee. Op zaterdag kan je bij mij een boekje ophalen met wat tips over hoe je uit kunt vinden wat jou gelukkig maakt. Het is een zelf-werk-boekje vol met vragen en ruimte om te schrijven en te tekenen. Als je zin hebt kun je er hier, in mijn atelier/winkel, in werken. Er staat een tafel vol teken- en knip-en-plakspullen klaar. Er is ook een stapel boeken over geluk aanwezig als je liever leest dan schrijft en tekent.
Je bent welkom van 12 tot 17 uur.

meer info:

Geluksweekend in Leiden, 12 en 13 november 2016

12 en 13 november is het Geluksweekend in Leiden. Als Happy Artist doe ik natuurlijk ook mee. Op zaterdag kan je bij mij een boekje ophalen met wat tips over hoe je uit kunt vinden wat jou gelukkig maakt. Het is een zelf-werk-boekje vol met vragen en ruimte om te schrijven en te tekenen. Als je zin hebt kun je er hier, in mijn atelier/winkel, in werken. Er staat een tafel vol teken- en knip-en-plakspullen klaar.
Er is ook een stapel boeken over geluk aanwezig als je liever leest dan schrijft en tekent.
Je bent welkom van 12 tot 17 uur.

meer info:

new colors...

'and the new autumn fashion colors are...'

I bought some beautiful new pens. The brushpens from Faber-Castell have ink in them based on Indian ink. That way the ink is waterproof after drying, but more importantly the colors are supposed to be more intense and lightproof. Since I use my scanner a lot, there is always the problem of losing a lot of detail and colorintensity in the proces of scanning. I hoped that with these pens that would be better.

And it is better, definitely! So that problem is solved.

Something else turned up. I bought a big, VERY BIG box. I just sold a painting so why not spend the money on new artsupplies? In the box there were a lot of colors that I hardly ever use, being the somewhat more timid colors and the darker ones. I started working with them and I happen to love them. That is quite a suprise, since I tend to work with the more flashing colors of the spectrum. So now I'm experimenting with all these deep greens, pale oranges, skin pinks and browns. I love the process!

So a new box of brushpens brought me a lot more than just a better quality of the ink.

living well...

a blue dotted teapot full of tea
a purple vase filled with flowers
a soft bed to sleep in
a place to make my art
and some love...
what more do I need for a good life?

Happiness-route in Leiden

Hi everybody,

I'm joining the Happiness-route in Leyden that will take place in november 2016.
Right now I'm making a little book with ideas on how to find out what makes you happy. In the booklet there is plenty of room to draw and write.
On 12th of november you can come over and pick up a booklet here at 'The Happy Artist' for free. You can even sit here and 'work' in your book. There will be a table full of artsupplies to have a great time totally spent on happiness.

More information (other people joining the Happiness-route) you can find here.


available as print on several products here 

going digital...

I work with Photoshop quite often. To enhance the colors for instance. Scanning my drawings can take away a lot of the dept and the detail of them and that needs a reworking to make the work available for print. 
But what will happen when I draw and paint directly on the screen, making a work a digital one from the beginning? Can it have as much detail, atmosphere? I see people make wonderful work on the screen.
And what about me? I am really hooked to the pencil and the brush. I cannot live a day without them. Can I find that same satisfaction and rest when I draw on a screen?
I loved making the one above. I'll try some more and let you know. 

For now: have a nice monday!

doodling and meditation

Everyday I start with a notebook and a pen. I intend to write, but sometimes all I do is doodling around.Doodling seems to be like the finger exercises every pianist must do again and again, to keep the fingers in shape, to train the brain-hand coordination. For me doodling is also like a warming up of the hand and it seems to enhance the souplesse of the drawing and painting. 

But besides the training of my hand, doodling has other effects. The longer I doodle and play around the more silent it becomes in my mind. All the 'I shoulds' slowly disapear. My head becomes clear and calm. I know what to do that day, what is really important to me. In that way it is a bit like meditation or what I would like meditation to do: to give clairity, rest and room in my always thinking head. To give focus on what matters most.

Considering all that, doodling is as essential to me as is eating and sleeping.

So here is to doodling!

on science and art

Today I've been working on some of my larger paintings. I found it quite difficult. I don't know why. I kept struggling with color, composition and meaning. Then I ran into the a piece of art on science and art (detail above). In it there were the following words I wrote a couple of months ago:

In science & art
we're all seekers
We don't believe in easy truths
but we do believe in miracles
That's not so difficult, 
because we see them happening

the moment

the moment
the pen slows down,
placing every letter,
every dot,
every form
with the utmost attention,
that is when the drawing or writing gets its meaning

sometimes this meaning is nothing else
than the artists' meditative state itself,
thus adding to the accumulation of silent moments
in the world, the universe,
adding rest,
adding peace

simplify your life

Today I made this collage based on one of the mantra's of Flow, an inspiring and fun magazine. I love this magazine a lot. I said that before, I think. But... why not repeat a good thing?
Anyway, Flow is often packed with nice papergoodies with patterns on it. I happen to like dots and used them in this collage. Let's go with the flow... and simplify our lives. At least I can try!

Feeling like singing pink and limegreen notes...

I feel like singing,
pink and limegreen notes, 
a grateful song,
... for all the birthday wishes that I recieved yesterday

Thank you everybody!

Oh my, it was so great last weekend! some pictures...

Lots of friends, fans and new visitors came by this last weekend for the artweekend in Leiden. Thank you very much everybody! You all make this such a beautiful party every year again!

A friend brought me this beautiful bunch of flowers because she thought that the colours would fit in. And she is so right!

And below are some pictures of work by Anke van de Laar that is hanging in my corridor. I love it very much. I think about her taking pictures in Venice of these very tiny dolls. Anke can tell countless stories about her work, just like the pictures tell a little story every time you look at them.

Anke's work will stay in my galery for the coming weeks. Come over and take look! Every saturday from 12-17 the door is open.

Kunstroute Leiden 24-25 september

Yeah, it's that time of the year again!

Last weekend of september is Artroute in Leyden.
I rather call it an ARTFESTIVAL!
Over 120 artists open their studio for the public along with a whole lot of artgaleries.

This year I'm once again one of those artists. And with me is Anke van de Laar, a photographer who takes beautiful and unexpected pictures of a small world.

I will be showing my drawings and paintings and a lot of new designs to be printed on practically anything you can imagine (dresses, mugs, bags and more).

For more information:

working on wood

Today I'm working on these old wooden panels. 
I painted them 20 years ago, but didn't like them anymore. 
So they're getting a new life now!

long live the eighties....

In the eighties I had a bag in these colors. They were all there and maybe even more. They were clear very saturated colors. No pastels. I made this design on paper using markers. The style is abstract with clearly defined lines and forms.
Pink , yellow, green, red and blue forms are embedded in grey fat lines.

This design is available as print on all sort of surfaces: totebags, dresses, etcetera. Go to Redbubble.

Long live the eighties!

on fear... and making art

Fear is all around when I create. Not in the first steps. At that moment there is usually only joy. But then, at a certain moment, the fear starts creeping in: what is this, am I making something worthy, is this 'art' or is it just garbage, is anyone ever going to like it, am I an artists or just some mediocre juggler with colors and lines?' It can be early in the process or much later, when I'm posting my work to a webshop, or facebook, at some moment some of this fear will pop up.

What can I do about it? Lately I realized that it will never go away. But I can learn to ignore it, to handle it. Like talking to a nagging child or maybe more a frightened child: 'ssssh, it's going to be allright, there is really nothing to be afraid of, we're just painting, just playing a little bit. It's allright if nothing comes out...' Because it is allright, it is okay if no art is made today. But there is one thing that I did today and that is making a start. Making a start for a painting, whether it will ever really see the eyes of others or not. I made a start, I practiced my most important calling and that is enough in itself.

I think that I'm talking about an universal fear. Everyone who wants to create knows it. It comes from our most poisonous inner critic. It's going back to: ' am I good enough... worthy enough... to be an artist, to be a human, to be alive even?' Also the not-artists have to deal with it.

Maybe the best we can do is recognize the fear. If not, it will manifest itself in excuses and delay what we most deeply feel we must do (in my case: making art). If we recognize what's really going on, namely that we're scared to death to make our art, write our stories or do whatever is so important to us, we can learn to handle the fear and walk with it, while staying in charge, like we would with a frightened child.

Here are some authors who wrote good stuff on this topic:
Steven Pressfield wrote a lot on resisting doing the work, whatever it is that is calling you to do. I love 'The war of art' (don't confuse this with 'The art of war'). It really kicks you in the ass to get up and do the job, while also being full of practical tips on how to do this.
Julia Cameron wrote several books on creativity. The one I like a lot is 'The complete artist's way'. It's a book that you can open randomly and find wisdom on whatever page you read.
Elisabeth Gilbert wrote 'Big Magic', I love her light and funny way of writing on big subjects.

There are a whole lot of other writers and artists and teachers I'm not mentioning here, but maybe I will come back to them later.

an abstract, but still a sun on this monday morning in september

This is the first time I put a paper artwork in my Etsyshop (see here). It doesn't seem much of a difference to the viewer maybe, but for me it is definitly a step. I have to figure out how to get the work in one piece, without any extra wrinkels on it to a buyer. But I think I found it: I just put it in a sturdy cardboard tube and write the name and adress (yours?) on it, use a lot of tape I guess and there it goes. Easy peasy! Why did it take me so long to figure this out?

daring... to make bad art!

Mariska, 9 years old

Today I started following the 30 Day Journal Project from Lisa Sonora Beam. Just to get some other input, some other ideas to think and write about. Lisa sends prompts every day for 30 days long that you can use as a starting point. Often these are quotes. Today the starting quote was:

'all glory comes from daring to begin', Ruskin Bond

Lisa asked us to write with the help of this sentence: ' in order to begin....... (fill in an achievement), I had to dare to begin..... (fill in)'

There were many years, especially in my twenties, that I hardly made any art. Why was that? I had the urge to create, day after day,  to make, to feel a pen or a pencil in my hand. Like I've always had. 

I remember clearly that I sometimes sat down to try to make a drawing, but that most of the time I didn't try because I was afraid not to be able to make all the beautiful things, or at least one of them, that were in my head.

In fact I think that this is a very common fear, a fear that a lot of us have, artists or not. The fear not to 'succeed', whatever that success is defined like in a certain moment.

Were does it come from? I think that part of this fear comes from the all around judgement. We learn from very early on to divide the world in good and bad. Of course we have to learn the difference between safe and lifetreatening. The first thing is to survive. But we tend to expand this judgement to everything around and in us. Good girl, bad girl, good boy, bad boy, good art, bad art. 

In school we get grades for our drawings. Good drawing, not so good or bad drawing. And so making art is incorporated in our judgemental system. While most of the time art should and can serve totally other purposes (see this blogpost).

When I discovered that I drew and painted just because I loved it, I loved the scent of the paint, the feeling of the brushes, I loved everything about the process, something switched in me. There was absolutely no reason at all to make good art, beautiful art. It's was nice side effect when what I created was lovely or good. It was about the process, not the result. I just had that overwhelming urge to make, to make and to make more. When I created, I felt good, wonderful, in heaven, at home.

So I started to honour the proces. Trying to follow the urge, to honour it and to paint and draw whenever I could. I tried not to worry too much about the results. And the funny thing is, the more I drew, the more art I made, the more I made good stuff. Sometimes great and sometimes terrible. But I've learned to honour the very bad art also. It is an essential part of the process of making art and I love it just as much!

So dear Lisa, I would fill in my prompt like follows:
'In order to begin being an artist, I had to dare to begin making
 and loving BAD ART'

the city

I love to draw houses. Why? I have no idea. Maybe because the form can be repetitive and simple while making a lot of different details in it. That way a pattern arises that has a certain calm atmosphere in it, without it being boring. 

I used this drawing for a design on Redbubble. I love it especially on the A-line dress.

when is a piece of art really finished?

These days I don't sign any work anymore until it is definitely no longer my possession and has moved on.
It seems that some work never is finished. It can take an hour, a day, or 20 years, I can always change things about it. And I do.
Some paintings grow old in my studio and keep on developing there.
For some works I am very aware that they are not yet complete, but others can trick me. I can think for years that they are okay like they are and need no more changing. But then suddenly they wisper or scream that they want something else from me. It can be that I change small things, add some details. But some paintings are completely born again, since they keep nothing, no color, no form like it was before. They enter a new phase of my art, like I can do.

I find this an interesting proces.
I used to think that it was my insecurity, indecisiveness that kept me from 'finishing'  my work. Nowadays I think about all these unfinished works like my friends. They live and grow with me, they grow old with me, they change with me.

Just like my human friends do.

I love to work in the garden...

first collage of today... and a digital make over

just glueing every little piece of paper I found on my table in 
my artjournal and making a drawing over it

after scanning the original I gave it a digital remake using Photoshop

I don't know which one I like better...

big plans... so little time...

It seems like everything is working together to keep me from painting the walls. 
Anyway, I squeezed in half an hour to start on the garden fence.
There will be much more of course. 
I'll keep you updated! 

When the weather is good tomorrow I'll start on the outide walls of the house. 
Come and take look! 
It will be OPEN STUDIO SATURDAY again.

the world is my canvas

When we were very young, I guess some 4 years old, my sister and I slept in a small room together. We always thought the room rather dark, which we didn't like. So we painted a huge yellow sun on the wall. We were absolutely convinced that it brightened up the room completely. We were happy and proud. We showed it to our parents and they agreed with us. They understood that children have a need to paint on walls. That they need large canvasses. 
Today I am feeling that same need again: to paint on walls, to paint furniture, to paint everything. I think I still feel the same way: that doing this would brighten up the rooms, the streets, the world.
So I wonder what I will be doing the coming days. I hope you will join me on this blog to witness it.

Have a great day! 

honey, I'm home!

this piece of art is about 'normal' things that make me happy, 
like my house, birds, colors

(available as print on several products in my Redbubbleshop)