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.