Friday, June 23, 2017


'The level at which you're trying to solve a problem is often not the level that causes the problem.' 

I don't remember who said this. I picked it up sometime during the nineties, when I was still teaching art classes. It often helped me to look at a problem from a different angle and this goes for painting problems as well. Here's a painting I recently finished.

Summerwind, oil on panel, 11.8 x 19.7"

This is what it looked like in an earlier stage. Lots of fluffy clouds. I had been struggling with them for some time. Adding detail, changing color, what have you. Nothing worked. For some reason the painting lacked focus, it was in fact unclear to me what I wanted it to be about. When I replaced the clouds with a blue sky I suddenly knew: it's about the sunlit area behind the dune (that you can't even see) and not about the clouds. Once I saw that, it was a piece of cake: I brought more color and light to the sky behind the dune and within half an hour I decided the thing was finished...

Of course I didn't look at my painting and thought: 'The level at which I'm trying to solve this problem is not the level that causes the problem.' I solved it while painting. But still, what happened is that I approached it from another level. Maybe I should remember it the next time I get stuck...


  1. Hi Janhendrik
    As I viewed your post I thought the image without the fluffy clouds really gives the impression of wind. It looks breezy. That was before I noticed the title! 'Summer wind'