Thursday, March 19, 2015


Got an email from Christian from Germany. He saw my Painting Clouds video and wrote some nice things about it. I can never get enough of that. Very encouraging.

In the correspondence that followed the topic was perfectionism and how it can hold you back. Christian wrote:" inner critic slows me down or prevents me from doing anything at all". Attached to his mail he sent me a cloud painting he made. Looked real good...

Ofcourse it's a good thing to set the bar just a bit higher every time you start a new painting, to set goals and all that kind of stuff. But however much you grow, you'll never be perfect. And that's a good thing. One of the joys of painting is the feeling you're getting better, that over time you've learned to master problems you couldn't handle before. If you could be perfect, you would loose that. Boring.

At the end of a work day I often ask myself: did my painting get better today? Most of the time the answer is yes. If I'd ask myself: did it get perfect today, the answer certainly would be no. You gotta ask the right questions.

Painting is an excellent way to get in a state of flow. For a few hours there's just you and the painting. In 1975 a guy with a funny name (Mihaly Csiksgentmihalyi) wrote a great book about it, called 'Flow'. One of the conditions to enter a state of flow, he writes, is that the task ahead of you may be difficult, but you feel you can do it. In other words: match your challenges to your skills. And do the hours, I'd like to add.

I just finished this sunset. Succeeded to paint the movement of the water, with the little ripples and everything, on top of a ground layer. Tried it before but it didn't really work. I didn't match my challenges to my skills, I guess... 

Sunset, oil on panel, 50 x 150 cm

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