Are you also afraid to show your art to the world? When you paint, write, create….. you know it won’t be loved by everybody, but when you get a negative comment it still hurts like hell, doesn’t it? Also when you don’t get a comment or review it hurts as well…. when people just look at your drawing and don’t say anything? I immediately think they don’t like it! Of course they might not like it. So what? 

What about you? When do you feel most in doubt about what you make? Are you also counting the likes on Instagram and comparing yourself to others??

Last week I was struck with a panic that my new online class about colors was just crap. I made rubbish.

I started to really doubt everything about myself. All my classes and books were just crap? After all, I didn’t sell that many books and didn’t have so many students? Other teachers on Skillshare have so many more students !

it all started with that comment I received from one of the students that said that she’s not ready for so much “freedom” and was maybe kind of lost that I spoke so much about my “emotional choice of colors” instead of “technical”, maybe because I didn’t give any clear instructions on what colors to put in the palette? 

But I want to let go of my left brain. I want to choose my colors with the right side of my brain and only paint with that side… my emotional side. With the colors that make me happy. 

How do you chose your colors? I chose the colors that make me happy, and I choose them according to what I want to paint. It’s not “technical”….

I’m tired of looking for painting rules. Of course, when I was in the beginning of my journey, that’s what I was holding onto: I was looking for artists to give me step by step rules on how to make art. Like: “the 10 laws of watercolor”. “Do this, paint like that, don’t do like this… And when you follow that recipe you can make a great watercolor.

The problem with such methods is that you end up painting the way your teacher paints… When I did masterclasses with Jeanine Gallizia, at the end of the week I had 5 Gallizia’s, and when I did a masterclass with Joseph Zbuckvic I finished the week with 5 Zbuckvc paintings… My Aha – moment came when I did a masterclass with an Austrian painter, Bernhard Vogel, who left a lot of freedom. Of course I tried to paint his way, but his way of teaching wasn’t a step by step, and it gave huge freedom and one day, I made “my masterpiece”…. And felt free and sooooo happy! There was MY painting! MY “baby”! How did I make it? I tried to paint somewhat the way the teacher did, but “my way” with “my subject” and the colors that I liked, without copying everything. So I think that when you follow a course with someone, you get the best results for your own progress when you try to apply some parts of their method and way of seeing and you mix it up with your very own subject, with your colors you like. Pick out some ingredients that fit you. Don’t take the whole menu. You don’t need to have their type of brush, and their colors, their whole method of painting to succeed…. 

The best way is to apply what Austin Kleon says in his book “Steal like an artist”: Nothing is original, so embrace influence, school yourself through the work of others, remix and reimagine to discover your own path. Take what you like about the ways other artists paint, their colors you like, and mix it with the other stuff you like 😉

André Gide once said, “Everything that needs to be said has already been said. But, since no one was listening, everything must be said again.” Everything has already been done before, but not by you ! “Every new idea is just a mashup or a remix of one or more previous ideas.” (Austin Kleon)

So I try to make classes where I leave a lot of freedom to find your style…. But of course that can’t work for everyone. And that’s fine…

I’m learning to let go of security guidelines and recipes for guaranteed success and allow myself to experiment and make a mess. It requires vulnerability and failure.
And, that’s ok. Step by step.
Creativity is about the process, and the work you’re doing is important and difficult. It’s difficult to make messes, sometimes. The mental and emotional effort to fight off years of perfectionism is huge and intimidating, but experimenting and playing is the only way to find your style of drawing and painting… 


Practice Practice Practice…. It’s the only way to get better at what you want to get better at.

Don’t let anyone tell you otherwise.

Or like Steven Pressfield says:

“Put your Ass where your HEART wants to be.”

You want to be a painter? Move your body to grab your paints and paint. You want to be a sketcher? Move your ass to your sketchbook and start sketching…

So let’s make a RestArt weekend: a weekend of “Rest” and “Art” to finish the week. The perfect combination to fuel your creativity and your mood.

Here’s a picture of my “baby” I made in Venice in 2007.

I mixed up Bernhard Vogel’s way to paint, with my own way….

So the conclusion of this blogpost is that I still have a lot to learn about teaching practices. If you have suggestions on how to show and expIain in a more didactical way I would be happy to read them! 😀

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