Recently I’ve been listening to this podcast called The Unmistakable Creative. The people
that get interviewed are all some kind of creatives. For me the painters etc. are most
interesting but interviewer Srinivas Rao is really good at his job because he’s actually interested
in the answer to the questions he’s asking. So I got really addicted to listening to his podcast.
Different books have been promoted on this show and I got curious so I bought some of the
titles: ‘The Crossroads of Should and Must’ by Elle Luna, ‘Steal Like An Artist’ & ‘Show Your
Work’ by Austin Kleon and ‘The War of Art’ by Steven Pressfield. All books were purchased at
the American Book Center Amsterdam.
Kleon, James Victore.
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The last couple of years I’ve been wondering a lot whether I’m on the right track or not. Is my
work good enough (for what?), am I creative enough (in comparison to whom?), do I got
what it takes to make it in this business?
Very hard questions to answer or even think about. ‘No’ scares me to death, or close to it…
By now I do know that I could have done a lot more than I have done and I’m working hard to
change that which is not always easy when recovering from a burn-out. I still want to do
more than my body will let me.
Yesterday for some reason everything came down from its shelves and I couldn’t see
through all the mess. What should I do, where do I start, continue (whatever)?
After the initial panic I picked up my brush and still very confused I continued on one of the
drawings I’m working on. With every brushstroke my mind relaxed and I felt the
mess on the floor of my brain getting back to its shelves. I never felt this process so clearly
happening and I continued to draw. Relaxing, becoming silent turned into certainty that I am
on the right track and I am doing what I’m supposed to do: DRAW!
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Last week my boyfriend and I went to the Drents Museum in Assen, The Netherlands.
A year ago we went there too for the exhibition The Soviet Myth and this year the museum
managed to do an exhibition about North-Korean paintings: The Kim Utopia.
Without a doubt all paintings present are propaganda. Some were really beautiful and
detailed and others less so. I started wondering: is this art or craftsmanship? Are these artists
comfortable using oils? Do these artists enjoy what they’re doing? Some paintings looked like
they were done fast, a bit sloppy and without much joy. It looked like something that had to
be done without trying to make it more bearable, which is strange to me.
Were some of these people bad painters or would they just rather finish and move on to
more enjoyable work? I don’t know.
It was interesting to compare these paintings with their European counterparts. For instance,
when we take a painting like ‘The Battle of Waterloo’ by Jan Willem Pieneman, 1824
(Rijksmuseum Amsterdam, The Netherlands) we see a lot happening. The main characters
faces are lit up and painted very detailed. The others less so and sometimes left in a sketchy
state which gives the painting depth even when it’s cluttered.
Not so with ‘Death-defying protectors bound by the barrel of a gun’ by Kim Pong-nam (2002).
Again the main characters are very detailed but moving on to the rest of the painting the picture
is done in crude, thick brushstrokes. In itself quit nice but instead of working spacious it’s a
Also ‘The Battle of Waterloo’ depicts a historical event while the North-Korean painting depicts a
battle that never happened and works purely as propaganda: the North-Korean army supporting
their leader no matter what.
Because we went to both Soviet and North-Korean exhibitions it was hard not to compare
the two. In my opinion the Soviet paintings had a look of artists doing their thing in a
communist world but still very much propaganda. Most of the North-Korean art
looked like craftsmenship being used to depict a world that doesn’t exist.
Here are two youtube links (in Dutch) that allow to compare for yourself:
The Soviet Myth
The Kim Utopia
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The month of June is Classic Crime Month at the ABC. They asked me to paint two classic crime
fighters, Sherlock Holmes and Hercule Poirot (and a dead body). Here’s the result.
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Money, always a difficult subject. As an artist I don’t make a lot of money. I wish I could make
a living from my art and I’m really working hard to reach my goals but for the time being this is how it is.
To make art you need to have time. One needs time to put up a business etc. that’s why I
always had part-time jobs. I would work 2 to 3 days a week to have time to do my art.
From friends who are not in the art-business I sometimes hear how lucky I am that I have all
this freedom to do what I want and that I’m doing my dream job.
When I say it’s all about choices I sometimes get an angry glare. How dare I say such a thing,
don’t I know they are stuck with all these responsibilities and I’m the lucky one?!
The thing is that doing your dream job doesn’t mean you’re in a dreamy situation. My income
doesn’t leave much room for frivolities like new furniture (almost everything I own I inherited
from grandparents and such), going shopping, going out for dinner, owning a car, replacing
home appliances or even vacation.
My boyfriend wants me to join him on a little getaway somewhere in the Netherlands,
nothing fancy but I’m totally panicking about the fact that my income has become even less
since I lost my job and I’m not used to spending money on big things that are not even a
material thing that will last for 15 years or so! I know, I’m a tight ass when it comes to spending
Like I said, it’s a choice and I’m happy with mine. I tried the other thing and it didn’t work
for me. After food and sleep comes swooshing my brush or pencil on a piece of paper, that’s it!
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