No time to paint?

No time to paint?

No time to paint?

Today, I wasn’t in a particularly happy mood. I felt a bit stressed and trapped in thoughts. I wanted to write a blog, but felt blocked.

I always preach the joy of daily painting, and how it can have such a tremendous effect on your wellbeing. But because I have been so busy working on my online course ‘The Art of Now’ (that is just released and that you can buy ;-)), I haven’t found a lot of time for my beloved daily painting practice. 



What a paradox: no time to paint, because I’m making an online course about being in the Now through painting! Isn’t that crazy?

I felt restliness in my body, that hindered me from slowing down. But then I thought: let the so-called ‘important things’ wait for a second and do some painting! 


So I sat down

I put out a few bottles of paint, and painted for ten minutes or so. Because I used so few colors, it didn’t cost me a lot of time (I had this blog to write, remember ;-)?).

Immediately, I relaxed. There is something magic about painting. It gets you out of your head immediately. It seems that I can’t paint and worry at the same time. The painting process draws me into the Now. Okay, the painting took me some time, but after that, the inspiration for this newsletter flowed out of me! 


This is the painting that I made(on postcard size):


I can see that it isn’t the painting of paintings. It is not as worked-through as I like, because of the so-called ‘time pressure’. But who cares? I had so much fun playing with the six visual elements: marks and lines, colors, shapes and images, value, texture and depth.


So: if you feel blocked in any way: get out your paints, and play around a bit! 

You don’t need a lot of paint (I only used three colors, plus black and white). You don’t need to have experience or be a ‘real artist’ (what is that anyway?). You are free to start painting, right Now!

And you will notice an immediate effect on your mood. Your body will relax, your thoughts will subside. Find out for yourself!


With love,




PS: if this speaks to your heart – consider buying the online course: ‘The Art of Now’. It helps you to kickstart this painting process, by teaching you about the six visual elements that I just talked about (marks and lines, color, value, shapes and images, texture and depth). And it provides you with six creative ‘games’ that you can play to help you get out of your head and over the hump.

Do you want to get a taste of it first? Read more about it here, or sign up for the free video series!

Sitting on a box of gold – painting as spiritual practice

Sitting on a box of gold – painting as spiritual practice

Dear reader,


There’s an old tale, that is being told all over the world, in countless forms. It goes something like this:

A beggar had been sitting by the side of a road for many years. One day a stranger walked by. ‘Do you have some money?’, asked the beggar? ‘I have nothing to give you’, said the stranger. ‘But where are you sitting on?’

‘Oh, it’s only an old box. I’ve been sitting on it for as long as I can remember’, said the beggar. ‘Have you ever looked inside?’, asked the stranger. ‘No, why should I? There’s nothing inside’.

‘Take a look at it anyway’, said the stranger.
After some resistance, the beggar opened the box. To his astonishment, the box was filled with gold.


Something precious

This teaching story touches almost everybody, since it points to a deeper knowing: there is something precious underneath ‘ordinary life’.
Daily life can be filled with all kinds of things: positive and negative, beautiful and bad. If you aren’t aware of your deeper being, you are like a beggar, deprived of a sense of belonging and fulfillment.
Once you’re connected to this ‘deep I’, your life is filled with gold – whatever the outer circumstances are.

Deep inside, everybody is looking for that gold – if they are aware of it or not. This connection to ‘Being’ (or God, or Source – it has been called many by many names in different cultures and religions) is the most precious thing on earth.


How to connect to Being?

But how do you connect to that inner peace? It can be buried under lots of thoughts, or blurred by all kinds of emotions about the ups and downs of your life.

One of the ways to connect to the deeper I is being completely in the present moment. Not thinking about the past, not thinking about the future, but just being simply aware from what’s happening inside and in front of you. Now.


The entrance to stillness

In our busy life, it’s not always that easy to find the ‘entrance’ to that space and stillness. For me, painting has always been one of the ways that led me to that inner state of Being. Making art – not for the sake of making ‘beautiful things’, but for the sake of ‘being in the Now’.

I believe many people who feel attracted to painting, do so, because they – consciously or unconsciously – know that this drive for creative expression is connected to their deeper longing for experiencing ‘the deeper I’.

So, if you feel this urge to paint, please do! For you (as it was for me) it might be one of the ways that helps you to find the gold deep inside.



With love!


PS: because I’m so enthusiastic about this way of making art in the Now, I created a free video series about ‘The Art of Now’. You can find it here.
Also, there’s an online course with the same name. You can check it out here.

Live painting demo: Painting in Surrender

Live painting demo: Painting in Surrender

Dear readers,


At this moment I’m (re)reading two books of Michael Singer: ‘The surrender experiment‘, and ‘The untethered soul‘ (affiliate-links).

I read ‘The untethered soul’ maybe half a year ago, and at that moment it seemed kind of ‘technical’ to me. I preferred the way Eckhart Tolle writes and speaks about the subject of ‘letting the ego go and give Life the lead’.

But now I picked up another book of Michael Singer, ‘The surrender experiment’. A very intriguing book about how Michael had an awakening experience at a young age, in which he became intensely aware of ‘The voice in the head’, that speaks all the time. He decided to devote his life to ‘the surrender experiment’: to live not by what he liked or disliked, by what the voice in the head told him, but by what Life ‘nudged’ him to do.

Today I was asking myself: ‘Can I paint in a surrendered mode?’ Not listening to the voice in the head, not listening to ‘my inner roommate’, as Michael Singer calls it. But just let ‘Life’ paint – follow the lead of what the hand does, what colors it chooses, the movements it makes. Be silent, work from within, from the life energy that pervades us.

I believe that’s where creativity comes from, and I know that it’s that why I’m so passionate about painting. It gives me a wonderful opportunity to let the voice talk, and let me paint in the meantime.


This is what came out today: (it’s about 15/20 cm, that’s 6/8″).

I had the experience that I didn’t criticize (positively or negatively) my painting that much today. It was just what came out.


I made a 21 minute painting demo about it: I only cut away the noisy hairdryer-moments ;-)! For the rest it’s only me painting.




Have a wonderful, creative, and surrendered day ;-)!


(Below you’ll find two Amazon-(affiliate) links to the two books of Michael Singer).




Podcast: Painting and the Purpose of your Life

Podcast: Painting and the Purpose of your Life

Dear reader,


The topic of today’s podcast is: ‘Painting and the Purpose of your Life’.


Sometimes I can get really serious about the role of painting in my life. Is painting my Life Purpose? Should I become a fulltime artist, and earn my living with it? Call it my profession?’  And very often, when I ask myself these questions, I can get constricted into all sorts of internal dialogues, sounding like this:

  • Am I a real painter?
  • Should I have gone to art school?
  • I should have started earlier in my life!
  • Do I have all the qualities that it takes to give painting such an essential role in my life?


Today, I want to approach this topic about painting and the purpose of your life in a very light way.

Listen to it here, and have fun!



Simone Nijboer, Dutch abstract artist, online art teacher, daily painter, creativity accelerator


You can find the link to my online course about collage making here.

Podcast: Painting and the Purpose of Your Life

Podcast: How to get out of your comfort zone as a painter

Podcast: How to get out of your comfort zone as a painter

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Simone Nijboer, Dutch abstract artist, online art teacher, daily painter, creativity accelerator


Would you love to paint, but never take the time? Sign up here for the free video series about collage making, and start painting now!


Would you love to paint, but never take the time? Sign up here for the free video series about collage making, and start painting now!

How do you practice the Power of Now as a painter

How do you practice the Power of Now as a painter

Practicing the Power of Now


You might have read ‘The Power of Now’ by Eckhart Tolle. This book is about the importance of quitting the excessive thinking about the past and the future, and realizing that there is only one moment: ‘Now.’ Everything else is a mental construction. Even if you think about the past, you are still doing it Now. And when you worry about the future, you also are doing it Now.

Painting is a beautiful way of drawing you into the Now. There is little thinking required. Yes, thinking can come in handy for practical matters. You can ask yourself for instance: ‘How can I prevent the water-soluble crayon from smearing?’ Or: ‘What colors do I need to mix a beautiful green?’ But thinking about your next brush stroke usually does not make your painting much better. And worrying about the mess you just made even less.


Negative thinking and worrying

Still, we tend to think and worry a lot about painting. Regret, comparison, judgment, jealousy, shame, and self-criticism are often not far away:

  • I can’t paint!
  • Am I a real artist? No, I’m fake.
  • I will never be able to paint like the other ones.
  • I should have gone to art school; it’s too late now.
  • I should have pushed myself further years ago; now I haven’t learned as much as I could have.
  • My friends have expositions, and I don’t.
  • Everybody is going to laugh about me when they see this rubbish.
  • I’m going to look like a fool when I have my exposition.

And so on. I have had a lot of thoughts like these, and sometimes they still put a spell on me. But I know one thing for sure: those thoughts and worries don’t make my painting more enjoyable, and they don’t make my painting any better. On the contrary, I postponed painting for years and years until I finally dared to pick up the brushes and just start.


Practice being in the Now

Good news: painting is a beautiful way to practice being in the Now, in the same way that running or singing or being in nature helps you to become present and feel connected.

Since painting is such a sensory thing to do, you can use your senses to the max, which draws you away from your thinking head. You can watch the colors, see how they mix, feel the paint with your fingers, smell the typical scent of the paint, hear your ink pen scratching over the paper. You can feel your inner body, as Eckhart Tolle calls it: the inner energy-field, the aliveness in your body. And when you notice that you are thinking again about the future or the past, or when you hear your inner voice whisper judgments, you can purposely go back to your inner body and use your senses while painting.

So, if you feel trapped in negative thinking, in worry, in stress or general unhappiness, grab a piece of paper, a bit of paint, and some crayons, and start making marks, color fields, shapes, and textures. Without any plan. Get amazed by the colors, like you would do if you would see them for the first time. Feel the excitement when making marks, just like you would do if you were a toddler, having a crayon in its hands for the first time.


Let your thinking come to rest, and simply enjoy being alive.

Simone Nijboer, Dutch abstract artist, online art teacher, daily painter, creativity accelerator

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