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!

My favorite artists (2): Orly Avineri

My favorite artists (2): Orly Avineri

Once in a while, I encounter an artist whose work really touches me. Orly Avineri is such an artist.

When I stumbled upon Orly, her work immediately struck me. It radiated all soulfulness, depth, and a raw, unpolished beauty. In this blog post, I’ll tell you a bit more about what I love so much about her work.

Orly Avineri was born in Israel and now lives in Oregon. A fun coincidence is that she studied graphic design in Utrecht, the beautiful medieval city in the Netherlands where I’ve lived myself for the last 33 years;-)!

For making her art, Orly uses mixed-media, visual-journaling, book making, storytelling, and ritual building.

To get an impression of her work, take a look below:


This is what she writes about herself – as a non-native speaker, I can’t describe it as beautiful as herself:


I am passionate about the process of marrying multiple media to inspire freedom of expression, honesty of emotion, and a deep belief in the possibility, the power, and the beauty of change. I truly believe that the need to be witnessed by the self and by others is a core human need to be fulfilled by the act of creating. Therefore, a compelling part of my own journey and my absolute passion is the fostering of that in others. Art making practices cultivate insight into the nature of growth and the creative process as they relate to deep stories of loss and mend.

Enriched by self trust and acceptance, images, photos, paper, paint, words, pen, line, thread, and many unconventional tools and materials entwine to make expressive, complex, and personal creations. It’s all about one’s willingness to reveal vulnerability and rawness for the sake of true creative freedom, newness, and a deep sense of interconnectedness to all. Experiencing honest, open ended, and spirit lifting journeys takes precedence over producing beautiful outcomes. Ultimately, this, for me, is about living and depicting the fluidity of our lives, about effortlessly carrying ourselves from one place to another, and about connecting to a larger world than our own. I wish to bring it forth to you.

What I love about Orly Avineri’s work


The roughness

What I absolutely LOVE about Orly’s work is the roughness, the unpolishedness, the wildness of it. The materials that she uses are often worn and torn. Beautiful!


The colors

Orly uses a lot of muted, natural colors, greys, beiges, and browns, mixed with brighter colors. I love this combination.


The sense of history

Orly Avineri uses a lot of ‘found materials’ – they don’t come out of the store, they aren’t first hand, they already had a life of their own before they ended up in one of her mixed media paintings or visual journals.. Sometimes the history is very literal – for instance if she uses an old passport or old photos.


The soulful depth

Orly’s work breathes a raw nature-inspired spirituality. Her paintings are the result of an intensely lived life, and the courage to be genuinely human – vulnerable and strong at the same time.


The materials

When you browse through Orly’s work, you encounter a lot of materials. Of course paper and paint, but also fabric, threads, ribbons, feathers, old photo’s and probably a lot more if you could take a closer look. All these materials have their own character and nature – and they make a wonderful combination.


The ritual meaning

An important part of Orly Avineri’s work is teaching and making art as a form of ritual. She teaches workshops to create your own visual journals or to create art of old passports, for instance. Art can be a tremendous source of personal growth and healing, and that’s one of the reasons that Orly is such a driven artist – at least, that’s what I read between the lines.




Here you can find Orly’s Avineri’s website.

And here you can find some of the mini-films she made.



I hope you enjoy Orly’s work as much as I did!




Do you want to read the first ‘my favorite artist’s’ blog post? It’s about Line Juhl Hansen, and you can find it here.

Back to the Basics: Mark Making

Back to the Basics: Mark Making

Dear readers,

Today, I went back to the basics: mark making! Often, when I feel blocked or in a slump, I like to do the simpliest things, like picking up a marker or crayon, and move my hand! Feel the energy inside my body, let it stream into my fingers, my marker, my paintbrush or some kind of stamp, and let it flow.

Today, I wasn’t particularly blocked, but I enjoyed it anyway!

Below you’ll find some of the results. I used:

  • pencil
  • crayon
  • marker
  • brush
  • other mark making tools, like stamps, a cardboard ‘thing’ that was used to pack something, bubble plastic.

Anything that you can find around the house and has an interesting form can be used as stamps!


Here you see the pencil:

The crayon (Caran d’Ache, Neocolor II):
An empty Molotov marker, filled with Golden High Flow acrylics (one of my newest findings: wonderful type of paint – it’s even more ‘flowy’ than the Fluid Acrylics, and I like it very much).

Pencils with high flow paint and fluid acrylic paint:

All kind of stamps:
So, if you’re bored, blocked, or could use some fresh inspiration and energy: go back to the basics and pick up your mark making again!


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!



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).




How to get out of a painting slump through playing with found composition

How to get out of a painting slump through playing with found composition

Fun with Found Composition


I’ve have been quite busy lately. Therefore, I found it difficult to stay true to my beloved daily painting practice. I felt ‘out of the groove’, and found it difficult to get back in. Today,  I want to share something that helped me!


I had been painting a larger painting (50-70 cm, that’s 20-26”), and I didn’t like it. After staring at it for a while, I got the luminous idea of creating a small ‘window’ of 15-15 cm (6-6”) in a piece of copy paper. I used this window to search f or spots on the bigger painting that appealed to me. I cut those out and finished them with blue, black, and white paint. Also, I used white and blue markers.


There were a few things that I liked about using the paper window:


First, I was less frustrated about my ‘spoilt’ painting. Suddenly something ‘ugly’ was only a step towards something that I really liked.

Second, the process of using the window and searching for interesting parts in the painting was fun and felt creative in itself.


Below I’ll show you a small video about the process, and also you’ll find the photo’s of some of the small paintings that I made.

I hope this is useful to you!







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!

Below you first see the big painting on the ground, with the ‘window’ on it.

And thereafter you’ll see the smaller paintings.


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!

Podcast Episode 3: Planning your painting ahead or not?

Podcast Episode 3: Planning your painting ahead or not?

Podcast Episode 3: Planning your paintings ahead, or not?

Note: I created a free workbook about exhibition planning. You can download it from the library!


Dear reader and listener,


The topic of today’s podcast is: ‘Is it wise to plan your paintings ahead?’.

I am tackling this question because I have been planning my painting a lot lately. And I’m wondering: is this wise? And I’m also curious: what do you think? What do you do? Do you plan your paintings ahead, or are you following your impulses, and see how far you come?

When I came back from my vacation in France, I decided that I wanted to have an exhibition before the end of the year. I just felt like I wanted to make this jump. I want to earn money with my paintings, and I don’t want to be dependent on gallery’s, so I’m planning to exhibit in December, live and online. I want it to be a ‘pop up-gallery’ for only one weekend. I want it to be live, here in Utrecht, which is the city where I live, and where I can invite friends, and friends of friends, and where people who are just passing by can hop in too. But I also want to make this pop-up gallery a two-day online-event. I don’t have any experience with this, but we’ll see.

I also decided about the number of paintings I wanted to make: I want to make at least six 80 by 80-centimeter paintings, which is 32 by 32 inch.



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!


A big statement for me

For me, this is quite a big statement, since I don’t have a space to exhibit yet and I don’t have any paintings ready! I have a date though (the weekend of 15 and 16 December). And that’s always a good thing to start with.

Now I’ve had a lot of thoughts about this. It is the first time I have ‘declared’ this kind of a plan. Usually, I think: Let’s first see if I can finish these paintings and if I can find a space to exhibit, and then I will see if I can make things happen. Now I decided to turn things around. I start with the end in mind and from now on the time is going to tick. My question for this podcast is: what are the pros and cons of such a project?


Let’s start with the pros.

I find it very stimulating to have a plan, a goal. It gives direction to my painting. When I paint, I know it’s part of a bigger project.

Second, and this is related to the first point: the chance that I get paintings finished is bigger. If I have a goal in mind, I might work harder to really get the painting finished. It challenges me to not give up too soon, or procrastinate painting.

Third, it gives people the possibility to follow the project, instead of only see the end result. This might be interesting. I know that I would find it interesting to follow projects like this since I’m always interested in the processes of other painters.


And now, the cons

Certainly, there are cons. I find it frightening and unsettling to make a statement like this. This project might fail, I might not finish the paintings, I might not find an exhibition space, nobody might buy my paintings. I might feel too exposed and think that I’m making a huge fool of myself. I might feel stressed. I might lose the fun of the process since I paint more product-oriented. And I’m always such a big fan of process-oriented painting! Don’t those two clash?



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!


I decided to make the jump

As you know, I finally decided to make the jump anyway. The fact that it’s frightening means also that I’m stretching myself. And I tend to stay on the safe side with these kinds of things, so it’s a possibility for growth.

Until now I don’t feel that I am spoiling the fun of the process. Once I get my brushes ready and put the first stroke onto the canvas, I get in the zone of painting and lose track of time. At least: that’s very often the case.

And if it does not work out, and the whole plan is completely unrealistic, well, I have an invitation for an exhibition for Spring 2019. Then I will postpone the whole thing for five months. Nothing is lost, and I have learned a lot along the way.


My question to you: what do you think?

Now my question to you is (and I’m really curious) – what are your experiences? Have you ever made a plan like this? What is your experience? And if you haven’t: would you like to do something like this? Or wouldn’t you? And why?


Lots of questions, and I’m looking forward to your answers in the comments!

Thanks so much for listening or reading!

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



You can download the workbook about Exhibition Planning from the free library!


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


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!

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