Podcast Episode 3: Planning your painting ahead or not?

Sep 13, 2018 | Blog & Business, Developing an art practice, Personal stories, Podcast

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.



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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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  1. Dotty Seiter

    Simone, what a terrific podcast and what a wonderful undertaking you’ve set in motion for yourself with your plan for a live pop-up exhibition mid-December!

    I often wrestle with the pros and cons of planning vs. not planning—with painting, with living each day. I tend to be a planner, someone who lives fairly intentionally. Yet, there are times when intuition knocks loudly and I follow an impulse without planning. There are gifts in each approach. When I had my artwarmers business, I pretty much just dove in, set the wheels in motion by declaring I had a business, and then worked out the details as I went along. I think the times when I have done such a thing have been times when something deep inside knows the time is right even if I don’t know the details.

    For sure, I will follow with great interest over the next months, with no attachment to outcome! From where I sit, no matter what, what you are choosing to pursue is compelling.

    Goede reis!

    • Simone Nijboer

      Thanks for your sweet and enthusiastic comments! I was even nervous to open the comments to this podcast-blog. Indeed, we’ll see how the ‘goede reis’ will go! It feels also good not to hang on too much to exact dates and so on. I have postponed my date for the launch of my online course for the fourth time right now. It is at it is, and it is all perfect as it goes ;-)!


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