Time management

If you have not enough time to start a new session you could consider to prepare something that saves you time in the next session. For example:

  • cleaning, workspace, palette and brushes
  • prepare / prim canvases
  • lay down a thin layer of color / tone
  • start the drawing

Tools are made for tasks

There are great tools for all kinds of tasks. It is great when tool and task fit together and we save a lot of time and energy if we find the right tool for the task instead of trying to execute with this wrong tool. Sometimes creativity helps out, but in general we should stand up and get the tool we need.


I signed my last 20 paintings or so with cadmium red.

After “hiding” my signature with colors similar to the color palette of the painting I switched to a bolder statement. Bigger letters, more fluid and red are saying:

“Look, I am responsible for this!”


We should try to really put ourselves in our work.

And I don’t mean that we should overidentifying with our work (side note: we are not our work).

I mean that we should find and share the things that we know best, that we feel strongly about, that we are able to talk about because of our personal history.

But this takes courage for sure.

Art and Fear

Fearful art is bad art.

If you feel fear while creating art then you should deal with it urgently.

Art enjoys great tolerance, given to us by non-artists, so we can experiment, explore new things, and show possibilities. That’s not possible with fear.

Value Exercise

Paint your colorful reference in black and white. This is good way to understand values. Afterwards you can check your values with your phone: take a photo and switch to black and white.

Film how you paint

If you film how you paint, you will recognize a few things that you didn’t know. I am thinking on sport coaches watching lost games again to find mistakes.

Timelapsing the creation of a painting (lets say of a bad one) will show you if you start was already bad or if you had a good start but lost the painting in the process.

A deep analysis of this video material is important. You should watch it with the purpose to learn something about yourself to to entertain you for a while.

Painting two paintings simultaneously

At the moment I paint the same motif in two formats simultaneously.

I use the same color palette to save a lot of mixing time. So I have more time to focus on brushwork for example. And when I learn something at one painting I can use this knowledge directly on the other painting.

The composition will be changed slightly to keep me excited.

Also I will vary my brush making. One painting will be tighter, the other more gestural.

Give it a try. You can also try the paint completely different subjects with the same palette or paint the same subject with different color palettes.

Fresh eyes

While working on a piece I sometimes make a photo with my phone and look at it in black and white. This a nice 1-minute-move to see if the value of painting a developing the way I want. This is also useful when I paint on a painting for a longer period of time. I can manipulate the photo and see my painting with fresh eyes.

Every stroke counts

In the ideal painting every stroke is placed with purpose so that each stroke contributes to the whole painting.

To learn that you can try to paint with a limited quantity of strokes. Could you do a painting with 100, 50 or 10 strokes?