Author Archives: Hanneke van der Werf

painting is harvesting life

acrylics 120cm x 100 cm

Sometimes I’m told that if you only follow me through social media and my newsletters, my life looks suspiciously sparkling. That’s a comment that makes me think. Because no, my life is not always joyful and I do not run happy to my studio day after day.

Life is not always very easy, not for me at least. To me, as a proud scientist of freedom, “life” is constantly becoming aware of where I hinder, stop, disturb my freedom. Where I do not allow freedom to myself. Where do I not dare to take freedom.

Well, that’s an infinite journey. Because a Buddha consciousness is not within my hand-reach. Trying, faiing, walk a few steps, failing again...  Always start again and again from an increasingly experienced point zero.

The good thing about it is that I find it really interesting to investigate what is disturbing my flow. Because we are all Buddha consciousness, there is only something (or a lot of somethings) blocking the light.

That shows similarities with the research ‘how to paint a real good painting’.
A painting is easy ‘beautiful’, but then it is not an inescapable piece of strong art. And how does that work? That’s a search, every painting again … Sometimes I’m sure to know that a part of the painting is “bloody perfect”. With boldness I paint around the brilliant piece, week after week, month after month and sometimes even year after year.
I do not really look anymore, because I have already decided that it is good, in the meanwhile it has lost all the contact with the rest of the painting; It’s a frozen piece on the canvas, that’s causes all the trouble.
The expression “killing your darlings” comes from this. Because that is the solution.

Back to my life. Because there too are always “frozen pieces” in roles that I “bloody” certainly knew they were honest. But, for example, and that’s happening now, it turns out I’ve left out a lot. A shadow piece that is unseen and is living its own life.

So no, my life is not always just sparkling. I’m not very cheerful walking in the dunes, welcoming  my aggression, anger and frustration. I do not really want to accept anything that smells like animal behaviour. Welcoming that, is for now just a mental practice.

But with much motivation, because I realize that masks in whatever shape, hinder me from making contact. With me. With the painting. With you.

And I know, from years of experience, that there is also a harvest time. As I expand the fullness of my existence, I see that back in my paintings. My paintings reflect my growth in clarity, fullness and layering. And that’s a very big gift. A gift that I would like to share with you.