The reasons why I started to paint


Anne from IdéFix asked me the reasons why I started to paint. She asked me about the moments of awakening, about how an idea suddenly starts to manifest towards to outside.  What makes it that I come out now? 


A translation of an article on IdéFix. On the 13th of September I will show my work in my exhibition 'Inner Universe & Outer World' at IdéFix, followed by two workshops on how you can invite more creativity into your life.


-- "If I bought books earlier, they were all about work. Everything had to be useful, I had to be productive. When I realized that everything was dominated by my work, I changed the wheel drastically. I saw how an angry man sat on my drivers seat the recent years, a man who always wanted to work hard to achieve success. This has brought me a lot, and enabled me to get a company out of the ground (training agency De Upstarter). But the moment I sat alone at my desk and found silence, a little girl suddenly crept out of a corner asking if it was finally time to play with her.

From that moment on I only read about artists and designers; read interviews about their path. When I asked myself how I wanted people to remember me at my funeral, I said, "as an artist." When I asked others to describe me, they all said that I was creative. Yet it did not ring a bell; I did not realize that I wanted to make art myself. Only when I had really let go of everything and could reinvent myself by moving to Berlin, I started move into what came truly from my heart.


In the summer I made a trip to Portugal, I always had some paint materials with me, wherever I went. But on that trip I opened the book 'The Artist Way'. That is where my journey to make room for what I want and what I find important started. I asked questions to myself, wrote positive affirmations and started to tell a different story about myself. I encountered some abstract artists and something clicked in me; I recognized my language. I then went to the store, picked up all the materials I needed and started to work, in my room.


In November, the loss of a dear friend of mine hit me hard. In the first years we knew each other, but we did not understand each other very much. She fluttered around and I was a hard worker. In the last years we found each other, and we found out that we had more in common than we thought. A month before her death we had passionate conversations, she talked about her dream to dance and I told her about my dream to paint, and how we had now organized our lives to pursue this. She had finally made peace with her path and danced beautifully through life. After her death, I could do nothing but go for my dream and not be afraid. Every time I doubt myself or fear to make a new step, she is on my shoulder and I feel the strength to continue.

"I have never done it before, so I think I should definitely be able to do it!" - Pipi Langstrumpf.

"I have never done it before, so I think I should definitely be able to do it!" - Pipi Langstrumpf.

Through a project that organized tours for artists, for which I did the marketing, I got talking to a tattoo artist in Porto. I told modestly that I also liked to make art, after which she asked for my Instagram. I said I did not have one, and then my fear of getting on the podium came out. The cards turned around. Instead of motivating others to pursue their dream, I sat on the chair and was put in front of the block. I did not dare to show my work and put it online and I even shed tears at the thought. After a long conversation and some screaming, I did it. And thought I had a company in all those years, I never had this fear. If I have such a fear, then this is what I have to do! "Everything you ever wanted, lies on the other side of fear."


I already knew #The100DayProject and found out that they would start the challenge again in March. I jumped in. I already shared a few of my drawings on Instagram, but after hearing stories from others who participated in this project, I thought, I will try this. 100 days long, every day a painting by me. This helped me to get through my own fear of sharing my work. After a few days I already had the fear of making bad or ugly things. One night I did not dare anything and I made something that I was totally dissatisfied with. I posted it anyway, with bad light even. This made me go through my own fear. The weekend after that I did a huge session and maybe I did my best work of the whole series.

Why I am now suddenly painting, has to do with letting go and allowing. Letting go of that what does not belong to me, things that I have taken from others and that do not feed me. And allowing myself to nurture the artist in me, allowing myself to invest in painting materials, allowing to make mistakes, allowing myself to learn. Allowing to be myself and share this with others.


Abstract work asks me to communicate on a deeper level of myself. All fears or uncertainties reflect directly in the process or on the paper and that is also the strength of making abstract art. It is an exercise of feeling, listening and trust. If feelings of fear or criticism arise, you are on the right track, then you know that you are challenging yourself creatively! Now I see: it is never too late to start. There is room for everyone ".


Learn more about the workshops here or visit my exhibition on the 13th of September in Amsterdam!


Jorinde Olling