Artists Approach

The brushes and my hands have to do the job, not me, not my brain, that does not work ..

I paint… it makes me happy!

I am motivated by the love of the process. Painting is like an intense compulsion for me. Read about my Artists Approach:


Abstract Painting about  Reality is not the same for everyone.

Artists Approach Painting Abstract

Every time I start a new painting, I am thrilled and in total panic at the same time. I think every artist whom you would ask about his Artists Approach knows that feeling. Even though it is not easy to endure: It is a wonderful feeling! This panic however creates chaos in my head.

When I start with a new abstract work

I usually begin with random brush strokes of color, and then paint unpredictably and intuitively. I always try to work in the direction that the painting gives me. Sometimes I paint on the rhythm of music. Often it is an experiment with different methods wich I have seen somewhere and would like to try myself. I always feel that I take great risks, but I then reassure myself every time with words such as: “It’s just paint, you can always throw the painting away, or you can also paint over it again.” Then the panic decreases and I can think again:

“What would happen if … “.

Sometimes it appears that the painting already knows what it wants to be. Then all I have to do is to surrender, to look and above all to rely on my brushes, which then just do the job, because they know what to do.

Painting every day is a must for me and also very useful, because you get better. You can predict what will happen when you make certain brush strokes again and again. You know how much water or medium you should have on your brush etc, then you can achieve more with less effort. So you grow and get more confidence in yourself, but that is not the only thing.

I also have learned to judge less about myself and not to work towards any imaginary result. To know: you do not make mistakes, it is just what it is. This is very important in the process of losing the fear of criticism from the outside world and also to realise that you don’t always need the approval of another person. Not that it is completely gone, but I have less and less problems with it so I feel more freedom during painting and my mind dares to take more risks.

Artists Approach Painting a City

When I start painting a town, I’m just as thrilled and at the same time in complete panic as with an abstract painting. That feeling is the same every time. It is a wonderful feeling, but again it creates chaos in my head.

I try to create order in this chaos

by drawing smooth lines and by bringing harmony into the bright colors, but the tension in the painting must remain. I do that by interrupting the smooth lines here and there. They must be round, curved lines and a single straight line can bring some tension to it. Mostly the first drawing is a doodle like a child’s scratch. Adding lights and shades creates roofs, walls or floors. At first sight there is harmony, but the chaos persists, because it is not always clear what for instance is the roof and what the wall. Still, I want it to look like if you could build a town like that.

Furthermore, the colors shouldn’t be pastel and they should not be floating. A pastel-colored world does not exist, because the world is not only nice and sweet. I love deep and full colors. You can not achieve this effect by putting the right color in one go, but only by creating a new layer over it each time again. It looks like a beautiful, brightly colored city. But when you take a close view, you’ll see that it is impossible to build a world like this.

Usually the towns are  in the dark. There are no people on the streets and the moon is shining, so in every painting you’ll see that light of the moon shining on the city. It reflects the mood of the city an often this mood determines the title of the painting.

Confused City. Gouache painting of a colourful city at night with a full yellow moon shining on the roofs. In the front there is water and a bridge. The colours of the buildings are reflecting in the water. canvas 50x70cm.
Silence on a Sunday Morning

Silence on an Sunday Morning fantasy painting of a city in all colours, dark blue sky with a yellow moon. The houses have different colours and shapes, it is as if they are looking at you, on canvas 50x40cm. by Lia van ElffenbrinckAs I painted this work, I was thinking  of the book my mother used to read from as I was a child. I then saw the story come to life in beautiful colors. During painting, it was as if the houses were looking at me. I felt the silence of the Sunday morning as all the people were still sleeping an where the moon was still shining. Nobody is awake or has to go to work, because Sunday is a special day...

Urbe in Orbem

Urbe in Orbem. Acrylic Painting about a city in an orb or in a waterbubble. The big drop with the city in it is coming out of a water circle, all around are little waterdrops with highlights. The painting is very colourful especially the city. In the back you see another drop with a city in it splashing out of the water. 160x140cm. by Lia van Elffenbrinck. Made for the exhibition in De Fundatie in Zwolle, The NetherlandsA chaotic colourful water surface mirrors in a water drop and in that drop a city is created with clear lines and harmonious color distribution. A second drop jumps out of the water in the background as if it is a little child of the big water drop.

Water has an appeal to me. When I see water, for example a ditch or a river, I would prefer to bathe in it or at least paddle. The exciting thing about water is that it can reflect all kinds of beautiful things, as if you could take it, but it is not there, because it is not real.

In most of my paintings, water flows through the city. In this work the city is born from the water.

You are not alone

You are not alone. Fantasy painting of a village at night full of colours. The sky is dark blue and the yellow moon is shining on the weird lovely houses which are standing in the water. In most of the houses the light is onA city full of colourful houses standing in the water. The light is shining in a  few houses, in a way that I didn’t feel comfortable. It was as if some people were watching me an therefore the working title was ‘You are being watched’. The water did not make it any better, so that threatening feeling became bigger. Then there was this bridge that leads you to the town and invites you to enter. I felt no longer watched, but a part of the group and I could belong to them. When I realized this, I felt consoled by this painting.


Painting of a colourful fantasy village at night or in the evening. All the coloured houses seem to grow out of the ground. The sky is dark blue and the yellow moon is shining on the weird lovely city. Metamorphosis, acrylic painting on canvas 50x40cm.Max van Huut (one of the architects from “De Buitenplaats” in Eelde, The Netherlands): “…it is as if we lift a piece of earth and turn it into a building. Everything we put down comes from that earth and becomes part of it again. We see the earth as a living organism, which you must not mutilate with unnatural buildings. You have to add something to it. Something that makes the earth feel good.” (translated by Lia van Elffenbrinck)

I love buildings that form a unity with the environment so this “Metamorphosis” came naturally from the ground with all its bumps. This also reflects the importance of balance and harmony.

Read more about creative expression and an Artists Approach.