The Painting Process

The Challenge

Everytime I start a new painting I feel excited and I am in a total panic at the same time. I am sure every artist will know that feeling in the painting process. Allthough it is not easy to endure: I love that feeling!

Painting process:

When I start painting, I don’t take the paint and the brushes, but I sit and become aware of my feelings – my body. As soon as I can feel “everything” and don’t think anymore, I take my brushes and the painting starts. Sometimes the thoughts come back and want to influence my painting. At that moment I stop, sit, become aware of me in my body until the thoughts are gone and I continue with the painting process.

Mostly I don’t know what the painting will be. Then I paint and paint until I know what it wants to be. Sometimes the piece is so kind and shows me, in a short flash, how it will be. That’s always nice! The moment when I am getting to the end of a painting is, when I start thinking of a name for it.

You can see more about my painting process on my artist’s approach on the videos made at The Colorfield Performance. 

Colours make me live

I like everything in my life to be colourful. Not only when I paint, but always in my life, like the flowers in my garden. In my house every room has another colour. I need colours and I need many of them, but they should remain in some harmony. When I am painting I sometimes limit my colours to merely three, just for me to stay in the same mood. Colours help me living and make me live.


I use acrylics, oils, gouache and dry pastels. I would not restrict myself to only one sort of paint, because I like them all so much.
Painting with acrylics means that you can take the painting wherever you want, because it dries very fast and you don’t get a mess. Working with acrylics by Lia van ElffenbrinkSometimes this makes the process more easy. You can paint it over and over again. I like the way the tinge always changes a little bit when you repeat the same movement on the canvas.
Painting with oils feels like playing. It gives me lots of fun moments and a happy mood. I like the way you can mix and blend everything at the same time. Painting with oils by Lia van ElffenbrinkAlthough I know it isn’t very healthy, I love the smell of turpentine oil. It reminds me of the ancient shoe polish.
Painting with gouache means that you will get the brightest colours of all sorts of paint. It will always dissolve, when you paint it over with water or paint. Working with gouache by Lia van Elffenbrink I love using gouache with wallpaper paste and than paint with my hands.
I like using pastels to make movements with my hands on the paper. Painting with pastels by Lia van ElffenbrinkOf course I also draw with pastels but mostly just with my fingers and not with the chalk.
I use all sorts of medium. I like the effects you can achieve with them. It is not always necessary to use a medium, sometimes painting with acrylics, I forget to use them. But I think the colour is more brilliant when I use a medium instead of water. It also gives the paint more body. Using painting Medium by Lia van ElffenbrinkWhen I paint with gouache I only use water. When painting with oils, I use linseed oil, terpentine oil (Wow what a lovely smell!), or liquin.
Colour wheel:

The colour wheel has become important in the time I have been painting. The time I took searching and reading about the colourwheel really was well spent.

Colour wheel by Lia van Elffenbrink It clarified a lot of how I feel about some colours. It also showed me why I used which colour. Furthermore I learned to get depth in a painting and I learned so much about shadows.

As you can see I use lots of brushes. Each brush has it’s own specialty. Brushes and tolls to paint by Lia van Elffenbrink I also use all kinds of other stuff to put the paint on the canvas. Such as there are: sponges, spatulas stolen from my kitchen, spoons, cork, paper and cardboard, feathers, you name it. Most important tool: my fingers.
The Palette:
Always a big mess on my palette. This is acrylic paint and I have to keep it wet, so I spray water on it. It is not easy to get the water to stay in its place, because this palette is not really flat. It declines a little bit at the edges so the water accumulates there.

Do you see my black nail?

I had clamped my thumb between the car door. That was not funny!