There is a strange thing called 'passion'. Everybody has got one. If you haven't, it will reveal itself to you one day or another.
For me it came when I was about eleven years old. I remember that I went to an art shop in France, where we were living at that time. I don’t know exactly, but it was a dusty old shop and, behind the counter, an equally old man – at least, that’s what he looked like to me. Artist books and accessories were neatly put on a table. From the serie ‘how to draw’, I chose the book ‘trees’. It costed about 20 francs, so that was a big present. A thin book with a weak cover, it taught you step by step how to draw trees in crayon, from the first sketch until the final result. Bone dry.
At home I gave the book a place among my beloved properties. Occasionally, I turned the pages, but I can’t remember following the course. I just couldn’t set my mind to it. But still it did matter to me – unfortunately, as I say now, because why would I concern about a thing that I would not do anyway? Already, it had begun: I developed a sense of duty so that I would do it in the end. Only, I didn’t do it. It looked like if something had to be suitable for a 100%. Besides that, my thoughts were too chaotic; they went all over the place. What do you do in such a case? Well, just hold that thought and make it happen another time. 'Not now, but someday' became my second nature.
Now I remember that I did try it, the book with drawing lessons. But I soon felt disappointed because the drawings in the book were much better. Unfortunately I thought like that. Generations have thought like that. First discipline and following the example, school-like. First the technique and then the creativity. First the theory and then the practice. First the conditions and then the main thing. First the lesser things to do, then the fun part. I took over this morality and I thought that I had to meet the highest standards. You could hear it from the ones that excelled in their profession. Those people had worked very hard. It does’t happen overnight. You will have to work, struggle, suffer. And that’s being carried from generation to generation.
In my generation, these things changed. I don’t mean the work ethic – because that still went on – but about how it was being told to us. I grew up with Annie M.G. Schmidt’s philosophy of I-am-being-pretty-naughty, in which she breaks with the tight harness of the fifties. A fight against authority, from behind the typewriter. The motto was: ‘Become a child!’ or, even better: ‘Stay a child!’ She showed us another world, in which children are much more accepted as full human beings. They are not adults in progress but children, with their own world, with fantasy, spontaneity, creativity, humor, feelings… in fact, everything that adults have, only it is much more colorful and less restricted. Her books are a mirror for those who read them to their children, because they come from the gray adult world: dull, strict and rigid.
A whole generation grew up with the books and poems of Annie M.G. Schmidt. ‘Pluk van de Petteflet’ was my book. It is – in one sentence – about a boy who is living alone and takes his own decisions. With it, the author gave me, and the generation that was born in the sixties, the ideal of freedom. That’s what I wanted to be, a boy who takes care of things himself and who is courageous in the small adventures he’s going through. However, it was a story. In the real world it all went much more seriously. The achievements of the sixties were obvious, because we had much more freedom than the generations before us. But we still had to meet the same standards: the highest possible. And that means: first discipline and following the example, school-like. First the technique and then the creativity. First the theory and then the practice. First the conditions and then the main thing. First the lesser things to do, then the fun part.
Freedom is fantastic. Nevertheles, I always felt guilty. Guilty about the fact that I didn’t have the discipline. Guilty about the fact I didn’t make my homework. Guilty about the fact that, what I really liked was not what I was supposed to do. Unfortunately. Because of that, I didn’t learn to follow my passion. Now that I am back drawing, writing, and composing music, I feel this huge energy coming to me. At the same time I feel anxiety, because when I am purchasing my dreams, things will become serious.
It’s all because of the fact that I lost my passion for so many years. Now I want to adopt it again, and this project I will give it the name ‘Back to my passion’. I can see three different steps:
Step 1: To have the passion
Step 2: To feel the passion
Step 3: To live the passion
‘To live the passion’ is a difficult one. It is the passion that is anchored into your life and that you can't do without. That’s were I am now, but only at the beginning of it. Although it already is a motor, there still are many uncertainties in my mind and I don’t know yet, how to deal with it. Drawing, writing, composing: I am sure I can do it, that’s not were I am afraid of, but I have to guide it. When I look at myself now, I am working night after night on my drawings, blogs and melodies. You have heard it right: night after night. You can say that it is going a bit far. To have a passion is a good thing, but in this way I can’t keep it up.
The poster of ‘The Passion’, with Ellen ten Damme standing in the foreground, was something where I was about to lose control. I had the idea of portraying her in the most beautiful way and of course plainly dressed. It was a challenge. Everything had to be right and that was quite a thing. With only a mouse and the Microsoft program Paint, it is hardly to do. The mouse goes in all directions; especially the hands and feet caused me headaches – one of the most difficult things anyway. However, the night work has been succesful. Again, I know what drawing feels like. For a moment I felt like Vincent van Gogh, Rembrandt van Rijn or George Hendrik Breitner. Not that I compare myself with them, but they must have felt the same passion, to imitate the human body, if it is on paper, canvas, or computer screen.
I have to stop working night after night, but I do know that I have to keep on following my instincts. What it will bring me? I don’t know, but certainly it will be one big adventure.Huug Verschuijl
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My next blog will be published on April 7, 2016 at 10:15 a.m.
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