Tag Archive for: nature

Become a Bamboo

Become a Bamboo

I Love this Zen story, told like this by Osho: There was once a great painter, he was already well known and was painting bamboos for years and years. But his master said: “No, if you want to really paint a bamboo you have to go and live with the bamboos in a bamboo grove. Right now you only paint the outside of the bamboo, but you have no idea about the inside. Go and become a bamboo.” The disciple went, and it took him three years. Then one day the wind was blowing through the bamboo grove and he started swaying, just like a bamboo. He realised he hadn´t been a man for a while. Now he could go back and paint a bamboo.

It took him three years. Incredible, when I realise I try to make paintings of nature all the time. As a child I grew up in a forest and I believe I had an immediate contact to the nature around me, but now? So many thoughts focused on making money and how to sell this and that, how to present myself to the outside. No time left to become a bamboo!

I suppose this is a reason why aboriginal paintings have such a strong appeal to me. They paint the land they live on: the grass, yam bushes, animals and their dreams. They live in it. There is not much of a separation between the painter and the painted. The paintings are pretty abstract but very vibrantly alive. By looking at them I can feel the stuff they depict, feel rather than see. For me this is the essence of abstract painting: to convey the feeling of something rather than the visual appearance.


I sit here in my room, in the flat I have lived for about two years. First alone, then with my partner. This flat has a garden, with diapers and broken glass from upper neighbours who don´t know how to treat garbage. The flat is also close to the forest in Zeist, or what goes as ´forest´ in a country like the Netherlands. It´s actually rather nice I have to say, even compared to Sweden where I grew up.

It´s time to move: In three weeks we´re out of here.  They will rip the whole building down, and expose our wallpaper to the world. I don´t care. Maybe. I dreamt of an earthquake last night so I suppose I do care. The good news is that the earthquake went away: We signed our new contract today. Of a place much more out in nature, where even wild pigs walk around in winter the estate agent told me. I´m not sure if he wanted to impress or scare me, I think the signatures where already on the paper. I quite like wild pigs.

We were in Australia in March. There you have to drive about an hour to get anywhere at all if you live out in the bush. It was an inspiration to me, because I think we´re rather spoiled in a small country like Holland. To travel for more than an hour from A to B is considered to take too long. Now I know better. It gives a lot of freedom to live out in nature, it depends how you look at things. It also depends on how you communicate with the world. I like to communicate with birds and trees actually, and squirrels and mushrooms… Or with wallabies and possums if we´re talking about Australia. To live in flats designed like rabbit cages (quoting my dad) doesn´t feel very free to me anymore. But a year ago I didn´t even have my driving license yet, so it would have become tricky to visit friends and see anyone at all. Now things look different and I look forward to move out. I won´t really miss the diapers in my garden, not even as inspiration for my paintings.