Quality is the first norm for art, but its final norm is love and truth, the enriching of human life, the deepening of our vision.


Vink, Els - VM - Els Vink

Els Vink: Italian Self-Portrait

On the Inside and on the Outside

by Els Vink

In our world of contradictions, like beautiful or ugly, hot and cold or dark and light, good and bad take up a special position. It is by these polarities that our human nature tends to judge most things. We are always longing for something good or trying to avoid something bad, a constant craving and aversion.

Several years ago a depression struck. Life seemed too much to bear. Sad and tired of my daily battles I happened to pick up a book that completely changed my life. It told me about the characteristics of the ‘ego’ and that it was my own resentment of my life’s situation that caused me to suffer – not the circumstances themselves but my inner conflict about it.

Of course no one wants hardships and setbacks. You simply get them on your plate as they are an inevitable part of our world. But problems also represent a hidden potential for mental growth, although I couldn’t see that at the time. The cycle of complaint in my head kept on telling me how awful everything was. This pattern didn’t contribute to the solution of anything, quite on the contrary, it only brought pain.

What I learned was that acceptance of ‘what is’ is in fact a powerful key to inner happiness. Don’t believe everything you think. Listen to the silence inside. This turned out to be a turning point. I remember that through my tears I had to laugh out loud because I suddenly realized the deep truth of it. It was a very strange and wonderful sensation.

Acquired knowledge and insight also need to be applied and lived by. Although I was not immediately released from that nasty depression, nevertheless I learned more and more to say yes to ‘what is’, to welcome what presents itself on my life-path and to allow space for conscious inner quietness.

Painting is a form of meditation for me. In the silence and tranquility of the Italian countryside I can be so wrapped up in my work that the concentration stops the constant flow of thoughts and I am totally focused on the evolving painting.

All through my life there have been crucial moments when there was an angel who helped or protected me. Many times I have asked questions that were answered miraculously. I experience this as being loved by my Father in Heaven, which in turn evokes love for him in me. It is my greatest wish to express this profound feeling in my paintings... a spiritual journey transformed into a work of art.

But how can we paint the inconceivable? A painting or a portrait almost by definition is about outward appearance and yet I strive to show a deeper level. I attempt to weave it into the very fabric of the painting, with colour, composition and passion. In the case of the Italian self-portrait I also used symbolism as ‘La Dolce Vita’ only concerns the outside. I want to lay bare that we as human beings are not merely bags of cells, driven by electric currents, but that within each of us there is a deep state of being, our true self, that lives in us quietly and hidden.


Els Vink: Italian Self-Portrait, oil on panel, 60 x 90 cm.

Els Vink (b. 1961) is a Dutch painter who is especially interested in portraiture. She lives and works not far from Rome in Italy. Her starting point is that a portrait should not only be beautiful and offer a good likeness, but that also the personality of a person should be brought out. She is happy to send you more detailed information, also about prices. She can be contacted through

ArtWay Visual Meditation August 19, 2018