JENS MALMGREN I create, that is my hobby.

Helen 2 February 2020

It is Sunday, 2 February 2020.

In a few moments, I will leave the house and go to a model painting session at de Stoker in Amsterdam. There is no maintenance of the train, and I even checked that on beforehand.

Now I am on the train to Amsterdam. It is leaving in two minutes, but I got a nice place to sit. I am sitting in the middle of a group of young Finnish grownups. It is Finnish because I have colleagues also speaking Finnish, so I recognize their language. It is not so that I understand a word of what they are saying except a few phrases such as good morning and have a nice weekend.

When biking to the train station, I contemplated my painting skills right now. I love to paint portraits. It is challenging to get portraits right, and I like that. Over time, I have become better at capturing a likeness. It is a process, a little like a scientific process. I paint a portrait, and then I evaluate the result. Then I paint another portrait, and in that portrait, I try to incorporate the lessons I learned from all previous portraits.

The process of learning like this has a similarity with how deep learning in artificial intelligence is working. In deep learning, there is a phase of doing something, then evaluate the result. Adjust the process and do it again. Then go on and on.

In AI, they are talking about that the time it takes to make a full turn in a learning cycle has a huge impact on how long time it takes to reach an acceptable goal in the overall training of the system. I incorporated this into all my painting practices. Other artists can see me paint quickly, and I am talking openly about why I am doing it, but I don’t see others trying to do the same. What I do see is that other artists are hanging on to each painting and working infinitely on it. For one painting, I can understand that they want to make something really beautiful, but I cannot understand that they go on and do this. There you have it, I am training my own brain as a deep learning system. Also, this thinking is part of my art.

Now I switched from train to tram, and I am still typing on my laptop. Lovely. I just love this. I recall many years ago when I worked in Amsterdam Sloterdijk. I remember that I loved working on my laptop on the train. Back then, there was no WIFI or data. It took so long to start the laptop that it had only started when I reached the bridge leaving the municipality. Now I had already been writing for a while when I reached the bridge. This was perhaps 14 years ago. I worked at McAfee in Sloterdijk. I was a team leader for a group of developers.

It is rainy today. I am almost at the station. The tram sounds like it is going to break down at any moment.

The artists today were Irene, Floor, Tom, Ron, Saskia, and me. The model was Helen.

On the way to the painting session, I wrote about how good I am trying to learn painting portraits and all that is very well and good. At the session, I noticed I did not live up to my own expectations. I asked others what their ambitions were for today’s session. My plan was to measure as good as I possibly could and spend the first section of the session for drawing. My idea was that after the drawing, I would not need to worry about the composition and likeness and instead use my energy in the painting.

It did not work out like that entirely; there was something wrong with the arm. I had made the underarms too long. Actually, the model noticed this.

After the session, I got a lift with Irene. She was driving past Almere and could give me a lift. I forgot I had biked to the station so now my bike is there and I am at home. I will take the bus tomorrow morning to work, and then in the evening, I will pick up the bike.


I was born 1967 in Stockholm, Sweden. I grew up in the small village Vågdalen in north Sweden. 1989 I moved to Umeå to study Computer Science at University of Umeå. 1995 I moved to the Netherlands where I live in Almere not far from Amsterdam.

Here on this site I let you see my creations.

I create, that is my hobby.