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Head, heart and hands are the triangle...

This triangle is the base of a childs spiritual growth.

The 22 imaging exercises in 'The Timeless Hour', a workbook with introduction and instruction video, improve the integration of cognitive, emotional and social intelligence.

Michiel Czn. Dhont has developed a unique method of expressive-art based on exercises by movement and intuition through individual and collective drawing- and clay excercises that benefit concentration and visualisation faculties. Sharing sensorial experiences causes social interaction that creates balance in the sense of the body. Enhanced selfconfidence, decrease of stress and increase of creativity and profit on cognitive faculties are among the results. The Timeless Hour offers applications for (remedial) teachers and is a source of inspiration for companions in artistic- and creative therapies and psychotherapies. The working method in the book can be put in practice in educational as well as curative settings with children, adolescents and adults. All exercises in the book enhance and intensify the individual- and group feeling. They also benefit the powers of concentration of the child through the process of integration between the left and the right hemisphere.
This inner integration enhances the interaction between children in a learning process, also where children with different ethnic backgrounds are working together. Since nowadays society is the more and more complex, it is important that children develop and integrate all three types of intelligence: cognitive-, emotional- and social intelligence. In modern society children as well as adults are confronted with deeply touching developments and environmental pollution. It is their task to give sense to these events and to make conscious choices in the realization of their lives. The vision and the exercises in this workbook correspond closely with the developments of the last 30 years in the scientific fields of pedagogy, neurology (brain research) and social philosophy.
These exercises benefit the childs healing power through the process of integration between the left and the right hemisphere.

Excerpt of the chapter 'Clay-Exchange'
Interview about The Timeless Hour

The Timeless Hour has been published as - 't Tijdloze Uur - in The Netherlands by Lambo Publishers, ISBN nr. 90.74119.66.2
More information about The Timeless Hour, address a.o. at www.dhont.nl
michiel -AT- dhont.nl (+31 523 638 678

World Health Organization
The United Nations'


In 2002 Michiel Czn. Dhont has introduces his method / workbook to this W.H.O.
in sessions and lectures to representatives of 168 countries who are members of this  Conference which returnes every 4 years.

The Timeless Hour
('t Tijdloze Uur)

The Timeless Hour - a workbook containing 22 practical experience-aimed exercises for children aged 5 to 12.
A transfer of 30 years experience from the area of visual expression in book form.
Target groups: primary-/grammarschool, healthcare.

Application of the above mentioned 22 exercises already brought many positive experiences in different worksettings over many years, working with children as well as with adults. The central theme of this workbook is that the child can totally surrender itself in a direct way to the intuitive expression of its inner world. In addition the exercises provide countless opportunities to strengthen the bond of trust between the teacher and the children. The teacher may choose to participate with them. This book can also contribute towards greater job satisfaction for the teacher as the child's mediator. Stimulating the child's expression of feelings and the ability to visualise has a direct effect on the ability to concentrate and the total learning performance. In this book reference is made to scientific research in the US and The Netherlands, in which this is confirmed. The ability to concentrate and visualise clearly in different cognitive learning situations is fed by these visual processes.

Stress is een factor die de leeroverdracht in sterke mate blokkeert. Het gedrag van een kind in stress is door volwassenen niet altijd makkelijk te traceren. Vooral in een begin fase. Stress frustreet de ontwikkeling van genoemde vertrouwensrelatie tussen het kind en de volwassene of groepsleerkracht. Jonge kinderen zijn overmatig gevoelig en daarmee kwetsbaar voor stres aangezien hun zenuwstelsel nog niet volgroeid is. De door stress aangerichtte schade veroorzaakt in mindere of meedere mate de groei tot een volgroeid volwassen mens.

Stress is a factor that greatly inhibits the transfer of learning.
To distinguish stress in the behavoir of a child is not so easy for an adult or in this way a tutor. Most likely in beginning phase of a stress proces.
Stress frustrates the devolopment of confidence in the relation between the child and the adult / tutor.
Children up to their age of 7 till 9 years old are vulnerable for stress because their nervous system has not yet come to a natural growth.

Damage by stress more or less decreases the growth to become a centered adult person.

The exercises in this book make it possible to decrease stress in the child's behaviour. Through this the development and learning ability of the child will be affected in a positive way.

Besides my teaching experiences with children, this approach has also been of benefit for adults. The 22 exercises being offered consist of individual as well as collective exercises to be carried out by two or more children. Within certain working areas the book can therefore be applied to both children and adults. I am thinking of Remedial Teachers, the Altra Foundation ( former Boddaerd), people who provide assistance to asylum seekers, health workers/people who provide assistance to handicapped people, and intermediate vocational education.

As this book has not yet been published in English there is no price as yet. The complete text has been translated into English. A video film in Dutch and English is provided with the book. Possibly in the future also in German, French, Spanish and Finnish. Which publisher on the international market is interested in an English edition?

The body aim of the learning models offered here may be summarised as follows:

  • Decreasing stress in the child through release
  • Promoting the child's ability to concentrate through an integration process of the left and right side of the brain
  • Balancing body feeling, emotional experience and mental-cognitive ability, in order for the child to develop into an internally independent acting human being. This will make the child feel more involved in what it is doing.
  • Development of the creative ability out of thinking and acting, through stimulating the child's ability for expression
  • Development of the emotional intelligence in relation to the cognitive intelligence of the child/learning integration
  • Stimulating the development of social intelligence in social behaviour, especially regarding relationships between children of different ethnic backgrounds.

If you are interested or want to buy the Dutch edition... http://shop.lecturium.nl/boek/7656/t-tijdloze-uur

Group session of group 7&8 of Grammar/Primary school


Clay exchange (with closed eyes)
Example of an excercise with clay from the book 'The Timeless Hour'.

Clay exchange (with closed eyes)
Example of an excercise with clay from the book 'The Timeless Hour'.
Through social interaction unity in the group feeling of the class is created. Play situation by means of an exchange (non-verbal communication).
Body feeling strengthened by various ways of moving and touching the clay. Interaction between you as the teacher and the children if you should participate while at the same time indicating the subsequent actions. Confidence by mutual exchange of roles between you and the children can be improved.
This exercise of clay-exchange comprises the theme of giving (letting go) and receiving (non-verbal communication). Independently determining whether to continue with the same or completely change it. There will be a stimulance on enhancement of resolution and selfresponsable choice. Through co-operation thoughts, feelings and ideas are exchanged. Stimulation of the integration of children in your class, aswell active as verbal in composing two pieces of sculpture together.
B.R.L.H. (Enhancement of the Balance between the Right- and the Left Hemisphere) First non-verbally and in the final stage verbal communication also takes place.

Clay the size of a tennis ball or a bit larger, fitting in two child's hands
Clay board 25 x 35 cm.
If the children make a drawing afterwards:
Paper 65 x 50 cm 160 grams / 4 crayons / tesa tape

Transforming clay
The children are sitting in groups of two next to or opposite each other. In this way they can easily exchange the pieces of clay among them. If there is an odd number of children in your class you as the teacher can do the clay exchange with one of the children.
When you have handed out the clay you first have the children knead their bit until it is supple. A clay board can be very useful. They can throw the piece of clay onto the board and hit it with their hands. This makes the clay very supple. Often this initially leads to a rather busy working atmosphere which afterwards can change into a relaxed atmosphere in your class. This is also a focussed way of expression, creating greater peacefulness for the clay exchange which is to follow. A little working noise also creates an activating atmosphere.
Then they close their eyes and with both hands start kneading the clay intuitively. They can however express themselves through hitting the clay and making noises with their voice. Especially if they have just received the clay object after the exchange. However, there is no talking. You indicate the exchange by saying the word 'exchange'.
In the beginning the 'exchange' is a little faster, but in such a way that the periods of time are never the same (no habituation). The periods of time may become consecutively longer. Maybe in between twice an exchange that is a bit faster. Usually this exercise does not take much longer than 15 to 20 minutes in total. If you feel that the level of concentration is high, you can let de exercise continue longer. You determine whether you tell the children the duration of the exercise beforehand. Explain clearly to them that after the 'exchange' they first give the clay object to each other. They first thoroughly feel the clay object they then receive and don't start changing it immediately. They feel during approx. 12 seconds. Only then are they free to continue with what is already there or change it completely.
During this complete transformation they can make hand movements and clay hitting movements. The clay hitting can take place between both hands or on the clay board. Also tell the children that they can also keep their hands still now and then and only hold or touch the clay object. They do not need to be active all the time but may also be passively receptive.

In the exercise clay 'exchange' in pairs the giving (letting go) and receiving (taking in) are an important part. Here the 'mine' and 'thine' plays an important part. After a number of exchanges both pieces of clay represent the work of both children. Not controlling with the eyes but feeling everything by touch could also be accompanied by a stimulation of the child's visualisation ability and giving up mental control. Experience through feeling can take over more easily. The choice to 'continue with' or 'change into' is a strong stimulus for intuitive self determination. Just as in the following collective drawing exercises it is important to clearly explain to the children in advance the difference between 'mine' and 'thine'. Learning to deal with the feeling of 'mine' and 'thine' in letting go of 'my' clay object and accepting and/or changing the 'other' clay object/'thine'.
Tell the children the following clearly: "the clay object is for 'you' but not 'yours'…, and also for 'you' and for 'you', but not 'yours', so no one owns one of the two clay objects. When using the words 'you' and 'you' you indicate different children, so all children know this applies to all of them.
When you explain the 'exchange' it becomes clear that the exercise does not have a specific form or theme. At least there is no final aim at all. Because if you say the word 'exchange' once more or once less, the image keeps changing. The final 'exchange' determines the final image.

The exercise part 1
Tell the children clearly
"Close your eyes, feel the clay in your hands and do with it what your hands want to do. Do keep the clay in your hands or on the clay board/floor"
As the teacher from now on, now and than you keep saying the word 'exchange'…............. 'exchange'…..................'exchange'.

clay-exchange-session with closed eyes

You determine how often you let the children exchange the clay.
Within 15 seconds after you mentioned to exchange their clay objects now and then softly say the following sentences:
"relax behind your eyes", "let go of your exhalation".

The exercise part 2
After having said the last 'exchange' you softly but clearly audible tell the children:
"Keep your eyes closed...
With both hands bring the piece of clay to your face
and softly touch it to your forehead...
then open your eyes very slightly so you can just see something of the clay and of your fingers
look at the light and dark areas on the claysurface
and also look at your fingers, your skin, your nails and whatever else you see
Gradually let some more light into your eyes
You now see more of the clay
Look into the cracks and holes in the clay
And discover what there is to see
Find a place somewhere where you feel safe and comfortable.
It can be a hole, a crack or may be a top like a little hill
Once your eyes are completely open you let your hands with the clay figure rest in your lap
Stay sitting like that for a while
From now onwards you don't change the clay figure any more"

This concludes the practical part of the exercise.

If as the teacher you wish to make time available, you can let the dialogue take place now. However, you may also decide to continue after the exercise without having the dialogue.

A variety in choices:

  1. As the teacher you may decide to follow the above exercise with 1 or 2 exercises given below. You can now choose for a verbal, social interaction between the pairs of children. The children show each other the clay objects and tell each other about them in pairs. What the process was like for them and what they see in the clay figures. This does not take place at class level. Finally you can tell them to think of a title or a name for the clay figure they are holding. Everyone their own title. The title consists of one to three words at most.
  2. Have the children make a drawing in charcoal or with crayons based on their most important experience during working with clay with their eyes closed. They make this drawing with the hand they usually do not write with. For crayons see chapter 11.
  3. Have the children make a drawing in charcoal or with crayon based on the clay figure they are holding after the last exchange.
  4. a. Have the children who have been working on the clay objects as a pair make a composition of their two clay objects. They do not change the objects any more and put them on top or against each other. In the meantime they keep telling each other what they see in these new compositions. They give the final composition they like best a common title or name. The title consists of one to three words at most.
    b. With all the children in the class combine the single figures into a collective clay sculpture. This can be done on the floor or on a table.
    c. With all children combine the compositions which were created from 4a into a single collective clay sculpture. This can be done on the floor or on the table. This concludes the final part of the exercise. If as a teacher you wish to make time available, you can have the dialogue now. All joined excercises also have their effects on creating natural/spontanous etnic relationships.

Deep concentration through sense of touch.

If you want to see some of my visual artwork,
take the link to Gallery

Michiel Czn. Dhont

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Art put into service of 'wholeness'
- for children as well as adults -

An interview by Inge Evers, journalist,
visual artist (Amsterdam, The Netherlands)
Michiel Czn. Dhont, author of 'The Timeless Hour' - 22 exercises for the benefit of the integration of the cognitive, emotional and social intelligence.-

Art Expressive Work: "One of the essential aspects of drawing and painting in general, is the fact that one gets to be confronted with a totally blank, usually white sheet of paper or cloth, or with an empty fully open space. Briefly: to be on the Spot and in the Now." elementary expression in space primal rhythm "White paper has a way of looking at you, I always feel when I start to attack a new piece of paper. Even more so when it is sitting there in the typewriter. On top of that it gives me the feeling that it should stay neat and that I am not supposed to mess in the margin. So, I still write an article first by hand, with a lot of crossings and references, exclamation marks, stars and other signs of which I am the only authority. I knew I wasn't the only person, but after this interview I am convinced that it is quite normal, yes even essential."

Inge Evers, Amsterdam

elementary expression in space..................................................................... primal rhythm

"One of the essential aspects of drawing and painting in general, is the fact that one gets to be confronted with a totally blank, usually white sheet of paper or cloth, or with an empty, totally open space. That very confrontation evokes a tension which can cause something into being, something that can actually give birth. However, it can also happen during that first phase that a person meets with his or her deepest fears. One feels as if one jumps into an empty swimming pool, not knowing whether the pool is fille with water or not. Fear often leads to 'closing up' entirely, in a way that nothing is coming out any longer. But a person can be taught how to deal with situations like this. A person can learn how to let go off himself and give in to a pure motion without fear of failing. A person can learn to feel comfortable in emptiness, eventually that person can intuitively do something with that emptiness. The paper has patience and doesn't cause accidents."
Speaking is Michiel Dhont from Amsterdam, an all-round artist and musician, who, besides creating works of art and performing music, has developed a specific way of teaching for children as well as for adults. In his Molenpad Studio he offers various courses as:orientation-techniques, drawing, acrylic painting, clay modeling, collages and life-model drawing.
These courses are all based upon his own method: drawing and painting done through motion by intuition. Among his students one frequently find artists from various disciplines who got stuck in their flow of ideas. Those who have taken his lessons find in general they have a healing effect and stimulate towards an inner growth to inspire directly their art expressive flow.
The method, the motion in it, is intensely related to everyting he has done and developed during his life. It is intensely related to his own emotions.
"Several years I have done things I didn't really want to do. I was miles away from my own feelings."
In 1963, when he was 23 he left for Mexico and the USA, just to be alone. In that tranquility and time-lessness he found himself again. He drew a lot and made music and he knew he wanted to be an artist.

'Molenpad Studio', Amsterdam

Alternation in left- and righthand
......................child (group 3) drawing with both hands
by drawing and rubbing the charcoal

Mrs. Joosten, his teacher at the Montessori school had advised similarly to his parents in those days. However, that advice was not taken seriously. On the contrary, Michiel was sent to another school. He still remembers her radiation "She was the only person who actually saw me as I was as a child." In her class the foundation was laid for a creative development later on. Without that experience he would not have had the courage and the confidence at twenty three to switch from his study in economics to 'Visual Arts'. Back in Holland from a long tour through the USA and Mexico he embanked upon Ateliers '63 in Haarlem, in those days by far the most interesting art academy in The Netherlands.
Michiel continued his education with M.O.A. and M.O.B. in Amsterdam in masters degree in teaching arts. He intended to earn a basic living by teaching. To be independent had his highest priority and he knew as an artist it would not be easy to survive in the world of free arts.
"Sometimes it is frustrating and difficult, but perhaps that is what I need. If all of a sudden I would have no financial problems as an artist, I would never give up teaching, teaching is a very essential part of me. I grow just as much in working with people, as people grow in their work they do with me."
When he finished teachers's college he continued his study at the Rietveld Academy, Amsterdam, in sculpture, under Jos Wong and Aart Riethoek for a period of one year. Six years after he stood up in the General Education system before he got out. As long as he remembers during his time at teachers college there have been people asking him to teach them. In the course of the years the number of people increased. This gave him enough confidence to start as an independent small entrepeneur when in 1975 he had a large attic at his desposal at the Molenpad in Amsterdam.
Together with his colleague Lou Heidendaal he founded the Molenpad Studio in Amsterdam. "A lot of work had to be done before we could start, there wasn't even daylight and not a single pipe or wire. Now all equipment is there including full daylight."
Lou and Michiel both gave lessons and both were occupied / charged with the acquisition. Lou didn't last very long and Michiel continued on his own. Something Michiel discovered "Only rarely some people could express their real, pure inner pictures in the drawings and the paintings. I could see the difference in my own art work where I always have been able to express my inner pictures. How could I find a way to give my students the tools to do so?"

'Molenpad' Studio, Amsterdam.......................................... workshop in Boston, USA

"I let it hang as a questionmark above my head. Through meditation I received the images shown on this page, which I drawed spontaneously on a piece of paper laying next to me. On the sheet I discovered the variety of sketches based on left handed and right handed drawing. When this had happened a world opened. I felt a strong connection to these images. I did realize that it became a basic structure from where other pictures could rise. This basic structure has always been very simple. From that moment I felt the left hand drawings as an important image to develop. Al this grew to an introduction in my courses toward expressive art through movement and from intuition."

original images of a variety in left- and righthand drawing

Michiel started out to bring into practice specific exercises during his classes. These exercises were mainly focused on 'centring', meaning: to bring into balance, to achieve equilibrium. When a person is in balance or equilibrated he has a connection hetween the left and right hemisphere, the large back muscle functions flexible and both feet are well grounded. This may sound theoretical and perhaps far from attractive. However, proof to the contrary and speaking from experience have recorded part of a drawing lesson focussed on script …
Course-members enter the workshop slightly out of breath due to climbing all those steps. They take their own paintbox, brushes and painting clothes out of the cupboard as they proceed to prepare everything for the course. At the start there is still some talking, but eventually everyone works in silence. In order not to have to interrupt oneself all the time, one usually hangs three or four sketching sheets and one drawing sheet on top of each other over the drawing board. Charcoal and chalks are handed out, pots are being filled with water for painting later on in the afternoon. Nearly every one walks on socks or on slippers.
Before Michiel starts his course he gives a short explanation of things to come. The theme is the script - the motoric script - that will be used starting from writing into drawing. "There are two types of script", Michiel says, "the melodic, (continuous) connecting script, and the rhythmic staccato script. Both types can be combined with one another in a later phase, and/or used very freely in regard to one another. That is called the harmonic script."
Michiel suggests to start with one script at the time, the melodic script. One doesn´t need to work constantly towards the right, one is allowed to refer back into the writing motion. He does advise to stay on the sheet. Which is not necessary with the rhythmic script. One starts to work with one hand in columns, when a column is filled one starts again on top of the sheet and writes through the existing signs. example of a staccato script example of a more complex script example of a melodic script example of a harmonic script which combines rhythmic and melodic script Michiel joins in with his students, often whith his eyes closed. Meanwhile he makes remarks in order to make his students aware of what they are doing.

example of a staccato script ...............................example of a more complex script

example of a melodic script .................example of a harmonic script which
..................................................................combines rhythmic and melodic script

"Feel your feet, feel the ground, (re)move your feet in accordance with your arms and with the way your hand moves over the sheet. Take a comfortable distance between you and your sheet." "Don´t get too close. Let the non-drawing arm hang relaxed along your body. Loosen your shoulders, also drop the shoulder of the writing arm. Go three, four, if necessary five times over the same line. Occasionally you should grab back with your charcoal as though you are writing away from you." From time to time he repeats these remarks. Other than the scratching of the charcoal over the sheets and an occasional tooter of a boat passing by the canal, there is not a single sound.
More directions are given when Michiel starts to look around. "Try to stand a more with your body on your basin/pelvic. Losen your arms, keep your head free into space when you feel tension, continue freely for a while in your own rhythm. Take your charcoal and try once to move across the sheet. Do not try to keep up anything. See it as a play. There´s no need to write ten sheets full."
One senses the reactions to his slow almost monotonous voice.

both hands drawing and touching.............. girl in deep concentration

staccato/rhythm drawing

In the intermediate silences one hears the charcoal scratching again. "When you feel tension, slow down a little and exhale all the way."
This time, when he askes to feel a sound, there is more volume to it than the first time. One can actually hear tones. Again Michiel indicates a number of things, such as disconnecting the head, directed to the sheet, towards a horizontal position of the head. It will take away the control function of the eyes and will let your hands move free to express. The pressure on the charcoal may vary.
"Relax, also behind your eyes and behind your forehead. Go easy about changing your feet. Direct your attention towards the earth. In between try and make a melodic motion across the entire sheet to the left and try to alternate these movements."
At a given moment the right hand joins in and everyone works two-handedly. Now everyone works as he likes. And so it lingers on. After a while he has them change the charcoal from the right hand to the left hand. On a new sheet the same exercise is repeated writing from right to left with the left hand.
"Draw with your hand in a slanted way from below. Loosen your right arm. Let go off your thought."

Towards the end of this exercise Michiel has everyone visualise the two lines in which can be written with large signs and with eyes open.
"Write continuously in an undulating melodic way", he says again and "feel the musical sounds of the movements. You should be able to feel yourself inside. Listen to that melodic sound. Let it become an interaction with the motion of your hand. Bring that sound up, outward. Keep it to yourself, no need for other to hear it."

holding clay in left hand during right hand drawing ......complex drawing with both hands left- and righthand drawing

circles naturally becoming ovals

Michiel gives a few examples: left - right in reverse, parallel, big small or small/big simultaneous. "Let it be a large feeling of writing. Let the sound come up again. Work in a quasi (pseudo) nonchalant manner." Then we draw with two hands and a few minutes later we are drawing with one hand and we alternate hands.
We have to do less and less. Continually half of the half of the half and so on. The transition of an exercise in drawing toward painting should go in a gradual and shelve like manner. Occasionally you let your hand go off the sheet, sometimes left, than right. The instructions keep coming.
"Bring the action from one hand to the other. Take a little distance from the sheet by stepping backward and continue working within that space. Stay in motion. Go easily about filling up the space between you and the sheet. Keep looking at your hands and close your eyes. Alternate those actions too. Now you can feel quite involved, evoked by the inner easing of the tension, in such a way that you can react very directly and impulsively, straight from the gut."
"Loosen up your belly muscles while diminishing all movements. Now make a transition to the next sheet."
Michiel is now quietly explaining, that while exercising rhythmic writing one is allowed to write of the sheet. Everyone is totally involved now, no one seems to get out of concentration or look at his watch. A timeless concentrated quietude is reigning. An exercise like this one lasts about 25 minutes. When they/we talk to each other some later it seems as though everyone is coming from his/her own world and it is not easy to actually snap out of it. Everyone is sitting on the floor in a circle. If anyone feels the need to talk about what he or she felt during the work, they can speak up. After that everyone turns to painting and once again it is very quiet in the studio.
His lessons were partially inspired by his experience with Tai Chi. "Historically one can say, to put all things together, that someone like the artist/tutor Johannes Itten from the Bauhaus (Germany 1922) was a true pioneer in the period after the first world war because he introduced basic movements from the East into his lessons. He was one of the first peop1e who actually instructed to combine the two hemispheres." That might very well be the main reason why he no longer connected with Bauhaus, which eventually grew more and more into Functionalism. There is the Frenchman Merleau-Ponty, who became well known for his intuitive drawing script. And Betty Edward, who wrote a book: ´Drawing from the right side of the brain´ (read : drawing with the left side (hand) of the body).
All the exercises Michiel developed and exposes to children and adults, make it possible for children as well as adults to express themselves from their intuition in true pictures by drawing and painting.

one-hand lemniscat drawing ........................exploring space both hands basic motoric drawing

group session with teacher participating

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