Saturday, October 23, 2010

Painting Away The Angst

Started painting today, as I normally do - with some warm up paintings. (These end up becoming 5 x 7 originals that I create cards out of.) Not every painting makes the cut - the idea is to warm up, maybe try some new color schemes and get focused on the task of creating. Some might call this "getting in the flow." I think of it as shifting my brain from thinking-left-brained mode, to creative-right-brained mode.

Well, today I was just all over the place. I wasn't in a good mood, and it was translating into my work. So I definitely needed to paint that out - in order to be able to paint with intention and intended emotion, instead of with the all over the place emotion I was feeling (which would have resulted in ruined paintings).

So I began to paint hearts - all drippy. Normally I wipe the drips off, but in the beginning today, I did not.

As my time in the studio progressed, I was still not feeling like if I put paintbrush to canvas I would do a good job, so I continued to paint hearts. I finally started to feel in the flow. And in the end this is what progressed.

Although a few still managed to keep some of their original drippy nature. But hopefully with slightly more hopeful overtones.

Of course, now it is time for bed.  Guess the portraits will have to wait until tomorrow. But at least my brain has stopped fighting the process and work should progress much easier.

Anyone else have a way of shifting their brain and getting into flow or state?

For another look at the creative process see Keeping The Vision

Sunday, October 10, 2010

Step Away From The Paint Brush!

People always ask - how do I know when a painting is done. Well... sometimes I know instinctively. Sometimes I think a painting isn’t done and I come back a few days later, and see if the painting is showing what it was meant to show. And sometimes a friends comes over and says wow - Love It just as it is. And sometimes, I just know that it must be done because I have done one or more of the following:
  1. completely mess up a section that was working well, and then mess up another section the same way
  2. take the painting to the mirror, flip it around and see if anything stands out - For ex: is there a color that is too strong in one area and not present in another?
  3. look at the painting from a distance in a different location
  4. repeat any and all of the above, and finally LET GO...
This particular piece, I had trouble letting go of the idea that it was not done. I think because it is a little more raw then I initially planned for it to be. But every time I fight the process, I know from past experience, I will ruin the painting. A painting in some sense, has a voice of it’s own. And to ignore that is to risk taking a beautiful piece and overworking it.

I have two theories as to why a painting can insist on being what it is, instead of what I want. First, there is a belief, of many creative people, that we just let things come through us. A lot of times, when we are in “the zone” we have absolutely no idea how what occurred on the canvas happened as it did. Yes we understand the mechanics of it - but the actual creation, sometimes that happens in spite of the artist creating.

And second, I create my intentions in spite of myself. My objective for this piece - was supple and beautiful. Both of these things are apparent, and I think that is what this piece has created. So by getting out of my own way, the painting has maintained my vision, just not in the way I had imagined when I started.

Has anyone else had similar creative struggles?

Note: This piece has been censored, so that sites such as Facebook might not find it in violation of their guidelines. For an uncensored version go to my website

For another look inside the making of art see Walking the Creative Tightrope