I am an over-thinker…and a bit of a control freak. When I begin a piece, I have so many visions and intentions that I can sometimes lose the joy and flow of the process. If I’m not careful, my source of inspiration can become a little too heavy handed and I find myself being too careful, too stiff and ultimately creating something I’m not in love with. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve found myself with a loaded brush, hovering over a blank canvas, unsure where to start, or afraid of being too bold, or not bold enough or too loose or too restrained…you see where this is going. It never ends well.
My agent gave me some excellent advice (okay, she's totally my sister but we talk about ALL THINGS art and marketing, and having an 'agent' makes me feel fancy.) She suggested that I grab a stack of smaller canvases, 12”x12” or smaller. The objective was to release the fear of “ruining” a larger canvas. She then suggested I spend no more than 30 minutes on each piece. When the timer went off, I had to walk away and begin another.
What resulted was an exciting collection of color studies and pieces I liked enough to come back and refine later. I made sure I would have no interruptions; I’m a control freak remember? I cranked the music, started squeezing color onto my palette and let the paint fly. There was something so refreshing about layering paint with no concrete intentions in my mind.
Of course, there are times when some level of intention is unavoidable. Commissions for example. But even then, I think it’s important to remember that this customer has requested a custom painting because they love my particular style. In almost every case, when I shut off the parts of my brain that want to critique mid-process, I end up creating something that is free flowing, organic, and uplifting. I revisit this process from time to time to remind myself to trust my eye, my hands and my intuition.
Michaels has some really fun little 12”x12” canvas packs that are under $15 for 7. Grab a few and play! ( If you don't have a Michaels nearby, try ordering online from Dick Blick.) Stay tuned for my 'beginner's toolbox' post that will provide a short list of art supplies that can get you started on the path to creating your own beautiful art.