Intuitive Painting with Angst

May 13, 2012

Filed in: Uncategorized

There are times as an artist that the piece of work I am tinkering with morphs itself over time. What I mean by that is I can create a piece of art, see it as finished and put it aside, only to come back later to view it with new lenses and realize it simply isn’t what it should be, it needs to be tinkered with. There is a fine line with this process as it can be easy to ‘overwork’ a painting, but I have found that when I breathe deeply and get quiet, I can connect with my intuition about a painting and usually it leads me down a more successful path rather than to artistic mess.

The first picture here is actually how it began, as a mixed media collage that was a product of an Exquisite Corpse Game. The center figure drove me nuts and I just decided that to be content with it, I needed to work through my emotions about it. There are parts of this image I really love, but the overall piece left me wanting and I knew it just wasn’t where my intuition was telling me it needed to be. I let it rest.

The second version was a nightmare, to the point where I wasn’t even willing to photograph it. Pretty much I thought I had ruined it, and it pained me deeply. Once again, I let it rest.

Thankfully, after I began to tinker with it for the third time it began to evolve and take on a life that I could embrace. The color, the glazes, the hidden elements, all called to me and connected with my intuition in a way that said to me….”this is where it needed to go.” At first, I really thought it might be finished, but once again, after letting it rest I was still a bit uneasy and couldn’t really put my finger on why. There where just a few elements, like the line structure, that I wasn’t willing to keep. One more time, I chose to let it rest.

When I picked it back up the other day it was on a day I was frustrated and filled with great angst. Ordinarily I wouldn’t have chosen to rework a painting through that type of emotion but when my eyes landed on it my spirit said….it was time. I began to layer more colors, scrape glazes, and add collage elements. Very subtly, my emotions calmed and my artwork began to arrive at a place of blissful peace, despite its energy.  This finished piece carries with it many days of emotions, layers of vision and effort, mistakes and successes, and angst. It carries with it the laughter of friends, their own unique creative input, and is a perfect metaphor for how I live my life as a creative, and how I muddle through my days and feelings.

Regardless of our medium, be it writing, sports, teaching, or painting, there will be times when we need to rework what we are creating. The choice to quiet our spirit and trust our intuition through a piece may be the difference between artistic contentment and frustration. Thankfully, at least for me, processing my emotions through the arts is one of the best ways I have found to maintain balance. What a blessing it is to know and understand that.

comments +

  1. Ila East says:

    Thanks for your post. I tend to look at something and, not liking it, just paint over it and start again. And, really, I'm not learning anything when I do that. Your post has brought to my attention the need to keep trying even if it ends up with 7 layers of paint in some places. 😉

  2. KKtiandi says:

    I have "overwork" problem on my painting too. BTW, i love your background music.

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