I began “Fractured Blues” with a simple line drawing on a sketch pad. I knew I wanted a vase of white flowers, a few vases or jars sort of stacked into and behind each other, and an image of a favorite small porcelain head. I had no reference photos, no set ups…every shape came out of my imagination, except for the small head.
There is something so freeing and fun about just picking up the pencil and beginning to draw lines and shapes, arranging them within a picture plane. Having no references helped me to just respond to what I was drawing by feeling how it all fit together. Of course, I was considering all of the 7 Elements of Design as I played, and looking for balance and harmony and an emotional content of Whimsical.
I’m always coaching my students to create a good design, and then work out the value pattern and a color scheme before they pick up a brush. But here, with this painting, I decided to give myself more freedom. Could it fail? For sure! But I didn’t care. I wanted to tune into my creative vein and give it more rein.
I did work up a value study, but it was very general and rather vague. I did sort of pick a general palette of color, but there too, I left myself open to inspired ideas should they arise. I didn’t work out any of the textures I hoped to include, nor did I tie myself to the lines and shapes I had drawn in the sketch.
So how does one “paint in flow”?
I begin with a quieting of my mind. My intention is to tune into my inner artist. There is a buzzing of anticipation in my awareness and an enthusiasm to pick up the brush and just begin. I paint the 3 blue vases first, listening only to instinct and impulse, watching a blob of water or paint make a surprising texture or a shape within a shape. Visions of more lines and textures and colors flood in. My options seem explode as my excitement builds! It often feels to me as if there are more minds involved than just mine. At times, I feel as if i’m bouncing on my toes like a small child.
I work rather slowly, walking around the painting and listening for the next idea for the next mark on the page. I’m always surprised that there is cohesion and precision in how the visual images I receive fit together. There isn’t chaos or confusion in the process when it’s really flowing. When it’s not, I stop and wait for the “spirit” to move me again.