Wednesday, October 8, 2014

Always and Never ... Do you use these words?

"Rocks & Roses" 8x10 Pastel Plein Air


I was reading a post from the Robert Genn newsletters that mentioned these two words. It made me think about if I use them. No, I tell my students to not use them. The minute I say I "never" do something, then that will be the one thing I will do sometime in the next day or two! How does that happen?

When we are painting, the best feeling is when we get lost in what we are doing, right?

When we are "lost" in the minutes of our painting, we are working from a more intuitive state. I have a real problem saying I am an intuitive painter. I don't think I am most of the time. I am a thinker, an analytical painter. I have one or two artist friends that tell me all the time, "Marsha, quit thinking, just paint!"

This can stifle the creative instincts many times... and I mean the analytical thinking, and the voices in my head telling me to stop being that way. Maybe I am going in and out of the analytical state and the intuitive state. I would like to think this is more the way I work.

Does painting plein air help us with painting less analytical and more intuitive?

The painting shown above was done plein air (on location / from life). Because I was under a time crunch with the sun moving and changing the shadows and even the colors, I was working a bit faster than I do in the studio. It helps me stop the brain, but encourages me to look, see the scene or object, and put it down without agonizing over the elements, colors, temperatures, etc. So, I think the brain shifts to the right side easier and allows us to enter that more intuitive state.

I talk about setting a timer when in the studio (and when painting plein air) ... not a race against the clock ... but a time constraint so we can quit being so analytical when standing at the easel. This does not free you from making a plan before you start!

What else might help?

I also have a "mentor" that said to me, "you need to spend more time on your stool and less time with brush or pastel stick at the painting." This stool is several feet away from the easel. It is where the analytical side of the brain can come back into play. Making decisions from this distance with real purpose, not just painting without a purpose with hopes those strokes are the right ones, in the right place, etc.

My work at this time is trying to follow the advice of my friend and mentor... not painting so analytically ... and spending more time planning, and sitting on the stool. I am taking my time, and not painting for shows and competitions, or even for the gallery... but painting for the pure joy of doing it and seeing what happens! 

Always? Never? ... How about you?
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