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The Daily Muse Continued…

November 17, 2010

Have you ever wondered why some paintings seem to flow from the brush, unprovoked and completely resolved?  Why is it that on some days your brush forges forward with unfettered passion, gleaning  remarkable results?  It is as if someone else is doing the ‘job’.  On other days, one might suffer from ‘white paper/canvas fright’, or seemingly disapprove of every stroke of the brush.  Might it be the weather, concerns of the heart or that great, long list of ‘to dos’ that way lays your efforts?

Issues that might stop this free flow most probably start long before one enters their ‘room’.  Going to your room is only half of the job, staying there is the other half!  Music helps me but even that is not of assistance on certain days.  Sometimes I need perfect silence to get the job done.  Music often does help one to get comfortable in their ‘room’ though.  Some days I need classical sounds, some days opera and some days it’s good old rock and roll….what is with that I wonder?  I think the reason that music helps is that it puts you in ‘real’ time and helps to keep you out of your head.  It can take your mind to other space and time concealing self doubt, worries and lingering thoughts.  Music seems to help the mind open to possibility and the ‘what ifs’ that an artist feeds on.

If I am having trouble focusing I often use a technique that I learned from a fellow artist, Susan Blackwood.  This technique is used to get the ‘artistic’ side of the brain into gear.  If you place a small dot on a paper and surround it with other dots, then draw a line from each surrounding dot to the centre dot until all dots are joined to the centre dot, the mind becomes engaged and ready for artistic focus.  Simple but very effective.  The mind is once again in the moment and ready for the job at hand.

Another technique that I use if I am spending the day working inside rather than outside is to get a pile of photos that I have wanted to paint for some time.  I go through them and cull the ones that ‘speak’ to me that day.  I begin to narrow down the possibilities…once again my mind is coming into focus.  The picture that yells ‘paint me’ the loudest gets painted that day.

None of these techniques serve in the construction of a free-flowing painting but at least they get the ball rolling.  I have found that the free-flow comes more easily the more time you spend painting.   A part of oneself develops  that becomes more open to experimenting and less concerned with results.  The feelings experienced from a painting that ‘just happened’ are not unlike those that you feel the first time you experience a great day skiing, a great swing at a golf ball or the very first time that you actually got your bike to stay upright.  These feelings are never forgotten and can be drawn upon by the subconscious and recreated.  I guess we need to just let it happen.

Just a thought…..HAPPY PAINTING!!

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