February in Seattle has been unseasonably cold, snowy and icy. A blessing because life slows down; I didn’t have to chauffeur anyone anywhere and the kids loved playing in the un-Seattle-like deep snow.
Before the snow, I was getting restless and frustrated with painting. Creativity is always a dance between process and product, the act of loving process and being in the moment creates the best art. Pressure shifts the focus away from the beautiful moment to a future possibility which the moment never lives up to, it’s a perfect formula for frustration. I needed to free myself from the pressure.
I skimmed through Dean Nimmer’s Art from Intuition, reflected on my intuitive painting class with Flora Bowley last fall and I pieced together an experimental antidote that I’ll call a Freedom in Art Day. Here is what I did.
- I sketched a few nothing special sketches. The goal was to sketch an idea, not perfect it. I sketched 7-8 ideas in about 10 minutes. I took this idea from Dean Skinners 30 sketches in 30 minutes exercise.
- I laid out three new paintings and their materials. This is idea is borrowed from Flora Bowley who recommends painting on 3 canvases at a time. I alternated materials and substrates so each painting had its own medium and substrate. In short, I had a mix of paintings on watercolor paper or linen, with acrylics or watercolor with some new Open and Fluid acrylic paints to play with.
- I added 3 paintings I was struggling with to my original three which means I was set up to work on 6 paintings.
- Before I began, I committed to process and less to outcome, insisting on experimenting and not getting caught in the “Everything must be beautiful” dilemma.
- I rotated through the six paintings until I got tired of one and then moved to the next one as the current one felt stale.
I didn’t know what I was going to paint when I started. The images I sketched out began to emerge in my painting; women, brain, birds and more.
The snowy week was a marathon of painting that took me through the day and the next. The structure released all tension from the creative process and helped me break into new ideas. The new materials and substrates held my attention and encouraged me to explore. I can’t say any of the paintings are genius, and not all of them will make it to my portfolio, but the ideas flowed. I felt fresh. I felt calm and in love with painting again, forget pressure.
The moment is the gift.
C) Marika Reinke – Adventures in Art with Heart, Humor and Spirit.