The painting process fascinates me. It is unique to every artist. When I first started painting, I always wanted to know “what comes next” from my instructor. I was afraid if I put something on the canvas in the "wrong order”, my painting would be a failure. I feel I've come a long way since then, but I do remember one day, it dawned on me. There is no "right" or "wrong" order or way - for me, there is only "my way". And it's usually more like feeling my way, with no clear path. As my dad used to say “There’s more than one way to skin a cat”. Granted, the foundation skills necessary to make a beautiful painting need to underlie what happens on the canvas, but the order of the steps within the process is not going to make or break my painting. At any point in the process, I can undo what I've done, change direction, or fix a problem I see. If I'm painting in oils, I can scrape off, wipe off, or add to it later. If I'm using acrylics, I can simply paint over it, since they dry so quickly. I can even throw it out - gasp! - if I want to. Once I realized this, I became a lot more brave and painted with more freedom. It allowed me to experiment with color and composition and try out new techniques, and as a result, loosen up my paintings. Not only did it facilitate the process of finding my own style, it was so much more fun! I will add here that “finding my own style” is ongoing - it’s a big part of the creative process and it gives me great joy.
Every time I begin a new painting, I have a general idea of how I’m going to proceed with it, but am always listening to my intuition and instinct and the possibility of changing direction. It’s usually during those moments that the “magic” happens – an unexpected brush stroke, color combination, or technique appears and takes the painting to a wonderful new place. I live for those moments in my studio and it’s what keeps me coming back. How does the magic happen in your studio? Please comment below and share your thoughts!