Sunday, February 14, 2010

. . . embraced the unanticipated

Last weekend I watched a video lesson on creating abstract art. It made me feel like a real piker when it comes to art. The instructor was all about maintaining control of the painting. I never feel like I'm in control of the painting. And to me, that's the best part of the painting process. I like the unexpected. I like wondering "what if" and then finding out, even if it's not great. But what a wonderful surprise it is when a "what if" turns out to be amazing. Interestingly enough, this only applies to my art. . . I would rather maintain control over the rest of my life.

Another part of the video that caught my attention was his differentiation between a "technique" and a "trick." Basically, an overused technique becomes a trick. And a trick is bad. For instance, make a few dots, but not a bunch of dots. Fling a bit of paint, but don't fling a lot of paint. Don't make everything geometric, add a few curves, but keep the proportions at about 80% to 20%.

So what do you all think about this? Do you enjoy the unanticipated or do you plan? Do you keep control over your painting or do you fling with abandon? The painting above is one I've finished recently and it exemplifies my lack of control. I had no idea the left side of the painting would come out like it did, but I love it.

P.S. to the people who looked at my house yesterday: Thank you so much for tracking in all the mud from the still snow-covered back yard. I could follow your footsteps as you took the tour of the house. I really appreciate having to clean up after you. Did you happen to see the paper booties at the door that my realtor provided for this very reason? And then to hear that you don't like my house because it needs too much work. . . well, that just made my day. How about a little bit of respect for the fact that the place you messed up is actually someone's home?


Ian Foster said...

This is very interesting, I try to keep control which incidentally I don't think is really a good idea but that is the way I am, but when a 'happy accident' occurs I am delighted especially if the result is something I could not imagine or achieve if I had planned it.
I am really sorry to hear about your house, people are often very thoughtless.

Leslie Avon Miller said...

I love this painting. People have their own approach. You have yours and it appears to be working for you Mary!

Laura J. Wellner (author pseudonym Laura J. W. Ryan) said...

Oooooo, say, that's purr-ty! I really love this painting...the textures are delightful, I love getting lost in it!

Everyone has their way of 'doing', and I never liked it when someone tried to impose their way of 'doing' as if it's the ONLY way of 'doing'. I firmly believe in everything in moderation, but I adore the 'happy accidents', I have found that when I try to plan beyond what colors I want to use and the size of the canvas, that's when I get into trouble and it never turns out the way I want it...(yes, even though I didn't plan what I want, sometimes there the: "Huh, that's not what I wanted to do.")

I really hate the ordeal of selling a house (almost as much as I hated the ordeal of buying a house!) There are some who want to walk in and not do a thing... then there are folks who have imagination and can visualize how they want to turn it into their house. Some people are so inconsiderate...what a PITA for you!

Best wishes,


Miki Willa said...

I used to try and plan and control every piece I did. I finally got to a place where painting became something I worked hard to avoid. Now, I am enjoying the process. I do a minimum of planning, then just go with my heart, instincts, whatever it is called. I am having so much fun in the studio again. I feel that what I am creating now is much more an expression of me these days. I appreciate the planners and those who are in control of their work, and it is good to know that I can go there if I have to, but I am happy with this way for now.
This piece is wonderful. Your approach certainly works well for you.

layers said...

interesting video of how to paint abstract-- I plan in the beginning and then at the end try to make it look like I have some freedom and abandon to let loose as well-- you have wonderful images and textures around where you work, and your paintings reflect that.

Martha Marshall said...

I love randomness. I remember your using that word in an artist statement or one of your blog posts. I don't want to be in control. I want the painting to surprise me.