Yes. Every time I start a new work of art it’s not like I have to relearn everything all over again. So there ARE things I don’t have to actively think about each painting. Also, each new painting allows me to learn at least one new technique I can apply again to future paintings. (With ‘Fleeting Focus’, I studied then learned how to paint a convincing motion blur via the spinning ‘6’.)
Art & Intuition
Late June, I had finished the drawing for the painting that would become ‘Fleeting Focus’ (above). Then, early July my computer was temporarily being fixed and so I wasn’t able to look at additional reference photos online or do color studies in Photoshop. Knowing of the approaching deadline for Galerie Abyss‘ 12×12 group exhibition and not wanting to wait, I decided to do something a little uncustomary and start the painting anyway with the color scheme I had in my head. Anyone who is familiar with my THOUGHTS & PROGRESS booklets can tell you this is not how I normally operate. (See below)
This is what the painting originally started to look like. (Kind of boring.) I received my computer back but then left for a needed break away and spent some time with my family. When I returned, I looked at the painting with a fresh pair of eyes and HATED IT. I sought to improve it and did some color studies. (See the final one below)
Now, I was getting somewhere. I had thought about the color, lighting and reflections enough that I allowed myself to start painting. Color studies (for me at least) give me a starting point – somewhere to go from and improve upon. I then completed the final painting (see below).
You will notice the final image has some changes from the drawing and color study above. Because I gave myself more time to think about the outcome, I came up with more ways to improve it:
The last ‘6’ of the slot has not yet come to a stop. This gave the painting more interest and a greater sense of movement.
Red (the character from Red Hot Riding Hood, the wolf character in the painting is based off animation genius Tex Avery‘s wolf character of the same cartoon) was originally going to be reflected in his nose. I really liked the lighting choices I made in the color study and couldn’t figure out a way to make it work because it would have meant adding another light source and altering the lighting. So I abandoned it.
With slot machines, you see remnants of other icons above and below what the wheel eventually stops on. I dropped those elements because they were unnecessary and would have meant I would have needed to paint the numbers smaller to accommodate them.
All this leads me to my confession: art is not overly intuitive for me.
This is not an apology or an admittance of defeat, just an acknowledgement of how I operate. My goal is always to make the best artwork I can, and can’t accomplish that by just ‘winging it’ and hoping it will magically work out. Some artists are (at least seemingly) more spontaneous with incredible results. I’m not one of them.
So – what have a learned from this experience?
I already have a process that works for me – that I can improve on and should not jettison.
My best effort will only come from me genuinely thinking and planning the quality of the outcome. Said another way: not being ‘overly intuitive’ is not a bad thing because it forces me to think about it and produce great work.
Taking a break (weather it be leaving for a week or just taking a long walk and returning) is something I shall implement more.
Just because my computer is being fixed doesn’t mean I can’t do tonal and color studies the analogue way. (I just prefer digital in the planning phase because it’s faster and doesn’t waste materials.)
Can art become more intuitive for me over time?