John Lennon famously said that “Life is what happens to you while you’re busy making other plans.”
Sometimes art is that way, too. Even when you start without any plan at all!
That’s how it went with this 12 x 12 canvas. I started by smearing color around with my hands, and the painting went through a crazy number of transformations before it settled into something I was pleased with. I thought you might like to see how my creative process went!
I began this painting while at my Create & Incubate Retreat this past May. Here’s the first pic — finger painting with red, orange, and white acrylic. (Looking back on this photo now, I kind of like this as is!)
At the time, though, I felt it needed more. So first I added some pencil marks:
It needed more… So I added some white smears of Daniel Smith watercolor ground (basically gesso that you can use water media on, without it beading up), using a credit card:
Then, playing around, I pulled out some pastels:
I did NOT like this. At. All. So added some more paint…
And more pastel…
And at this point I was just completely fed up! So I took a tip from one of the artists at the retreat, and rather than covering the whole canvas in white (my usual tactic), I pulled out some black, too:
A VERY different look for me. I wasn’t really sure what I thought of it… so I kept playing, and added some pastels:
That was pretty much how the piece looked for months. I didn’t know what to do with it, so it hung on the wall of my studio for a long time.
Then one day, I decided to treat that black painting as a “blank canvas,” and went at it with a brayer, bubble wrap used as a stamp, and drips of sparkly Dr. Ph Martin iridescent calligraphy inks:
Um, REALLY not “me”… So I kept adding layers. (This is the beauty of working improvisationally: if you don’t like how it looks, just keep adding layers!)
White, plus more drips here:
At this point, it just seemed to want a bar of solid color to sort of “ground” it, so I tried adding a stripe of red:
Still not happy with it, though, so once again, I reverted to my favorite tactic of… covering it all up!
This time I used my other favorite medium: Golden Crackle Paste. I loved how the underlayers tinted the paste as I smeared it on, and I loved what the crackles did to the piece! Plus the early layers of texture still show through, adding a sense of history to the piece!
I am liking it quite a lot at this point, enough to call it “done” (though I always reserve the right to add to a piece later, if it’s still in my possession! 😉 )
The only thing this piece is lacking right now is a name! Help me give it a title by leaving a comment below.
I hope this photo essay of my creative process inspires you to go do your own creating today!
PS — Pssst! Know someone who might benefit from seeing this today? Pass it on!