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Monday, February 17, 2014

The Evolution Of An Intuitive Painting

For week 8 in our Lifebook 2014 class, we had a lesson from the lovely Alena Hennessy.

She led us in a short meditation, then had us write a letter to self/universe/god/angels, all before we started with our painting. There were really no rules or definitive instruction on the painting per se, other than paint and do what you want to do, do what feels  right, express what you feel guided to, paint as freely as a child!


I loved it! I often meditate before doing my art these days and I am getting more and more into the intuitive painting kind of style, so this was just right for me! Thankfully it was also a holiday today, so I got a little time to play! It was great, and quite surprising, what wanted to come out of me today!



And I actually remembered to capture a few stages along the way, so I can show you just how one of those intuitive paintings can evolve!



This is what I started with. Lots of color! Sprays, drips, splats, scribbles, a stencils. I just went for it!



Then I toned it down a bit with some white acrylic paint. Some brushed on, some brayered on, some smeared with my fingers. It all was very random!

Then I drew some acrylic ink scribble flowers with the little dropper, right out of the bottle. I also took an old gift card and ran it through some acrylic ink, which I then scraped onto the painting. You can see them as the vertical lines in the painting.

After that I had to sit with it for a bit. I somewhat had a notion of where I wanted it to go, but I couldn’t quite “grab” it. In the end I took a pen and just started to doodle.



First the large circle on top, then moving on to the middle one and finally I doodled the last circle into the flower petals that were shining through from the previous layers.



Next, some more dotting and decorating around the circles. Some really free-motion, “let the hand do what it wants and then see what you’ll do with it” kind of stuff! It is SO freeing!



Then I needed some shimmer! It’s hard to capture it, as always. You can see it a little better in the photo rather than the scan. From this angle you can see the rather more intensly yellow-ochre patches. Those are the perfect pearl shimmers.  Not that they look that yellow when you look straight at the painting. You just get a little shimmer!



We were encouraged to put a mantra or some positively inspiring words on our painting. I kept on trying to think of something short and sweet, but in the end, what it always came back to, was this excerpt from Theodore Roosevelt’s speech, that has had me so inspired and fascinated for quite some time now.
It was about time that I did a page featuring it!



It reads:

It is not the critic who counts; not the man who points out how the strong man stumbles, or where the doer of deeds could have done them better. The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena, whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood; who strives valiantly; who errs, who comes short again and again, because there is no effort without error and shortcoming; but who does actually strive to do the deeds; who knows great enthusiasms, the great devotions; who spends himself in a worthy cause; who at the best knows in the end the triumph of high achievement, and who at the worst, if he fails, at least fails while daring greatly.”

YES! Yes, to daring greatly!

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  1. This is beautiful Birgit! I love what you did with the doodles and it was a lot of fun seeing your process ;))

  2. Oh wow, I love your painting. I, too, love to paint intuitively. It can be very freeing and spiritual.

  3. Wow Birgit! I LOVE this! Thank you so much for sharing how this piece evolved as well! Isn't ist amazing that when we truly tune in the "source" the paintings almost paint themselves?! So beautiful! xxx

  4. Gorgeous. I especially love the stage where the yellow tones are strongest. I'm not a painter, but I'm starting to dabble in preparing page surfaces to then use for other projects. The trouble is I find myself getting stymied. Last night I began with some clear gesso and some stencils. That's dried. Now I don't how to proceed. I'm thinking some kind of spray, but I have to use my existing materials and not go out and buy sprays and shimmers. Any easy suggestions?

  5. Hi Betsy,
    it's really the process of not thinking and just playing.
    Take something you already have - I'm sure something is really calling you! Like for example a spray of sorts.
    Then just DO something with it. Splatter, scribble, paint, slather, drip ... whatever comes to mind.

    Our grown up minds like to get right in there and predict what this will look like, or WHY we would want to do that and that surely we will RUIN the whole thing if we did this and that.
    Thank your rational mind for all those instructions and suggestions, and then send her on a coffee break! ;)

    Intuitive paintings get "ruined" over and over, but in the process things happen and areas appear that we could have never perceived otherwise. So, go for it! Have some fun!

    If it's truly "awful" you can always cover it up again with some paint or gesso.
    Just allow the process to happen!

    If you're worried about "wasting" your art supplies, use the less expensive stuff at first, if that allows you more freedom of expression. Or make inexpensive art materials yourself, then go to town! For example, the items on this page here: http://birgitkerr.blogspot.com/2012/03/how-to-make-your-own-alcohol-inks.html

    Once you have some colors and layers down, it's also much easier to "see" things emerge in the shapes that you might want to bring out more or define - or cover up in places, etc.

    And here's something to get you in the mood. I just recently watched one of Flora Bowley's videos - she's the master at this intuitive painting process: http://braveintuitiveyou.com/

    Scroll down a bit, there's a little 5 minute video showing her in action!

    I hope this helps and you will have some fun!

  6. This is really beautiful. Love that you provided steps! Thanks for sharing your process.


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Birgit Kerr