“Another thing about creation is that every day it is like it gave birth, and it’s always kind of innocent and refreshing. So, it’s always virginal to me, and it’s always a surprise.” Louise Nevelson
It’s not just paint, it is possibilities! When you set out to “play” and just let the paint do it thing, you can get all kinds of interesting effects. In a way, it is a way to learn new things without having instruction. What will happen if I: lift this, add salt, spray alcohol, put a glaze over, float gesso, add paper, sand, let paint drip, embrace the bloom? So many things to try! But many times, we as artist are afraid to do something new because…we will ruin what we have already put down, waste a piece of paper, or, not like it! Well, what if we do?
In our creative pursuits, as in life, we must take chances. We never know unless we have tried. The results may be surprising, but we also must be prepared to deal with the unexpected. Setting out, with no real plan can be liberating and instructional. We need to let the “creative spirit” lead us to new areas of exploration. That being said, when “play time” comes to end, there is still the question of composition. Where does it need tweaking to make it a strong composition?
Other times, it turns out to be just something we tried. Then, we ask ourselves: what do I do now, where do I go from here, is this going to be something I can work with? Sometimes the learned experience is, I don’t like this technique it does not work for me. Other times it is, I think I can use this if I…
This “experimentation thing” works, easier for the nonrepresentational artist, because the results are what is expected, in this kind of work. Innovative! The realistic artist has a harder time meshing the unexpected, with a subject. That is why I love doing a pastel over a loose watercolor under-painting. It gives a sense of mystery, creativity, and freshness to the subject, that I can’t achieve by using pastel alone. That unexpected bloom, adds another dimension to what could be a stayed academic exercise, and engages the viewer to look more closely.
“No amount of skillful invention can replace the essential element of imagination.” Edward Hopper