Listening to My Painting

When I first heard an instructor say, "Listen to your painting" I really didn't get it. I thought about that directive many times, but still didn't understand. While I waited for the message, I found myself whistling the them from "The Twilight Zone" between my teeth. It took a long time for me to be able to hear what my paintings were saying to me because I was trying to be too literal in my interpretation.

At long last I understood. I simply needed a lot more experience to understand the language of artistic creation. What a painting "says" is not audible, but rather intuitive. The message doesn't come from a specific compositional rule, technique, or painting formula, but rather the sum total of all the artist has learned. Once you understand the language, the message is usally quite clear. Without conscious effort I have a strong feeling that a certain area of a painting needs more texture, that line needs to curve, the next shape needs to be round, an edge needs to be soft.

In my last blog I wrote about using the computer to sketch or paint over a photograph of the first step of a painting, and shared one of several sketches. But when I went back to work on the actual painting, intuition took over. The painting took on a life of it's own. I used my computer generated plan only as a suggestion, allowing myself to pay attention to what the painting needed to be interesting and exciting.

Today I'm sharing an image of the finished painting. It is quite like my sketch, but it is also somewhat different, and happily so. I think what I painted intuitively is visually more exciting.

"Flowers in a Red Striped Vase" is the second in what I intend to be a series of four abstracted floral paintings, each having some element with red stripes. I've added this image and the first in the series, "Flowers on a Red Striped Cloth" to the gallery of paintings on this website.

So if you see me with one ear cocked toward mypainting, feel free to whistle a few bars of the theme from "The Twilight Zone." I won't even hear you, because I"ll be listening to my painting.