I had a fabulous, meaty question from a subscriber recently who wrote to say she had recently switched from a 30-year graphic design practice to painting and was finding it tough.
She asked “How do I start a new painting? My paintings have no consistency.
Do I just let it flow? Or does in need to have a set direction?”
This is the question that comes up when we begin to take a more focused approach to painting. When it becomes for us more than a pastime or hobby and becomes a passionate pursuit or profession.
Usually, it’s not the painting that’s tough, it’s the thoughts that come up – the judgments, the inner critic.
Here are some things I suggested she try:
1. Create a studio journal. Writing before starting a painting. Blurt everything out.
2. Step back from the thoughts that are coming up. Become aware of what the quality of the thoughts you have while painting.
3. Set a timer during your painting process and step back, pause every 20 minutes or so and notice what is going on. Check in with your body, emotions, thoughts.
4. If the thoughts are not supportive, replace with more supportive thoughts.
5. Take out all your paintings completed thus far and look at them as a group. Journal about them from a curious, non-judgmental perspective. Don’t worry whether you love it or hate it. Just get curious. Write down from a neutral voice what you are noticing.
6. Think from a broader perspective about what the paintings are about. What are they teaching you? What are they showing you?