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Reverse Your Perspective
Sometimes starting a painting is as simple as putting a swirl of paint onto a support (canvas, wood, glass or whatever you have handy) I'm not really a traditionalist when it comes to that. I don't usually have a subject in mind when I paint. The reason for this is that I find so many connections between man-made objects and organic objects. We mimic what we see in nature in our everyday objects. I find this fascinating. In the above painting, I started laying colors down in big circles. The cat apparently was on my mind because he appeared next. He seems to be meandering in a meadow that has been exaggerated into very round hills. I paint what's on my mind and most times not having a plan but a general idea gives the most genuine result. I am not a linear person so I don't think in steps, I think in broader sweeps of ideas.
The Connections You Will Find
Connections are everywhere including in the world of art. Tune into your instincts when you paint and when you look around. Nature has a habit of mimicking it's surroundings (think about a certain green caterpiller whose "face" is on his rear end to keep predators aways from his head). Humans do the very same thing when we make things. Did you ever notice cars seem to have faces? They can look friendly or fierce. Look at brick archways. These mimic the way some trees arch over towards each other from opposite sides of the street. Clocks definitely have faces along with the humble kitchen oven.
When I stop and look at the painting I did (shown in this hub), the cat looks kind of bouncy and the half circles behind him look kind of bouncy which lends a rhythm to the composition. The cat looks like he could spring out of the picture plane at any moment as do the circles behind him. On a good day my brush dances across the canvas without much effort from me. I love when this happens, but this only happens when you're ready to let go of pre-conceived ideas.
Turn Your Ideas Upside Down!
Want a really fresh perspective? Turn your painting upside down. You will definitely see your painting with fresh eyes. Paint with your non-dominant hand. At first you will most likely hate this idea. I was forced to do this many years ago due to an injury. It was a revelation. I approached the whole painting differently. Surprisingly when I switched hands I went into a more relaxed state of mind.
I am right handed but painting with my left hand freed me up. I became more playful in my approach to painting and less concerned with "getting it right". Really, there is no getting it right in painting, there is only passion for what you do and the cultivation of a habit of practice and paying attention. Really look at things. Feel free to touch a concrete pillar and understand it's texture. Run your hand over the curve of a balustrade in an older house. Your hands will remember what they touch. I have a real understanding of flowers when I draw them because I am a gardener. Once I really understand a subject I can change or distort images to suit my artistic moods. Sometimes I feel like I am just as much a scientist as an artist. Always experimenting! Rarely does a day go by that I do not paint, draw or doodle.