My new hobby is intuitive painting. One evening over the Christmas break I cuddled up in my favourite chair with a blanket, colouring on an app on my iPad while Netflix hummed along in the background. I was so happy and relaxed.
Would I feel even happier and more relaxed if I used real paints and a canvas instead of a screen and stylus? This thinking felt genius level.
I begin by putting a blank canvas out for a day. “What do you want to become?” I ask. The painting at the top of this post starts as a river and turns into a dragon.
Like free writing, intuitive painting relies on being open, taking risks, trusting the images even when they don’t make sense, and surrendering creative control to the subconscious. Focus on feeling rather than technique.
I pick up a colour. I add it to the palette. Maybe mix it with another colour. I select a brush size. Then, ask what is this green going to become? In this painting I began with rolling green hills that became dragon wings.
When I painted the door on the bottom right corner I wanted to make it seem illuminated. Then it turned into a sunflower. The idea of a door also being the seeds in the centre of a sunflower intrigued me as a powerful metaphor for change.
Every image has symbolism and is somehow connected to the others. The meaning changes with me.
I was out for dinner with a friend on Friday night. We chatted about this process and she recommended I look into the work of Michele Cassou. I’ve ordered her book. “Life, Paint & Passion: Reclaiming the Magic of Spontaneous Expression.” It arrives this week!
The paintings are not perfect. I’m a beginner. Consider them as drafts. One day when my technique improves or I have time to go to an art class, I can revisit the paintings and re-create them in a more sophisticated way. For now, the painting is like journalling or getting the first draft out on the page.
It’s about play.