Freeing up

December 5, 2015

Watercolor sticks and ink on canvas board

A new blogger friend mentioned Flora Bowley’s book, ‘Brave intuitive painting’, and I was immediately curious. I looked at her video and knew this way of working would take me forward. In the last months, I kept hitting that edge of letting go, but somehow my training and conditioning wouldn’t let me do that on a canvas!! There was a strict division between the art I did personally, privately- collages to process some issues, or create visions and goals, and various watercolor fantasies. But set that canvas up on the easel, lay out the paints and brushes, and The Professional Artist persona quickly came in to direct the show. ‘We’ll do it like this’, she said. Well, I soon took care of her!

trash prof artistSo then I could get on with it. The piece at the top of this page was inspired by an ornament my Tai Chi teacher and friend Lian gave me (you can just make out the little gold shape to the left of the painting up top). My previous attempts at working loosely were nice but quite chaotic and fragmented. This time, I wanted to work with a single simple shape, the plant reminds me of oleander, which has strong healing properties. I drew the plant on canvas board loosely with walnut ink (very water soluble after it dries) and worked into it with watercolour sticks and brush. I redrew the outlines with acrylic very quickly. Next step was to block in the colour, which I had an idea about before I started.

Applying acrylic wash

And finally I firmed up the colours. I wanted good rich earth colours at the bottom merging into lighter shades and finally some ethereal pastels lighting up the top where the flowers are. It is 30 x 50cm. Interesting proportion to work with. That’s pretty much how I’m going to leave it.

Developing colour areas



8 Responses to “Freeing up”

  1. What an exciting post. I’m not an artist but I love the idea of intuitive painting. I’m going to look for that book. Warmly, Deborah

  2. HI Deborah, actually not being an artist in this case would be an advantage, you’d have nothing to let go, it would all be new. I think you’d love it.It is such an intuitive way of playing, any thought of whether it is even ‘art’ or not actually seems irrelevant.
    Here is where I heard about the book for the first time, check out Mary’s intuitive painting:

  3. Janny Says:

    I like this. You continue to look for ways to grow. How wonderful and healthy. Hi to Rende.

  4. Hi Sarah – thank you for recommending my blog to your friend and really delighted that you were intrigued to find out more about intuitive painting. Have a look at my latest post – inspired by Flora Bowleys Studio diaries. Have to say that I am also influenced by lots of other artists too but flora has some great tips for helping you to free up and get beyond the scary blank canvas thing.

  5. Jeanie Moran Says:

    I like the process your end results. What is the size of the canvas in inches?

  6. Lovely rich colours – as usual 🙂 inspiring post, thanks, eoin

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