Sunday, November 09, 2014


Wave demo
oil on paper

As I paint, there are voices in my head.  No, not a mental health issue, more an internal guidance system that help me make decisions on the fly.  There is a colour commentary going on as I paint, that goes like this:

"OK, what's the colour/hue that I need to mix?  Is it the right value?  Let's put some on the canvas...ok, that works/darn, that's too bright/dark/light/wrong colour etc.  I want to lighten it with some of the blue.  Add more white, pull some paint from the mix created previously, try it again.  Ok, that works, now leave it alone and go on to the next section."

It sounds crazy when I write it out, but really that's the conversation I'm having with myself when I paint.  Its a series of internal questions, verified by paint strokes on the canvas than pushes me to the point of my original vision for a piece.  Each impending colour, value, or stroke is preceded by a deliberate decision. Whether that decision takes microseconds or hours, its still a decision that is debated internally, and sometimes on canvas.  It is a comparison of what is there to what could be there to determine if there will be harmony or a clash that sends me off the path.

Making Waves
demo oil on paper

Developing this conversation takes time and practice and is essential to provide the series of internal checks and balances that are required to make art that I am happy to put my name to. 

Do others have those internal conversations when painting?  I remember hearing a similar painting thought process from one artist, Rose Frantzen, but not from other artists.  Perhaps its not something one mentions in public for fear of being considered altogether too strange.


Jennifer Rose Phillip said...

I don't think I do, I pretty much zone out when making art lol so I might be but I don't remember...but i think its more like I indistinctly just now what to do and try from practising? i have no idea, need to pay attention next time I paint something lol

Jeanette Jobson said...

I think we believe we zone out, its pure concentration really when we lose track of the world around us. But even then something instinctive happens as well as decision making around colour, shape, placement etc takes place, whether we realize it or not.

Margaret Ryall said...

Definitely. I am an internal chatterbox when it comes to art. Most of my work comes from a general inspiration, single object or materials etc. and I don't have a long term plan for its outcome. In these situations all you have to guide you is your internal conversations.

Jeanette Jobson said...

I'm glad there are others who talk themselves through creating art.

Sometimes I can do something without a specific vision for outcome and you're right, that is when internal guidance is the motivator.