Thursday, July 2, 2009

Intuitive vs Logical Design

Over the years, my creative process has been engaged in a contant struggle. At times it's more of an all-out war between laying out/planning my work versus trusting my instincts. Plan, plan and plan some more and work comes out looking stiff and contrived. Grab a brush and go for it and end up with something unresolved. Yet out of the struggle, some very strong paintings arise. They seem to be born of a marriage of both approaches and I can never predict their birth.
A very logical painter I know called me a gambler, always rolling dice. Another artist told me to get that broomstick out of my a** and loosen up. The question remains: what is the best way to paint? From my experience, the best way requires hard work and developing an attitude that no painting is precious. You have to be willing to risk failure.
With regard to hard work, constant and on-going exploration of the elements and principles of design allow me to approach each painting with a good plan. With regard to failure, my best work may not happen on the first attempt, so I paint in series. I learn from my previous paintings.
Artists walk a fine line and the words of Johannes Itten express this well, "Doctrines and theories are best for our weaker moments. In moments of strength, problems are solved intuitively, as if of themselves". "As a tortoise draws its limbs into its shell at need, so the artist reserves his scientific principles when working intuitively. But would it be better for the tortoise to have no legs?"

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