View Full Version : Painting "In the Groove"

05-15-2003, 02:53 PM
Have you ever painted "in the groove"?

Some time in the last year I read a short article in one of the U.S. art magazines about painting "in the groove". As I recall, this article described this term to mean: painting without any sense of time, painting as though nothing can go wrong, but if it does you will automatically know how to fix it, painting as though someone else or a muse is guiding your brush, painting with a sense of euphoria. I know this sounds surreal, but if you've ever had this experience, you will know what I mean. It's happened twice to me in the last two years. Have you ever had this experience?


Lady Carol
05-15-2003, 02:55 PM
I guess I haven't had that experience. I am not too sure what you mean:rolleyes:

05-15-2003, 03:07 PM
Yup, it has happened to me. Didn't seem to be possible at time to even make a mistake. Lost track of time, felt guided and as if an outside force could have been borrowing my hands/mind for a while.... And, No, I didn't just get back from Mars. Next time, I think I will just answer yes or no....

05-15-2003, 03:10 PM
Carol, I can't explain it much more, except to say that it happened when I became so engrossed with my painting that I doubt I would have noticed if lightning struck.


05-15-2003, 03:25 PM
Being a serious meditator, I know exactly what you mean and have been there frequently in art and other endeavors.

There is a place in the NOW where we can get to this....creative pursuits offer the quickest path in my opinion.

05-15-2003, 03:40 PM
Yep, been there done that. (often)

05-15-2003, 03:50 PM
I don't know if I am lucky or simply mad but I tend to get this very often both in art and in life!


Alan Cross
05-15-2003, 03:52 PM
I have had this experence lots of times and one other , this other one I dreamed I was watching a guy with long hair painting and when I woke up I had to run right to my work and paint it was like on auto , this second one I would like more of as it really got me going.
Alan :)

05-15-2003, 03:54 PM
Yes everthing seems right, don't even have to think about what you are doing. Have had this happen to me in painting and several other things. Lately though, it has been while I am driving, you know wake up and I am where I am suppose to me.HeHeHe:evil:

05-15-2003, 04:19 PM
Been there done that ......too.......:D :D

Has happen both in art and in my barrel raising days at the rodeos.......great feeling........

05-15-2003, 04:52 PM
Yes, I get that euphoric feeling once in awhile when I'm painting. Most recently, I was working on a series of paintings of little stuffed animals--bunnies, teddies, etc. I felt wonderful and painted all day, hardly stopping to do anything else.

05-15-2003, 04:59 PM
Never thought about it but yes, I suppose so, that's probably why I enjoy painting, I forget everything else! :D


05-15-2003, 05:17 PM
Don't know if I ever felt as if my hand was guided, but forgetting time, yes, many times. I can easily start at 10 a.m. and at a certain point figure it should be lunch time and realize it is 5:00 p.m.

05-15-2003, 05:28 PM
Painting is the only thing I do that can really almost always take my mind off everything else...
As is the world reached no further than the piece of paper in front of me and nothing else mattered.
Reading can sometimes have a similar effect, but painting is almost always totally engrossing.


05-15-2003, 05:50 PM
bought the t-shirt.

05-15-2003, 06:30 PM
Yes - it does happen!

There are times when everything is going right and I just can't stop painting for fear the feeling will pass. You get the feeling "this is going to be good".

Ponte Vecchio and Mary-Ann's portrait were two recent cases. I wish it happened more often. :D


05-15-2003, 06:46 PM
Imahappy: Did you enjoy the experience? I sure did.
Pam & Alan: Thanks so much for telling me you've also had this experience. My next question is: How do you make it happen more often? Can you invoke the muse, so to speak? If so, how? I found it exhilarating, and it certainly improved the painting I was working on.
Jim: Wow! Lucky you.
Anita: Another lucky person.
Borum: Not while driving, I hope.
Barb: Oops, what were your "barrel raising days'?
BettyBoop: A whole day of painting...how I envy you.
Ruth: Glad it helps you to tune out and that you enjoy it.
Uschi: If time stopped while you were painting, I think you've painted "in the groove".
Olga: Yes, I'd say you've also been there.
Mary-Ann: Honest, I wasn't smoking funny things or eating strange mushrooms when I had these two experiences. I'm a conservative retired lawyer. And I read the article about painting "in the groove" after it happened the first time. If you haven't had the experience yet, you have something to look forward to.

:cat: Roberta

05-15-2003, 06:49 PM
Roberta, I wasn't making fun of this (and didn't think you were smoking anything funny ... cigarettes?) in any event, it has happened, it always happens, that sense of getting loss in something. When I get lost in something I don't even hear the phone ring, even when I'm sitting right beside it.

Great thread by the way!

(been there, done that ... bought the t-shirt).

Alan Cross
05-15-2003, 06:54 PM
Gee Roberta now if I could do that it would always be on!! Speaking for myself it comes when it wants to....you just have to hold on when it happens!!
Alan :)

05-15-2003, 08:00 PM
It has happened only once to me... the very first rose I painted... It just "happened"... I gave it to my sister... I foolishly thought that "it" would happen more often... I do get fully engrossed and lose all track of time regularly though... Not quite the same thing, but a good experience nonetheless!!!

05-15-2003, 11:41 PM
yes, you can increase the oppotunities for this experience


Being in the now

Spirit centered music

Guided breathwork

Painting with open/whole mind

05-16-2003, 02:38 AM
I've heard of artists zoneing out , can't say for sure if i've ever experienced that ,

Would like to :)


05-16-2003, 03:01 AM
Doug, I also wish it happened more often. See Pam's suggestions on this point.

Mary-Ann, thanks for teaching me the last line of "been there, done that..."

Alan, with 27 sales in one day, the "muse" obviously enjoys visiting your studio.

Pam, when do you find time to meditate? Your days must have more than 24 hours. Thank you for taking the time to share your suggestions. I will definitely try some of them.

Char, if it's happened once for you, it will probably happen again.

Thank you all for sharing your experiences with me.


05-16-2003, 07:19 AM
Yes, I enjoy it every time. It happens almost every time I paint which means I should paint more often. So glad someone put it into words. Would like to have this experience at other times than just painting so should probably try meditating.

Kate Mc
05-16-2003, 02:46 PM

Yes, it's happened to me too, but not for a while. It just felt like my hand knew how to do what my heart and my mind saw. I felt very connected. It was wonderful.

I stopped painting for a long time while we moved to Belgium and my life was in an uproar. But now that I've found time (and motivation) to paint again, I'm waiting for that "zone". I'm trying to paint regularly, even if it's bad stuff, and I'm waiting for my hand to remember how to hear my heart and mind. I'm also changing my style, so it's probably making a lot of "noise" for my hand! Sometimes when I read some of the threads here or look at a WIP or peruse one of my favorite Watercolor books (any Arne Westerman fans out there???), I can feel stirrings. I'm waiting.

What an interesting thread--thanks for starting it.


05-16-2003, 03:07 PM

the days are still 24 hours but they FEEL a lot longer when your mind is clear and centered....so I MAKE the time.....y'know?

05-16-2003, 03:40 PM
I have done this many times. When working with clay, when sewing, I used to paint furniture with gouache, and now with the watercolor. Anytime I'm using my hands my mind just goes on a happy cruise and I'm gone for hours. When I'm finished with the project and it was particularly satisfying, I have to start another right away....It is an addiction!!!:D , a very happy one tho.


05-16-2003, 06:43 PM
Yes, Yes, Yes.............Once I painted an entire painting using only one brush and was not aware of people in the room with me.....everything just worked.
Art is really therapy when you can get to that state........and much more creative and satisfying too. My poor back forgets to ache from too much standing when I am there.

05-17-2003, 03:28 AM
Thank you all so much for sharing your experiences with me.

Roberta :cat: