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bookat
03-14-2018, 08:47 PM
Hi!

:) I'm starting a series of abstract scenes, but I want them to look and feel spontaneous and not "overcooked" (for lack of a better word). I've noticed, I tend to over analyze every feature, to the point where it looks plastic and unnatural.

:confused: Any tips for how to make your painting more free and spontaneous? (I've heard ideas such as using sticks or cloth instead of a paintbrush, or holding your paintbrush by the end of the stem, stepping back more and not looking at it too close)

:eek: BONUS QUESTION...Sometimes I notice that the unplanned shapes and colours on my paint palette look more beautiful than the carefully constructed painting on my canvas. Has anyone else felt this way?

contumacious
03-14-2018, 11:05 PM
These techniques in various combinations work for me........sometimes.
Big brushes (at least 4 times wider than you are used to.)
Allow only one stroke each time you load your brush
Don't blend any strokes through the entire painting
Limited Time Allowed - Try 30 minutes from start to finish, an hour, two hours etc., vowing to finish it no matter what before the time is up.
Hold the brush way down at the opposite end and stand back as far as is comfortable
Take your glasses off or squint if you can see clearly without glasses
Don't look at your canvas at all during the process
Use your non preferred hand
Paint in your sleep*



OK, I didn't really try that, but I have tried writing notes to myself in my sleep.

Eraethil
03-15-2018, 03:03 AM
Music and dance/movement while you paint!

Also, using fluid media in a fluid way forces a looseness, but requires you to let go of a portion of the control. It's a good way to start freeing up, as long as you don't let it become a crutch.

ronsu18
03-16-2018, 07:50 PM
paint with painting knife. one large one small.
bonus answer: use the canvas as your palette, and on a table. turn the canvas occasionally and paint if it feels right.

graphicali
03-19-2018, 04:48 AM
Accept that not every painting will work out. I have a large tub of gesso at hand to sort out the duds.

Play. Don't try to make a masterpiece, just go at it.

Work on several pieces at the same time. Not only is it more time efficient, it also prevents you from fussing too much on one piece.

Yes, the palette grunge is a beautiful thing. If you work on disposable palettes or a similar surface, slap a layer of clear gel medium over the palette, then peel it off the next day and use it in a painting.

floblue
03-21-2018, 11:36 PM
I went to a class where we were encouraged to paint to music. First we listened to the music a few times with our eyes closed (to see if we could see the color of the notes in the music - synesthesia. Then we drew a rough sketch and then we were to paint the music that we saw. I am generally a realist painter but this was a freeing experience and I got a few nice non representational paintings from it. :wave:

Delofasht
03-22-2018, 12:33 AM
The tip I almost invariably give people is, “paint your subject from a viewpoint other than what you have reference for”. The idea is to force you to make decisions about where things are, how wide, tall, or long something might be, and whether color would be reflecting off one object into another. We can then utilize the references to determine what kind of details might be present; such as accessories on a person or a few loose boards on a barn. This procedure I find really frees me up from worrying about whether I got everything exactly as I saw it, because I never have!

As for actual abstractions, every brush stroke is an abstraction, we could never really paint a person; they couldn’t walk off our canvas and into our world even if we wanted them to. With that thought in mind, of course the palette can be more beautiful than the thing you are painting, because it represents all the untapped potential of the colors themselves, which to an artist is always an attractive feature.

bookat
03-25-2018, 04:42 PM
Accept that not every painting will work out. I have a large tub of gesso at hand to sort out the duds.

Play. Don't try to make a masterpiece, just go at it.

Work on several pieces at the same time. Not only is it more time efficient, it also prevents you from fussing too much on one piece.

Yes, the palette grunge is a beautiful thing. If you work on disposable palettes or a similar surface, slap a layer of clear gel medium over the palette, then peel it off the next day and use it in a painting.

Love these thoughts. thanks.

WFMartin
05-02-2018, 05:42 PM
Got tips on spontaneous painting?

Yes, my advice would be not to actually paint spontaneously. Instead, carefully plan your approach to make your painting appear spontaneous. That can certainly be accomplished, and it helps to study the work of those artists who paint in a manner that you wish to emulate.

It is a series of planned, purposeful operations in paint application, and brush handling that can lead you toward that goal. And, I've not been one who subscribes to the techniques that involve imposing handicaps on yourself to cause that to occur. Such things as using a brush that is larger than one that is logical for the subject, or holding a brush in an inappropriate manner, or using the "wrong hand" with which to paint does not truly teach you to paint in a spontaneous-appearing manner. It usually serves to cause the painting to appear a bit amateurish, actually.

The accurate shapes of many items seem to be "sacred" within the art community, and it is usually not a good idea to violate those shapes. For example, a loose, spontaneous-appearing painting of a teacup may be painted so loosely that you can barely determine where the cup leaves off, and the background begins, and that seems acceptable. However, if the shape of the ellipse at the top edge of the teacup is not painted accurately, it will quickly be viewed as amateurish. Imposing handicaps upon yourself can likely cause those types of inaccuracies to occur.

Study the paintings of others who paint in that manner successfully, and try to figure out precisely how you believe that they achieved such an appearance.

The real goal is to end up with a finished painting that truly exhibits the characteristics that you admire in the paintings of others, rather than attempting to employ physical gimmicks to accomplish some sort of contrived manner of painting. Those sort of painterly paintings are not generally the results of some type of "handicapping formula", such as using a brush that is too large for the effect you desire, but instead are the result of careful planning, and developing of precise, controlled techniques, that usually involve nothing more complicated than learning a few extra operations that you may not have employed before.:)

AnnieA
05-04-2018, 12:19 PM
It's said that John Singer Sargent, a painter who is widely admired for the spontaneous look of his paintings, would work for an entire day on a passage and then at the end of the day, wipe the whole thing over just to start again the next day. You'd never know he did so much revising to look at his work, but instead you would notice only his bravura brushwork, excellent compositions and luscious color. He also worked one brushstroke at a time, instead of putting down a lot of strokes in a flurry (this flurry is too often what we think we need to do to paint spontaneously, but it rarely really works).

So I sorta agree with Bill Martin that some of the techniques typically suggested to create "spontaneous" paintings won't really help that much. I think what really leads to the "spontaneous look" in paintings is not so much actual spontaneity but years of practice. But two things mentioned above do help, in my experience (and I as yet don't really have those years of practice, so take what I say with a grain of salt). The two things are 1) listening to music, which helps put me as a painter "in the zone,"a relaxed mental state where flow and spontaneity is more likely, and, 2) using a larger brush than what I would ordinarily choose. This isn't really a trick, but it works because most of us are inclined to use too small a brush.

Along with a larger brush it's important to have good control over the viscosity of the paint, so that it will go down easily on the surface. One other thing I've tried is to use a sheet from a canvas pad and just start putting strokes down, not really painting anything but just practicing getting the consistency of the paint and the stroke right - learning to control paint application. I think doing this has helped me, but I still need lots more practice.

And then there's one more very important element: have a plan. Don't expect to approach a blank white canvas and immediately begin painting to achieve that spontaneous look. Beforehand, do value sketches and try many compositions of the scene, and also do color studies prior to ever putting brush to the actual canvas. And when you do begin painting, start out by roughing in the big shapes/values/colors first. By doing these things, you'll find there's less to juggle when you begin. Having a lot of your painting worked out ahead of time allows you to relax and paint.