This is my latest mixed media painting called “The Phantom of the Opera.” Just saw the musical in The Finnish National Opera! I don’t know about you, but when I go to see a performance like that, I know that it will appear in my art one way or another. With this blog post, I want to challenge you to think what is intuitive and what is intentional in art. And – can they be combined?
Day 1 – Watercolors
It was a sunny winter day when I started the painting. A friend from the UK was visiting me, and we were chatting while I painted the first layers. With watercolors, like many times before.
I love how well watercolors support intuitive painting. You can just splash here and there and then get inspired by the result. In this phase, I tend to choose the colors quickly, based on what feels good. I would call this phase very intuitive also because I don’t usually have no idea about how the result would look.
After splashing watercolors on the paper, I tried to get something a bit more intentional out of it: distinct shapes, strokes and color areas.
The painting looked like it could be a still life with wine grapes and some fruits. But I did not have more time to continue with the painting, so I saved it in my album. I love to create 12 by 12 paintings as they fit on a regular scrapbooking album. I also love the square shape as it is easy to change the orientation of the picture in the middle of the process.
Day 2 – Acrylic Paints
About a week later I picked out the painting again. This time, I wanted to add some acrylic paint to it. I find the combination of transparent watercolor and non-transparent acrylic paint very attractive. When touching the acrylic paint tubes, I get ideas about color mixes that would work with the watercolor background. I would call this pretty intuitive step too.
As I am a very detail-oriented person when painting, I try to be bold when painting with acrylics. Broad strokes add more interest to detailed paintings.
In the end, the painting still looked like a still life, but I wasn’t quite confident about the orientation of the painting.
Here you can see the difference between the end of day 1 (watercolors) and the end of day 2 (acrylics).
Day 3 – Colored Pencils
Because I love details, I also love to use colored pencils. With colored pencils, it’s easy to add little nuances here and there, and I also like the look of pencil strokes on the painting.
Day 3 was a day after day 2, but it was still before I had seen the musical. When I work with colored pencils, I am often very intentional. First, I had an idea to create wine glasses of the two round elements, but then I changed the orientation of the painting and saw lamps in the ceiling!
Which one do you like the best: the wine glasses or the lamps?
Day 4 – Acrylic Paints + Colored Pencils
Day 4 was after the musical. I got an idea from one of the scenes. The painting continued with acrylics expressing the famous chandelier crash!
So far I had been pretty intentional but then changed to intuitive. I played the music and tried to get into it as much as I could. I used both acrylic paints and colored pencils.
Here’s the result again:
Intuitive Painting – Guess What!
The story doesn’t end here! While photographing the finished painting, I glanced at my feet and saw the same color scheme in my socks! I had just finished them before Day 1 and worn them ever since. So, this painting actually started when I was picked the yarn from my stash for the socks. No, wait – it began when I bought the wool that I spun to the yarn …!
Combining intuitive with intentional is a lot of fun! It’s the best cure for getting rid of stiffness in the result. The intuitive parts allow you to feel free when painting; the intentional parts bring more clarity to the painting.
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