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How Do You Do That Thing You Do? (Part 3)

Welcome back to part 3 of this little series, now where was I? Oh yes...

I start in front of the canvas with at least one or two colors chosen and with a large brush (to start with) make a mark somewhere. I really doesn't matter at this point where. Then make another. Maybe turn your brush a little differently or swoosh the line, pair the brush strokes, make the perpendicular or make them dots, whatever. Stop for a moment and ...what is this saying to me? anything? Nothing? I go on, making a few more creative marks. Stop now! Then take a look. Did I make a face or something recognizable, as something from the real world that your brain is saying, oh, that's a ____! Nooooo! I have to avoid that path and try to find a different way to work beyond just making things, let things make themselves.

Now I pay little attention to what I am making and look for things that make me feel something. After I have made a dozen or so marks (and I have only been using one color) I will start to make some more marks with another color (often it is the first color modified with white or another color). What I am trying to do is get the lines, blotches, colors, shapes to say something back to me. If it is still quiet then I'll continue on until I recognize a response from the painting.

If it is not coming through to me ...I will check with myself and see if I am thinking about things like: when will I be finished or this is taking so long, this is hard, I'm tired, what's that noise? Did I pay the electric bill? If my attention is being sidetracked by this kind of stuff, I know my left brain is still trying to dominate the show and I'll still need to find that zone where time and distractions fall away and are hardly noticed. I know people can paint from the left side of the brain - and kudos to you if that's you - but I am letting you in on how I do it... I am listening to hear the voice of the work that is talking back to me and let the other voices be still.

Once I hear that voice, I simply respond. It's like someone sticks their right hand out to you extend yours and shake theirs ...or when driving along someone slams on their brakes in front of you - you instinctively put on your brakes are thirsty so you get a drink. You are hungry - you eat. All are responses to different things and the artist in me has learned to respond to the emotions of the work, it's voice if you will. To do this was hard at first but as I keep at it, eventually, it became like breathing or even your heart beating are hardly aware of the effort it takes and to others it appears all so natural. But it is real work, an effort but like the birds flying in the sky - it looks so easy.

There is so much more and so much more not mentioned. I could go on (and I heard some of you ...please don't! eeek!) but this should be enough for you to have an idea how I work. The important part of it all, is like the Nike commercial says, "Just Do It!" Sometimes that is the hardest part of all to get myself up in front of the easel, grab the brushes and go!

For now this is the end of my little three part series on "How Do You Do That Thing You Do? Thanks for your interest!


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