I've spent the last few days wrangling with a painting. I tried a reddish brown surface. Not too bad, but not good enough. I tried adding more color. UGH. Start again: painted it over with white paint.
I tried a watery black surface. It looked great on a smaller painting I'd made earlier. But not this time. UGH. I tried getting a bit darker. UGH. Too dark. Start again: another coat of white paint.
I tried a green/black combination. It had also worked on a smaller version. UGH. I tried adding a layer of black and gel medium. UGH. I tried adding a layer of green. UGH. Start again: another coat of white paint.
So I got up this morning and was faced with that white surface again. I'd run dry of ideas. Randomly, my hand reached for a nearby tube of orange/brown paint, and I just squirted it all over the surface and rubbed it in with a brush.
I know many other artists make preparatory drawings, sketchbook studies, color swatches, gridded compositions, and many other practices to plan out their intentions for a painting. I CAN'T! Ironically, I am an extremely organized person in all other areas of my life. But when it comes to painting, I have to be spontaneous, or nothing works out.
Painter Rebecca Crowell describes her artistic process, which shares a lot in common with mine, in today's post on her blog. I recommend reading her thoughts, especially if you're one of us "listen to the painting" types.