How, what, why

When I start a painting, I have only a very vague idea of how it’s going to end up. I can sketch or draw in what I’m going to do and from then on there its in the hands of very little thought and very much whim and just doing it.

This is my natural way of painting, hence why suggestions of marking out where your highlights and darks will be before you start painting, is almost traumatic. I CAN’T DO THAT. I just don’t see how one would know. How the heck do you know what you’re doing till you’ve done it?

It only occurred to me recently via reading tutorials in art mags etc, that actually, a lot of artists have the end idea in their sights and they work towards that goal and then when they get there they stop. So, kind of the total opposite to me.  Weirdos.

Other than the starting sketch and selecting a general palette of colours for a specific painting (I try and limit colours I use in each painting), I don’t really know what is going where until I start, and then it evolves. The watercolours, for example, I do the line drawing, but filling it in is always the fun bit. I start with a random colour in a random spot and go  from there. Any texture or additions are usually made up on the spot.

I was wondering if anyone else out there paints with the same idea of what the final product will be. I mean sure, I know ‘it’s going to be a picture of the queen on a dinosaur and this is the general thing I’m sourcing it from’ so it’s kind of like this– but how do you know what it’s going to look like until your hand just does it?

When I sketch free hand, I just watch my hand and it does it. I don’t control it through any conscious means, if I do, I end up with something totally crap. Which is why the things the hand comes up with can be very random sometimes. This is pretty fine when it comes to art. Less good when it came to trying to learn the guitar, I might say. My fingers just did things by themselves and they ran off and went doink doink doink. Not so good.

Actually, this is how I test too. It’s an art form. It’s all lateral and unthinking – you just do it…

Back to art!

Take this painting, for example.


I started this ages ago and went right off it straight away, it’s large and annoying and I just don’t want to finish it – I will at some point. It’s George VI (the dude who was the Prince Regent, who sadly most people know only from Blackadder. Also sadly, he was kind of like that in life. Which makes him interesting, so not sad. Imagine if Prince Charles was getting crowned and he ordered the doors shut on Di and  she spent the ceremony knocking on the door to the Abbey…well Prinny did that to his wife. You’d have to go back in time of course, cause today Di knocking would be heralding the start of the zombie apocalypse).

So … I started this picture intending on doing a dinosaur but I’d not worked out which yet. Then for some reason (ok it was the fault of The Goodies) I decided on a dodo, for something different. Also George was a doofus so a dodo seemed to match that. So I sketched that in and have under-painted it now. But now the painting is unbalanced and I need something on the other leg. Maybe standing behind him, it needs something from the Australian megafauna, like Diprotodon or something. I just don’t know. I do know I need to finish it (it’s very under painted and no detail in the outfit etc).

WHAT WILL IT LOOK LIKE? I really don’t know. Well, like that, only finished. But not really…how.

2 responses to “How, what, why

  1. if the zombie apocalypse was to start, I think Dianna should be the seed – brilliant!

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