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Right-Brained Painting

June 16, 2010

Try this if you want to paint from your right brain: Call a friend or a sibling and get into an involved conversation while painting. Well, it didn’t happen exactly that way for me today. My sister called me. But I was just about to start applying random strokes and smears and drips of paint on all of my new panels when I answered the phone, and since I was in “the zone,” I decided to just keep going while we talked. I was able to mindlessly just paint, responding to everything visually and instinctively without analyzing.

I’ve done this before with sometimes astonishing results. It’s one way to be guaranteed that you won’t obsess or over-think what you’re doing. I recommend it.

Here is what I got done today. It’s a start. It’s at this stage when I sometimes discover that one or another of the pieces is close to finished. I love when that happens.

31 Comments leave one →
  1. donna baek permalink
    June 16, 2010 8:28 pm

    dear martha,

    is the white you can see on the right hand panels closest to the viewer gesso or paint? and if it’s gesso was it your first layer on top the board or was it added on top of the black/brownish paint?
    donna baek snohomsih

    • June 16, 2010 8:47 pm

      Donna, it’s paint. And in at least a couple of them it is the first layer on top of the brown hardboard. So you are seeing areas with no paint yet. In the one closest to you on the right, the board is covered in white then strokes of brown on top of that.

  2. donna baek permalink
    June 16, 2010 8:34 pm

    dear martha,
    do you always work on the table top even on much larger pieces? prior to now i was doing small pieces maybe 12 by 12 inch panels max. i work on the table top as you do. but now i’m beginning to work larger up to 24 by 24″ and i’m beginning to feel as if they don’t translate as well when i stand them upright. i’m thinking maybe i need to work on an easel. i’ve nver worked on an easle mcuh and am not sure what will work best. it would be great to borrow one for a while before i amke an unecessary investment. my studio space is very tight and i’m finding it harder to get a good look at the larger pieces. i tend to stand on my chair and look down at them to get some distance.

    i really enjoy seeing your work in progress. i love this photo.

    donna baek snohomish, wa

    • June 16, 2010 8:50 pm

      Difficult question, Donna. I like to work on both an easel and a table top. But with these and with other paint projects that I am working on that include very wet, sloppy application of paint, I need them to be lying flat. But you’re right — you do need a place to stand them up and back away from them at least part of the time while working. Some artists have a painting wall, where they simply hang the canvas or panel right on the wall and paint on them there. But most of the time I need them to be flat.

  3. June 16, 2010 10:18 pm

    I have always enjoyed the way you start a painting or several of them. And it always makes me want to paint!

    • June 17, 2010 7:46 am

      Leslie, you well know that I love collage as much as I do painting. It’s my goal to combine both in a series that I hope will have a perfect balance of the two. I’m not sure where that will lead, however, because the fragility and feel of paper sometimes can’t be improved upon with paint anywhere near it. So I’m avoiding the whole thing right now, still shifting gears each time.

      Paint! You should paint! 🙂

  4. June 17, 2010 12:19 am

    Wow, Martha. I gotta tell ya, I would actually hang those two black and white panels up exactly as they are.

    • June 17, 2010 7:47 am

      Thanks for that little whisper over the shoulder, John. You might convince me to stay with those two. Wouldn’t it be nice if we all could paint together?

  5. Shannon permalink
    June 17, 2010 5:31 am

    Hello Martha,
    I love your painting process! It’s some of my favorite of your work. Just wondering… where do you get those nice wood panel “canvas” pieces? Do you construct them yourself? I love the dimensions.

    • June 17, 2010 7:51 am

      Hi Shannon – thanks. These panels are Ampersand brand and can be found online at several different art supply sites. The prices vary from place to place, so I watch for sales. I’ve ordered them from Dick Blick and also from Art Supply Warehouse. There are different profile depths and surface treatments available.

      These techniques work equally well on stretched canvas, though. The more texture the better, and this is a good way to paint on top of used canvases!

  6. June 17, 2010 9:05 am

    Right brain painting – I LOVE that! How neat to hear about this process and see the fabulous results!

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