Making a Painting: Part 2 – Nicholas Wilton – Ep 111
December 6, 2023
ON TODAY’S EPISODE
Now that our 54 by 60-inch canvas is no longer white, it’s time to take a second pass at it! Join me for Part 2 of the journey to create a birthday painting for my daughter. We’ll talk about freedom, working on commissioned pieces, the power of contrast and change, staying instinctual, and using all of your resources to create something truly unique. You don’t want to miss it!
Listen if you are interested in…
- I started…now what? [2:51]
- Embracing play, freedom, and contrast [8:04]
- Activating your work through change for greater creativity [17:29]
In the thick (paint) of it
Coming back to a painting you recently started can be a challenge all its own. Sure, the infinite white of a blank canvas can be intimidating, but so is picking up where you left off. Especially if you have no idea which direction to head next. I always come back to a piece ready to infuse fresh perspective. Of course, that’s part of what taking a break is all about. But sometimes you LITERALLY need a new perspective, so I’ll often rotate the canvas to see what I’m working on differently. My goal is to bring new energy to what I’ve already done and the longer you work on something, the more you may need to outsmart yourself with tricks like this to consistently bring freshness to your work in progress.
Another technique I like to use when working on a painting is setting a timer. Until that alarm goes off, I’m not doing anything but working on what’s in front of me. My phone is off, my mind is focused, and I’m ready to paint. It’s easy to get distracted when you have all day to do something. But when you only have 45 minutes to an hour, you force your brain into focused creativity. Our intuition kicks in at a faster rate because we don’t have time for much else. And then when you’re done, you’re done! You did the thing, and now you’re ready to work on something else to give your creative eyes the refresh they need.
Don’t limit yourself
Working on commissioned pieces can be a tricky mental game. We know our best work comes from a place of authenticity and freedom, but when you’re making something for someone else it’s really hard to get their voice out of your head. If you’re not careful, you’ll end up second-guessing every mark and creating something less good and less YOU. A game changer for me with commissioned work was taking more than one pass at it. I started doing multiple paintings for one commissioned piece to take the pressure off myself to make one perfect painting. Yes, we’ll all have that one painting we tried extra hard on, but oddly enough, that’s rarely the piece that gets hung on the wall. It’s usually one of the extras that I painted less self-consciously that makes the final cut. Listen to this episode for more artistic insight and check out the video on our YouTube Channel!
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the founder of Art2Life.
With over 20 years experience as a working artist and educator, I’ve developed a systematic approach that brings authenticity, spontaneity and joy back into the creative process.