Carly Swenson • Intuitive Artist

artist’s way II: week five artist date, part II

I wanted to try intuitive painting again after my week five artist date, although, I didn’t think I would get back into it again, so soon.  As I mentioned in my earlier post, I recently purchased Flora Bowley’s book, Brave Intuitive Painting.  It’s a beautiful book, I love her perspective on painting, and her concepts and prompts have truly helped provoke something very exciting within me.

After Life, watercolor, 2001
After Life, watercolor, 2001
Time Turned Fragile, 11in x 16in, colored pencil, 2002
Time Turned Fragile, 11in x 16in, colored pencil, 2002

Reflecting on this process, I am surprised my work never evolved into this style without this book’s inspiration.  In high school (left), my drawing/painting work has always had undertones on surrealism with vibrant color palettes.  I often sketched natural imagery flowing into one another, tree roots evolving into ocean waves, distant planets shifting into falling leaves, stars becoming butterflies, etc.  In turn, music has always figuratively hit me in the heart.  I have touched on this theme and influence before with my Lyrically Inspired visual journals, as well as a previous artist date.  Recently, my mixed media collage work has become more introspective and intuitive.  I’m trying to not over-think the pieces, and let something inside me take over.

He said that I was one of the precious things in this world worth protecting.
He said that I was… watercolor collage, 2008
Embrace, 8in x 11in, colored pencil, 2010
Embrace, 8in x 11in, colored pencil, 2010

I wasn’t particularly pleased with my first attempt at intuitive painting, but I throughly enjoyed the process. For this second try, I used a larger canvas and listened to Ben Howard’s album, Every Kingdom. I felt this second attempt was far more successful both in implementing the freeing process as well as the resulting finished work. I allowed myself to take breaks to let the under layers of paint dry. I have always thought mistakes don’t exist in art, because everything can be covered, or cut and reconstructed, etc., which was a principle Bowley also mentioned in her book.  I also followed Bowley’s advice, by using black (which is something I rarely ever do in my paintings, spiralling out on my work with each new painted layer to refine the piece, and followed my artistic impulses.  I have never have much luck with stamping previously, but I gave it a go and loved the results.  I also followed what I found to be her scariest challenge–cover up something you like, to make room for something you love.  If I am already content with a portion of a painting, I usually leave it, out of fear of changing it into something I like less, even though–in theory, it could also change into something I would like more.   I embraced that fear, and I loved the results. and I lost myself in the music, the process, colors, and lines, and didn’t over think my composition or worry about what the finished piece would be.

This time, I also documented my process, although, several of the first images have a hint of yellow due to lamplight because I was painting in the the evening.

In-progress, image 1
In-progress, image 1
In-progress, image 2
In-progress, image 2
In-progress, image 3
In-progress, image 3
Would you let me know?, 36in x 24in acrylic paint on canvas, 2014
Would you let me know?, 36in x 24in acrylic paint on canvas, 2014
Detail image 1
Detail image 1
Detail image 2
Detail image 2
Detail image 3
Detail image 3

After I finished this second piece, I was addicted.  Paintings are pouring out of me.  It is embarrassing to say, but it almost feels like magic.  I start with a blank canvas, let my mind relax, listen to the music and then lose myself in the process.  I have no idea what I am going to end up with, and I love it. My next two pieces were created while listening to Daughter’s album, If You Leave, and a couple of their other EPs.  I love the singer’s voice hauntingly beautiful, and I love the lyrics.  I think the fact that both works were painted while enjoying the same series of songs, might be why several elements carried through both works–windows, birds, ocean waves, etc.
Work one:

Too old to be so shy, 32in x 24in, acrylic on canvas, 2014
Too old to be so shy, 32in x 24in, acrylic on canvas, 2014
Detail image 1
Detail image 1
Detail image 3
Detail image 3

Work two:

About the consequences, 18in x 18in, acrylic on canvas, 2014
About the consequences, 18in x 18in, acrylic on canvas, 2014
Detail image 1
Detail image 1
Detail image 2
Detail image 2
Detail image 3
Detail image 3

5 Replies to “artist’s way II: week five artist date, part II”

  1. Carly, I love, love, love following your artist dates and ESPECIALLY this one. As much as I am an art person, I might be even MORE of a music person! So, music has always had a huge influence on my art and “Every Kingdom” is one of my all-time favorite albums. I mean, I went all the way to Devon, England to see Ben Howard at a festival! Haha. I really love seeing what came out of it for you. I did an exercise like that in college once… where you just put on music and disappear only to emerge back into reality with something you DO NOT remember creating yourself. It’s incredibly, really! Also, the movement you created in the Candles painting… WOW! I love your gift. Thanks for sharing!

    Like

    1. That is so awesome! I saw that you went to that music festival, it looks fantastic. Music has always been huge for me, which is weird, because I can’t sing to save my life, and I have no musical ability with an instrument. I just love it, though.

      That is it–exactly like you said, I mean, of course I made the art, and I see my style is very evident in it–but I was not consciously creating it, which is such a surreal feeling.

      Anyway, thank you so much for check out my blog and taking the time to comment. I hope all is well with you, and you are enjoying the island.

      Like

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