If you’re seeking more freedom in your creative expression, you’re not alone.
This is the number one reason folks show up for my workshops and courses, and it makes perfect sense. We all want to feel more free and alive, and painting provides a playful and dynamic way to access this kind of wild abandon.
However, the romantic notion of freely slinging paint around a canvas is not always easy to access. In fact, sometimes it can feel like quite a conundrum, especially if you’re used to a more logical, planned out way of life.
And this, my friends, is why I decided to share some of my go-to tips for Freeing Up with Paint today.
As a free flowing paint slinger for upwards of twenty-five years, I’ve gathered up some pretty handy tips and tricks along the way, and I hope you’ll find them helpful on your next painting adventure. Remember, this freedom already lives inside you!
Feel free to print out the downloadable version of this list (click image below) and pin it to your studio wall.
Freeing UP With Paint!
1. Ditch Your Plans. When you have a specific, desired outcome in mind, you immediately close the door on every other possibility — including happy accidents and other delightful surprises. Getting attached to one idea is also a wonderful way to get really stuck. Replace your plan with curiosity and spontaneity, and hold on for the exciting, unpredictable ride.
2. Go Big. Painting on large surfaces gives you the space to stretch out, explore, flow, and try new things without feeling cramped. Simultaneously working on more than one painting is also a great way to keep your energy and ideas in motion. And while you’re going big, try applying your paint with large, somewhat clunky, unpredictable items, such as foam brushes, paint rollers, and the occasional vegetable. It’s hard to be too exact when you’re painting with a slippery potato!
3. Turn Your Canvas. This little trick is one of my all time favorites when it comes to letting go and freeing up. Rotating your canvas to one of its three other orientations offers instant access to a radically new perspective. This switcheroo often results in new ways of seeing, sparks of inspiration, and unexpected (aka more interesting!) compositions and images.
4. Get Sensual. I’m a huge fan of the full-body painting experience. Instead of letting all the action happen with just your hand, try standing up and moving from your core (think athletic stance here). Allow your hips to sway and lead the way. Paint with your non-dominant hand, then paint with both your hands at the same time. Close your eyes. Add drippy, watery paint next to thick yummy layers. Dig in with your fingernails. Dance the paint across the surface to the beat of a song. Feel it out, rather than thinking it out. And don’t forget to breathe!
5. Collaborate. There’s nothing quite like letting someone else paint on your painting as a way to practice letting go and freeing up. In fact, this kind of experimentation pretty much forces you to do just that. Try working side-by-side on two different canvases and passing them back and forth as you build up layers, or grab a large surface and paint on it together at the same time. You can also do this with a larger group. The ground rule of, “Everything is cover-up-able unless someone says its not.” is a handy one to start with.
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With love and support always,