Experimentation and Inspiration

“Oaks on a Wall”
watercolor, 15 x 22 inches
Often, in execution of the lessons I give in classes and workshops, I am distracted from a deep inspiration to create a specific painting. Other kinds of distractions come up, too, but all of them frequently take me off that inspired track. That is one good reason for taking a week away from everyone and everything to just concentrate on painting. Such was the case a few weeks ago in Yosemite.

Returning to class from Yosemite, I had to give a mindless demo of different ways to create textures or to give a sense of surface in a painting. I say mindless because it was simply a blank piece of paper and a bunch of different examples of stamping, lifting, spraying, splattering, smudging, dripping etc . . . .all with no image or intention of making a painting.

Meanwhile, in the back of my mind was a vision I had seen through the eyes of a zoom lens . . . .the face of one of the sheer granite walls towering hundreds of meters above my place on the valley floor. Full grown trees grew out of cracks on the stone! Yet those trees and the abstract patterns in the rock had me buzzing inside.

I took the demo sheet home and began experimenting with more textures and colors and ‘stuff’ just to see what I could come up with that **might** suggest those walls and their abstractions on that same sheet . . .just slobbering layer over layer.

Often, it is the coming together of sheer experimentations and the visions from inspired ideas that create works which arrest a viewer and hold their interest . . . .much more that a tired scene of something everyone knows.

Clearly, to be different, one must do different things at the easel. The painter must allow the paint to act like paint rather than conform to some notion about looking like something else. Experiments can show us painters new ways to consider our beautiful mediums. In fact, I believe most of our work as artists must be connected to experimenting.

15 thoughts on “Experimentation and Inspiration”

  1. I opened up this beauty and my first reaction was an out loud "OH YEAH!". Our dog now thinks I'm crazy because I'm talking to the computer…

    Mike, this piece is wonderful on so many levels, starting with those mindless textures, continuing with those strong diagonals and verticals, and ending with that excellent color palette…and, let's not forget those values… Personally, I feel like I'm looking at a masterpiece!


  2. This is absolutely beautiful!! I love your attitude – experiment and create! Let the paint sing! I've seen many of your paintings on this blog, and you have managed to stay fresh with many different styles. I think it must be your willingness to experiment. Ditto Don!

  3. Don . . . Now THAT was a rockin' comment!! I am not sure I would regard this in the masterpiece category, but I sure love it when folks **think** it when they see my work. Thanks again, Don. You made my month!!!

  4. Dan . . . .it seems we think alike in many ways. I really appreciate your positive support and hope you are gaining something from my commentaries here.

  5. Hey Peggy . . .Thanks again! You are always there in background. Your support is most appreciated because I completely respect that which you do. You set an example to follow, that is for sure!

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