top of page


Intuitive Painting


What is Intuitive Painting? There are differing perspectives, but my understanding is intuitive paintings are born from intuition. Which is the ability to understand using instinctive feelings instead of conscious reasoning.  


While in the process of intuitive painting artists are intuiting. They tune in to their higher senses and visually translate those into a two-dimensional plane. Their instinctive feelings guide them as they express spontaneous inspiration. It can be both a spiritual and creative practice as they make the unconscious conscious.


In some respects, intuitive painting is similar to art therapy because artists channel feelings and emotions into their pieces. The difference being, that the therapeutic nature of art therapy is rooted in gaining a deeper understanding of those emotions and their meaning. With art therapy, artists are encouraged to analyze why their paintings evolved in a particular way and how that connects to their personal history. Intuitive painting is not about analysis and meaning-making. One needn’t always know why something appears in their painting nor should they second-guess what they see; thereby limiting what they do or don’t paint. 


Unlike traditional painting, the perfectly imperfect results of this process are as much about letting go as creating. It’s about pushing aside the need for certainty and guarantees, surrendering to what one normally tries to avoid or control, and engaging with the mystery. 


As they begin the abstract stage artists have to give up the need for control. They have to clear their minds of any preconceived notions and not plan for or think about what the final result will be. If they have an end goal, that is not intuitive painting.

This process is somewhat akin to psychological self-exploration. Artists are most successful when they courageously explore and experiment by making things up, taking creative risks and letting go of their need for external approval.


As they progress they’ll need to learn the difference between intuitive intelligence and their analytical mind while resisting the urge to judge what shows up on the page, there is no place for perfectionism in this process. For some, what shows up may not be what they want to see. It may be outside of their comfort zone. By stepping outside the familiar, growth occurs. Not from staying safe in a comfortable place. Inevitably this leads to a higher understanding of how their art speaks to them or to others.


When the imagery begins to take shape, be it a narrative about a character or simply about color, there is no value in comparison. Every intuitive painting is unique to every artist who infuses their work with their own spirit, and whose inner worlds differ from that of another. Each artist’s intuitive paintings are unique even unto themselves because their life experiences are incorporated into those works and their own experiences are fluid. An artist’s emotions and thoughts change with time and place. When they evolve as a person, so does their art. 


Intuitive painting is the ultimate form of self-expression. Artists are not painting what they see; they are painting what comes from within. Without a solid grasp of their intuitive, creative self an artist will lose the connection to their essential creative voice. They may then confuse their purpose. It’s not about the need to be understood, liked, or successful. Making pretty pictures is not important. To be frank, art is not meant to always be pretty. 


When intuitive painting, by staying true to the process - truly the primary focus - everything else flows. 

bottom of page