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Intuitive Painting Process

When painting an Intuitive Painting, there are several approaches to help let go. The first step is to ruin the canvas. Once ruined the artists then begin applying paint and mark making using a combination of techniques.


A few examples are:


  • Closing one’s eyes while finger painting to the rhythm of whatever music that is playing in the workspace.

  • Dancing to the music while painting.

  • Using a variety of objects to stamp or roll paint onto the canvas

  • Using different tools to create a variety of shapes and textures.

  • Dripping paint from the edges.

  • Writing words on the piece.

  • Rotating the canvas frequently while mark making. 

  • If in a group setting, trade canvases with another artist to break personal attachment to the work.

  • If alone, paint multiple canvases at once.

  • Set the painting aside for a while and then approach it with fresh eyes.

  • Paint in a new environment to see the work differently.



Every so often it is recommended to stand back to look at the piece from a distance. Eventually, the painting will reveal what it is meant to be. Once the shapes are revealed, tease them out by painting around them without forcing imagery in any direction.

The Concept of Flow

Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi, one of the pioneers of the scientific study of happiness, discovered that people find genuine satisfaction during a state of consciousness called Flow. While in a state of Flow, they are completely absorbed in an activity, especially an activity that involves their creative abilities.

During this “optimal experience” they feel “strong, alert, in effortless control, unselfconscious, and at the peak of their abilities.” Athletes would call this “being in the zone”.

While in Flow, artists are so absorbed in their creative process that time passes without notice. It is not uncommon for artists in this state to become so immersed in the process that they forget to eat or sleep. 

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