Play time with paint

When you’re starting out on a painting – particularly if you’ve had a break of several years(!) – facing the white space can be awfully intimidating!

You’d think after decades of painting, that sort of thing doesn’t happen anymore. But, it sure can. Either, because you just don’t know where to start, or because all that white space terrifies you!

So, this last weekend, I headed into the garage (aka my studio), with the expectation that I’d pick up where I left off.

But…. nope. Wasn’t going to happen. I felt like I’d never painted before in my life.

So, I took the advice I used to give students when they got stuck. Grab some paper, choose some colours and smear them on with your fingers. Get lost in the feel of the paint between your fingers. Don’t try and ‘make’ something. Just revel in pure expression without judgement. Okay… I confess… I did worry for a moment about what it looked like – after all, I’m still a recovering ‘pleaser’.

It was such a good feeling and as an exercise, it certainly got me back in touch with paint. The body memory kicks in and you think, ‘Oh yeah… I remember now.’

I love the sense of pure, unadulerated expression – seeing the finger marks and gestures. It’s a good reminder about making sure I don’t lose that sense of aliveness in future paintings.

Not sure yet whether I leave this sketch where it is, or use it as a starting point for a painting. I guess time will tell.

Until next time.


“It does not matter how slowly you go as long as you do not stop.”