.comment-link {margin-left:.6em;}
   Welcome to my blog! I'll be posting thoughts about art, photos, happenings, and other things that strike me--and hopefully my readers--as interesting. And please visit my website by clicking the link to the right--thanks!

   Also please check out my second blog, The Painting Archives to see older (pre-2004) paintings for sale.


Thursday, December 18, 2014
  intention and intuition
Sralagagh #3. 16"x20" oil and mixed media on panel

The questions and mysteries that an artist encounters on a journey into abstraction are plentiful and deep, and at the core of this questioning is the search for personal meaning--for finding an individual path and for working holistically with emotion, memory, thought, and visual impressions. Ideally, with practice, a vocabulary of meaning and intentional form begins to grow, alongside techniques and aspects of style that resonate with the inner self.

When an abstract painter's approach relies upon intuition, spontaneity and involvement in process, thought and intention are often seen as inhibiting factors to be overcome. In this view, spontaneity and intention oppose rather than being complementary to one another. The common advice is to avoid thinking, evaluating, judging or pre-conceiving while painting in this way.

But without intentions--without ideas and thoughts underlying the work--abstract painting can become very inconsistent, pulled here and there by happy accidents and the many suggestions that the paint itself offers up.  If the artist doesn't refer to experience, emotion, or memory (or, in more formal work to some conceptual idea that intrigues) a lack of personal connection to the work can undermine its power and potential for growth. This problem extends to the ability of the work to impact those who view it, because without a source of ideas or expression, the work lacks a solid base from which to communicate.

On the other hand, without spontaneity, openness and experimentation, an artist risks becoming rigid, hemmed in by preconceived boundaries. The ideas behind the work need to be expansive enough to allow for roaming about, exploring, testing, and breaking new ground.

Often when I'm teaching workshops, I am challenged to articulate the balance that exists between having basic parameters and intentions for the work,  while at the same time remaining open to changes and new directions as things progress. It can be tricky tor any artist to recognize when thinking has slipped into over-thinking--when strong ideas or judgments have led to limitations that are stifling growth. Likewise, freely applying paint can be so fascinating that it's hard to step back and see objectively what the painting lacks in terms of presence, meaning, or resolution.

For me, the key to being in the zone where intention and intuition are balanced--with neither blocking the other-- is to tune in to my gut feelings as I work. When I'm having negative feelings about a painting--when I'm bored, frustrated, impatient, or it seems I am getting nowhere--it's a sign that I have lost this important alignment.  It means that I am either over-thinking, or else I'm too caught up in  "pushing paint around" ( a phrase I attribute to my friend James Edward Scherbarth.) Or sometimes it is a strange combination of both, when I have too strong a pre-conceived idea and think I will get there by a lot of random paint -pushing.

An important step in developing my own work has been to realize that intention and intuition come from the same inner source, are equally important, and that although they manifest in different ways they are not basically at odds with one another. For me, the balance between them comes in recognizing and developing certain aspects of the painting as it evolves--those that resonate with my ideas, that feel right and true to me, that represent what I wish to express and communicate. 






 
Comments:
Very well said.
 
Thank you for sharing this profound reflection on the intention and the intuition. I appreciate your tips on how to experience balance between the two.
 
Well said, Rebecca - thank you for taking the time and thought to articulate a difficult process. It's easy to get lost in the tactile joy of pushing paint around, easy to lose sight of where I am going (what my intention and intuition are) even if I have not allowed myself to have a pre-conceived notion about a piece in progress.
 
This comment has been removed by the author.
 
pleased to receive your comments--there is certainly more that could be said on the topic...like maybe a book! but I tried to keep it concise.
 
Very helpful post...I have often experienced the effort to align intuition with intention.
Which comes first? Sometimes I begin with intuition and sometimes with intention. When I begin with intuition my work goes in a more creative direction and is more experimental. If I start with intention I have to resurrect the work with intuition in order to breathe life into the work. I definitely use them both and struggle to align them.
 
So well said. It is difficult to describe that feeling of direction within openness. Thank you!
 
What you have written has immediately resonated with me. Thank you for putting words to my experience.
Terry Thirion
 
Post a Comment

Links to this post:

Create a Link



<< Home

       www.rebeccacrowell.com




     September 2005 /      October 2005 /      November 2005 /      December 2005 /      January 2006 /      February 2006 /      March 2006 /      April 2006 /      May 2006 /      June 2006 /      July 2006 /      August 2006 /      September 2006 /      October 2006 /      November 2006 /      December 2006 /      January 2007 /      February 2007 /      March 2007 /      April 2007 /      May 2007 /      June 2007 /      July 2007 /      August 2007 /      September 2007 /      October 2007 /      November 2007 /      December 2007 /      January 2008 /      February 2008 /      March 2008 /      April 2008 /      May 2008 /      June 2008 /      July 2008 /      August 2008 /      September 2008 /      October 2008 /      November 2008 /      December 2008 /      January 2009 /      February 2009 /      March 2009 /      April 2009 /      May 2009 /      June 2009 /      July 2009 /      August 2009 /      September 2009 /      October 2009 /      November 2009 /      December 2009 /      January 2010 /      February 2010 /      March 2010 /      April 2010 /      May 2010 /      June 2010 /      July 2010 /      August 2010 /      September 2010 /      October 2010 /      November 2010 /      December 2010 /      January 2011 /      February 2011 /      March 2011 /      April 2011 /      May 2011 /      June 2011 /      July 2011 /      August 2011 /      September 2011 /      October 2011 /      November 2011 /      December 2011 /      January 2012 /      February 2012 /      March 2012 /      April 2012 /      May 2012 /      June 2012 /      July 2012 /      August 2012 /      September 2012 /      October 2012 /      November 2012 /      December 2012 /      January 2013 /      February 2013 /      March 2013 /      April 2013 /      May 2013 /      June 2013 /      July 2013 /      August 2013 /      September 2013 /      October 2013 /      November 2013 /      December 2013 /      January 2014 /      February 2014 /      March 2014 /      April 2014 /      May 2014 /      June 2014 /      July 2014 /      August 2014 /      September 2014 /      October 2014 /      November 2014 /      December 2014 /      January 2015 /      February 2015 /      March 2015 /      April 2015 /      May 2015 /      June 2015 /      July 2015 /      August 2015 /      September 2015 /      October 2015 /      November 2015 /      December 2015 /      January 2016 /      February 2016 /      March 2016 /      April 2016 /      June 2016 /      July 2016 /      August 2016 /      September 2016 /      October 2016 /      November 2016 /      December 2016 /      January 2017 /      February 2017 /      March 2017 /      May 2017 /      June 2017 /      July 2017 /      August 2017 /      September 2017 /

       Rebecca Crowell