Process Arts Basics

Here's a short synopsis of the basic principles underlying The Painting Experience.

By Stewart Cubley

1. Process painting is not something to learn or get better at. It's about being. The act of creation is a point of contact with your essential self. The artifacts of the journey are not the journey. The process is the goal.

2. Expectation kills wildness. When you expect something specific you identify with the outcome, unable to detach the painting from your own success or failure. When there is no goal, the "me" and the efforts to maintain it are absent.

3. Resistance is a friend, not a failing. It has a gift you can learn to trust through exploration. Even daring to paint an "unacceptable" painting can be a beginning.

4. Daring is discovering. By dropping inhibitions you get to experience the places you
fear but secretly want to go. For example, you might panic when your painting
looks too chaotic, too busy. You want to draw it together using a unifying theme
or color. Or you want to simplify it. Instead, try making it more chaotic. Then you
may suddenly enter into a powerful stream of energy and be swept by a current
beyond self-judgment.

5. Not-knowing has power. When you look around the room at the paintings, you
sometimes feel that everybody else is doing great except yourself. To not-know means
to accept your own voice, your own images, your own colors. Not-knowing is the force
that allows you to transcend the rules, to go beyond who you thought you were, to allow
your wildness to be born.

6. Meaning is mystery. The power of the painting cannot be captured by explanation. Its
magic lies in the undefined, beyond label or concept. The real meaning of the painting unfolds through the experience - palpable and close, yet ever unnamable.

7. Completing a painting is being complete with yourself. It's an inner state of freedom
and release in which there is no running away from and no holding onto. Each painting
has a destination that's not of your own making. To follow the journey through to the
end is both an ending and a beginning.

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