Process Art Basics

Aug 30, 2016 | Articles

Process Art Basics

Process painting is not about technique, skill or training. It’s about using the tools of art to explore creativity itself. Here are seven fundamental ideas about the practice of process arts to fuel your creative exploration:

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.

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.

At a Painting Experience workshop in Georgia

Resistance is a friend, not a failing.

Resistance is a gift you can learn to trust through exploration. Even daring to paint an “unacceptable” painting can be a beginning.

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 may want to fix it, or 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.

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 relax your self-judgment and 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.

At a process painting workshop in Georgia

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.

Completing a painting is being complete with yourself.

Each painting has a destination that’s not of your own making. To follow the journey through to an inner state of completion is both an ending and a beginning.

Learn More

Stewart Cubley’s monthly podcast series takes you on an in-depth exploration of these topics and many more. To listen, go to our Podcasts page or search for The Painting Experience on iTunes.

We offer process painting workshops and retreats at many locations around the country. You can see our upcoming events by visiting our Programs page.


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