22 September 1992
Scraping off. For about a year now, I have been unable to do anything in my painting but scrape off, pile on and then remove again. In this process I don’t actually reveal what was beneath. If I wanted to do that, I would have to think what to reveal (figurative pictures or signs or patterns): that is, pictures that might as well be produced direct. It would also be something of a symbolic trick:
bringing to light the lost, buried pictures, or something to that effect. The process of applying , destroying and layering serves only to achieve a more varied technical repetoire in picture-making.
8 December 1992
Artist: more of a title than a job description.It’s a word that still earns you considerable respect. People associate it with splendor and misery, with the attainment of freedom and with unexampled independence. Artists’ lives seem exceptional and exotic: they are ahead of their time; their works are among the loftiest works of the human race; their undaunted courage defies the incomprehension of the philistines and the persecution of the dictatorships. Artists are the truly creative ones, the geniuses; their fame and the fame of their works derives from their God-given talents and from their passionate devotion to their work, which they perform with intuition and intelligence on behalf of the community. They are always progressively minded and critical of society, always on the side of the oppressed; and rich or poor, they are always priviledged.
Understandably , everyone would rather be an artist than endure the shame of some ordinary occupation. But the artist’s image is going to be adjusted, sooner or later, when society realizes how easy it is to be an artist, and to set down (on or off the canvas) something that no one can understand and consequently no one can attack; how easy it is to inflate one’s own importance and put on an act that will fool everyone else and even oneself. By then, if not before, the title of artist will induce nausea.
The Daily Practice of Painting – Gerhard Richter
Action painting is just what the name suggests: painting with pure abandon, dripping and spilling colors all over the place with no particular idea or plan in mind
In the 1950″s , Jackson Pollock, Willem de Kooning, and other abstract expressionist painters introduced action painting to the art world. However, long before that (probably since the advent of liquid paint) , generations of young children practiced action painting. It makes sense that children would be the first to see how much fun it is to toss and smear paint around without wondering if what they were making was somehow great art. The fact that the abstract expressionists made this kind of child’s play into an art form gives us adults a great excuse to play with paint, color, and texture just to see what comes out in the process.
One of the unique things about action painting is that the resulting picutres are a visual record of the artist’s “dance” that created the painting in the first place. Action painting emphasizes the dynamics of the painting process with a focus on movement , gestsure, and free-form play. This approach is a good place to start using your intuition because it allows you to use materials freely and to explore movement, spontaneity, and dynamic change without exerting overt control over the painting process. Action painting can involve your whole body- not just your hands – and allow you to use new tools and movements to make a work of art
Art from Intuition – Overcoming Your Fears and Obstacles to Making Art by Dean Nimmer ( contains more than 60 drawing and painting exercises).
Many , if not most, artists have music on in the background while they are painting or drawing because there is a natural rapport between these two art forms. In certain forms of improvisational music, like jazz, the musician and visual artist are both relying heavily on their sense of intuition to guide them. The process of improvisation is more apparent in music than in visual art because you can usually hear the experimentation in the music, but you can’t always see when an artist is improvising rather than following a predetermined plan. During some of my lectures, I’ve demonstrated that it is just as reasonable to describe a painting in vocalized sounds – humming, whistling, yelping, gurgling, etc. – as it may be to describe a piece of art in conventional language, but I may be quite alone in that assertion. ” -Dean Nimmer-
” I make my paintings listening to live music that is being performed in front of an audience in bars or jazz music clubs. In other words, I set up my canvas and materials right there in the club, and I paint directly when the group is playing. These paintings are my interpretations of the sounds, rhythms , and movements that I hear and see at these events. My paintings are purely spontaneous and impromptu expressions of the music I hear. I paint what I feel subjectively, rahter than trying to ‘picture’ what I hear. This type of painting has helped me break down my own barriers between painting what I see and painting what I hear in music, and that process is a new visual language in oil paint.” -Kristen Mills
Art from Intuition – Overcoming Your Fears ande obstacles to Making Art by Dean Nimmer
“For many, the notion of the artist’s creative process is shaped by the Hollywood image of the isolated, mad genius stabbing the air for ideas and then suddenly realizing them, fully formed, on a canvas, a piece of stone, or in brisk musical notation. We all know that films can’t help but stereotype their subjects, and these often romanticized characterizations seem to substitute affectations for what is really a complex and amazing process. Let me suggest instead a more realistic version of the artist in the midst of a creative process.
The artist enters the studio, armed with an idea for a painting (or sculpture,song,etc.). Often, the idea appears to the inner eye somewhat formed, but until it is physically manifest, its outline is, at best, a bit cloudy. Marks are made, colors are applied, and the object is set in motion. The creative spark is now lit, but the fire needs tending. It is INSTINCT and the willingness to trust it that now comes into play. As counterintuitive as it seems, the intuition involves countless subjective considerations and small judgments. Judgments? Yes! Not rational judgments or evaluations, but intuitive decisions-each one propelling the work of art beyond its limits. The artist must then trust (or distrust) those leaps , only to leap again and again, possibly in different and even contradictory directions. Imagine Jackson Pollock moving and dancing with the paint, using his eye and his intuition to direct his hand in order to bring a new world into clear view. The creative spark allowed him to begin- to see something that he felt needed to be rendered visible- but intuition and the audacity to trust it propelled the paintings into greatness and, finally , into history.”
Gregory Amenoff, New York City 2006 – foreword to the book Art From Intuition – Overcoming Your Fears and Obstacles to Making Art by
” I think of my creative process as a conversation. I work on two or three paintings at once; they are all hanging on nails on a drip-stained wall in – my studio. I generally don’t work from sketches or any preconceived ideas of what the piece will look like when it’s done. Instead, I often start by adding layers , washes, bits of paper, or writing- anything to just start the conversation. I will keep adding layers, covering them up and trying to reveal them again. If I feel unsure of where to go next, I sit in a chair across the room and just look at the work. I look and I wait until I feel my intuition stir somewhere in my solar plexus. Some people call this a ‘gut feeling.’ It’s reassuring to know there is always this internal way of knowing to have as a creative ally.”
quote by Cheryl Warrick from the book, Art From Intuition- Overcoming Your Fears and Obstacles to Making Art by Dean Wimmer
” The intuitive way in which I work allows me to build up a painting in layers so that each painting develops its own unique history. For me, a painting comes into being through mark-making without a preconceived notion of what the marks will be. Relying on intuition lets a painting become a visual representation of my thoughts and feelings. It allows me to express a sense of something beyond the physical- something more emotional, in tune with what is at the heart of being human. It is my intention to allow for ambiguity so that a viewer may be able to enter into an unexplored, visual world that maybe thay can relate to and become a part of.”
quote by Luke Cavagnac from the book, Art From Intuition- Overcoming Your Fears and Obstacles to Making Art by Dean Nimmer