Maandelijks archief: november 2015

The artist’s life / 4

Notes from the studio / Intuition & precision


“The intuitive mind is a sacred gift and the rational mind is a faithful servant. We have created a society that honors the servant and has forgotten the gift”

– Albert Einstein –

To me, making art is not a hobby but I wouldn’t call it a job either. It is work that I have chosen to take upon myself and that has to be done. It is deeply personal and highly universal at the same time. To a certain extent, it is what defines me. It’s like keeping a diary without words. It is a way to get a grip on life that, at its core, seems to me as elusive as an abstract painting. It is a way to get access to what I don’t know, to what I have forgotten. It is a way to make meaning in a meaningless world. It is a pathway, both towards and from intuition. Making abstract art is like bringing a vision, laying dormant in the soul, to the light of day.

I never make sketches. I don’t sit around waiting for brilliant ideas. Everything happens in the process of painting. I just begin.

However, odd as it sounds, working on an abstract painting is a rather precise undertaking. There are certain Do’s and Don’t’s, so I’ve discovered through the years. There are technical issues that almost always work, (yet sometimes stunningly fail), there are technical issues that never work (but sometimes stunningly do) and there are techniques that might work but which I still have to discover. There are a thousand ways to start, a million ways to go on, and a zillion ways to finish an abstract painting. Without some sort of reference, you might easily get lost on the way.

The way to discover new ground, to keep on going and to improve, is by persistently keep on working from intuition while building your ever growing technical knowledge. That technical knowledge (or experience) has nothing to do with logic or mathematical knowledge. It doesn’t reside in your brain, but in your hands, your eyes, your whole body, your spirit. It is by that knowledge you bring precision into the process. Trust it. Intuition is what gets you on your way, precision is what gets you to the finish.

Abstract painting is not about ideas. It is about visions, dreams, misty archetypes, intuitive sensations, sorrow, joy and other poetic soul stuff we all share, but most of the time can’t express for the lack of words. In the contradictory combination of intuition and precision lies the painter’s best chance to silently whisper from the other side of the veil. Not to tell a story but to visualize our shared longing for all those elusive things like harmony, inner peace, beauty, rapture, and oneness.

There are no shortcuts to acquiring this combination of intuition and precision. But it will appear, sometime or later, during the process of painting. By starting afresh, again and again and again.


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