The artist’s life / 4

Notes from the studio / Intuition & precision

601-Novembre

“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.

480-morning-ascending


Pictures can be enlarged by clicking. Words or sentences underlined contain links to more information. If you’re interested in my journeys through the wonderful landscape of lyrical abstract painting, click to follow this blog and receive notifications of new posts by email. (I have decided to write these blog posts in English, which is not my native language. So beforehand I want to apologize for any textual and/or grammar mistakes).


Over Eelco Maan

Eelco Maan (1962), originally educated in photography and graphic design, is working as a visual artist since 1994. Bekijk alle berichten van Eelco Maan

6 responses to “The artist’s life / 4

  • Anna Passenier-Maagdeleijn

    Mooi stukje met uitleg over abstract schilderen,maar wat ik mis is dat je nooit zomaar abstract kunt gaan schilderen zonder een gedegen achtergrond.Zelf ben ik nu begonnen met het schilderen van Iconen en dat maakt ook heel wat los in een mens.En ik ben al een oud mens van 74 .jaar.Maar ik geniet wel van Uw schilderijen omdat ze iets te zeggen hebben Ik heb een zoon van Uw leeftijd (een schat van een jongen)maar kom nooit met emoties aan want die kan hij nooit tonen.Jammer en die emoties zie ik wel in Uw schilderijen en daarom vind ik ze zo mooi.Hartelijke groeten,Anna Passenier.

  • Eelke van Hoof

    Very eloquently written and very recognisable for me as a fellow artist! I especially like your statement ‘intuition is what gets you on your way, precision is what gets you to the finish’. That’s a very true remark for me and really hits a ‘universal’ nerve in me!

  • Anne

    I have always liked abstract paintings and after reading this I’m beginning to have an actual understanding of what it is that appeals to me about them. Very interesting.

  • luciddion

    I would love to hear more specific details about your technical discoveries, the ones that never work, but sometimes stunningly do, and vice versa🙂

    • A.Passenier

      What can I say, I belief there is a lot of emotions to paint Icons on the right way with tempera.I love to do that now.But I also love to work with clay.My second live started in septeber 1997,My husband died.We were married for 36 years.And I didn’t how to live further.However I started in januari1998 with the total program Painting-sculpture and even African dans.I painted a lot also for meself I gues it saved my live. I did it for almost two years going every day to Rotterdam and afer that I did go to Gouda just one day in the week.I did handboulding with clay I was not good to the weel, I did that for three years. Right now I giving lessons in modelling clay one day in the week. I did’nt paint so much anymore until I saw that ther was a study of painting Icons, at the S.K.V.R. and I did go back there,and I am happy again.I will never stop painting Icons,I hope. Well the story of my live,I survived without my husband but still mis him every day. Anna

    • Anna Passenier-Maagdeleijn

      First of all who is luciddion? Second I am going to the open atelier of the SKVR and I love it,have a great teatcher I can learn a lot of him.I have forgotten so much,but I am glad I paint again!

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