Painting With Intent

I have two hardboard panels that I’ve kept around for some time. Originally, they were scraps left over from the storage racks I built, but I held on to them thinking I could eventually use them as painting surfaces. After completing the last of my paintings that fell into my creative gap, I was finally ready to start new work, eager to apply all I have learned since the beginning of the year. Last week, I prepared the panels for painting with gesso. Though I wasn’t exactly sure what I would paint, I was open to ideas that demonstrated the illusion of depth while taking advantage, compositionally, of the panel's narrow format. I began work on the two paintings Monday.

Tuesday was my second session with them and I completely shed away all worries and concerns and for the first time in what seemed forever, painting as freely as I ever have with effortless joy and intent. I wasn’t worried about a final product. I didn’t beat myself up over money or feel any pressure whatsoever. I didn’t care about the appearance of my art, or if it was even consistent with other works. I wasn’t consumed worrying about my health, my appearance, or anything for that matter- I was simply and fully immersed in the present act of painting… and it was beautiful.

By letting go, I let the hardwood’s surface dictate my direction. As I progressed in the work, compositions revealed themselves in a way that allowed me to fully visualize the final rendering. I saw the paintings before me in their current, raw form. Simultaneously, I could see the finished works, even though they won’t be finished for another week or two. I also saw the finished painting hanging in another venue- perhaps someone’s home, a gallery, or even a museum- I couldn’t really say, but I saw it as if it had already happened. The feeling frightened and excited me all at once.