Painting is a unique form of art that can be enjoyed by everyone. It’s a simple way to express your emotions, and even offers therapeutic benefits. But if you’re a beginner, it can be difficult to get started. In this article, I’ll discuss the benefits of intuitive painting (my favorite way to paint!) and give you tips on how to get started. I hope you enjoy the article, and that it helps you advance your painting practice!
What Is Intuitive Painting?
Intuitive painting is a newer term for art that uses intuition and subconscious mind to create paintings. It is based on the principle that the emotions we feel when painting are reflected in the paintings themselves. It is similar to abstract expressionism, which is defined as the use of “abstraction to convey strong emotional or expressive content. The main difference would be that intuitive art doesn’t have to be abstract, even though it often is.
“It is important to express oneself…provided the feelings are real and are taken from your own experience.” Berthe Morisot
Intuitive artists use our intuition and imagination to communicate ideas, emotions, or thoughts without the need for traditional techniques like planning or drawing on preliminary sketches. Intuitive painting is spontaneous and impulsive, and does not have an intended subject matter or an end result in mind.
Why is Intuition Important in Art?
Intuition is like an instinct and a feeling, rather than a thought produced by conscious reasoning. Intuition is an important part of art because it allows us to bypass the rational mind and better access our creative side. It’s through intuition that we are able to see things in a new way and explore new ideas. When artists are able to work intuitively, it allows us to produce our most unique and original artworks.
What Are the Objectives of Intuitive Painting?
Some common objectives of intuitive painting include personal expression, spiritual enlightenment, relaxation and meditation, working through creative blocks, self-reflection and exploration of inner feelings. While it’s not always easy to achieve these goals while working in this style of artistry, the resulting paintings can be incredibly rewarding.
Famous Intuitive Artists
It is difficult to say when intuitive painting originated – it has likely been an important part of many artists’ practice throughout history. However, the classic fine art by famous artists we hear about the most was often based in realism and highly technical. These artworks required significant planning, skill, time and focus. There was an expectation from the beginning of the work as to what the end result would be, so most of the painting process was likely not very intuitive.
When we think of famous artists that influenced the intuitive painting movement, it is most often associated with the Abstract Expressionists and work that began in the mid-twentieth century. Jackson Pollock, Willem de Kooning, and Mark Rothko are some of the most well-known intuitive artists, but the movement was characterized by many more and continues to influence today’s modern artists.
Benefits of Intuitive Art
There are countless benefits to art and creativity, and it can have a big impact on both our personal lives and the world around us. There is even an entire field of research and professional healing practice called art therapy. According to an article from the American Psychological Association, “In art therapy, mindfulness is what allows an individual to receive the therapeutic benefit of “tuning out” the daily stress and anxiety and to focus on a single task while also focusing on the materials employed for self-expression.” While any kind of art can offer benefits, below I’ll share some of the main benefits of practicing intuitive painting.
Painting can be a therapeutic activity that helps to relieve stress and improve moods. Intuitive painting provides a space where emotions can be freely expressed without fear of judgment. This allows them to escape from our minds and bodies, leading to increased relaxation and peace of mind.
“Painting is just another way of keeping a diary.” Pablo Picasso
There is something incredibly powerful and healing about painting with your emotions. It is especially effective when you can’t think of words to describe how you feel, or aren’t comfortable speaking or writing them. When you allow yourself to express your feelings freely through the medium of paint, you can cathartically purge some of the negative energy that may be weighing you down. Painting allows you to connect with your innermost self, and in doing so, it can help you heal from past wounds.
Intuitive paintings are made without planning or sketching beforehand; the artist simply allows their mind to flow while they paint. By engaging your intuition and allowing yourself to be open to new ideas, you can tap into a deeper reservoir of creativity than you may have suspected was there all along. This process is more natural than traditional artmaking methods because it involves accepting inspiration from within rather than looking outside for guidance.
“It took me four years to paint like Raphael, but a lifetime to paint like a child.” Pablo Picasso
Anyone Can Do It
There are no rules when it comes to intuitive painting – the more you experiment, the better results you’ll get. And the best part? You don’t need any previous art experience or expertise to start using this approach. All you need is some creativity and an understanding of how color works to make unique paintings that reflect who you are as a person.
Intuitive Painting is Fun!
This type of painting is often described as emotionally charged, inspired by memories, and full of rich color. It can be challenging but also exciting because there’s always something new happening in an intuitive painting. If you have negative emotions, it feels so good to work them out with more aggressive actions on the canvas, while more positive moods will lead to fluid or playful painting. It’s a different experience every time, and if you let it, can be a safe and fun adventure.
How Do You Make Intuitive Art?
Paint With Your Feelings
Painting allows you to explore your feelings and express yourself through colors, shapes, and lines. And, whether you’re aware of it or not, painting can influence how you feel emotionally. Intuitive painting provides an outlet for all ranges of emotions – painters often start out by expressing anger or sadness before moving on to other elements of their artwork. I have found that painting with music that matches my mood amplifies the intuitive painting experience, and helps me more easily connect with whatever feelings are going on under the surface.
“Creativity takes courage.” Henri Matisse
Don’t Worry About Technique or End Results
Let go of your attachment to expectations or the end result. Give yourself over to the painting process and let it take control. Trust your intuition – don’t be afraid to experiment and take risks when painting, as this is how you’ll develop your own unique style. One of the most helpful tips for me when fear starts to creep in is “Don’t think; just do.” I impulsively choose paints and a tool to make contact with the canvas or paper as quickly as possible so my thoughts don’t interfere with the process. It is also helpful to remind myself that I can trash the paper when I’m done or paint over the canvas if nothing presentable comes out of it. I have many paintings that have layers and layers of intuitive painting beneath the final piece, and I actually love the history and emotion that I know lives within those layers.
“Whether you succeed or not is irrelevant, there is no such thing. Making your unknown known is the important thing.” Georgia O’Keeffe
Be Mindful of Your Senses While Painting
Painting is a great way to practice mindfulness because it requires focus and concentration. By painting mindfully, you can train your mind and body in the same way that meditation does. Intuitive painting allows you to engage two of your five senses naturally; sight and touch. If you enjoy painting with music, then your sense of sound will be engaged. And, depending on what paint and mediums you use, you might even notice the smell of your paint or other materials. It’s important to take note of all these things, and be aware how these senses interact for the full intuitive painting experience. I would, however, recommend not tasting your paint, but perhaps sipping on a favorite beverage during your practice could round out that fifth sense!
Paint to Enjoy the Creative Process
The intuitive painting process can be an adventure, and it looks different for every artist. With intuitive painting, it’s important to allow the process to unfold naturally. Be open to new ideas – if something interesting or unexpected happens while you’re painting, don’t be afraid to incorporate it into your work. Learn from your perceived mistakes and delight in the happy accidents. Allowing yourself to embrace the process and whatever unfolds will help you grow in your own unique creative expression and provide a valuable experience.
“To practice any art, no matter how well or badly, is a way to make your soul grow. So do it.” Kurt Vonnegut
Ready to Get Started?
Painting intuitively is not just a hobby. For me, it has become the primary approach I take to painting. It can teach you how to access and express your inner thoughts and unlock the hidden depths of your creativity that were within you all along. I have found enormous amounts of stress relief and healing through intuitive painting, and created some of my most favorite and personal artworks.
If you are new to painting, but want to get started with intuitive painting, I recommend starting with acrylic paints. They are versatile, nontoxic, and inexpensive. Have a look at my guide on how to start painting with acrylics. I hope you love it as much as I do!