A Painting Always Starts from the Inside

The feeling is the most important element in a painting!

When aspiring artists ask me about painting and how to start a painting, I always suggest that they started with visualization. What does the finished painting look like? Start from the end and work toward that goal so you always have a reference point along the way. If you set out on a trip to your Aunt Milly's, and you have no idea where it is, how could you possibly hope to get there? There must be a goal, a destination, or you will be adrift with a muddled statement rather than a clear message. This starts with an inner vision. This is no different than the process an architect goes through in designing a building, or a gardener when laying out a garden plot. 

Manifesting a painting is no different than manifesting any other experience in our lives. It all starts on the inside.

We are always creating our world through our thoughts, our ideas, our assumptions, and especially our feelings. Most of this goes on unconsciously or subconsciously. When we realize this principle is always in the "on" position, we can begin to become conscious of the process and make clear, conscious choices about what it is that we want. As this applies to painting, we recognize that having a vision of what the painting will become is imperative.

Regardless of the technique, style, or process that we use to create our work, having a clear vision of the finished painting as if it already exists will ensure that we have a great degree of success in manifesting our vision consciously. I suggest practicing a visualization of the finished painting inwardly, "seeing" it on the canvas, then standing before the canvas with an empty brush and going through the motions of placing the important elements of the painting broadly on the canvas with a phantom painting before beginning the drawing and massing phases. Using this technique, without rushing into the start, will give you a roadmap that insures you will arrive at your destination in charge of the process, and not a "victim" of it.

Experiment with this plan and see how it works for you. Most importantly, change it to fit your personality and style and make it your own. In this way you will not only create successful paintings, but you will be expressing your own unique voice through your paintings. Godspeed and happy painting!

Dennis