Some wild things have been jumping around in my studio lately and have landed in two new paintings. I begin every painting with 2-5 layers of random brushstrokes of color, sometimes before I even know what I'm going to paint. The purpose of this is to take away that big expanse of white, and to loosen up for a day of painting. Both of these paintings emerged from these abstract painted marks to varying degrees.
This curious giraffe began as random mark making in blue, magenta and purple. I had no plan about what I was going to paint on this canvas until suddenly, I saw this giraffe peeking out at me. So I quickly roughed him in and went with it.
Eventually, I had to paint out most of that background, as I found it distracting, and it had already served its purpose. It is sometimes hard to cover those initial layers, and I occasionally leave them peeking through parts of the background as I did in the goat painting below.
This mischievous goat was started on the same day. I knew I wanted to paint a goat, but I had no distinct vision of what it was going to look like. Again, the random mark making of the early painting layers told me which direction to head. I clearly saw a mountain view in those marks, and went with it.
Sometimes, when i start a painting, I think I know exactly where I'm headed, and then the painting takes me in a curious and unexpected new direction. Other times, I have no idea where I'm headed and let my mark making mischief guide me. At any rate, the painting tells me where it needs to go, and I happily follow along.