Thursday, March 19, 2015

Wendy Wash

Wendy Wash
Oil on Canvasboard

My favorite part of this painting is probably the simplicity with which I painted the trees in the back.  I'm trying to say more by doing less.
It's a great local spot.  I love the fact that you can find water in this wash almost any time of the year and it's home to several kinds of birds and critters...right in the middle of Newbury Park.

Speaking of saying more with less.
I recently listened to a great podcast on the Ted Radio hour on "The Source of Creativity" and what it means to be in the flow.

From the website:
Part 2 of the TED Radio Hour episode The Source of Creativity with Charles Limb

About Charles Limb's TED Talk
What happens in the brain during musical improv? Researcher Charles Limb scanned the brains of jazz musicians to find out.
About Charles Limb
Dr. Charles Limb is an Associate Professor in the Johns Hopkins Department of Otolaryngology — Head and Neck Surgery, as well as faculty at the Peabody Conservatory of Music. He combines his two passions to study the way the brain creates and perceives music. He's a hearing specialist and surgeon at Johns Hopkins who performs cochlear implantations. In his free time, he plays sax, piano and bass.
In search of a better understanding of how the mind processes complex auditory stimuli such as music, Dr. Limb has been working with Dr. Allen Braun to look at the brains of improvising musicians and study what parts of the brain are involved when a musician is really in the groove.

As artists I feel that we experience this state of being in the groove as well.  You know how some paintings just seem to flow without any effort...Why is that?  This Ted Radio Hour speaks to why that is and what happens in our brains when we are in that groove.

There is also this one phrase said by host Guy Raz on the show that really stayed with me in regards to getting out of our way....:
"... practice doesn't make you perfect, but it does help you stop thinking that you have to be"

I've been thinking about what it is that really makes us improve as painters/artists etc with time?  And what has struck me is that it seems to have  a little something to do with building confidence.

Practice helps build confidence in the fact that you start knowing more about  the technical aspects of the craft of course, but more than that, what it also seems to lead to (on a good day:-) is that:
With confidence - I can play more, be bolder with my paint and braver with my brush strokes etc. because in a sense - I care less about getting it right.  (or as this study explores; with practice, I'm shutting of that censoring part of my brain that gets in the way of the natural flow of creativity).

If you are an artist, what do you feel it is that happens with time, the longer you have painted and practiced?   What do you feel happens for you when you're in the flow?


  1. Beautiful painting! Love the depth. The TED talks sound very interesting. I have added them to my watch list :) I agree with your thoughts. With practice, I am more confident while painting... in the sense that I am not afraid of taking risks and making mistakes because I know that if it doesn't work, I can always wipe it off and paint over.

  2. Thank you Bhavani!! Yes, I agree with you! There's a freedom in not being so attached to the painting that you can just wipe it off and start fresh:-) Thank you for sharing your thoughts!!


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