In the past few weeks I have been working with an awesome new model in my studio. The other day he noticed something interesting while I have been working….
Some days he heard me slashing very loudly on the board and the music I had chosen for that day was louder and bolder. Other days he heard the strokes barely scraping the surface in tiny strokes and the music was classical guitar or piano. He noticed that my overall mood seemed to change from each session too. Sometimes I was feeling bold and silly and telling jokes, and other times I seemed more focused and the sounds he heard from the other side of the easel seemed more deliberate. Quiet.
I once read a biography on Michelangelo and apparently he had days where he boldly hacked at his sculptures and then other days where he only felt like softly modeling the forms. Other days he only dusted his creations.
Here is a photo of one of Michalangelo’s unfinished sculptures. I can literally feel the difference between what it took to create the right side versus the left. I can only imagine that they were on different days, with different moods.
That makes me so happy, because I am very much aware that on some days I can only paint in a certain way. Some days I think I will get to focus and clearly finish a head and instead spend my time slashing around bold lines- it just feels right for that moment. Some days I think I will be able to finish a piece and realize that I just can’t bring myself to even touch it and spend my time cleaning sticks, washing the floor, puttering around the studio and putting things away even though I know I need to work on something.
I think artists are very intuitive creatures …. For me, I have found that is is best to "go with my gut" on most days and then I am normally happier for that day. I have tried to force myself to paint the way I am not “feeling” that day, and it is usually less productive. Of course, I do have many days where all I want to do is get in that room and sculpt happily away on an image, but sometimes real life interrupts and I can’t paint at all and then I tend to be a little grumpier on that day.
This is a head shot of one of my paintings. I know for a fact that the face was created on a different days than the hair- the energy is different. The strokes between these areas have a completely different feel. I think this is key for a painting - variety! Energetic textures versus softly sculpted ones. Follow the moods and they will develop!
So, the next time you are ready to paint, start with analyzing your mood. What kind of music would feel appropriate right now? What does the painting need today that will match that?
Then paint the music of your soul.