An Accidental Artist

Drawing and Palette not accidental

Our subject describes himself as an ‘accidental artist’ in the document he composed for his only art show. What is the truth and false behind this statement?[1] Obviously his work is very deliberate, well thought out and planned, at least in terms of drawing and color choices. This is certainly not accidental. Further his Renaissance palette is completely structured, requiring an ordered style of mixing colors. This is not accidental.

Rendering intuitive, uncertain

So why does he describe himself this way – almost giving a false impression of his style? When he commences a new section he rarely has any idea – certainly nothing clear-cut – of how he is going to treat the subject of his attentions. For instance as he was painting Self Portrait he had no idea how he was going to execute the hair, or any other section for that matter, until midway through. His aware mind was watching and waiting for inspiration to waft through the ether – an intuition – a vision – a lead as to the correct way to proceed.

Paint by Numberism – even Color Gradation Set

The multitudes of boundaries are firmly set, almost in cement, very little variation from the drawing. (This is why I refer to my style as paint-by-number-ism.) The color palette is also fairly set – 6 colors from dark to light, both warm and cool. But how these colors will be applied – he has no idea. He just trusts that everything will somehow work out, as it always seems to. Extreme care, never too much, is taken to get a distinct gradation from dark to light. But even here intuition plays a part – in choosing the exact shades that seem to be right for the area.

Apply some Paint & Sense where Color wants to Go

Area delineated – colors mixed – now the troubles begin. Uncertainty as to direction. Just lay some paint down to get a sense of what my eye/mind wants to see and perhaps what my hand/brush wants to execute – two wild unpredictable forces like the tide and the wind. Attempt to link up the hand-eye connection – to visualize and execute what my inner eye sees – what my mind conceives - hoping the color combinations will do their magic – frequently wondering if it will end up a mess - sometimes does. But mostly – just into the third hour of painting (just as the Creative Pulse is peaking) everything seems to jell. The perfect color is discovered which sets off the others – perhaps something dark, or brown, or light, never sure.

Allow the Hand/Brush to do its Thing

The hand/brush naturally and inadvertently wants to shade, blend and smudge in a certain fashion. Stand back. Don’t get in the way. Let the hand/brush do what it needs to do. Craves precision, subtle refinements, the slight, miniscule (impossible with the pixilated computer art). The entire Maternal Love painting executed with brushes from 1 to 000 in thickness. (This is one reason these paintings take so long.) In the midst of many sessions he wonders, “Will it ever come together? Why do I ever think I can paint? The anxiety of uncertainty is overwhelming. Can’t take this anymore.” But then relying on the accidental to reveal the Path - Searching with radar eyes to find the Truth - The Path revealed.

What does the Eye/Mind want to See?

But why, and by what criterion?

Because it seems cool – can’t wait to see it – neat to see the corner of the Universe. And then painting away – focusing on color and lines and feelings – suddenly, accidentally something occurs that I had never expected in my wildest imaginings - Pine cone hair – a simple avocado rendering reflecting the infinite Cosmos with its speckled darkness – a vegetal, impossible, psychedelic evoking, paradoxical sleeve – a velveteen texture - integration emerging from an unsuspected deep pattern – magically merging seamlessly with this organic mess - without effort – had always been there. Never know until its over what we will end up with. Trusting that it will work out – Never know how well.

Execution accidental

And so this self-portrait of mine – excessive with all its weaving lines, multitude of colors and such – somehow holds together. While the colors and lines are fairly set the execution, the treatment, of really each section is accidental. Never know how it will turn out until the deed is done. Love and hate the uncertainty – the lack of control. Want to be in charge – know where I’m going – on which Path. But must let go – so that the process can happen.

Only with Divine Assistance

Stand Back! Stand Back! Let the fabulous Parade proceed – a supernatural spectacle – yields permanent results. Must allow the hand of the Spirit to issue through my fingertips. Just get out of the Way. Let it Happen.

And if I force my will on the Project – down it goes. "Just an ordinary man – a mediocre painter - puerile techniques, at best – an unsophisticated paint-by-numberist – certainly doesn’t know what he's doing – Just an accidental artist. Only with Divine assistance can it happen – only by flowing with the Tao. Wow!


[1] An application of the True/False Postulate

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