Abstract, freestyle painting is an excellent way to relax, have fun and experience therapeutic healing all at once. I call the free-form painting I do “intuitive painting”. With no plan or expectation for how the finished product will look, this freestyle approach helps me to draw lots of insightful and helpful parallels to life as I’m painting and is the key to the therapeutic benefits for me.
Life requires so much thinking ahead, but my painting doesn’t need a plan or any preparation; it just frees me to experiment and helps me become more comfortable with uncertainty and the unknowns hiding ahead.
It can feel frustrating when things don’t turn out how I want them to in life, but my paintings don’t need to be successes. I free myself to accept them whether I love them or hate them and that conscious practice of acceptance carries over to the rest of my life as a learned skill.
Turning out a painting I don’t like doesn’t have to hold me back. If I really can’t stand it, I can use the “undesirable” painting as a base layer for a collage or some mail art. There is the potential to turn a “mistake” into something better, which is a skill that doesn’t come naturally to me so the opportunity to cultivate it is golden.
” To practice any art, no matter how well or badly, is a way to make your soul grow. So do it. ” – Kurt Vonnegut
I think of paint as a living medium that interacts with glue, solvents, and other mediums in interesting ways – as in life itself, I just have to get in there and start moving and mixing and see what happens. If it doesn’t go well, I learn from it and move on but use the new knowledge to my benefit.
The painting pictured here is an example of the freestyle instinctive painting I do. This is actually the very first one I ever made. It’s primitive and simple, but I like the whimsical and childlike nature of it because I’m missing a lot of that in life! It’s totally unpolished and unsophisticated, but it speaks of movement and action, it speaks of trying, it speaks of freedom…all things that inspire me in how I live my life. This painting one of my favorite things I’ve made because of what it represents to me.
I have to give a huge shout out to Tiffany Goff Smith of Southern Gals Designs for inspiring me to give this sort of painting a try. When I discovered Southern Gals Designs I was exclusively a handmade card maker. Her art is gorgeous and inspiring but I was nervous about dabbling in a new art form. She shares pictures and videos of her art process that made freestyle painting like this feel accessible to me.
See Tiffany’s Instagram feed for loads of eye-popping whimsical art dripping with vibrant color. And watch Southern Gals Designs YouTube videos for ideas on using readily available supplies and uncomplicated methods to make really fun art.
Read more about my intuitive painting practices.