To paint is to make choices

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To paint is to make choices at each and every stroke. But these are not necessarily conscious choices, many are made through muscle memory or a form of automatic pilot. So why do I call them a choice then?

I am fascinated with concepts on how we are programmed and follow patterns throughout our life. With some effort we can break these patterns and our life choices will change. But most of the things we do go back to patterns which are a set of choices: if this then that.

So when I paint, I fall back on some of those patterns. At a high level it is the choice on what to paint. When I then start it is about how to paint, including the choice of colour and brush or other. I decided to paint both my left and right eye in semi-high detail on a large canvas (cardboard), 186 cm x 115 cm.

Now that one eye is done, I need to go on with the next eye. But here is the rub, I want to paint first something else: woman in red. After that is done I probably start the other eye. What makes this choice so hard for me? It is a conflict between two patterns:

  • the old pattern says finish what you started
  • the new pattern says follow your intuition

Another pattern, which I luckily have shredded, says I should have a bigger room first, so I can work on both paintings at the same time. Nope, ain’t gonna buy into that one any more, it has done enough harm already. I paint the “woman in red”