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Everything I Ever Needed to Know I Learned Painting : Part 3 of 5

Everything I Ever Needed to Know I Learned Painting

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Painting Step #2: The Outline

  • The OutlineThe outline is what narrows our focus and channels our painting energy in one direction.
  • The foundation layer is like DIVERGENT thinking. The outline is like CONVERGENT thinking.
  • Just like after the brainstorming, information gathering foundation step, the next step is to narrow down the options and learn more about fewer options.
  • The outline is what provides you with the structure for the creative painting process.
  • You can take the steps to paint your outline, but if you decide you would prefer another, or if you want to make changes, you can! Just because you outline a flower does not mean that you HAVE to paint a flower. IF you decide you really don't like it, you simply paint over it. Better to paint your outline and then another over it than to stay stuck (in fear) at the foundation stage.
  • For example, you are looking for a new career and you decide that career "A" is really the direction you want to go. But after talking to some people you realize that it is not the career for you. You don't say, "See, I will never find a new career!" You simply look for career "B" and start THAT outline.
  • Don't PUSH THROUGH your painting if you know the outline is not what you want. Don't keep painting if the bouquet of flowers bothers you, hoping that it will fix itself. Problems don't fix themselves; they just run deeper the longer we ignore them. So, make the change you need to feel good about the outline. Don't avoid that area that is "bothering you" and spend time adding more layers to other areas of the painting. Address the part that is bothering you. Even if you can consciously ignore it, your mind's eye (it's subconscious) knows.
  • For example: Say you are painting a vase of flowers. You outline everything and you like it fine, but the vase bothers you. It is not the right shape. But instead of changing it, you spend all your time painting the flowers and the background, adding layers and details to the flowers and ignoring the vase. Back up. Fix the vase. Paint a new outline and then paint over the old outline. Presto! It takes 5 seconds. Don't push through.
  • If it is an abstract painting (perfectly fine — some people don't want the structure of an actual object) you can still divide the paper up into different spaces — this provides the opportunities for more fields of color. It helps you to make the canvas more interesting.
  • If you are being really hard on yourself about your designs, paint multiple canvases at once so that you can feel success on at least some of the canvases. Likewise, if you are trying to create a major life change, keep your life balanced with other activities or interests, so you don't place an undue amount of pressure on yourself to force the change. To a certain extent you have to LET IT EVOLVE. This is reflective of the INTUITIVE ASPECT OF PAINTING.

Next: Step #3: Filling in the Spaces with Color »

Updated 1/14/14