Experimentation

In the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina nine years ago, my husband and I moved to The Woodlands, Texas. I found a walking path. It was like walking in a beautiful forested park with magical birdsong, colorful wildflowers, various species of trees and wildlife. I’ll be forever grateful for the therapeutic sanctuary this path and the move to The Woodlands has provided us in the aftermath of the New Orleans destruction.

But after nine years, I explored a different walking route. It was refreshing to take in different scenery of new streets and wooded paths circling unfamiliar cul de sacs. I greeted fresh faces in my own neighborhood. Taking an unknown path was so energizing in my walk, I decided to take new paths in my painting as well.

I had a long term association with The Garden District Gallery in New Orleans, located across from the famous Commander’s Palace. It became extremely valuable as historical real estate and the gallery closed. With that closure came a freedom from gallery expectation of my art work. I felt free to experiment with my approach to painting.

The above paintings are just a few examples of the experimental work I’ve been trying.

Suggestions for Experimenting:

  1. No rules
  2. No expectations
  3. No formula
  4. Begin a new way
  5. Paint a new subject
  6. Start with a white canvas or an intensely toned canvas rather than always gray or raw umber
  7. Rather than drawing first, begin with shapes
  8. Paint with a new color palette
  9. Play with a different medium*

*But I realize this is an Oil Painters of America blog. Don’t worry, I may be unfaithful to oils every once and a while but I’ll always return to my true and passionate love: oil. I love the sensuousness of a juicy brushstroke, the feel and touch of a wooden palette, and the smell of turpentine.

The departure was just a fling to take a different path to refresh my thinking.

So in conclusion, if you are bored in the studio, perhaps it is time to experiment. If you always start your paintings the same way, paint the same subjects, and use the same formula for starting your work, of course you’ll have the same, safe, predictable outcome. The same old same old. The same sure thing.

If you are just a little bit bored in your studio, it might be time to take a different route, if only for a little while. Experiment!

Upcoming OPA Events

OPA 2018 National Exhibition OPA 2018 National Exhibition
Oil Painters of America’s Twenty-seventh Annual National Exhibition will be held at the Steamboat Art Museum (SAM), Steamboat Springs, Colorado, from June 1 through September 3, 2018. Learn More!
OPA 2016 Summer Online Showcase OPA 2018 Spring Online Showcase
The Spring 2018 Online Showcase is from March 1 - May 15, 2018 and will be open to Associate members only. Learn More!
OPA 2018 Salon Show OPA 2018 Salon Show
OPA's 2018 Salon Show Juried Exhibition is being hosted by Crooked Tree Arts Center, located in Traverse City, Michigan, from June 22 through September 1, 2018. Learn More!