Wednesday, November 2, 2011

Are You A Researcher or A Spontaneous Artist?

"Crawfish on Newsprint" original watercolor on paper 6x6 BUY NOW
 I never really thought about my creative process or how I arrived at my artistic compositions until I worked with another artist in a mural business.  It was a terrific experience for me artistically.  I had so much fun and was constantly challenged at all of the different projects.  One week we would be painting someone's elevator in a tropical theme and the next we would be painting 20' high ceilings with clouds.  While working with this other artist I often felt inadequate.  She was able to go into a space cold and talk to the client and on demand start a project.  It was really amazing, she would talk to the client they would suggest a topic or subject and she would just paint it.  By the end of the day she had the idea down and would work from there, no reference photos or research required.  Because she worked that way she would send me to jobs without having a clue what the client wanted.  For me this was agony!  I quickly discovered that I needed to research.  Lots of hours on the internet and looking at books.  I would then come up with a composition and a color palette and then I felt prepared.  I would even do a mock drawing for the project.  My partner never really understood this part of my process and often thought I was being ridiculous.  I have since realized that I research everything, whether it be a car that I'm buying, a house, even a book.  I consult Consumer Reports or pour over customer reviews.  It's just my nature.  Even now that I'm painting my own compositions I may have an idea pop in my head but I will then have to set up my still life, photograph it and paint it in my head about 1000 times before I start.

So I'm really curious about you.  What is your process?  Are you a researcher or a spontaneous being?  Inquiring minds want to know:))

A project my business partner and I did when we were painting murals.  We did the floor also, it's a faux treatment. I will never acid wash concrete ever again!!
 See you on Friday,



  1. Mornin' Carrie, I paint both ways. Most often though it's seeing a photo that inspires me and I have to paint it NOW. Then there are times when I have something floating around in my mind like a still life of a string of pearls, ladies white gloves on a dresser beside an antique jewelry box. This intrigues me but I've never started painting it yet. Would you care to have a go at it? Be my guest. Enjoy your day.

  2. Carrie, I had no doubt that you were a researcher and a planner. Your work is too perfect for being totally spontaneous, and I'm saying this as a compliment! More than a compliment... I'm a little jealous, because I'm such a jump-in-and-start-painting kind of person, that I wish I had your dedication and patience and be able to do more detailed and accurate job. -not that I want to compare myself to you, I have so much to learn! But my nature is more for instinctual work, in painting as it is in life.
    LOVE that crawfish on the print BTW!

  3. Hi Carrie,

    Interesting post. I'm with you on this ... most definitely a researcher! The idea or fascination is spontaneous, but the rest - no.

  4. Love the black and white and read all over. The crawfish is gorgeous against the newspaper. I can't imagine you would ever feel in adequate. You just work a different way and it always turns out beautifully.

  5. Great post yet again.. But that is a tough question.. I think by nature I am more impulsive/spontaneous. But I try to be the researcher too sometimes.. :)

  6. I love Prabal's comment. :) And Carol came up with a great title for your gorgeous crawfish! And oh boy I have asked myself this question so many times. It's interesting because while I consider myself a 'planner' I'm more of a 'pantser' because I think some of my best work is done in those split second decisions. I was much more a researcher when i first started painting but now not so much. Funny how we all evolve differently right? But your planning works beautifully for you, you can see it in al lthe gorgeous details in your work.

  7. i need my reference. i need my research. himself is always touting those who do it.."from their heads!"..and i have respect for those who do and wish i could. simple truth is i need reference and i'm a planner. i need to know what i'm doin goin in. i've never sat down at the easel without a plan. it's just my process. wyeth's father made his offspring study muscles, study tendons so they could draw them from their heads no matter what position they were in. i'd love to have had that kind of dedication but for me reference is key. great post carrie and great question!

  8. Carrie, there is NOTHING in the world like riding a horse. Bruno is waiting for a visit ... :)

  9. Another great post, Carrie. Definitely, mostly a researcher. I like to think of it as having a plan or intention.

  10. that's a fabulous painting! Did you do the letters in the newspaper?
    I would not be able to do what you were doing with murals and faux finish without a plan. I admire your friend for being able to go in cold and make it all up. With my paintings, I like to choose the subject from my bazillions of photos or paint from life.
    I want to go ride Bruno with you :D