MAKE A PLAN by Mary K Donahoe
by Written by WAA Members on 04/22/16
What makes you get started on an artwork?
Often we hear, “I can’t decide what to paint.” When subject
matter becomes a stumbling block to action, a plan to explore a certain
concept may shake you loose.
It may be new tools that offer a plan for a piece. Who
hasn’t fallen for one of those newfangled art tools then enjoyed the
delicious anticipation of trying it out? For acrylic painters it might be texture
gels, wire brushes, or glazes. For watercolorists, sponges or yapo paper. For
oil painters, linseed stand oil or a palette knife.
There are other ways to start with a plan in mind. I find it
helpful to set some parameters for my painting. If I commit to a certain
composition, I can free myself up to use a variety of color or brushstroke.
Without a starting plan, it seems I end up with total chaos.
I know some people who like to start painting and just see what happens. That
doesn’t work for me. Of course, the painting I end up with may end up
jettisoning the very idea that started it. At least I learn what problems that composition
I practice figure drawing once a week with a live model.
Occasionally I’ll look at the paper in front of me and envision the finished
piece before I start. Of course, it changes. But it’s thrilling to me to see how
the mind works - seeing what I might draw before it is done. The pressure of completing a drawing in a
short time helps, too. You have no time to be critical of that flash of
inspiration. Just go with it!
Regardless of what method works for you, make a
plan, then execute it. Life is short. Express yourself while you can. Your life
will be richer for it.