Often when I am painting I follow an impulse to do something and then respond to what happens. I don’t have the route for creating the painting planned out before I start, but I do know what sorts of things the materials I’m using will give me so there are some parameters, it’s not a total “anything might happen”.
I don’t try to predict what kind of “what if I…?” impulse it might be, though the materials I’m using or have close to hand do influence it. Sometimes it’s a big shift (eg generously spraying water onto wet ink), sometimes small (eg adding a little bit of purple oil pastel to make a shadow area more colourful). Some paintings it never happens, and the result isn’t better or worse for it.
The video below shows such a moment. I had two small wood panels and intended to paint pebbles on both. Instead of painting on both simultaneously as I sometimes do, I ended up with one panel still blank and the other covered in paint (acrylic ink). Seeing how much was still wet, I had an impulse to place the blank board in top of the wet paint to transfer some if the ink.
It’s something I have done before, so I’m doing it with the knowledge of previous results, which range from minimal transfer (the paint was drier than I thought) to a smudged mess (very wet paint on paper that spread and mixed because I pressed down too hard). The worst that could happen was that I’d have a chaotic colourful mess, but that could easily be washed off or overpainted. The best would be an interesting starting point for a second pebble painting.
The photo below is what I ended up with. You can see how the colours make them a pair of paintings that sit together, and how the shapes in the colours on the left suggest pebbles.
I let the left-hand panel to dry a bit whilst I used a rigger brush to define some stronger pebbles in the right-hand one.
This is where the two paintings ended up:
The question now is, “Which way up do I hang them?”