“Isn’t it rather intensity of thought than calmness of touch that we’re looking for — and in the given circumstances of impulsive work on the spot and from life, is a calm and controlled touch always possible?”
— Vincent van Gogh, letter to Emile Bernard, 27 June 1888
Calm, smooth colour with any sign of brushmarks eliminated, blended out. Or evidence of the making, the width of brush, the direction of its travel, the hand of the artist. Or a bit of both?
Too much contemplation of every brushstroke destroys the life of a painting. Too little creates a visual muddle.
When you’re walking, you don’t give every single step the same amount of thought. Some you let happen, others you pay a bit more attention to, and at times you concentrate hard. To get anywhere, it’s a combination. Some days it’s more of the one than the other.
Calm consideration (read: subduing mark making) can be sought, tomorrow. or the day after. Intensity is less easily deliberately conjured tomorrow and should be harnessed as it happens.