Monday Motivator: The Creative Process is Not Linear

“When teaching the creative process, it’s important to stress that the process is ongoing … Students often think once they have completed … it’s time to toss it to the side and move on to the next.

“Instead … the process is cyclical as it continues by thinking about how we will apply what we have learned from the previous artwork to the planning and creating of our next artwork. … the steps are not linear

“… sketching is only one way to plan. Artists plan by sketching, documenting, collecting, researching, thinking, journaling, listening, experimenting, and so on.”

Janet Taylor, “How to Use the Creative Process to Support Online Learning


I don’t sit in front of my paintings and write notes about every millimetre, every brushstroke, every hard or soft edge, every colour mixture. I think about what works for me and what doesn’t, what I’d like to do again, what I might change, what I could have still done, and what annoys me.

I like to stick a newly finished painting or plein-air piece up somewhere and let it live there for a while so I see it in various lights and moods. I’ve learnt that what I like/dislike doesn’t always remain the same. Some paintings grow on me, and sometimes I fall out of love with a painting.

Below is a pleinair seascape painting that has grown on me over the past few weeks, as I’ve forgotten the irritation of leaving my brushes behind and really wanting a rigger brush to add some white to the edge of the sea. I had a one-inch silicone paint spreader and a plastic pipette.

Mixed media (coloured pencil and acrylics) on A3-size sheet of 360gsm watercolour paper

I got a surprisingly decent result with the white acrylic ink using a grassy seadhead, but it wasn’t as I’d envisaged (i.e. a technique I’ve used before with pleasing results).

Rather than fuss and struggle with it, I stopped painting after this layer of acrylic white ink, and sat in the sunshine watching the waves.

Looking at it now, I like the composition with rocks on one side only, which isn’t something I’ve done before though I’ve admired in other people’s paintings. And the white on the sea is okay really.

2 Replies to “Monday Motivator: The Creative Process is Not Linear”

  1. I think it works well both in use of materials and composition, I’m just packing my ‘tiny’ art set for a day in London by train. I often do small sketches when on the train. I’ve just taken out some water-soluble pastels to lessen the weight but may decide to put them in the bag tomorrow.

    1. I think having one watersoluble pencil or pastel plus a waterbrush (or simply a splash from my drinking water bottle) can change how I’m working on a sketch. Hope you enjoyed London!

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