On a recent hike with my kids, I was treated to an array of colorful cumulus cloud formations. However what was even more intriguing was that I did not notice them but only towards the end of my hike. I immediately drew a parallel with painting, in how artists have a tendency to paint without seeing the whole.
One of the greatest lessons I learned but struggle with on constant bases is painting while being mindful of the whole. Every stroke that is applied has to be in its place, with a correct color and edge. It is so easy to get caught up in painting certain sections that you forget how it fits with the rest of the work. It is known that such masters as John Singer Sargent walked away from his paintings after every stroke to see whether it fits correctly.
Having said this, even with ample experience you will find that most “finished” works will need to go through certain amount of deduction before completion. This polishing (or simplifying) part of painting will usually be a pretty good gauge as to your overall level of “presence” while painting.
Here are some tips to help you paint more intuitively:
1. Work on smaller canvases that you can complete in one session. This will negate onset of boredom.
2. Paint standing up and not sitting.
3. Use one size bigger brushes then the job calls for. Forces you to focus or larger sections.
4. Don’t slap paint on the surface or willy dally with the brush continuously. Apply at most 3 strokes with your brush, and then reload.