To Find Your Own Painting Style, Tap Into Your Intuition


Tropical Hibiscus 1 – Jacki Kellum – Watercolor – Painted July 2013

The painter who tries to please everyone generalizes in his work and paints superficially.  Painting superficially is just going through the motions of art by merely drawing and painting.  Mere drawing and painting are technical skills, like typing or riding a bicycle.  Anyone can master the skills of drawing and painting. Drawing and Painting are to visual art what the ABC’s are to writing.  They are the external stuff that an artist uses to express that greater thing–the artist’s essence.

A painter’s intuition is the vehicle to his essence–his center, where his art lies.  Although a painter may have completely buried his intuition, it is there ;and a painter must do whatever it takes to reclaim his intuition.  This is essential to finding one’s style.

Michelangelo alluded to this artist’s intuition in saying that his sculptures [his art] lay within the stone and that he merely followed the path that he sensed within the rock.

I can honestly say that when I am truly painting [this definitely is not every time that I paint], I sense this same type of intuitive force that pulls my hand along and essentially makes my marks for me.  In order to hear the voice of one’s intuition, we must quieten ourselves.  We must slow ourselves down.

In today’s paper-plate-society, the era of the multi-tasker, that is very difficult.  In order to truly paint, we need to turn off our cell phones; disconnect our computers; turn off our televisions; and remove ourselves from any of the escape routes provided through technology.  When that is done, we can meet our subject matter face-to-face.  At this point, begin drawing your subject matter [I recommend contour drawing]; and dig deeply before you begin to paint at all.  This digging into the subject is essential to moving beyond the superficial in one’s painting.  After that, the intuition begins to speak. Follwoing the intuition is the way to find one’s individual style in painting.

Knowing why one does this or that while creating is not important–just doing is the key to becoming.  Making art is an intuitive response. – Jacki Kellum


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