Intuition: a thing that one knows
from instinctive feeling rather than conscious reasoning.
Intuitive painting is about allowing yourself to be guided by that non-verbal, non-logical part of your brain. This part holds real knowledge but sometimes it isn’t very good at words. If we can quiet the logical, judgmental part of our brains, we can allow our intuition to make itself known in the language of color, line and image.
Intuitive Painting vs. Process Painting
Intuitive painting and process painting are the same thing; they just use slightly different vocabulary to talk about how to access that intuitive, non-logical way of knowing. At an intuitive painting workshop, the facilitator might talk about “listening to your muse” and ask “what does the painting want you to do next?” while the process painting facilitator might tell you to “pay attention to your experience” and “notice what you are feeling”. Both would encourage you to ignore your inner critic, take risks and experiment just to see what happens next.
Using Intuitive Painting to Be More Creative
Creativity gets shut down by judgement and criticism. “Good” and “bad” are judgments. If every idea has to be a good one, then the unusual, risky, creative ideas never has a chance. In a process or intuitive painting workshop we go to the opposite extreme. The end results don’t matter so “good” and ‘bad” are irrelevant. The goal is to tune into your experience and be listening to your intuition as you paint. Every idea gets to be realized on paper, nothing that your intuition wants to try is inhibited because your inner critic judges it badly. The results can be surprising, even wonderful. Even if you don’t like the painting, it doesn’t matter. The real value is in the process. By focusing on your own experience, you are learning how to check in with yourself. You are teaching yourself to hear the voice of your own intuition.
Intuitive Painting Translates Into More Intuition in “Real Life”
Doing intuitive painting, the decisions seem trivial. Should the flower be red or purple? Does that blob want to be an octopus or a cave? If the decision were important, the logical, critical parts of the brain would want to stay in charge. However, this time the decisions don’t seem to matter, so the intuitive, emotional responses get a chance to slip by the critical censor and be heard.
Repeat the process over and over with the dozens and dozens of tiny decisions that get made in a painting and gradually your brain is learning something new – how to hear your own intuition. Once you recognize the voice of your intuition, you will realize that it has been whispering to you all along. As you learn to trust your intuition to guide your painting, you will gradually when it is safe to trust it to guide you in other kinds of decision. It is exciting to discover how much more you know about the world when you can access both the intuitive and logical parts of your brain.