This is my creative process in a nutshell. Imagine it, believe it, create it.

Imagine it. Easy. I don’t always imagine specific subjects to paint, like, a fish flower with keys for teeth. Sometimes it’s “I want to paint something using pink, magenta and orange”, or “I want to create something underwatery”, or “I want to create a painting that someone will pay $1,600 for” and sometimes I go into a painting totally blind and I start to paint lines and shapes until I see something.

Believe it. This is such a necessary step which is sometimes difficult for those new to the creation game. This involves putting all or most of the steps together in your head to get a good idea of how a painting will turn out. It’s important to break the process into small believable steps. This is especially important when creating something bigger like an art event. Anyway, I review this process until it’s hardwired into my brain and there’s no way I can’t make this creation unless I chose not to.

Create it. This is where all that believing and visualizing the process comes into play. If, for instance, I’m painting a balloon head with oil on canvas, that’s something I’ve done quite a bit and it’s kinda built into my motor memory. But for something like the piece I just finished, a robot walking his pets, painted on plywood using outdoor house paint. The techniques and process are new and require a thoughtful approach.

Even though I’m pretty consistent about my approach, almost all of my paintings take on a life of their own and evolve into something not quite what I originally envisioned. So during the creating process there are things that are constantly in flux and need attention. On almost every piece I get to a point where finishing up seems either overwhelming or burdensome (or a mix of both).

Finishing a piece. One practice I do to get a painting done is break it up into manageable steps. One; add stronger shadows on this part, two; make that appendage more believable, three; change that color to pink, etc. Once you define the steps, it’s so easy to knock them out one at a time and then voila, you’re done.

One other very important mindset I have is to shoot for 90%. Every artist looks at their work and sees mistakes and things they just want to address. If I want to get a 100% perfect painting (whatever that means in my little head) the last 10% is going to take three times longer than the first 90%. So I guess I’m creating above average work, but not perfect… and I’m okay with that.