Pinball wizard

No, that’s not the title of the painting, though it’s a good one. Right at the moment the painting above is untitled.

The reference has to do with what I think of as pinballing, that is, my random jumping from one technique to another. It never fails to amaze me how even after painting something I just love, and thinking I have to do more of this style or technique, that the next day my eye is caught by something entirely different and I’ve just got to do that! Immediate abandonment of yesterday’s fire to do such-and-such, and off we go on another track.

There’s nothing wrong with this that I can see, except that in order to really master a technique the key is repetition, as it is with learning any new skill. And other than my obsession with cells, particularly in swipes and flip cups, I don’t tend to repeat techniques in a systematic (or even logical) manner.

In what might seem like an unrelated topic, I’ve begun a BrainHealth Project curriculum that centers on neuroplasticity and our ability to re-train the way our brains work. One of the things I’ve learned there recently is that our brains are not meant for multitasking, and indeed multitasking is counterproductive as far as letting our brains do what they are best at doing.

Where all this musing has brought me to is the idea that maybe for a while it would be helpful for me to spend a couple weeks focusing on just one particular technique or style of painting in order to really learn (and absorb) what I can about that technique so as to gain some actual mastery, rather than just pinballing from one to another. This isn’t the first time I’ve thought about approaching fluid art in a more methodical method, but it may be the first time that I actually put the idea into action.

So if you don’t care for for the colors of the sea and sand and skies, you might just take a break from my blog for this next couple of weeks! The technique above is called a sandwich pour, and may not lend itself best to a round substrate but that’s where I felt like starting. I’m longing for sand between my toes, and maybe some beachy paintings can soothe the siren song of the tropics.

You’ve got to learn your instrument. Then you practice, practice, practice. And then, when you finally get up there on the bandstand, forget all that and just wail.

Charlie Parker

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