What Is Intuitive Painting?

By Amy Casebier ; Updated September 15, 2017
Many intuitive paintings contain abstract elements.

Stop wondering if your painting is good enough. Let your ideas flow through any existing creative block with intuitive painting. Intuitive painting is a practice that seeks to tap into the wells of your creativity, unleashing unplanned art fueled by your intuition. This technique calls for action without limitation and painting without worrying about the end product.

Definition

Intuitive painting is a creative practice that releases impulses usually corralled by the logical part of the brain to make a work of art. People who use this technique employ their intuition to paint automatically without stopping to plan for the outcome of the piece. Some practitioners like Chris Zydel, who leads workshops on intuitive painting, believe it is a spiritual experience that can help free the mind and heal the soul.

Materials

Anything you would need to complete a regular painting you can expect to use in intuitive painting. Set up your workspace ahead of time. Spread newspaper to protect your floor or table. Gather several sizes of paintbrushes and fill up a cup with water for cleaning them. Squirt different colors of acrylic paint in a palette. Arrange your canvas on an easel or prop it up on a table. Make sure your space is comfortable to limit any distractions.

Techniques

After you set up your workspace, relax and clear your mind. Light a stick of incense or a candle with a scent that calms you. If it helps, put on classical music or soothing nature sounds. Set a timer for 15 or 20 minutes to focus your session, or paint until you've filled your canvas. Start painting without planning what your art will look like and don't stop moving your brush. Select colors at the slightest whim. Let your intuition be your guide, allowing it to overrule logic. If you have the sudden craving to drop the brush and use your fingers to direct the paint, go for it. Don't worry about abstract additions or surreal details.

Variations

Host an intuitive painting party to bounce ideas off of other creative-minded people. If there are newcomers to the practice in the group, write thematic ideas on scraps of paper and draw them for random painting suggestions. As an alternative, set a timer for five minutes. Everyone in the group will paint for five minutes. After the timer sounds, each painter will pass his piece to the next artist. Each painter will have the opportunity to contribute her intuition to every work of art.

About the Author

Amy Casebier has worked in the journalism industry since 2007. She currently serves as a copy editor and page designer for a mid-sized daily newspaper. Casebier earned a Bachelor of Arts in English and Spanish from Hanover College in Indiana.