Lately I have been experimenting with time-based abstract art sketches. For 30 minutes at a stretch, I attack a given composition with all I’ve got, working to produce something visually compelling under the pressure of a time limit.
Because the clock is ticking as I go, I have to work fast, and I have no time to second-guess myself. I am forced to “turn off my brain.” My intuition takes over. I go into a zone where some of my most creatively satisfying work happens. Things just happen.
Two recent abstract art sketches: I am in the process of refining these sketches into compositions that I will eventually paint. Going forward, I will be careful to honor the spirit of the original sketch — in other words, not tinker too much.
These 30-minute abstract art sketches also offer me a format for keeping my compositional skills fresh. It’s almost like how baseball players take batting practice every day, stepping into the batting cage and hacking away, working on the mechanics of their swings, trying to relax, and not to force anything, in the process.
Ideally, just like batting practice, I’d like set aside time each day to make a sketch, working on one specific design motif or geometric element per session. Unfortunately, I haven’t quite found the time to do this every day!
Another benefit of the 30-minute approach is that it prevents me from tinkering with a composition until I reach the point of diminishing returns, something I have encountered in the past. In fact, last summer I produced 24 different takes on the same composition! Results varied by the end, anyway: Once I started painting, the painting took on new life, deviating from the original sketch in significant ways.
I should add that I started experimenting with 30-minute sketches four years ago. The spontaneous art that followed, part of an art lottery project, eventually resulted in paintings such as Corporate Wellness Program.
We’ll see, indeed, whether my current batch of abstract art sketches will metamorphose into paintings in the physical realm.