Don’t Say Too Much..!

When most people think about painting or drawing, the first thing that comes to mind is the representational work of the Old Masters the detailed drawings of Michelangelo or Da Vinci. Expressive painting, by contrast, comes from breaking the rules and the traditional limitations of classical teaching and exploring freer, more intimate and intuitive forms of expression.

What is similar is that the painting starts with strong composition but in contrast rather than planning or drawing the subject the early development is very abstract.

The first step is the set up – it has to appeal to you, something has to hit… it must hold your attention for a few hours or few days maybe even weeks so make it matter.

The buildup – this is applying the paint in a random way inspired by what I see but not confined or restricted there’s lots of artistic license at this stage. I’m trying to remember to make bush strokes interesting they may be painted over or left …. These are some of the most exciting marks because they are free of trying to create any one thing. The free mark making stage is liberating and may lead the painting in a whole new direction. So stay open and the ‘intention’ of the painting is not decided yet.


The intention will come later during the painting process for me and this often prompts the title. It’s based on a feeling for the painting. What’s the word you’re feeling when your painting? Make the marks express that, the color will reflect that, the subject takes on a meaning.

This mid-section is a daunting stage it can feel lost, messy there may be a glimmer of something but it’s having the courage to explore a new direction turn the canvas upside down and see if this helps. Feel it. Sense the energies in each of the elements. Notice relationships that are forming between the elements. Painting again dare to make confident marks a new brush stroke in a direction you may not have otherwise tried for.

Avoid the cliché or predictable don’t try to draw in yet…. Build the paint! Keep your nerve and be discerning. Don’t try for a finished painting, when you control the painting it will suck!. This will be far more exciting it will push you out of predictable and comfort zone these are abstract ideas! When you have the urge to respond in some way — do it. It doesn’t matter so much what you do, as long as you respond from the gut. Think about the whole canvas don’t focus too much on anyone area.

Pause…“Don’t confuse the Pause Step with laziness or passivity. Pausing comes only after the robust Explore and Freedom steps.Pausing demands alertness, Rollo May explained in “The courage to create”, as when a diver is balanced on the end of a springboard, waiting for the right moment to move. Stand ready to leap!” (…Zing by Sam Harrison)

You will know when its time to stop…trust yourself and don’t try to say too much!

Heartbreak | 16″ x 20″ | Claire J Kendrick


There was something tragic about the exploding rose… it had to stay…The traditional floral bouquet somehow blown up, shot by a bullet.. spewing blood… it took a sinister twist!  This piece is called “Heartbreak in a Jug”.

16″ x 20″ | Oil Encaustic on Board | In studio