Loosen Up!

Jean Michel Basquiat is one of my favorite painters. His work is loose, playful and inventive.

On the other hand, it seems to me as though everything I do gets tight and serious really fast, and finds its way to being too “realistic,” which I find… boring! This is probably why I have developed this deep affinity for art journaling. It’s a place where I can stay loose and playful, and when it get’s too serious I just get up and leave the room! Problem solved.

Jesse Reno, an amazing artist who is sometimes compared to Basquiat, has also developed a style that is intuitive and relaxed. After seeing his earlier work, which was more realistic and tight, it gave me hope that with MUCH patience and practice I might learn to loosen up too.

While attending Jesse’s workshop in Idyllwild this summer, he gave us an exercise that helped me substantially. We were asked to draw four faces. The first, the way we usually draw. Second, draw the same face with our non-dominant hand. Third, draw the face without looking at the paper. And lastly, draw the face using a fan brush and few strokes.

Once we had this done, we removed what we didn’t like to simplify our paintings/drawings. Pictured are a few samples and the result of my efforts.

I can’t wait to continue practicing and finding new techniques to stop thinking so much and just let the art flow onto the paper! I’d be happy to hear any suggestions you’ve used that have helped you. (I need all the advice I can get!)

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