The Mystery on the Easel 2:1

Remember this post?

It was fun wasn’t it – are you up for following another process to see what comes off the easel?

It’s almost our Winter Solstice – and today is really cold.  My feet and hands were cold – I feel just a touch flu-ish.  I needed to get warm and keep warm!  Time to do some work!

I have an art board sitting on my easel.  I found it at the back of a cupboard when I was (ahem) sorting stuff prior to the latest re-organisation of the art room.  It had been covered with green and yellow paint – so long ago I had no recollection of ever having done it, let alone why.

It was the ideal jumping off point for my first real try at ‘Intuitive Painting’.  The thing you do when you have let go of all the rules, all the expectations and any thought of ‘achieving’.

I’m a Virgo.  I kinda like rules.  I’m very ordered.   I have ‘expectations’ for outcomes.  I like ‘achieving’ my expectations.  I like organising my stuff – have you noticed?  I’m not the ideal candidate to play with my paints this way.   I like order, I like process, I kinda like rules.

it’s a challenge I simply long to aspire to…….  But really, no rules?

So I gave myself some rules.

  1. Paint for a short time every day, even just 10 minutes
  2. Use paint brush, fingers, hands, whatever appeals
  3. Use up any paint left on the palette from other work
  4. Play music – loudly
  5. Dance
  6. Rules are for breaking – feel free

The first layer was going over the yellow and green background, so today, as I had no left over paint to use up and I was feeling very brave, I chose complementary* colours.  The complementary of green is red.  the complementary of yellow is purple.  I used two shades of purple, one with more red in it and the other with more blue.  I added some white to the palette too – just in case……..

I pumped up the music.  My favourite Spotify playlist is set to random and anything could appear – I’ve got something approaching 50 hours of non-stop music covering 50 years and all genres on that thing.  Bruce and the good old E-Street Band burst forth with ‘Ramrod’  –  a live version, so nice and long and still with Clarence on the saxophone.  (This is the closest version I could find on You Tube)

We were off.  We boogied and rocked and the paintbrush loaded with red paint made heavy random lines and marks. Then with big swooping movements as we rocked to the music the purples went on – gathering up and spreading white paint as well.  It was so good I put that track on repeat……..

When the paint was gone Siddy looked slightly shell shocked, Orlando had had a dance (he’s very fond of Bruce and Co; they have been among his preferred listening sounds since a young kitten)  and this was on the easel

Easel 1 June

I know, I know – a blind elephant could have done better with his trunk tied to one ear – but I was no longer cold!

I can see this will be a long process.

If you followed my previous ‘Mystery on the Easel’ series you will know anything can happen.  The only difference is this time I have no plan, no vague idea where this might end up.  I’ll just work on it a few minutes every day,  respond to the impulse of the moment and we’ll all find out together.

Feel free to leave your thoughts and impressions – it’s all part of the process.

Thanks for coming by today, I’m so happy that you did!

*In case you haven’t come across this terminology before, or it’s been so long and you’ve forgotten your basic science lessons in light and colour,  complementary colours are colours that sit opposite each other on the colour wheel.  They are combos that pop and sometimes startle in the worlds of colour and design.   Andy Warhol used them to good effect in his  ‘Pop Art’ and Bohemian Style aficionados still love complementaries.   Mix them together though and they make mud! Complementaries are also the  ‘shadow colour’ that appears when our eyes have stared at any pure colour for a long time.


49 thoughts on “The Mystery on the Easel 2:1

  1. I’m visiting WP friends today and came all the way back to 2:1 so that I could follow along in one sitting rather than over a few weeks. I love The RULES and the vision of the three of you surrounded by music and energy. On to 2:2


  2. Oh here now is the Genisis of ‘Mystery on an Easel” ! Congratulations for leaving your comfort zone and falling headfirst into ‘intuitive painting’. You’re a brave one and that’s what separates ‘artists’ from ‘crafters’. I found myself nodding in recognition whilst you confessed to being orderly in a number of ways. It’s where I live and for now, I like it there. I’ve been told I have ‘a style’ and I suppose everyone does. I do try to not fall into the trap of doing repetitive techniques or scraplifting anyone elses designs. I don’t want to be a ‘one-trick-pony’ either. No one will ever accuse you of that my dear! You’re adventurous and that’s what art needs! xo Boomdee


  3. You are sure having fun! It sounds kind of terrifying to me–this business of no rules! And you are just like Don–when he is weaving, he has music on SO loud. I can’t deal with that–it feels like a physical assault to me. But he, and you and Orlando, probably wouldn’t like my music choices either . . . .


  4. I’m picturing you dancing and swaying to Bruce, brush in hand, with a bit of red paint on the brush. How sweet to note that Orlando has a musical preference. That’s darling. I used to enjoy cleaning with loud music playing, often show tunes that I could sing along to. I’m excited to see where you go with this Pauline. I’m glad the movement warmed you, and hope that the flu symptoms abate post haste. Happy solstice. Longer days start now.xo


  5. Bruce would be proud to help inspire this! It looks like wind through standing stones to me; wind on a hill with vegetation and something hard, maybe outcroppings. Motion and change. As it is the turning of the year in the solstice, this seems to suit. I love that Orlando dances. A friend of mine has some budgies that bob together on their perch when they hear Bob Marley. Glad you’re painting.


    • I think there is a deep level change going on for me this solstice Lisa, interesting how you can pick up on that just looking at that mess! O has always danced. When he was a young kitten I was dancing around the kitchen one day and he came and asked to be picked up and sat in my arms having a grand time – we’ve done it pretty regularly ever since. He has particular music he likes – hates classical, I wonder if it is the pitch – and has a particular fondness for Bruce – I’ve seen him run in from the garden at the sound of them starting up. It’s fascinating! I love the thought of budgies bopping to Bob!! 🙂


  6. Goodness, CC. It looks like a whirlwind passed over your house. 🙂 I’ll be interested what comes next on this canvas. Interesting that Virgos are planners too. I’m a Cancer and I can’t get by without a list or two or twenty. 🙂


    • I’ve spent most of my life trying to be less Virgo-ish Et, it’s really only in the last ten years I’ve let go of all the rules and regulations about tidiness and organisation and so forth – god I must have been a pain to live with 😀 I’m sure Cancers are nothing like that! Painting to music with no plan could never have happened back then. I still need my lists and, as you know, I still like to organise my art room 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

  7. We must be on the same wavelength. Yesterday I cooked to loud music. I was creative using ingredients rather than paint. The end results were delicious so I guess it might be something I do more often. Can’t wait to see what you end up with 🙂


    • Yes, loud music while in the kitchen has been something I often did – not so much these days as its just me and Siddy gets over excited and off his nut! You are often creative in the kitchen I think – at some stage there has to be a cook book! ❤

      Liked by 2 people

      • That’s funny about Siddy and loud music as Bezial and Earl aren’t too keen on my loud music (I say “My” as whenever Steve cranks up his amp Earl races in to lay next to him and get deafened!) I will be too busy learning to spin to make a cook book and sides, everything I make has most likely been done before by some long suffering vegan food blogger who labours on regardless of pages views and every vegan food blogger seems to be writing a book these days. It must be in their money making bucket lists along with “blog stats” and “generating traffic to my blog” and “Google Analytics” etc. et al 😉


          • I have a group of people just down the road from us who meet every Thursday so fingers crossed, my prospective chunky lumps may be refined over time. Nothing wrong with a floor rug that never wears out 😉

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  8. What fun rules you came up with! This process reminds me of a free-writing exercise that I do sometimes. I write and write without thinking about it, editing anything, or trying to make sense of it afterwards. I listen to loud classical music, usually Mozart or Beethoven. The loud music doesn’t allow for concentration and shakes my brain up in a good way! After about 10 minutes of that, I get quiet and write with intention, it usually ends up to be a productive exercise! Creativity is fun! Ps. I’m a Gemini–nothing orderly here!


    • I like the sound of your exercise. The loud music serves to turn off the inner critic I think and override any headiness that may intrude on creativity. I also play music loudly when doing my mundane household chores, it gets it done more easily and makes it more fun 🙂

      I would listen to Mozart when doing lesson preparation years ago – it does something good to the brain though I no longer remember what (obviously not memory enhancement) I know I have Mozart and Bach on this playlist and a couple of others as well. It will be interesting to see what comes off the brush should they turn up. I’m letting the god of random chances decide the outcome of this canvas – well, unless I decide to change that rule too.

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  9. bah humbug! 33C in London and it’s hot enough to boil a gnats eyebrows. The piccy is intriguing – rather like you went to photo tadpoles and were a bit late. Still I suppose Bruce can do that too you


  10. improvisational painting!!! When we would hit a “blank” with our dancing we would put on the music and just improvise and some cool stuff came out of it. In fact, I use to teach a class on it with people to help them with stress in their lives. They would move to the music, or act/dance out what I told them to do. I loved teaching those classes. Your approach reminds me of Improvisation. It does spark new ideas. I LOVE< LOVE AND BIG LOVE planting the opposite on the wheel colors in the garden- yellow and purple, orange and purple, LOVE IT! Well, I love purple period but the effect is exciting.
    Plus, Bruce Springsteen can get anyone moving with body or brush!!!!!

    Liked by 1 person

    • You do have all these hidden talents Robbie! Yes this is definitely a form of improvisation! When I got up this morning and looked at the canvas again I wasn’t at all surprised by what I saw – it was totally the result of ‘Ramrod’!! 🙂
      I do enjoy a bit of Bruce! When I was a child and coloured in pictures of girls in my colouring book I mostly made them wear purple and yellow dresses because I was totally in love with that combo. I had no idea about complementaries then, but certainly responded to it.

      Liked by 2 people

  11. Here in the heat of summer I’m smiling at the thought of you dancing with paint. I love the idea of such freedom and an absence of rules (well, mostly). I’m not very good at not having an end-point in mind either, but since I’m so rubbish at art I have to be pleased with whatever appears; when it comes to yarn, though, that’s a different matter…


  12. Well done you! Something I’ve been aiming to do all year but haven’t – but obvs with wool rather than paint. I too am so rubbish at not having a end goal in mind. Might have go at at your ‘rules’. Now, what’s this about shell shocking Siddy? Hmmm.


    • I feel quite liberated having allowed myself no rules – this could be a whole new me coming into existence 😀 Poor Siddy! He wants to join in when O and I dance but hasn’t the faintest idea how to go about it so he leaps about and whines and gets trod on now and again. Orlando just sits in my arms and smiles and purrs and harrumphs – and adds to the feeling of me having a good workout….

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  13. This is the second post in the last couple of days I’ve read about pulling out old works that have been marinating and then giving them new life. I don’t believe in coincidence so I have to send you the link to the other.
    That looks like cold getting warm to me. I was feeling a bit off myself tonight. The heat does not do well for me so I waited till almost sundown and took my walk. I will go shower now that I have had my visit with you and Alys and write in my journal before my sleep. Happy Solstice to you. I can hardly wait for winter. 🙂


    • The old being redone is a great theme isn’t it Marlene – this one of course was barely begun so I can’t really claim a redoing as such. But I like what you picked up there – moving from cold to warm. I certainly did 🙂 I’m glad to hear you are still taking your walk, when doesn’t matter really does it, as long as you go. Siddy and I love to go for a wee wander on a hot summer evening – gosh I’m looking forward to those!

      Liked by 1 person

  14. Hi Pauline, I am very excited about this second mystery on the easel, and can’t wait to see what becomes of it. Also can’t wait to hear about your dance exploits. Stay warm. We have a beautiful day here for our shortest day of the year. I can hardly believe it’s winter! Enjoy your artwork. I know I will!


    • Hi Norah! I appreciate your enthusiastic response 🙂 We were mostly enjoying nice days too – but it changed today for sure. Though I think the fact that I felt not quite well also made me feel really cold – I don’t often get things like this, but the dancing and painting seems to have seen it off – fingers crossed 🙂

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