My brain does this interesting thing where it will just come up with random images. Sometimes it is so quick, I literally see (in my mind's eye) the image in the blink of an eye. I might see an abstract image with tons of shapes and colors, I might see an idea for a painting, an image from my memory, or just colors next to each other or mixing together.
When I paint a lot this happens more frequently, especially when I get settled in for bed. It actually makes a lot of sense for a visual person to have this ability, and for it to increase as one practices visual skills. Nevertheless, I find it a bit fascinating.
When I was struggling with the colors of this painting the flashes of color combos and mixes were happening a lot.. After several days of working on this painting I realized I needed to take a step back and be more mindful about what I was doing. It was then that I noticed that those color combos that had been flashing in my mind's eye were some of the solutions for this painting. I don't know why I didn't make that connection immediately. Oddly enough, I've never considered these images to be about what I'm actively working on, but to ideas for future works-- my subconscious processing visual information that it has taken in, not necessarily processing through a problem I'm working on now.
The day after this realization I sat down and put an entirely different color on the background. It was an immediate transformation. The little deer that had been so boring, drab, and flat popped to life. All those color tricks I had been using on the hair were working all along, it was just that the background was literally sucking the vibrance out of the subject.
Colors are really interesting and can look totally different based on the color(s) around them. Artists have to be conscientious of this affect as they work, which I clearly was not doing at the time. I'm really happy with the way this little deer turned out, and got to learn a whole lot on along the way.
The lessons we learn in the process of making art often mirror important lessons for life. Here are my big take-aways:
1: When things aren't working you can't just try harder with the same approach and expect different results. (Muscle memory, habits, and patterns can be powerful tools for growth or for digging ourselves deeper into ruts.)
2: Sometimes you already know the solution, but you just have pause and listen to your intuition.
3: If your background is killing your vibrance consider making a change.
Have you learned any unexpected lessons in your creative endeavors? Also, I'm super interested in knowing if anyone else has a quirky visual brain like mine! Let me know if that is you!