On Intuition – when déjà vu becomes daily discourse.

A daily diary is something I prescribe to, not in the written sense, but certainly in the visual sense.  While I do write sentences, lists, statements, song lines and poetry, I do not sit down and recount the activities and experiences of my day as written paragraphs.

 As a visual artist, my primary medium is paint. The canvas, a blank diary page waiting for my thoughts to flow onto the surface. Sometimes with the scraping sound of dry bristles scuffing paint onto the surface and other times with a slick and viscous damp caress. I have been painting with acrylics for about 12 years now, and painting full-time, almost every day, for the past six years. These paintings are my daily diary. They are my discreet observations served up on canvas and put in front of an audience.

What I have noticed over the past six years of intense exploration painting daily, is the experience of déjà vu  or seeing things that I have 'already seen', has become more recurrent than ever. The psychologist Edward B. Titchener explained déjà vu as caused by a person having a brief glimpse of an object or situation, before the brain has completed "constructing" a full conscious perception of the experience. Such a "partial perception" then results in a false sense of familiarity.

I seem to be painting things that I have already seen, feeling like I am painting them all over again, like I know exactly where I am supposed to go with every stroke and every accidental stroke. I believe this is where intuition comes in, sometimes I describe it as feeling, 'in the groove' or 'immersed emotionally in the subject I am painting'. I do start with a plan, a rough outline, a thought. I let this initial thought 'ruminate'. Often I take to the treadmill, put on some music, pop two sticks of gum in my mouth and do a 'walk and chew'. Which is interesting as I read somewhere once that chewing gum could help with focus and concentration, but I don't think it has anything to do with chewing gum itself. More, that it is a repetitive concentrated action, like meditation, that allows me to focus and see clearly. I digress. A little gum should help me get back on course. Good. Now, as I was saying, this is where Intuition comes in...

One of my favorite statements about how artists use intuition comes from Pablo Picasso. It went something like this...Picasso told a friend that intuition was like having a carrier pigeon with a message land on your balcony. "The important thing is knowing that the pigeon has arrived," he said, "you don't have to unroll the message and read it."

It is when the initial blueprint for the painting is left behind and takes flight, that the painting comes to life. Sometimes through an 'accidental stroke', it is when the painting tells me what it wants to be, it tells me where it wants to go, it tells me what colours I should use and how I should finish it or abandon it...because all paintings are abandoned, not finished, or so some famous artist said once.

Intuition is golden. It is an essential tool in everyone's life and must always be listened too, never ignored or drowned out by technical rules or teachings of the past. To really soar, you have to take that first leap...wait I think I already posted this Blog entry?

 Cirque Reflections - acrylic on canvas 2008 Brandy Saturley

Cirque Reflections - acrylic on canvas 2008 Brandy Saturley