Friday, February 15, 2013

Creative Process Born

It seems to me, that for many artists it is the process of creating that makes them continue to create. I for one know that I relish the idea of spending long hours in my studio with my only guests being my dog Maddie and her two sidekicks Sophie and Tasha...(the cats.)  When I open the door to my studio and cross the threshhold, it is like I have stepped into my imagination and my intuition starts to rev into full gear. This is the very beginning of my process to create.

Ok, so the lights are on in my imagination is flowing with all of the infinite possibilites...I turn on some classic rock and hang a big blank canvas on the wall. I find myself furiously pulling out the paints and lining them up along the top of my cardboard pallet.  Sometimes, I am so in the flow, that I even forget to put on my smock...silly me because you know I am going to get  very messy....

The splattering and dripping of paint......fingerpainting, making marks with recycled objects commences with no rhyme or reason.  With some impatience, I wait between layers for them to dry.....just between you and me though I am an instant gratification, slightly type "A" personality, so I sometimes whip out my handy hairdryer to dry the layers....(I think some of you out there know what I am talking about:)

The first goal is to completely cover the canvas with paint.
During this phase I am usually jumping around and singing to the music....looking like a complete and utter nutcase, but having so much fun with the process.
Next, I add some fun black and white marks with different paintbrushes and my fingers....
Again, I am not trying to achieve anything in this stage....just making layers and going with my intuitive flow.....there are no rules and this is the key for me....I guess I have another deep dark confession people, I have never been good at following the rules...oops did I just let that out of the bag.
Excited is how I describe my next phase....I pull out my fluid acrylics and my water spray bottle....if you have never used fluid acrylics, let me tell you this is an experience all in itself!  If you have control issues,  you may not enjoy this step because you apply the fluid acrylics and spray them with water to let them drip....and drip....and drip. These drips go where they want and you have now given up the control to the creative gods.
I then slowly start painting on designs with an outlining of black or white....sometimes I get lucky and see images right away when doing this....for example the purple flower on the bottom center of the picture above. This is a time to turn my canvas in different directions to see images and outline designs.
Fingerpainting again to fill in the color around the images is the next game I play.....playing is so important in my is when my kindergarten alter ego emerges. I know as adults we sometimes have buried that part so deep, that is takes a bit to coax it out when we need it, but as the saying goes "practice makes perfect".
After filling in color and making the hard decision as to what my color pallet wants to be.....and believe me, I am usually pacing back and forth in front of my painting at this point in my process, looking to see the separate parts and how they act as a whole. I want to create the painting's authentic color story. 
And even after pacing, sometimes the full pallet doesn't develop until the very end. Now, above are two pictures of my collage elements that I add after painting. I am a true believer in, re-purposing or whatever is the politically correct way of stating this.... I can not in good conscience waste paint that is on my pallet. So being the clever girl that I am, I decided one day.... too many years ago.... that I was going to use that paint I looked around my studio and spied some scrapbooking paper and my pallet knife. The lightbulb went on...I layed the paper down and scrapped some paint from my pallet onto it with my pallet knife....then another idea popped into my head..."collage this onto your paintings"....and that is how the collaging all began.
To sum this all up.....almost  all of the best things happen when you follow your intuition....and leave the rules to somebody else!
A Gathering  by Shannon Crandall 36"x36"
for sale on my website:



  1. Funny how the Universe will answer your questions when you put them out there. I have been wanting to do this for some time now, always admiring those of you who create these wonderful paintings with layers upon layers of goodness! I guess I knew HOW to do it, but seeing it broken down to its most basic-ness in the beginning stages has given me the confidence to try it now. THANK YOU!!

    PS~ Your paintings are FABULOUS!

  2. Thank you so much Missy for your lovely comments...I am so glad that I could inspire you to create. Go forward and be bold!

  3. Hello Shannon, There! look how brave you have become,wasnt that so easy!!haha. Well I want to congratulate you on your new venture, it will be a great success. Your work is great too!! Janet Pell

  4. Thank you so much Janet for your comments, they are much appreciated...I am glad you visited my blog.