My artistic process has a methodical and natural rhythm. I trust it as a reliant part of creating art when creating is both easy and daunting.

  • Visualization: Everything starts in the mind so I practice visualizing a completed painting or collection before executing. I imagine the completed painting hanging in a room or the person who will acquire it. I overcome any insecurities about a project by imagining its success. If I’m working on a piece on canvas, I’ll prop the canvas up against a wall, live with it for several weeks and imagine my ideas on it.

  • Hunting/gathering: A couple years ago, an art teacher told me that painting is like hunting. You spend hours on a perch waiting for that spark of inspiration. Once you get it, you execute. This is my process in a nutshell. I spend a lot of time gathering inspiration to spark a new idea or to embellish what I’ve already created. I look for different compositions, styles, colors, materials, approaches, etc. Inspiration doesn’t have to be exclusive to fine art. I find a lot of inspiration from non-art sources like a detail in a photograph, city buildings, or the color in the fold of a dress. Two key places I regularly absorb inspiration are Tumblr and Pinterest. When I’m stumped or frustrated with a project, I problem solve or unplug from it by refueling my inspiration and these are the most accessible places to do that.

  • Experimentation: I keep sketches in an oversized black Moleskin notebook. I work out compositions and designs of projects I to explore it for later reference. But I don’t spend too much time here. I prefer execution to experimentation, but if I’m unsure about something I want to try, I’ll sketch it out.

  • Execution: After a good amount of inspiration gathering, I execute my ideas onto paper or canvas, depending on the project. I work in small bursts and take intermittent breaks to evaluate my progress.

  • Environment: I like to work in bright, filtered light with music playing. I prefer to work alone in my space.

  • When to Stop: I can’t articulate when I know a piece is finished. It’s instinctual. Sometimes it’s evident immediately when the composition feels balanced or when I achieve what I visualized. For a period of time I live with a work of art and see something new I could add or subtract. Sometimes I get a new idea to use and then it’s done.

  • Living with Completed Work: After a work is complete, I live with it for several days or weeks, especially if it’s a new collection of works on paper. I’ll lay each piece out on the floor to survey the group together as a collective whole. Does it feel cohesive and alive? This is the constant quest. It allows me to make necessary edits before a piece is sent to a client or work is posted online.

Angela Allen