The Same Thing x Number of Times?


“I am always saying to myself: that’s not right yet. You can do better, it’s rare when I
can prevent myself from taking a thing up again… x number of times, the same thing.
Sometimes, it becomes an absolute obsession. But for that matter, why would anyone
work, if not for that? To express the same thing, but express it better. It’s always
necessary to seek for perfection. Obviously for us this word no longer has the same meaning. To me, it means: From one canvas to the next, always go further, further…” Pablo Picasso




Courage – Daily Therapy for Artists

Fat Man


“Comparison is the thief of joy.”  Unknown


To Be Random is to Make an Easy String Painting

String Exercise String Exercise2

Did you know you can use string to create wonderful abstract paintings?  Here I show you how!

Allow about 1 1/2 hours for this exercise.

You will need these art materials

  • String
  • scissors
  • good quality acrylic paper (A3 size)
  •  brushes (1 large, 1 medium and one small)
  • acrylic paints, cool and warm red, blue and yellow plus black and white
  • palette
  • board (optional)
  • rags for spills
  • container for water

Coating the string with paint

Firstly cut 4 longish pieces of string, then lay out a good amount of black with smaller amounts of both red, blue and black.  Wear gloves to coat the string with this acrylic mix. All the colours will mix together when the string is completely coated in paint.

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Laying the string on the paper to make the painting

Lay your paper on a board or table and place the 4 pieces of string on to your paper leaving the ends slightly off the page. It is a good idea to allow the string to fall randomly on to the page although it helps to make circles with the string as you lower it on to the paper.

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Pressing a clean sheet on top to make the painting

Next lay a clean piece of A3 paper on top of your “paper with string” and press down with some books, magazines or similar.

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Pulling the string every which way to make the painting

Next, pull the string by the ends which are resting off the edge of the paper.  Gently move the string from side to side to make an interesting pattern.  This is done quite quickly.

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Lift the paper off to see your abstract painting lines

Once this is done you may lift the books and the top page off the work to reveal the interesting pattern beneath.

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At this point you may wish to create an ABSTRACT PAINTING USING OIL CRAYONS

What can you see in your painting?

I immediately saw the figure of a boy in a car in my pattern and proceeded to isolate it by filling in the background with a light warm orange/pink. Can you see anything in your work to isolate?  Is there something jumping out at you?  Check it out upside down too!  If nothing is appearing, just colour in the shapes as I did in the abstract above.

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Putting the paint down

To create colour harmony, it is wise to use mixtures of red, yellow, black and white OR blue, yellow, black and white paint to fill in the spaces   Try to use a cool painting colours in the background to recede and warm painting colours in the foreground object to bring it forward.

Just keep patiently putting the warm colours in the foreground in triangular spots throughout the figure (or whatever).  You can white out some of the painting if you do not like it and go over it again, I did! Eventually, it will all come together.

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Courage – Daily Therapy for Artists

RMIT 2nd Project

“Don’t judge any man (or woman) until you have walked two moons in their mocassins.”
Native American proverb.

Drawing – Create Cohesive Magic


Check out this crazy, yet striking drawing! This man’s clothes are totally merged with the background yet you still get the impression he is sitting with his shoulder and hand resting on the arm of the chair.

It is possible to create a unified pattern with an amazing design device!

The idea is to leave no boundary lines between one object and another or even the background as you see above.  This idea can be used when any two adjoining shapes are the same tone (or almost the same.) Dark shapes, white or middle tone shapes can all be merged just as well.

Deliberately merging the shapes in only one or two places in your drawing is enough to create cohesive magic.

Check these out!


The black dresses are merged at the knees but separate at the shoulder making these ladies strangely together yet apart.


These cows are tied together by their black shapes yet you still see them as cows only in a more exciting and dynamic way.

Are you willing to try embracing opposite qualities simultaneously? You will be surprised at the spontaneous opportunities you will find to use this great skill, all to the benefit of your drawing practice!

Courage – Daily Therapy for Artists

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“Finishing a painting demands a heart of steel: everything requires a decision, and I
find difficulties where I least expect them… It is at such moments that one fully
realizes one’s own weaknesses and how many incomplete, or impossible to complete,
parts comprise what one calls a ‘finished’ or completed work.”
Eugene Delacroix