Intuitive Painting-Psalm 65

I am back to painting and  will be starting on a watercolor soon. I was hoping to go plein air painting but it is very cloudy out there and is threatening to rain, which we need so badly here in Northern California.

While talking about art with a fellow blogger, I had mentioned my intuitive painting, he suggested that I post about it and my progress. So, here we are!

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Tentatively named “Psalm 65” (the blues are not as rich as it is here in the photo)

I have been wanting to start this painting for a long time and I fought it because I didn’t know how to paint Psalm 65, do I go realistic or abstractly? Well, as you can see I chose the latter.

With this  painting, I literally empty my mind from any distractions, thoughts, ideas of what this painting should depict even though I was basing it upon Psalm 65. I am going for the spiritual and not literal.

This  is how I usually proceed.

  • Put on some music, lately it has been Gregorian chanting
  • Relax, pray, wait, empty myself, wait
  • Paint only what I feel I should paint…color, shapes or nothing
  • Don’t paint from the need to put a mark or color down
  • Entirely intuitive painting, nothing comes, paint nothing
  • Once I put the painting away till the next painting, I do not ever look at it or evaluate it (I broke my rule of not looking at it to marry it up to my photo for this post)
  • Don’t judge it while painting, or ever!
  • Be in the moment, no visualizing it as being done or half done or partially done
  • Treat it as an eternal puzzle piece, a stroke at a time

The why of this painting….well, it is a long story and at this point I will leave that out until a later date. I think if anything this is a personally designed experiment for me because I am a goal orientated person as most of us are. I come from parents who were workaholics and who focused on the finished product. I struggle with this so much, probably more than others because I have a tendency to castigate myself for not having a perfect or near perfect end product. I push myself to produce the end product, yes but also to have perfection in what I do, both in life and in art. I truly want to break this because it is not coming from the artistic self, it is coming from the “false self” the self that strives from a primitive part of the psyche. Striving for a whole bevy of reasons and I am very aware of this. I often spend time battering against this and arm myself with knowledge, both head knowledge and spiritual and yet, it remains a struggle.

Working on this painting is an attempt to work this out within myself. Thank you for taking the time to read this post being that it is a side step from my ongoing watercolor challenge. I would very much appreciate to hear what you feel or perceive but not what you think of the painting. I only ask you this because I am not going there myself, this is an open session painting with no analysis at all from myself or from others. Thank you so kindly!



56 thoughts on “Intuitive Painting-Psalm 65

  1. …and there it is! Stunning image, even though I realize that is not its reason for being in this world. But really, this IS a beautiful image. Your post also is very inspiring, and your approach to the painting resonates with me. Thanks for posting this, I am sure others will also benefit from considering your approach here. I know I did!

    Liked by 3 people

    1. Thank you! You truly put a fire under me to get it out there and to get back to painting on it. I tried to attach your post with this post but I couldn’t get it to link up…maybe you have a restriction on doing this? no matter, I thought it would be fun to correlate the two together. 🙂 thank you so much for your insight and your comments.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Thanks Margaret! Normally IIfnI want to link to someone elses post I open another tab on my browser, then go to the post and copy the URL, then back on my post I insert a link and paste that URL in there. I was not aware there is another way to do it, but will look into it. All the best to you, keep going on this project!

        Liked by 1 person

  2. I’m glad to see this painting posted. I read the exchange at our blogger friend’s post when he asked you to display it here. Your procedure is really fascinating. I hope you’ll repost it again, if it seems right to do so, sometime, with its changes.

    I have been thinking a lot about abstraction in the wake of fruitful dark’s commentaries, have been occupied with a meditation on abstraction today.

    Also happened to be thinking about Fra Angelico this morning, not sure why, he who prayed before painting. I have always loved his painting. A picture of the Transfiguration, in particular, where even the painting of the robes becomes an analog for what’s taking place, and the amazing white on white of it.

    Then reading Ps 65, coming across this “thou makest morning and evening sing aloud in triumph,” I was reminded of something Winslow Homer wrote (in a letter to his brother, I think) about how “the sun never rises or sets without my notice and thanks.”

    What a way to live! To notice the coming and parting of the light with gratitude. Of course those times of day figured much in Homer’s landscape painting.

    And Homer in turn makes me realize how keenly an artist ought to tune himself or herself to Nature and its rhythms, its beauty, its gifts, its dangers, its sublimity, its big and little, where the big is VERY BIG and the little is VERY LITTLE. My father had an ant colony he watched in his yard — over the span of two decades each summer. And once he went knocking on the nearest neighbors’ doors in the evening because the moon was unusually lovely, saying “Come out and look at the moon.” He was eccentric. In that respect it was pretty wonderful.

    I might see different things at different times but today I am thinking about your painting in terms of Homer’s comment about the rising and setting sun. To live life in a day’s pace, from sun up to sunset is difficult in the modern world with its schedules and whatnot. I find that rediscovering 24 hours is something that I want from art in my life.

    I like to use a color and just see it for what it is. To notice the qualities of red or blue and different colors as they’re placed next to each other, how they change in the ensemble, things like that. Like a shadow that moves as the earth rotates away from the sun and all the shifts — especially the subtle small ones — that occur across the surfaces of things in light.

    We seem to be turning contemplative today. Thank you so much, Margaret, for trusting distant strangers with your special painting.

    Liked by 3 people

    1. Thank you for taking the time to look, read and comment 🙂 I always love rubbing “artistic elbows” and minds with you because I think we have a bit of eccentricity running through our veins. I am the type of person who each and every day finds beauty in almost everything I see and I am always commenting on the “lighting”. It is a running joke in the family. “Oh the lighting is perfect!” yes, a bit of a loving jab. I will look into reading about Homer, I would like to run across what he wrote. I am especially enthralled with dawn and sunset and I feel that these are the times of day when the spirit is at the most receptive time for reflection, faith, a gathering up of sorts. Modern society and the rush and being oblivious is slowly deconstructing the spirit…..I am always trying to do the opposite, to repair and reflect and dig deep to plant. Thank goodness I live in the country, far easier to stay in tune. In regards to the painting, there seems to be a wall of sorts, intrinsically it feels done and yet, I know the piecing of the eternal puzzle is there. I just need to find it and continue on, that is where trusting comes in as a helping catalyst.


      1. “•Treat it as an eternal puzzle piece, a stroke at a time”

        That is such an amazing thing. This remark gives me a whole new way of thinking about Bonnard — an artist I have loved since I was a girl — but whose mysterious paintings I never really understand, and he continually worked on pictures sometimes just a stroke here or there. Story goes that he continued doing this even regarding a painting that had found its way into a museum, sneaking in some paint and adding a touch when no one was looking …(?)

        I bookmarked this post so I can come back — you’ll make meditators of us all!

        I know you asked that we not comment on the painting but in light of your remarks above can I just say that in this painting “the lighting is perfect.”

        The wall, the piecing of the eternal puzzle …

        Liked by 1 person

      2. Thank you! I will look more into Bonnard, my kind of painter! lol I think what I meant by not commenting….it was more of a concrete analysis (critique) which I am avoiding for myself as well. Ha! “the lighting is perfect” I’ll take that!

        Liked by 1 person

  3. Margaret. This is stunningly beautiful. I am gaping with the beauty of it! Holy heck, I’m gonna have to read that psalm! Seriously. I feel love, warmth, light, passion, joy, togetherness. I see fields of flowers in the sun. This is a stunner! Just drop dead gorgeous. When I saw it, I could only say wow and then wow again. Seriously fantastic. Sorry that I keep repeating myself!! What is the medium? Wow, Margaret!!! I couldn’t type enough heart symbols in to this box. Thank you. I can’t wait to show this to my husband. I need to find that psalm now! ❤

    Liked by 1 person

    1. hehe….I love your enthuisam…it is soft pastel and it is quite large, 24 x 18 inches. Thank you! I need to get back to it and continue on with my Psalm 65 journey. 🙂 I have always been fascinated with dawn and sunset and in that psalm it is mentioned, so cool!

      Liked by 1 person

      1. I am so happy that my response made you happy too. I need to check back on the comments on this piece because this will blow many, many people away!! I hope you do more of these. Wow, and the size too! I will stop babbling now; I feel nearly incoherent. Just blown away by the way this was created and how, and the spirituality – everything about this. Stunning!

        Liked by 1 person

  4. Wow Margaret! WOWZA! I feel overwhelming light and joy and glow and strength and freedom. This is so magnificently powerful – even without reading your process and post, I immediately knew it was something special. It has so much power in it. So much SOUL. It is absolutely beautiful. I would so love to see it in person. I’m so glad you shared it with us. I am so inspired. I so want to try this some time. Thank you for all the beautiful in your painting and words today, Margaret. Very impactful!

    Liked by 2 people

    1. cool! well, it does give me goosebumps when I look at it and what is really neat is that I don’t criticize or fret over it because that is part of the “rule” that I have to abide by. thank you for your comments and what you feel or get from it by viewing it. 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

  5. Margaret, we all are so blessed you painted this. Magnificence and Glory.
    And Shared it with us. Its beauty, light and Spirit radiates to us!!! lucky us!
    I appreciated reading the Why of This Painting, because that is where so many of us are at. The legacy of society/parental Perfectionism and ‘product.’ 😦
    The idea of asking readers not to comment on what they think of the work, but how they FEEL is great. Art is All about FEELING! AWESOME post.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Thank you Debi, your comments warm me to the depths of my soul! I asked for what people feel because of many reasons, we as people and artists are always trying to critique and that alone kills the whole reason of art, plus it is also my rule for myself for this particular painting. 😀

      Liked by 1 person

  6. Thank you for inviting us to join you in your meditative experience with art. I know the point isn’t the result, but the result is very meaningful, I think. I see light and warmth and a feeling of connectedness with nature. What I most enjoyed in your post was the approach of painting if/when it felt right. If nothing comes, don’t paint. Don’t paint merely for the sake of putting marks on the paper. This will be very helpful to me, Margaret. In many ways, my approach to abstract art has been much the opposite, more of a “paint something whether I want to or not” attitude. I like your approach much better. I’m still at the point where I don’t know how to visually express the thoughts and ideas I want to convey, so I need to remain in that silent place a while longer. Then, if and when the voice lets me know what and how to paint, I will. Until then, I’ll enjoy the silence.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. silence isn’t truly void or a nothingness, it is far more. Doing nothing is just as hard as doing something! at least for me is can be at times. I believe that you are correct, the end product is important but I think what I struggle with is I rush to the end, to get the satisfaction without enjoying, valuing the beginning or the journey itself. The end product of what I want is different from the end product of that crazy making work when you don’t really appreciate the end itself but rather the “idea of it”. Crazy…..trying to re-boot myself in that regard. 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

      1. It would probably benefit us all to slow down and appreciate the process of creation at a deeper level. So much of what goes on around us is fast-paced, hurry-up, do-it-now…and it’s good to slow down. Thanks for a much-needed reminder. 🙂

        Liked by 2 people

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  9. letsgetreal2016

    I absolutely love this painting. The rhythm is superb. The colors are so rich and vibrant. I see a ghostly image of fingers of hands on the right side. How did you come up with your painting process?

    I too came from a very rigid rule oriented workaholic alcoholic uber religious family. When I first started painting, I was so uptight, tight, and only concerned with making my painting look like an exact replica of real life. I tortured myself to do it. Crazy. A camera can do that so easily. Then I went into an impressionist phase. Whenever I paint representationally, there is always that tension of trying to make my art look like a certain object, or follow rules of linear perspective, value system, color harmony, composition, etc etc. It’s like there is this internal pressure to make the painting look good, and impress other people.

    I love the freedom of abstract painting. It is very relaxing for me, and it just seems to flow. I will still paint representationally too, but am really enjoying my foray into abstractness.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Oh wow…..your comments resound in me so much, you have no clue! well, maybe you do 🙂 I also come from a workaholic, alcoholic, kind of ultra religious (Pentecostal) background. I might be making another post about this painting and the how and why because it goes into the spiritual aspects. I stay away from photo-realism/ near photo-realism because I start to get very critical of my work. I totally understand what you wrote so much, like I said, it resounds within me. I am excited to have met you….I think that I have been following you but I feel like we have officially met. I like to discuss art more deeply than a lot of folks go….so this is wonderful. I love abstract as well, very much so. I can go tight but it doesn’t do much for me unless I focus on beautiful lighting, then it holds my interest, as long as I don’t get critical and my left brain turns on! Anyway, I am looking forward to discussing more with you! 🙂


    1. Thank you Louis, I am hoping to get back to this particular painting as it is a slow process and one not to be rushed. I wouldn’t mind trying to carry over that open ended meditative attitude when painting plein air. 🙂


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  12. Brought up a humorous event. I tried painting this way one day, acrylic on large canvas. I put on Kenny G, and let the colors and shapes flow. In the end the whole thing looked like a small intestine.

    Fortunately I painted another painting over it that has been one my most popular paintings. I love your idea though, it it made me chuckle.

    Liked by 1 person

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