Are You an “Intuitive Painter” (Jane Davies Quote)

Are You an “Intuitive Painter” (Jane Davies Quote)
Are you an intuitive painter? quote Storm Passing (mixed media) by Polly Castor

Do you feel like you are an intuitive painter?

“That’s a loaded question.

I think everyone paints intuitively, right? But your intuition as a painter is as good as your command of the language.

We speak intuitively, but when you are speaking a foreign language and you have to think about every sentence ahead of making it, it’s really hard to have an intuitive, spontaneous conversation. Once you get a hold of that language, then you can start to have thoughts that just flow out of your mouth. I think painting is the same way.

When you start painting, you are unfamiliar with materials, and you’re not seeing all the nuances of everything, because you haven’t had the experience. You see some things, and when you get more experience, you have more facility. I think that’s true in many realms.

Sometimes we pit this dichotomy between being an intuitive painter, and being I’m not sure what else. The way I hear that dichotomy is as if intuitive painting is separate from a kind of awareness and knowledge of the details, of the language. The more you learn a language, the more intuitively and spontaneously you can speak.

I think the same is true in visual art, and certainly music. You do not want hear me play an intuitive saxophone solo! You’ve got to learn the stuff. In visual arts, it is the seeing, as much as it is the techniques and materials. I think that piece of it is less emphasized in the world.”

by Jane Davies

Excavating Deep (mixed media) by Polly Castor
I work to amplify good wherever I find it. I love color, texture, beauty, great ideas, nature, metaphor, deliciousness, genuine spirituality, and exploring new territory. I encourage authenticity, nurture creativity, champion sustainability, promote peace, and hope to foster a new renaissance where we all are free to be our most fulfilled, multifaceted, and terrific selves. Read more here.


  1. Diane W 9 months ago

    I wish I was a more intuitive painter in the way Jane means it, but no, I have the whole thing planned to the “Nth degree” in my mind before even starting usually! In fact I mentally paint it in every detail in my mind for weeks ahead or even months usually. Lately, I have tried to just start with a shape or lines and then listen for guidance. Which is sort of fun because I get surprised myself when I see how it turns out, and I’m not used to that. !
    Jane is right in that you must know your materials and how to use them …I see a lot of collages happening by artists using printed material that will definitely fade once it is on the wall. This is not meant to be in the sun, but in a book or magazine so not lightproof or yellowing with age as well. SO although we cannot always know how something will turn out, good art is achieved when the artists know how to achieve what they want to do. Skills are vital and understanding how colour works is too. I do love your wok Polly! SO vibrant and rich in colour and such dynamic compositions…VERY STRONG WORK!

    • Author
      Polly Castor 9 months ago

      Thanks. That means a lot.


  1. […] It is the fashion for a lot of artists to call themselves “intuitive painters,” which basically means they sally forth without a plan and wing it. I shared a quote about this last summer that you can read here. […]

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