Structure and Intuition...

Imagine... new art and the dance of intuition and structure

This world is but a canvas to our imagination.
— Henry David Thoreau
 Imagine - Mixed media painting on canvas © 2016 Laly Mille

Imagine - Mixed media painting on canvas © 2016 Laly Mille

Oh how good it feels to be painting big again! This new work, titled "Imagine" (available HERE) has been such a beautiful, joyful, relaxing journey... In fact, I've enjoyed it so much that I have started a whole new grid-based series (join me in the studio on Instagram or Facebook to see it coming to life!)

After the painting marathon for my Vision Quest coaching training (read more HERE) and in the midst of the 100 artworks challenge (read more HERE) it was such a delight to let go of the small canvases and unleash my dreams and creativity on this spacious playground! So today I want to talk a little bit about the creative process, and the sweet dance between intuition and... structure.

 © 2016 Laly Mille

© 2016 Laly Mille

When you were little, did you ever play hopscotch? I did, and guess what my favorite part was? Tracing the hopscotch grid on the ground with colorful chalk sticks of course! And there's something else I really loved: here in France, the hopscotch (or "marelle") has an additional, round area called "Earth" at the bottom, just under square one, and another one at the top called "Sky"... Oh the joy of hopping my way up from Earth to Sky, hopping over the little stone on my way, trying my best to keep my balance and knowing that whenever I lose it, it's OK...

Well isn't that what the creative process (of art and of life) feels like at times? Grounded on the Earth, we reach out to the stars, dealing with the obstacles on our way and getting better and better, with time and experience, at finding our center, our balance... Knowing that it's OK to fall sometimes, brushing the dirt off our knees, eager to get back on the playground because we love it SO MUCH!

 © 2016 Laly Mille

© 2016 Laly Mille

But there wouldn't be a hopscotch game to play without the actual grid on the ground. Or in this case, on the canvas. I am all about trusting my intuition, and intuitive painting is a wonderful, freeing process I often use. But give me some structure and my brain goes into high gear...

Yes our right hemisphere is where our intuitive, creative mind resides. Learning to tap into that inner well is a vital skill which, thankfully, is being rediscovered today. But going into right brain mode doesn't mean that our left brain has no part to play. Hopping on our right foot doesn't mean that our left foot is useless, on the contrary: it is vital in finding our balance.

 © 2016 Laly Mille

© 2016 Laly Mille

We are often most creative when we give our intuition something to work with, some problem to solve, some limit to test. One of my favorite ways to get unstuck creatively, is to give myself a limited set of rules: it can be a very limited palette, or a sequence of steps I "have to" follow for each piece of a series (like HERE), or it can be a grid traced on the canvas. A simple line crossing the surface creates a grid, random criss-crossing lines create a grid, a structure to play with.

My favorite are orthogonal grids. I love the contrast between the horizontal and vertical lines (which can be created by collaging papers!) and the sweet chaos of paint, ink drips and splatters, blended colors, intuitive marks and overlapping designs. I love to accentuate some of the lines and blend others in, to trace some with a ruler while others are more free-hand and imperfect. Sometimes the grid is regular: in "Imagine", I very simply followed the rule of thirds and divided the canvas into nine equal squares. And sometimes it can be more random, creating large and small rectangles (for instance in THIS SERIES). I also like to get inspired by the grids that other artists have created in their work. In fact I have a whole Pinterest board about grids that you can check out HERE.

 © 2016 Laly Mille

© 2016 Laly Mille

When our right and left brain work together in harmony, when intuition meets intention, that's when the real magic happens, in art and in life. So next time you feel stuck or uninspired, or when chaos gets in the way of your dreams, why not let your left brain come into play and try adding a touch of structure to rely on and play with? Have fun!

Light and Love


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