Improvisation in Art – an Oak tree

improvisation in art

An empty canvas – the start of an improvisation in art.

Improvisation in art.

The most thrilling moments in creation are the times just before you start and just before you finish your art piece.

For an improvisation in art, completely without any initial idea or backup plan, it’s pretty scary. But exciting too. The only confidence you have is that you’ve done it before and it worked. But even this is a thin lifeline. Every improvisation follows a different pathway. You have to adjust the rules constantly.

Yes there are rules in a way, depending on the materials you use. Improvisation in music follows different rules then improvisation in painting as it is a different language you work with.

Improvisation in art is an special branch of abstract art. It shows without censorship the language of the artist. In a way it’s close related to automatic writing and painting of the surrealists like André Masson. Except that it is almost the opposite 😉 As automatic painting and writing is based upon the processes that are not under the control of the conscious mind. Improvisation in art is based upon an extreme control of visual language skills. You are in super conscious state when in the process of creating an improvised art piece.

How do you make an improvisation in art works ?

Every move you make on the canvas or the paper has consequences and asks for counter reactions or parallel actions. In a way you’re constantly in dialogue with yourself. With the materials as a translator. The language is your own. Everything needs to be considered, brush stroke, brush thickness, direction, force, colour, speed etc.

The first decision you make is which materials you use. Do you have a canvas, a paper or a wooden table. Yes, improvisation in art is not only for artists who work two dimensional. As said you have free improvisation in music too. So why not in 3D or in dance or poetry. With this first decision the ball  starts to roll and before you know it an avalanche of possibilities develops under your eyes.

The more improvisations you make, the more you feel comfortable with them. This is good and bad. Good because it gives you confidence for the next session, bad because it can become routine. Be critical on what you do and reflect on it. Every painting should look like a freshly picked blueberry with the dew still on it. Delicate, delicious and healthy. As soon as you start repeating yourself or paint automatically you should have a break or start again. Do things you’ve never done before, things that you can’t understand why you do them and feel a bit weird. Not for weirdness sake but simply because you don’t want to produce stuff you already can do.


oaktree improvisation in art Joost Gerritsen 2016

Oaktree. – 2016

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