I was talking with a friend last week, and we were discussing our inner critic — those voices in our head that tear us apart. She suggested that I try painting with my eyes closed as an experiment to silence that voice.
It sounds crazy, right? How can you paint with your eyes closed when painting is all about seeing? But it also sounded like fun, and I decided to give it a try.
I used large pieces of unstretched canvas and placed them on the floor so I could crawl around and access all parts of the painting.
I chose my colors with my eyes open. It didn’t make sense to do that part with eyes closed, and my inner critic is usually OK with my color choices.
I set the cans of paint to my right, where I could feel them, and I used large brushes for big gestural marks.
I closed my eyes and just started painting. Because I couldn’t see what I was doing, it was more about body movement, and it was great fun! I really enjoyed slathering on the paint by feel rather than sight. It’s very freeing. And the results?
The first painting is OK, but I wasn’t thrilled with the off-white canvas showing through. Both of these pieces are 40″ x 30″ stretched.
I like the second painting better. I painted the canvas a dark navy blue first, and I used some splatters along with the brush marks.
All sorts of “what ifs” occur to me now. What if I used my fingers instead of brushes? What if I added silicone lubricant to the paints? What if I thinned the paints with water? It becomes addictive, like so many other painting techniques.
I highly recommend giving “eyes closed” painting a try. It definitely works to quiet your inner critic, at least until you open your eyes. And by then the painting is done, and your critic might actually be pleased!
How do you tame the voices in your head? I’d enjoy hearing your thoughts. You can share them with us in the comments section below.
With love and appreciation,