Out of Control

Cassandra Tondro, "Escape Velocity," abstract painting

Hi Friends,

I’ve been doing some more work with poured paintings, and I’ve made an interesting discovery. The back side of the painting often looks better than the front. Here’s why.

Even though I’m pouring paint over raw unprimed canvas and have very little control over the outcome, I do have some control, and it shows. There’s a big difference between the front of the canvas and the back. Here’s an example.

Front of canvas:

Cassandra Tondro art

Back of canvas:

Cassandra Tondro, "Breaking Free," abstract painting

“Aperture,” 24 x 30 inches, repurposed acrylic latex on canvas

Control is not my friend, and it’s an ongoing struggle for me to let go of control. I have to trick myself in various ways. I tell myself I’m working on the front of the canvas and then end up using the back. I choose colors randomly, without consciously thinking about it. Or I use techniques where I absolutely have no control at all.

My mind thinks that it knows best, and it wants to maintain strict control. But sadly, in this case, that’s not true.

When I’m in control with painting, it’s not a pretty picture! Things are too predictable and boring. The patterns and designs are too even and symmetrical. The art is not interesting. But when I’m not the one in control, magic can happen.

It’s kind of a metaphor for our lives, isn’t it? When we try to have absolute control over everything, there’s no room for magic. But when we let go of control and venture into the unknown, new possibilities appear.

What role does control play in your life? I’d enjoy hearing your thoughts. You can share them with us in the comments section below.

With love and appreciation,

Painting at top: “Escape Velocity,” 30 x 24 inches, repurposed acrylic latex paint on canvas



  1. Holy wow, are you in my head? And it is my head that wants control. The flow comes from somewhere deeper and FAR more relaxed. When my mind gets out of the way. And the result, in art and in life, is ALWAYS better.

    Thanks for putting your words to this, Cassandra.


    1. Hi Kay. I guess a lot of us want control! Especially now, when so much else seems to be out of control. There are artists who do beautifully controlled artwork, but that’s not me. I want to do artwork that’s wild and free, but my mind says otherwise. It’s like a constant battle between me and myself. Totally bizarre! Thank you for sharing your thoughts with us. I’m glad I’m not the only one with this dilemma.

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