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Make two at least | Work on Multiple Paintings at a Time

Make Two—At least | Work on Multiple Paintings at a Time

The information in this post comes from Nicholas Wilton’s Art2Life and Creative Visionary Programs and is published with permission.

A significant shift in art-making for me over the last few years is that I now work on a group of paintings, instead of just one at a time. This process—which I picked up from the Creative Visionary Program with Nicholas Wilton—has made all the difference in the world. I’m more productive, the work comes easier, I don’t over-work one, and all of the paintings in the series relate to each other.

Nicholas Wilton, the founder of Art2Life and the Creative Visionary Program encourages a process of multiples. Nick says…

This is a big game changer. It turns out that our brain—our creativity muscle—loves to do multiples. It’s not harder, it’s easier.

Nicholas Wilton, The Creative Visionary Program

If you think that you can’t work on two paintings at once you’re in for a surprise. You will actually find that it is easier to work on two, three, four, or more at a time.

Reasons to work on multiple pieces of art at the same time:

1. Repetition increases efficiency
You can batch process similar tasks. It’s faster for instance to prep a bunch of panels as you begin: tape the edges, sand, and gesso them all.

2. Less wasted paint
It’s a more efficient use of art materials. When you mix up a quantity of paint, or you melt too much encaustic block directly on a heated palette, you can use it up on multiple panels at a time.

3. Creates a very cohesive series
There will be a strong, interconnected conversation between the works. Marks, colours, energy will be similar.

4. Removes the tendency to overwork a painting
Working in this way helps us avoid the tendency to hyperfocus and constrict the creative process.  If you work too long on one thing you may become stuck, your energy lags and you start to overthink and overwork the painting. By working on multiple paintings at a time, you can set aside a painting when you start to feel stuck and move to another. You will feel your energy return.

5. Creates stronger work more easily / consistently
When we have more energy, the art will be better. You’re working in a heightened state of creativity.

6. Freshness
When you bring a painting back into focus you’ll see it with fresh eyes.

7. Removes the fear of making a mistake
When you have ten boards on the go, nothing feels as precious, you make better art when you relax.

8.  It builds momentum
If you work in multiples, you won’t get stuck. You’ll just move on to another painting and when you come back to it you’ll know what to do. You’ll be able to paint longer.

9. Problem solving
Marks made on one panel can inform what you do on another. If you do something on one, repeating it on another may be just what that other painting needed.

10. Frees us up to take risks
Not being attached frees us up to take risks and push our work further.

One important point about working on multiple paintings at a time is to bring them all up to the same level as you work. Don’t start to focus on one or two and leave the others languishing behind.

—Nicholas Wilton

Have you tried it?

Have you had success working on multiple paintings at a time? Please share your comments below.

About Ruth Maude

I enjoy experimenting with a variety of encaustic materials, techniques and tools. Everything I learn pushes my creative journey in new directions. I share what I've learned with other artists through my blog All Things Encaustic.

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