Don't Paint What You See, Paint What You Don't See
The title of this post is taken from a Miles Davis quote that reads, "Don't play what you see, play what you don't see." I modified it for my own use as a painter. I was recently reminded of this quote while I watched a 12 phenom play jazz piano. His name is Joey Alexander. He is one of the most talented jazz musicians in the world and he is only 12 years old. As I watched him play I thought, he is playing what he doesn't see - there was no music in front of him. His eyes were closed as he improvised the notes and chords; I was spellbound.
Surely, painters can do the same thing! I am an abstract painter so I try to paint what I don't see. I don't use subject matter in my work, so there really is no way to paint what I see. I have to look inward to my heart to see what's in there that needs to come out. I assume much like Joey does or Miles did. I think this is a wonderful approach to painting that so many painters could benefit from.
If you have watched my other videos or been to my workshops you know that I am totally against artists painting from photographs. They are only trying to copy what is right in front of them rather than searching inside for something more. They are simply painting what they see.
I and others want to see what's inside you as a painter. We want to see inside your heart by looking at what comes out on the canvas. I want you to paint what you don't see. I want a reflection of YOU on the canvas. That only comes out when you paint what is in your heart. It's what you don't see, it's what you FEEL.
Anyone can paint what they see, but it is much more rare these days to find someone who can paint what they don't see. It should be your goal to get to the next level in your work to paint what's inside your heart. The world wants to see it! I can't wait to see it!