Don’t “think outside the box” – rip it up, stamp on it, and toss into the recycling.

Painting is supposed to be FUN. We all know this, and it’s something all of us periodically forget. This exercise wakes you up and infuses your process with PLAY.

Let this be opposite day. Consider your usual process and do the opposite.

So how does this look? If you usually stain your canvas, don’t. If you usually start your paintings with a sketch, load a brush with color and start painting directly this time. If you’re a brush painter, confine yourself to only the palette knife. Here’s some more ideas to help you shake things up:

Jove Wang, MASAI WARRIOR, 12″ X 16″ oil on linen

Note: In every case, you don’t have to do this blindfolded; you’re better off looking at examples online of anything you’re trying that’s out of your comfort zone. The goal isn’t frustration, it’s fun. See how good you can be at NOT doing what you do best, but whatever you do, don’t take the results seriously! This is less about what a good or bad artist you are and more like being a kid and trying on some weird clothes you found in the attic.

If your realm is realism – try to create a successful abstract painting (looking for and studying appealing abstract paintings online is not only allowed but encouraged, per the note above).

If you’re an expressive landscape painter, try a classical still life using old master rules and techniques.

Love using plenty of saturated color? – Try a monochrome or a limited palette.

Jove Wang, A DAY ON THE SILK ROAD, oil on linen, 48″ X 72″

Used to painting subdued, moody pieces? Treat your canvas like an illuminated stained-glass window.

Small becomes large

Studio becomes plein air

Plein air becomes studio/photo reference

Photo reference becomes combining memory and imagination instead

Tasteful portraiture becomes sky full of flying, colorful clouds

Exuberant alla prima painter? Take hours and days applying layers and glazes like you’re a monk in a scriptorium bent over a medieval manuscript.

Jove Wang, Carrying the Milk Bucket, 18″ X 24″ oil on linen

Stretch yourself, test your boundaries, see what’s out there. Perhaps the results will have you running away screaming straight into the arms of what you know works. That’s fine! Of course you’ll go back to your comfort zone. And when you do, I hope you’ll that a brief romp through the fabled Fields of Chaos and Uncertainty will reinvigorate your habitual approach not only with creativity  – but, and you may find this the most surprising part of all, with a new sense of confidence and command.

Art, Emotion, Love & Spirituality in the Night Gallery

Paintings in the studio of Tahnee Lonsdale. Pic: Cultured

Night Gallery in Los Angeles is showing a series of works, called “True Romance,” by artist Tahnee Lonsdale. Made in response to various emotional states, figures are at once expressive and mysterious, three-dimensional and flattened, elusive and physical, timeless and modern.

“They have weight,” she explains of the tribes represented on her canvases, “but there is a feeling that these figures are from somewhere else.”

Watch two short videos on the artist and her work, as Lonsdale takes  the art and culture Website Cultured founder and editor-in-chief Sarah Harrelson on a tour of her LA studio, giving an insider’s look at the new works that will soon be displayed within the gallery walls.

In the Paint,