Friday, June 3, 2016

The FIve-Minute Painting - Revisited

I've had this idea of the five-minute painting for a few months now, and here are some examples from a recent painting session:

The idea is to make time - the five minutes - and the size (9"x12") the only defining parameters.  So I set up my palette, get my brushes and other tools ready, and then hit the timer.  A few things I've noticed:
  • This is not about painting fast; it's about getting a clear idea down in five minutes.
  • The time parameter makes me focus much more strongly.
  • I make marks that I would not make if I didn't have the timer on, so I develop some new things.
  • I also make marks that are familiar to me.  Start with the familiar.
  • Sometimes the painting "finishes" before the five-minutes are up, and my rule is to paint up until the last second.  So this challenges me to do something in the remaining time, choose an area to enhance or add to. 
The twelve above are all done in one session, which took about an hour and twenty minutes (time in between paintings to replenish the palette).  Many of the colors are straight out o the bottle, but I did mix some as well, within the five-minutes:
  • Bubblegum pink: napthol red light + quinacridone magenta + white (just magenta and white is not enough, it makes it too sweet.  A little of a more primary red gives it the edge).
  • Acid green:  nickel-azo yellow + celadon + white (optional); then add to that some turquoise for a greener green.
What is the value of the five-minute painting exercise?  At this point it seems like the value is mostly in the degree of focus and the possibility of new marks.  It also loosened me up quite a bit.  I will keep doing these sessions and see what happens.  See my previous five-minute paintings here and here, which I did on 25"x19" paper.  Working large was quite a different experience.

Here are a few of the individual paintings:






I would love to hear your thoughts on this.  Try it, and let me know what you experience!

17 comments:

  1. What a wonderful idea - I will try this in my studio tomorrow.

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  2. these are great! need to give this a try

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  3. I'm going to try this. As someone who sets out to do a sketch in 20 minutes or so and finds herself still at it 2 hours later, I need a way out! I may not be able to do as many as you did, but this looks like fun! Thank you so much!

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  4. Love the way you think. The practice shows in all your work....confidence and daring.

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  5. Wonderful! I've done 15 minute collages that I've had some great results from.

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  6. Im not sure how to explain how much I value your work. I've been a representational pastelist, and mostly stopped - because I couldn't get interested anymore. To me, your work is like - okay, I've got it - the beginning credits of the Mary Tyler Moore TV show! The part where she would take off her hat and throw it high in the air - a 1970's "high-five" to Minneapolis. That is the joy you convey. I probably wouldn't have found your art without your generous access on the Internet. I honestly have no critique here - assuredly I have preferences, but it's all so full of life, and is what art is meant to be. Thank you so much.

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  7. Great paintings and fabulous idea! I will try this. Thank You, Jane!

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  8. What a wonderfully fun idea! I'm going to give it a go.

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  9. I love your artwork that came from this process! I've been making quick paintings for a few months. Limiting myself to 10-20 minutes each and using only black, white and shades of grey. After I made about 25 pieces, I started to cut them up and make collages. I'm having fun creating with a limited color palette but after seeing yours, I'm inspired to add some color. Thanks for posting!

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  10. Hi Jane,

    I have done a few of these. I haven't really made too many observations yet, but here's a couple of things I did notice:

    The paintings look fresh like I am putting something new on paper. They help me get out of a rut. I also choose colours I don't usually use, so that's an additional new element. But I tend to get repetitive as I find myself doing the same things to get done in five minutes.

    The race to finish in five minutes makes me do random things which may or may not do goods things to the painting. Or I overdo things.

    In any case, I love the idea since you mentioned it a while back and have been doing them on and off. Thank-you :-)


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    1. Hey, that's great! I think it is a good idea to commit to a specific number of paintings - ten to twenty - in one session. That can push you past the repetitive stage, and the concern about whether the paintings are "good" or not. THese are process pieces; it does not matter if they are good as individual paintings. Also (I should do a video), I don't find that I am in a rush to finish when given five minutes. Just paint in a relaxed way for five minutes, and see what happens.

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    2. Thanks for the input, Jane :-)

      What do you do with these paintings? Are there a few that you really like or that are finished in the five minutes?

      Cheers!
      Bhupali

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  11. I feel encouraged by your last reply, Jane. I've been in a rut & only working on finishing some projects which is a good thing. However, after a long work day I want to paint but not on my projects. Your 5 min paintings could be just what I need on those evenings between 8pm & 9pm. Thank you!!!

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  12. This is a great idea - I have just finished binge watching all your videos, as well as started one of your online color workshop. You are truly generous with your time and experience. I love your work - and hope to be able to take a class with you in the future. You might actually change my mind on collage (to try it, that is). I will probably take a few more of your online classes as well. Thank you!

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    1. I should also add, this 5-minute exercise seems like it would also be good at making a fussy painter like me loosen up. I'm always looking at ways to loosen up!

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    2. I should also add, this 5-minute exercise seems like it would also be good at making a fussy painter like me loosen up. I'm always looking at ways to loosen up!

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