Learning to paint with DJ opened up new vistas of exploration and experimentation for me.
I love to use lots of color and my art is somewhat cartoony, and yet, I still try to make it my version of realistic. DJ encouraged me (OK, MADE ME!) load my brush up with color and randomly squiggle it and put it on my canvas - results be damned. I was so afraid of ruining what I was doing.... She had us use whatever we found available to pick up paint (a skewer, credit, card, pen cap, etc) and do various random strokes to make backgrounds. This was SCARRY for me. I will normally do and redo, start all over if it isn't working, etc. and I would NEVER use something as "permanent" as paint on a drawing that already had so much work in it.
I always thought my art was "outside" the box - but, although what I do tends to be odd, my techniques - I realize now - were definitely mainstream and proven. DJ showed me how to just paint a tulip using 3 or 4 random strokes, and when it was dry to outline it with a fine paint brush - precision of the perfect line be damned! Me? Use a brush with my unsteady hand to outline? - and let the outline be rough and not on the edges of my paint? AAACKKK!
...and I liked it - actually I LOVED it- the freedom to just LET IT BE whatever it is GOING TO BE. To quit the constant criticism of MYSELF.
I came home from the retreat and painted a bird and hawaiian flower - I tried to let it be free and imprecise. Alas - it was more of my "outliney style" . and the background, although experimental, was definitely not the freeform DJ emphasized. So I decided - GO FOR IT!
I then gessoed, painted, stamped found objects ( with paint), scratched at it, covered up parts of the original design - all over my precious painstakingly painted art .... print.
Yes, I cheated. I copied the fabric painting on good epson paper and painted all over THAT.
OK. not a dramatic difference, but it's a start............