Painting as Improvisational Dance

Painting as Improvisational Dance

Kenny Jensen Blog Post #13

Being the Moment

Back in May I started a new practice of quick, stream of conscious, oil painting sketches, to offset the growing struggle I was having with some of the more complicated and frustrating new paintings/concepts I was working on at the time. Also, I was really digging the work and practice of my friend Jason Hackenwerth (@hackenwerth). His willingness to freely experiment while being fully vulnerable to let others see the whole process is inspiring and motivating.

Only a few of you know (more now since I mentioned it on our grantee chat:) that I love to practice improvisational dancing… – especially at weddings and concerts or on some random street . I am ready for my art practice to feel as alive and immediate as I feel when dancing. Another way to describe what I want, is to paint through an intuitive process that participates with nature, rather than just make concepts and images that are merely about nature.

Below are images of the some of my completed explorations along with images of various stages along the way.

1. “Dance 1 (limbs)”, oil on panel, 30”x30”, 2021.

Finished painting and details


First stage.


2.“Dance 4, oil on panel, 12”x12”, 2021.
“I put some paint on a panel and kept sculpting it… then I woke up and it looked like this… Seems like a combination of Bosch, Tanguy, and soil microbes. Yummy:)”

Finished painting.

Earlier stages along the way


3. Some compositions that only existed for moments…

4. These still in process paintings are  different, in that the composition and forms were  taken directly from actual organic forms, but my approach and style came out of the above exercises.

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