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Happy Accidents: Andrew Osta on His Art
Opening - Friday, March 2

One thing that may be unique about my painting process is that I do not actually try to visualize what my finished painting will look like when I first start it. When painting from imagination, I just start painting – no preliminary sketch or anything, and see where that takes me. This works great for small to medium sizes. It allows me to come up with new ideas, because in painting as in music, one thing leads to another. In a musical composition, whether a chord sounds harmonious or dissonant, sad or happy, interesting or predictable, depends on the chord that precedes it. The same is largely true in painting. Over-thinking a picture can lead to it looking stiff or dead. I just dabble at it, modifying color by color, shape by shape, until it suddenly becomes clear that the picture is finished.

I am very conscious of trusting my intuition, and I realize the tremendous value of happy accidents. From time to time, I mix my colors in a new way, mixing two or three colors that do not necessarily go together on a logical level. The resulting colors are often beautiful and surprising, and I save their formula in mind for future use. This is a part of my ongoing, life-long learning process. I am constantly learning what sort of a tone mixing two colors will produce, and expanding this knowledge the way a writer might expand his or her vocabulary. To facilitate the learning process, I sometimes change my paints and brushes to ones I haven't used before. This helps keep things exciting.

The moment you lose your excitement with your work, you're no longer capable of being at your best. Therefore an artist must use any means necessary to keep things exciting. This is also why I don't work in series, or don't stick to one subject or style. It bores me to do something I don't find challenging, and while it's a lot easier for an artist to just keep painting the same thing, it's more emotionally rewarding to experiment and discover new subjects and techniques, the way an explorer discovers new lands. I do paint some of my subjects again from time to time, but usually only years later. I do this to see how the changes in my life, my skills, my knowledge, and my emotions reflect upon my art.

While I paint, I don't like to over-think. I often turn on an audiobook while I work, so that my mind has something else to focus on, and the painting happens more or less automatically. Once in a while, I step back to analyze what I'm doing, considering where I want to take the painting. Then, it's back to automatic again.

I like painting late at night, because I feel like the energy surrounding me is different. During the day, I seem to sense the chaos of all the people doing their day to day tasks, and it's difficult to concentrate on painting. At night, I tend to enter a zone where everything just flows smoothly, much more quickly. The only problem is that I don't typically rest during the day, so I can be quite tired by nighttime. Still, I enjoy working to near complete exhaustion from time to time, because I tend to be more loose and receptive to new ideas coming from my intuition in that state.

My solution to the age-old problem of being intimidated by the blank canvas is simple, and it works great - just put some color on it. Painting is like a long journey;, it starts with a single brush stroke, If you are too self conscious, you don't enjoy the journey at all. On a journey of a thousand miles you see many things around you. It's what makes the journey beautiful, memorable, and rewarding. If all you do is look at your own feet the whole time, you're no longer on a journey, you're just doing exercise. Its the same with painting. While I work, I actually explore my mental and emotional landscape. My painting is my meditation. It helps me unload the buildup of every day: the emotions, the memories, the hopes, the dreams, the fears, the joys, the disappointments. Without this quiet time to myself, I feel like something is missing from my day. I have to give expression to my inner world on a daily basis in order to renew it.


Andrew Osta was born in Kiev, Ukraine. He moved to Canada in 1994, and graduated from the University of Toronto in 2004. In 2007, he spent a year living in South Korea. In 2008, he became one of the founders of the first “Healing and Counseling through Art” program in Canada. In 2009, he moved to Peru, where he presented his artwork in one of the most important shamanism conferences in the world, together with such great artists as the late Pablo Amaringo. He wrote and published his first book, “Shamans and Healers,” during this time. He also composed and recorded a CD of original music , titled Dimension Dream. Since 2011, Andrew has been living in San Miguel de Allende. His work can be seen in Casa de Europa, Hecho en Mexico and on his website:

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