My work can certainly look messy, chaotic, and unplanned- and in many ways it is. But I also follow a lot of “rules”. These are ideas about what makes a good painting that I always keep in mind. I may decide that a painting needs to break a rule, but it is always a conscientious decision.
One of my favorites is the 80/20 rule. This one states that differences should be present in a 80/20 ratio to maintain interest. I think mostly about value this way. 20% dark vs 80% light- but shapes vs. lines as well. If I don’t think a painting is working, I usually begin with 80/20.
This painting is still a work in progress, but hopefully you can see what I mean. I liked the blue/black blob, but the dark vs. light was too equal.
Here is the same panel with some more white- pushing towards 80/20. See how there is a little more space? The painting is stronger. I have more work to do, but now I can see what I’m doing. I think that I’ll add in some details in the white area...
If you are painting, especially abstract art, I highly recommend learning as many rules as you can. They can ground your work so that you can be messy, free and chaotic- and still have things work.