Control Freak – Pros and Cons

controlling the paint,

“Control”  Many of us, don’t like that word!

But, Control in balance is a good thing.  It does have its assets and its liabilities.


Its about Control

By nature, I’m a wee bit of a control freak. Maybe I’ve tried to deny it. Perhaps I’ve ignored it. But, I’m pretty sure, I am in the line marked “Control Freaks line up here.”

I know, my family have no doubts on this, whatsoever.

Seeing how the little guy, resorts to calling me “Yes Gramma Sir” after an especially naughty incident with rocks, or that one time when he accidentally downloaded $300 of games.


Collage, total control



Having control over certain things is necessary and even vital to your health.

You need to be able to not lose control if you’re a ER doctor.

If you’re trying to gentle a wild frightened horse.

If you’re being bitten and attacked by a crazed german shepherd.

I can check off two of those!  And having control of myself was really a key to optimum outcomes for both incidents.


Also having 23  five year olds over for a birthday party ….. Somebody, better be in control let me tell you!


crashing sea spray waves in watercolors,
Crashing Sea Spray, guided control,



Control…. in Art

But trying to force control upon a painting,  has not been a very effective way of creating decent art works I’ve discovered.

It just leads to mess.

Frustration. Tears. And some ripped up paintings.

My inner need and want for “Control” just plays havoc with the outcome I wish to create.



Work With The Paints

But,  ‘working with’   and  ‘partnering’  with the brush and paints…. that’s a whole new ball game! A Guided Control works wonderfully.

That kind of respect seems to work much better and gives more successful outcomes.


Zen Unbounded, wabi sabi,
Zen Unbounded


Guided Control

This single brushstroke has a measured, thoughtful approach.

Yet its full of tiny surprises within.

I allowed the imperfections to rise up and remain, rather than struggling for a perfectly flat and even solid stroke of color.

This effect becomes so much…..  More!



Its strange to contemplate……

“lose control, to get  better paintings”




Painting Design

The Focal Point.  Centre of Interest.  ie who is in control of the design?

If, there is no one or nothing in clear dominance,   chaos reigns.

Disorder prevails.

The eye tires. We weary and fade, exhausted. Too tired to care!

Without a Focal Point to dominate, those 23 five year olds start painting the walls, curtains, chasing cats, painting the cats.  We can’t have that!


Thru the Gap
The Eye Goes….Thru the Gap


Dominance in the Design

We seek balance.

Unity.  Unification.

We need a clear Dominant feature,  with lesser subordinates as side helpers.


Think of a Play.  You have a star of the play  and co stars.  ie  the leading lady and  the  side kick. Plus, the fill ins….  the village people, the crowds.


A painting without  a Dominating element has no Order to the eye.

We scan.  Our eye then darts, hither thither and yon.  Alighting nowhere. And tires.




The abstract below has a dominant focal point.

It is in Control. It is in charge.

The other elements, submit  to it and flow gracefully into the focal point.


controlling the paint,
Controlling the Paint,


You can see that with a Dominant feature, a dominating element  our eye is happy.

We see the point. Where, to go.

We see unification, harmony, unification.  Nothing disjointed. Nor jarring.




The dominance of the feature controls the subservient elements.

To create harmony. Order.



So, really being a wee bit of a control freak isn’t such a terrible thing after all, if I work with it!





Published by debiriley

The act of creation, in any media is a fascinating and magical process. I simply love to create. Expressing in color, line, tone, texture - as if, they were words upon a page. Creating a uniquely me, interpretation. Enjoy More of my "one-of-a-kind" expressive art at and,

15 thoughts on “Control Freak – Pros and Cons

  1. Love this post about control. I am quite a control freak. In other words, I am OCD, and I like to plan and organise my time ahead of schedule and also try to make sure things are in place around me. But if I were you, no matter how much I planned, I don’t think I could have planned and control that kids party very well. Props to you 🙂

    Agree with you a little bit of control in our art is a good thing. I can really see that red in your piece jumping out at me. But in a good way – there is flow throughout the colours and the red seems to be leading the way 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    1. thank you Mabel! I apologise for my slow response back, my hip can be good for awhile then not so much. Especially if I Overdo.
      Thank you for a great reply, I appreciate it. 🙂 Cheers, Debi

      Liked by 1 person

  2. An excellent post, so many wonderful points, love that term you used a few times, “clear dominance”….yes! Also letting control go and working with the painting with “measured” control. 😉

    Liked by 1 person

    1. alas, I finally reply! my apologies dear Miss M. Thank you. and again, for such a thoughtful response to the article. Control… is often a ‘dirty’ word or the other other extreme, worshipped! anyway, back to a Calm, Measured and Purposeful approach! thanks M, cheers, YRF

      Liked by 1 person

      1. thank you so much. and my mornings have been, usually super good!! I’m still working on those afternoons though 🙂 the dr did say, it would be 3-4 months; so I think I’m actually ahead of the game. really. Now, if I can stop myself from overdoing in the mornings. LOL thanks for your prayers Margaret!!!

        Liked by 1 person

  3. I think perhaps having the right amount of control in art is a very fine balancing act – you need just enough control to get the effects and outcome you want without it looking like it’s been controlled! That’s a very tricky and skilled thing to do… !

    Liked by 1 person

    1. yes, indeed! its like walking a tightrope at times. but other times, it just feels like a lovely zen stroll. zen strolls are way better!! lol cheers, Debi


  4. The term ‘controlled chaos’ comes to mind here; but then chaos itself can be fodder for inspiration.
    I am so glad I found your site – like I said before ‘eye candy’ AND brain food, too!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. thank YOU, very much for that!! its really what I set out to do -to create both a visual appealing site, but Also… to help new beginners think about Art in new ways. That was really important to me. Cheers, Debi

      Liked by 1 person

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