A frequent question I hear at workshops is, “How can I loosen up as a painter?” After devoting years to learning craft, many painters often find themselves trapped in utilitarian methods that may render a competent painting but lack the elusive poetic quality of more painterly works. Just as a poet plays with syntax to express his thoughts (think e.e. cummings), so too must the painter. We start with a basic study or drawing, value relationship, color harmony, and media mastery. These are our syntactical starting points. How we orchestrate them ultimately becomes the poetic statement.