1. How can I successfully implement the squiggle stroke?
2. Is the squiggle stroke better as a background, foreground, or object?


I realized the importance of squiggle in June 2016 during the creation of SPLAT.

Squiggle was used as a background in SPLAT was formed spontaneously out of random squiggle strokes. The first session produced a purple blur. The beautiful squiggle strokes could only be seen from up close because they where done with a low contrast color palette. In order to enhance the squiggle experience, a high contrast bean fade was placed at these critical locations of the purple squiggle. Shortly after SPLAT, squiggle was used to create a simple round object in Running from Rainbows.


The main goal of this project was simply to see if the squiggle technique could be used to create a solid form.

Upon taking on this project, past artwork was scanned in order to determine the origin of the squiggle technique. It appears that the first reference to a squiggle dates all the way back to 2012 in Head In The Clouds (WIP)


I remember getting excited about its appearance, but then struggled to finish the painting because of the fine detail it would take to paint in and around the half finished squiggle. This was a very important problem to take note of. This issue could have been avoided if a solid background was painted in prior to the application of a squiggle.

Another important thing I learned from analysis of past paintings was that the squiggle should not be overused, or applied twice in one painting. Like most good things in life, overuse takes away from the excitement and importance and something special. I learned this from the squiggle after squiggling over half a giant canvas in I Stepped On Bubblegum and Found Another Dimension Underneath My Shoe (WIP).


Method and Analysis of Variables

  • Total of 8 Paintings, 8″ x 10″
  • Constant: squiggle brushstroke
  • the squiggle stroke should only be used in one element of each painting

Day 1: Exploring Backgrounds


Evolution of the Simple Pieces

This is the work which arouse naturally out of the squiggle process.

Floating In Space

It’s Alive

High Five

Evolution of the complex pieces.

These are the ones that strayed away from the original squiggle concept and starting forming new ideas on their own. They took the most time, detail, and thought, but in the end I’m not sure it was worth it. Personally, I think the simple ones look more elegant. I find that I tend to overdo my work because a misleading thought runs through my head. This thought is filled with fear for criticism. Making choices should never be based on fear. Next time I find this thought infection sweep across my consciousness I will promptly remind myself of its invalidity.

Now back to art, although these complex pieces don’t sweep you off your feet at a glance, they can entrap you for some time if given a chance. I love the idea of a painting which needs time to understand. I am constantly playing with the balance of elegance from afar and captivation from close up. I think this next set tipped a bit too far into captivation from close up and not enough elegance from afar, but they sure were fun to create!


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Whose pulling on who and whose fooling you?

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Color Games #1

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Color Games #2

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In conclusion to this experiment, the squiggle is most definitely best used to create images of the foreground! Specifically, it is best used to create 3D objects that don’t have any straight lined borders. The fact that the objects are all created at one time while the paint is still wet allows for a perfect shading technique.

Other important artistic findings

  1. The biggest thing slowing my art process down seems to be the fact that I don’t paint in an order than makes sense. The idea that the background absolutely must be created before the foreground has finally been solidified into my thought process. 
  2. Often my simple pieces turn out better than the more complex ones
  3. I have been searching for ways to make my paintings pop over the last several years and seem to have found one answer to this question with the squiggle! In fact the use of this squiggle creates the perfect pop of a simple object nearly projecting the figure off of the page. Just as important as this finding is the principle  that this technique can only be used to pop one object per painting… and 
  4. As of right now I can only paint one 3D object per painting. Otherwise the perspective gets thrown off course.

Inspiration For Future Work:

  • Color Games #1 and #2 were practice/trial pieces for the color factory idea
  • Perspective Bubbles– a canvas full of different sized bubbles, within each bubble there is a little world with its own perspective
  • Translations Of Knowledge (WIP) is finally nearing completion thanks to the squiggle!