When you begin a Flow painting, you DO NOT have a Plan. Plans are the fruit of the left hemisphere, and we start off in the right side. When one focuses only on the color, form, and change that comes over a piece as it’s manipulated without the worry of "messing it up" causing hesitation, any number of happy accidents become possible. To begin with a Plan in this style would be to introduce too much left brain, which lowers the degree to which a student will experiment, play, and take chances. The art of the style is in the balance of the unintentional open-minded initial approach with the thought-out improvisation in the finishing phase.
This morning I came across a great article on the Artist Network. It’s an excerpt from Lian Quan Zhen’s Chinese Landscape Painting Techniques for Watercolor, which I will study after I clear out a few other materials I’m working through. You’ll notice that it is similar to the method I use in Go With the Flow in some basic aspects. Zhen’s approach differs in a couple of major ways, however. First, it emphasizes the dichotomy of Eastern and Western painting styles rather than the internal workings of the artist. Second, she begins with a Plan and – although working with a looser style initially – is very controlled throughout each step. While its aim is not the same as the work I am presently pursuing, I will definitely try this form myself after a fashion as I feel that it will certainly generate new directions for the Flow style.