Hi and....... it's nearly DECEMBER!
Holy cow! Where's this year gone? Wasn't it LAST year just yesterday? Pff... Time flies - ain't that the truth?
Have we all had a good week? Have we all been arty? THERE'S something that it can be tough to find time for in a busy day - art. With the best will in the world, there are just some days where life takes over and by the time I sit down to paint or draw, I'm so tired I fall asleep and wake up with pens and pencils randomly stuck to my face...or the imprint of a computer keyboard in my forehead!
It struck me that when time's tight, it can be just as hard to find INSPIRATION for art... It's not that I don't have ideas and images cycling round my brain all the time, it's just that when I plonk my butt in the chair and stare at a blank page, my mind becomes one with that papery void .... which is incredibly frustrating! Thinking about this actually inspired this blog post, as I have a few techniques to help re-boot my awkward muse which I thought I'd share with you - just in case they're useful!
First one is to take a photo. If I have my camera with me I'll take an ACTUAL piccy of something that interests me - a view, a texture, a moment in time. However, that's not always possible, so when I'm sans camera I'll take a mental photograph. I learned a weird (but effective) trick YEARS ago from somewhere - a movie or tv programme probably - which works wonders: when I want to record a memory moment I stop, focus then when I've got it just right in my head I blink my eyes slowly and deliberately - like a camera lens. Sounds mental, right? Yeah - I thought so too, but it DOES really work. When I think back on the day I can recall that moment in almost perfect detail. Cool. Give it a try - and enjoy the looks of bafflement on the faces of anyone watching you :-)
Second one is to journal - like, properly journal... with actual writing and everything! I include little sketches and doodles, thoughts and lists of ideas - whatever springs to mind. Aside from the whole 'recording my life' thing, it's a handy reference for when I'm staring blankly at that page, drooling slightly as my brain leaks out of my ear. (I'm sometimes sure it's actually doing that!)
Lastly, but not by any means least - use pictorial reference. My poor computer is chock-full of images... I haunt historical and nature websites where images are public domain, and also have an unhealthy addiction to Pinterest (dammit) which is a marvellous source for images of, well, pretty much anything. Don't forget books, either - they still exist! I pick either three files, or three books, then pick one picture randomly from each one. It's easier to show you I think....
I chose three files from my pooter - 'Vintage ladies', 'flowering plants' and 'insects'. Iclosed my eyes and clicked on a random image from each file - this is what I selected:
Inspiration Avenue, titled 'Myths', I decided that I'd combine elements of these images to paint a fairy. Here she is:
She's painted using my current favourites - Derwent watercolour pencils and Neocolor II soluble wax pastels, with swirls painted using Tattered Angels Glimmer Glaze (Waterfall, Wicked, Mellow Yellow, Paradise Pink), heated to achieve a raised, bubbled effect then highlighted with Treasure Gold (Classic) gilding wax. Details were added with Uni Ball Impact gel pens. A handy tip for adding detail: I spray the finished coloured page with Satin Acrylic Lacquer (by Chestnut) which means that if for some reason I screw up or change my mind, I can quickly remove the black or white ink with a baby wipe without damaging the original design in any way.
Whether you're having a blank day or not, it's worth trying this technique to challenge yourself. It's a pretty common inspiration tool used in art schools and studios, as well as in gallery tutorials and classes, basically as a more interesting and imaginative alternative to still life displays. If you don't already have photo files, you may want to start keeping some. They're used by artists in every field - have been for EVER - and are an invaluable resource.
Okee - I hope that's useful? If you like this post you might like to have a wander through the other posts or pages on my blog, or join up so that I can send you updates and stuff. As always, you're so very welcome to leave your comments and thoughts and I'll do my best to reply as soon as I can. Look forward to hearing from you -big smooshy hugs - Shroo :) xxx