Do you ever wonder how an artist keeps fresh, with new original ideas? It is so important for the artist to do this but sometimes it is just not that easy. Here are some things that I do to help me when I feel like I don’t have a clue as to what to paint!
No matter how talented you are and how skillful you are, if you don’t have some original ideas that talent and skill is futile.
I use an art journal to sketch or record random ideas. When I used to go to art shows and auctions in other states I always took the journal because as we drove I would see things that sparked ideas and often the skies and sunsets we saw would be so beautiful and I wanted to remember them when I got back in the studio so I would record the colors I saw. I am not worried that my art journal looks real pretty and organized it just has to have the pertinent information I need.
One really great place to find ideas is right in front of your eyes. So many times I have gathered up things in my home to set up a still-life. There are so many props around that you can use in a still-life, just look around and you will see what I am talking about. Maybe you have copper pots in your kitchen or beautiful glass vases in your dinning room. What about some items you may have that are family heirlooms, they are great for a still-life. A refrigerator is a great place to look…veggies and fruits are really fun to use! Put them with other things from your kitchen and you have a still -life!
I have often just taken a walk around my neighborhood with my camera, there are so many beautiful flowers growing all over and no one cares if you are just taking photos!
Many years ago I had a wonderful friend, her name was Diane and she was such a great artist, we would hop in the car and drive around in the county looking for barns and old sheds or fields of flowers anything that would make a good painting. We got a lot of ideas together, things I didn’t see she would and vise-versa. We spent many hours driving, hopping out of the car, laughing and just having a great time looking; unfortunately she passed away a few years ago but not before she created some beautiful paintings and sold most of them and a lot of them were from the photos she took on our outings.
I need to back up here a bit; I think you cannot get any ideas if you don’t know what you want to paint, so you have to sort of decide what your subject matter will be. I love a lot of different things but some artists only paint one subject, which is fine, plus you can create a series from variations of one subject. There is ways of painting the same thing over and over, use different colors, different angles and different lighting, just don’t be afraid to take a step out of the box! If your not sure what you like paint all subjects at least one time, you will soon find your niche and your passion.
I have found I can get inspired by looking at the old masters and studying their methods. I also love to look at old fabrics; I have seen some in Venice that were a real inspiration for me and I got quite a few ideas from studying them.
I know that we all feel at home when we put the paint on the canvas the same old way and use the same brushes, but try using bigger brushes or smaller brushes, a different palette- get away from the same colors you always use, or try a different medium to get some great new original ideas brewing in your mind.
There are so many ideas out there if we just take the time to look for them.
* Always be a first- rate version of yourself, instead of a second- rate version of somebody else.
( Judy Garland)