The two best things I learned this week:
Use a viewfinder
Take off your glasses
I've been feeling stuck when it comes to painting. I see work that inspires me, but I don't know how to turn that inspiration into original ideas. I'm a very literal person. Using someone else's painting for inspiration always turns into copying their work. Rather than stealing someone else's work, I've been turning to my own work for inspiration and I still end up copying. The end result feels stiff and forced and it's easy for me to get discourage.
It's a short drive from inspiration to despair.
I've been stuck in the parking lot for the past few weeks, but two things have helped me get back on the road.
First, I was reading an article by Jane Davies in the Sketchbook Challenge eZine in which she mentions that she uses a "viewfinder" made of old mat board and then searches for interesting composition in magazines. She turns these little bits of inspiration into sketches, which later turn into paintings.
This is genius and I couldn't wait to try it. I didn't need to look at art to be inspired by color and shape and form - I could look at life. I cut a rough rectangle out of a piece of black card-stock and grabbed an old issue of Architectural Digest and started flipping pages.
one of the tutorials she posted this week. When she's working on shading faces, she takes off her glasses so she can focus more on the areas of lights and darks. This, too, is genius. Off came my glasses and I was left with lovely, blurry blocks of inspiration.
(Squint and look at these)
I turned these images into rough sketches with notes and scribbles of color
The sketch became the starting point for my painting. Having a loose plan and color scheme took the panic out of the blank canvas, but wasn't so precise that it limited me. I played with layer after layer of paint, changed my mind a few times along the way, and just kept playing. Here's where I stopped.
The whole process was interesting, fun and energizing. I can't wait to try it again. Don't be surprised if you pass me on the street half-blind and peering through a window in my card-stock. I promise not to do it while I'm driving.
Happy Paint Party Friday!