Sunday, December 15, 2013

Finding Inspiration

The year is almost over, and I've been looking over my work from the last couple years, trying to figure out where to go next. There are so many choices... I know I'm not quite done working with music as my base subject, but I feel like I need to branch out a little too. The last few weeks doing projects outside of painting have shown me how I'm settling into a comfort zone with my work that will, eventually, make it look stale. If I want to keep growing, I have to keep trying new things. So... where do I start?

The view outside my studio one evening a
couple weeks ago.
Some things just take your breath away. That's always a good starting point. For me, it's things like the colours in a sunset, reflections on water, intricate shadows, frost patterns, an image created in a poem or story. Can I work these things into my painting somehow? Maybe I should try working on something other than canvas... maybe yupo or terraskin paper or wood panels could inspire me to do something new and exciting.

When doing creative exercises lots of things pop up... but I have to admit I haven't been doing these kinds of exercises nearly often enough. A gallery owner told me a few years ago that I really needed to produce a significant number of new pieces a year to be considered a "serious" artist. I think the number he threw at me was 52 (one a week... and this was on the low end of the scale). Even at my most productive, I haven't been able to pull that off. I have a full time job, a necessity if I want to own a house and eat on a regular basis. Add to that my responsibilities outside of work... well, even painting pretty much every day, that seems like an impossible target.

hand-painted book cover inspired
from colours of that sunset. This is the same
design I used on my glass etching.
And so, with my time limited, I neglect other things that would undoubtably help me to be more creative, more inventive. This year I will not neglect these things. Surely I can find the time somewhere... my lunch break at work, whenever I have to wait for something or someone, maybe instead of lying in bed and not sleeping (insomnia seems to be a permanent part of my life these days... if you know a cure, please leave me a comment...). It's kinda like exercising. It's for my own good, and I have to make time for it. I fear this is easier said than done.....

Creative Exercise: found poetry
I used some of the things I learned in my non-objective painting class... large shapes, balance of dark
and light, texture and pattern repetition. Visually, this works for me pretty well. Even without using a
whole lot of colour, which is my normal.