With so many distractions like work and home obligations, it can be hard to have ideas at hand to always have a painting in the works. oftentimes the hardest part about creating new original art. I’ve learned many techniques from my writing endeavors that can certainly be applied to the artist looking to create that new original painting. Here are four techniques from blogging that can fit into an artist’s world.
1. Keep an art calendar.
I’ve kept a list in my mind about the paintings that I’ve always wanted to do. For whatever reason, some make it to the paper, others do not. Now that list has grown long. As with my blogging, I’ve created an art idea spreadsheet so for the days I want to paint, but don’t know where to begin. Just a few words can trigger that same emotion that sparked the idea in the first place. To really get myself motivated, I will schedule these on occasion to make sure I get in the studio.
2. Have your idea journal handy at all times.
As I learned while writing my first mystery, you never know when ideas come forward. The Muse is difficult that way. Some days she has nothing to say. Other days she’s chattering away. To make sure I never miss an idea, I always have my handy Moleskine with me to take down what the Muse is saying. Don’t kid yourself and say you’ll remember. It doesn’t always work that way.
3. Maintain a photo reference file.
I often will browse the reference photo section on WetCanvas.com and other photo reference sites like MorgueFile. Many times that’s all I need to take up my paintbrush. Other times, I’ll tuck an image away to keep for later, say when I’m in the mood to do a still life.
The reference images serve another purpose as well. I like to keep reference images around for things that I may add to a painting like vegetables for a still life or a cow for a farm scene. When the ideas start flowing, I work best when I can get the visual down quickly.
4. Run an ongoing series.
Every time I travel, I take lots of photographs. I take notes. From this information, I’ll build a series of paintings or at least ideas. Often the area I’m traveling to will provide the ideas. Door County, Wisconsin is such a place. The plethora of small cottages and vacations homes provides so many ideas. I’ve done several gate paintings that I’ll return to now and again. This is a good cure for the days I’m longing to travel to a favorite place.
Sometimes engaging the left brain helps. While planning seems to go against the grain of the spontaneity of art, getting a handle on your thoughts and ideas can help you always have a painting in the works.
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