I just read a newsletter article from Dan Scott of drawpaintacademy.com. Here is an edited version of his story:
Dan writes, “Where do I find painting inspiration?” He answers with this story: “I was out running, doing laps around a nearby lake. I was dazing in-and-out, just focusing on putting one foot in front of the other. Suddenly, a bolt of inspiration brought me to an abrupt halt.
As I stood on the bridge overlooking the water, the light tried to burst through a small gap in the clouds. Everything just clicked—the trees, water, rocks, and the dramatic battle between light and clouds. It was one of those “I need to paint that” moments.
I didn’t have my painting equipment, so I snapped a photo. I returned to the same spot about 10 minutes later and the clouds had won the battle; the gap was closed and the light was shut out. And with that, my inspiration was gone, like a fleeting puff of smoke.
That is what finding inspiration is all about. Being able to recognize and capture fleeting moments like this.”
How do we find inspiration? Like love, sometimes inspiration cannot be engineered. We can’t go looking for it, we cannot make it happen. We can do the work and clear the path for inspiration, but we never know when and how it will find us.
Substitute “inspiration” for “love” in this excerpt from the poem, Honey & Salt, by Carl Sandburg, and consider how inspiration will find you:
“Bidden or unbidden? How comes love?
Both bidden and unbidden, a sneak and a shadow,
a dawn in a doorway throwing a dazzle
or a sash of light in a blue fog.
a slow blinking of two red lanterns in river mist
or a deep smoke winding one hump of a mountain
and the smoke becomes a smoke known to your own twisted individual garments:
The winding of it gets into your walk, your hands, your face and eyes.
-Carl Sandburg, Honey and Salt
Happy Valentines Day! Be on the lookout for inspiration…it will come. Be ready to embrace it when it does!
Fall is upon us, and once again I haven’t done as much painting and drawing over the Summer as I would have liked to do. Time really gets away from me sometimes. With my family, teaching, and volunteering for LAA, I rarely have a spare moment these days. Once in a while, though, I get a little time “windfall” when I could do whatever I want. However, I am usually not prepared to take advantage of that windfall. I blow off the opportunity and do something that’s not as satisfying, like laundry or housekeeping...or surfing the internet. So, I’ve been considering how to help myself take advantage of those time windfalls, and I think the key is to be prepared. By that I mean, have your workspace ready to go, have a list of projects you want to work on, have a procedure you follow whenever you start a work session and so on. For the September Member Handout, I quoted an excerpt from a blog post by writer Sonia Simone talking about developing a process/habit that works for you. To quote Sonia, “For creative work you want to do consistently, like blog posts or podcast episodes, it’s a lifesaver to have a familiar, repeatable process you use every time.” She’s talking about writing, but this really applies to all creative work. How do you prepare for your time windfalls? If you structure your creative time and don’t rely on stolen moments (like me), what steps do you recommend for getting into the creative groove in order to make progress? I’d love to hear your ideas! Email me at: email@example.com and next Member meeting, I will share your ideas in the slideshow and handout. You can also leave comments on the blog post as soon as our web team uploads the President’s note.
Yours in creativity
The meaning of life is to find your gift. The purpose of life is to give it away. --David S. Viscott
I’ve been thinking about my personal journey and how the heck I got here.
Many of you know that I teach art, lead the Drawing Study Group, and of course there’s that Presidentin’ thing.
What you may not know is that that all came about because someone looked at me, saw who I am, and said, “I bet she can do this!”
Those who looked at me and saw my potential didn’t just look, they encouraged me, gently prodding me to take on teaching drawing at the Senior Center, then painting class, leading a drawing group, and finally becoming your president. Just those things have happened over the last year and a half. (checks calendar…yup, that’s right, less than 2 years!)
I don’t consider myself to be a natural leader. In fact I’m more of a stay on the sidelines type. I volunteered a little here and there and didn’t speak up much outside of close friends and family. That’s all changed now!
Yesterday’s Helen stayed safe, waiting to be asked for help, afraid she couldn’t do the job, and so on. She stayed safe, but she also missed out on the connection, the joy, the outright blast of working with and encouraging other artists.
Don’t be like yesterday’s Helen. Think about what you could do to help your fellow members and community by volunteering. You never know where that will take you. You may be surprised at what you are capable of…like I was.
Yours in ART,
It is a widely accepted notion among painters that it does not matter what one paints as long as it is well-painted. ...There is no such thing as good painting about nothing.” —Mark RothkoIs
Rothko right, or does it really matter if our work is “about” something or nothing? Does it matter if there is a rationale or story behind our artistic choices? I think so.But why does it matter? Why not be content to do technically superb work and not worry about the “why?” In order to sustain our work and to become even better artists, I believe we need to think about our process and how each choice we make tells the story we want to tell. By finding that story, new options present themselves and the work becomes more profound.
Further, when we don’t find our story, we can have problems sustaining our interest in a piece. I have a portrait I’ve been procrastinating for some time and I think the reason is that I am not in love with it. It doesn’t fascinate me. It is just a drag to work on and avoiding it keeps me away from my easel for days/weeks on end. I seem to be able to rationalize almost anything to avoid it. The piece tells no story for me and sometimes that can be paralyzing.Your strongest work will always be ofthe subjects that fascinate you and tell a story, whatever that story is. (It could be purely abstract).
Are you fascinated by your subject? What do you do to keep your interest up? What is your work about?This Summer, I challenge you to pay attention towhat fascinates you and what draws you to a subject, to the story. Pay attention to what keeps you at your easel and maybe even think about what keeps you away. By doing so, you will move your work to the next level (Leveling Up!)
Yours in creativity,
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