11) Take a look at life around you with a sense of composition. For example..you’re at the beach…you’re looking at the water, the sky, the sand, people etc. But then, make that frame with your fingers! (or, get out your phone) and see how the shore lines up with the water and the horizon. What fits in that frame? Where are the perspective lines? Take that image home with you and sketch it out!
10) Wander. Just wander anywhere. — What does your eye fall on? You’ve got to be relaxed and not over-think anything. Just let your EYES roam, NOT your BRAIN (there IS a difference!!) You’ll find your eye gravitating toward “something!” It doesn’t have to make sense…just go for it! Try recreating what you see. And remember..it may not be WHAT you see, but it could be the colors that draw you in or the style or the way it’s presented. Once your eye has found it’s “candy”…tear it apart in your head! Break it down and compare it to what your eye DIDN’T see and try to find out why!
9) Your phone. There’s always pinterest and instagram and google images. My blog about the Hydrangea and the Sailfish…it all started with photos from my phone!
8) Go Shopping! Stores are always carrying the coolest, neatest, latest stuff on the market. Maybe something will inspire you to create. I try to stay AWAY from trendy things…but I will use stores to learn about colors. I can see how they pull them together. Fabrics are the BEST color samples!!!
7) The good ol’ “Still Life”. Make a simple one, pretend it’s a homework assignment, and get to work! Grab some pieces of fruit…flowers..or anything on your kitchen counter…oil, salt shaker, garlic cloves? Group them together and start sketching! Do some studies of it first…just pencil and paper. Decide where the light is coming from. Are your elements floating in mid-air? Or grounded on a plane? My go-to book is one I’ve had since college: “Drawing: A Creative Process” by Ching. There are MANY wonderful basic elements covered in that book to get you going!
6) Still struggling>? Don’t be afraid of COPYING!!!! My fave book. “Steal Like An Artist.” by Austin Kleon says it all too well!!!! I love it so much, we carry it at The Shard Shop! I even gave it to all my fave artists one year for Christmas! They thought I was CRAZY when the saw the title!!! But REALLY…his point is that…there are NO NEW IDEAS! We should EMBRACE INFLUENCE!!! Get it?!!! Go ahead and COPY ME!!!…but..embrace MY INFLUENCE..meaning..by embracing me…you’re GIVING CREDIT TO ME! C’mon! Throw me a bone! If I have influenced you at all in your art, please give me some credit! That’s it! That’s the secret! I fully share stories of ALL the people who have influenced me along the way! If THEY had never taken the time to share their talents, then I would have never learned from them! We all, at one time or another, have copied the masters of art, in order to LEARN from them. The fine line is when you copy them. and don’t give them credit, or try to extort your first million from THEIR work…then you’re walking on a fence! LEARN from them…THEN find your own style from them! It’s tough to do if you REALLY LIKE a master…all you really want is your work to look like theirs…but, if you can WORK THROUGH IT..then, you’ll find YOURSELF on the other side of that amazing rainbow!!!!
5) Kids! Make art with CHILDREN! Why?! Because they are FREEEEE!!!! They do not CARE AT ALL what they are doing! They do not worry, as we adults do, at failing! There is no such thing in their world!!! Really! It’s true! Make art with a child. They do not sit there and fret about what others think of their art! They know exactly what they’re doing and why. They press on, they complete their task, and they feel satisfied! That’s it! No “ulterior motive”, no “trying to impress”, no “second guessing”, no “fretting over whether someone will or won’t like their art”. Kids are so sure of themselves when it comes to art! They just love to be creative! It’s an expression just like laughing or exhausting themselves with a game, or building an empire out of keva planks. If we could just simplify our brains to that utter simplicity, we’d all make great art! Somehow, and it probably happens around puberty, we adults start to lose ourselves. We start to worry about what others think. And, when that happens, “free spirit” goes out the window. And with that, goes some great ART!!!!
4) Set yourself up for FAILURE! Yep…that’s right…try to FAIL! Try your best to make the ugliest piece of art possible! Why!??? Because then, you’re FREE of all obstacles!!! This isn’t only true for myself, but I see it in many of my students! If you sit down and try to grab the world in your brain and make ” the-wowiest-piece-of-art-ever-seen-by-others”, you’ll set yourself up for misery. Instead, take the “heat” and “high-expectations-of-insanity” off your shoulders and gently tell your creative spirit that for today only, you are permitted to make some ugly art. Just do it. When you peel off that pressure, some pretty amazing things happen! You actually start to DANCE WITH GLEE! You’re giddy with happiness! The pressure is gone and you’re actually CREATIVE!!! YAY!! That’s what we’re aiming for !!!!!
3) Look to those you admire. Who are your fave artists? Critique their art and try and figure out why they do what they do! I’m not talking about why they are artists..I mean, take one of their most popular pieces of art and dissect it! Break it down in your head. Why did they make this piece of art. How did they start it? Why did they chose these colors? What was their thinking in the composition of the piece. How many layers did they have to go thru to get the end result? If you had to recreate the piece, how would you do it?
2) Art shows. Gravitate towards them! Wander through them! Study the art! Talk to the artists! Go to their websites and learn more about them! It’s inspiration to learn about artists and how they came to be. I just finished reading A GREAT book about an artist, David Sandum, who struggles deeply from mental illness and it was ART that saved him. I LOVED his story. It’s raw and autobiographical in nature and the way he ties it in to ART is phenomenal. I, too, have a sad family history of deep depression and mental illness and his story shed a light on so much darkness. Many artists, especially famous historical ones, suffer from this, and his account is not only compelling, but he brings his own rebuttal to the tragedies of it. In 2010, he earned international acclaim by founding TwitterArtExhibit, a social media initiative that enlists artists to help raise funds for local charities. Way to go DAVID!!!!!!!!
1) My number one way to find inspiration for my art?! Be! JUST BE! I type this as my kids enter my space with a sniffly nose…and ready for bed. Be READY to see what comes your way! Keep your eyes open! PLAY! I love to play with new materials, new products, new techniques. I’m always tinkering and experimenting. I’m always open to things that come my way. I don’t force them to come my way. They just do. I don’t always see them coming. But I know when I’m supposed to pay attention to what’s around me. I’m on a path. So are you. I was meant to be an artist from the day I was born. My mother told me so. She said that all the kids would get out the crayolas and make art. I was no different. Except that all the other kids would draw for a while, and then move on to another “thing” and I would draw for hours and hours and never quite get my fill of it. That’s when she knew I was an artist. I didn’t figure it out until I was deep into my college years…failing at the pre-business degree I thought was in my cards. I resisted a path in art for a very long time. It wasn’t til I was finally mature enough to handle it, that I found “my path.” I’m stuck with it! It’s part of who I am. I can see that now. And I can see it in my own children…and in those I teach!
Above all…HAVE FUN!!!!!
Peace Love Glass,