Saturday, September 4, 2010

Find Great Ideas For Your Paintings - Day 1

This is the first in a series where I show you how to find those great ideas that will have you running to your easel!

I have been talking about how important it is for an artist to keep sketchbooks, notebooks, diaries and journals as part of the creative process.  I have described how to keep a Trash Can Journal, and its function, and also how and why to start an Picture Notebook(Click on these links if you have not read these posts.)  In the previous entry, I listed 30 reasons why I carry a sketchbook with me and one of the reasons is that I get plenty of new ideas from looking through my old sketchbooks.

Where are your old sketchbooks?  Are they on a dusty shelf in your studio? In a shoe box under your bed?  Are they still packed in boxes since your last move?

Get out your old sketchbooks! They are a treasure trove of good ideas!

Go...find them...fetch them...Now!

Open them, look at them, carefully turn the pages and admire them.  Did you really have all of these ideas?  Clever thing!

Here are some pages from a 1997 sketchbook of mine (I had to ferret it out of a sealed box...)

My old sketchbooks, especially those that I may have forgotten, are full of ideas and images that I can use for new paintings.  Because I haven't seen them in a while, the content is fresh, and exciting.  And because I know that I did it all myself, I don't feel intimidated as I sometimes do when looking for ideas in other artists' work.

Some ideas in my old sketchbooks will spark new trains of thought that may have little to do with what is on the page, and others I may end up using almost unchanged.

There are a lot of things in a sketchbook that I might never use again.  But looking through them inspires me.

I never know what it is that might spark a fresh and exciting concept for a new painting or drawing, sometimes it's a colour, sometimes a technique, and sometimes it's just the act of looking at my own stored away ideas.  

A sketchbook is a place to put our ideas, if we keep our sketchbooks diligently (even sporadic is better than not at all), if we store our sketchbooks carefully, and if we remember to dust them off and go through them, we should never be short of ready to use, unique and personal content to spice up our paintings.

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