Monday, September 6, 2010

Find Great Ideas For Your Paintings - Day 2

This is the second in the series where we find great ideas that get us hopping out of bed in the morning, eager to get painting.

On Day 1, we looked at our own sketchbooks as a possible source of ideas.  Looking at our own art work sparks new trains of thought, so does looking at the work of other artists.

Look at the work of other artists

This is a no brainer. Looking at art inspires us to make art! But don’t look passively, do an active search for clues. You may want have a notebook ready to catch those ideas as they come to you. It's always best to look at a painting in real life, but books and pictures or a Google image search will do.

Here are 5 ways to look at the work of other artists when you need ideas for your own.

1. Look at work that you really like: Figure out what it is that you like so much about the work. Is it the subject matter? The technique? The mood or feeling of the work? The use of colour? Try and answer this sentence: I like the work of (insert name of favourite artist) because … When you are able to articulate exactly what it is about the work that excites you, see if you can come up with ways to incorporate that into your own work. Artists have always looked to other artists for inspiration, but don’t be derivative. Looking and admiring does not mean copying.

2. Look at work that you really don’t like: This is less obvious than the first point. Find something that you really don’t like and figure out what it is that repels you. Ask yourself, how could I make this work better, what about it needs changing, can I use what I don’t like about this work to come up with some work of my own. Write down your answers! We are on a fact finding mission!

3. Find out something about the working process of an artist you admire: Some artists have interesting creative habits. Do your favourite artists have routines that help them to generate interesting ideas? Can you take some aspects of these routines and incorporate them into your own?

4. Read up about your artists’ working methods: Artists are often inspired by their materials and working process, can you find out more about those of the artists you admire? I will be elaborating on this as an excellent way to get good ideas later in this series.

5. Collect postcards, clippings and pictures of art work and stick it in your Trash Can Journal.

Now write down 10 painting ideas that have come to you from looking at the work of other artists. Don’t stop until you have 10. Some of these you may be able to work on right away, some may need a bit of incubation, and some you may never use.

'When truly creative people come up with a new idea, they do not reject it immediately because of its flaws. They play with it, looking for strengths and sliding over weaknesses." Dr David Campbell

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