Tuesday, February 5, 2008

In the Flow by Jane Faudree

As a visual artist it is possible to get stuck occasionally. It happens rarely to me anymore as I have learned what keeps me “in the flow.” So, if you have that “blank canvas syndrome” and don’t have the impetus to begin your next piece, you might try a few suggestions.

One sure-fire stimulant is the act of visiting good art galleries or museums. The joy of seeing artwork of others speaks volumes to my creative side. Observing composition from different vantage points or an unusual use of color or line tantalizes my mind. Surrounding myself with beautiful art gives me pleasure and makes my mind begin to go into that creative space. If it is too much trouble to actually go to a gallery, I can always look online for inspiration. My bookmark is loaded with gallery links. Yet, the best encouragement is seeing original art face to face.

While in my studio, just the act of turning on music will make me more ready to paint. There is something freeing in listening to my favorite tunes. And certain days require different music. I listen to that inner voice that dictates whether it will be Rhythm and Blues, Classical, Oldies or whatever gets the juices flowing. It is amazing how music will change the worst mood. It seems to give energy to the painting as well.

At times I wonder exactly “what” to paint. For that I find several resources helpful. As a landscape painter, Wilmington has so many beautiful scenes; I can go for a walk or ride and find something to paint within minutes of my house. Traveling also gives opportunity to extend my range of subject matter and refreshes my outlook. Whether it is a trip to Europe or the next county it is a good way to get a new focus.

I like to plein air paint, which is painting on location. If I am searching for something to paint it is good to be prepared. I have a pochade box (wooden box, acts as container for paints/brushes and used to affix panel to paint on) and tripod (which connects to pochade box) ready to go at any given moment. Because I paint en plein air, I am more likely to be able to render the shadows more accurately when I use a photograph. It teaches you to think about the colors, reflected light etc. that will appear as flat and dark in a photo.

I usually keep a camera with me in my car so that I can catch that special sunset or the way the sun is reflecting on something that catches my eye. So, in essence I have a volume of reference photos on my computer to peruse. Thus, here is another way to tickle my creative feathers. I find that composing with the camera is a big plus, yet as I look at these photos, I find when I take them in to another program and play with them it opens up other opportunities. I can go into a good composition and find other compositions within the original. Oh, can I change some of those colors or move a tree? The possibilities start coming to me and soon I am excited about that new painting.

Well, what are you waiting for? Play some music, take a walk,or use whatever tools you need to invigorate that gift within you. Get going now!! You can do it!!

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