Mary A. Exline Art Blog
New Inspiration for Artwork
Except upon a few occasions of plein-air painting, I have always used photos to create artwork. Only recently I have been inspired to create works from my imagination. This is a much more challenging way to work. At first I found it almost impossible to think of anything to paint. Then it occurred to me to close my eyes, and see in the dark if any pictures appeared. I was amazed and delighted at the images that I started to receive. A problem I would have is that when I opened my eyes the picture the image disappeared, and found it difficult to remember. This is no different from our nighttime dreams that disappear, and can__™t remember what they are about.
I found a way to resolve this problem. Now I record the pictures by using the technique of contour drawing. With my eyes closed I draw the lines/bones of the image I see in my head. When finished I open my eyes, and see that I have correctly recorded the image on paper. Now I have a drawing that I can convert into an oil painting. I have come up with about 16 sketches in this manner. This experience has proved to be very helpful and exciting new way to develop new artwork. I have now completed three paintings in this manner.
A second way to come up with ideas for painting subjects is to paint directly on your canvas in no particular design, just putting paint down randomly in one or several colors, and allow to dry. Then look at the patterns in the paint to see if they remind you of anything. Whatever your focus is in painting whether landscapes, florals, still life, etc. you will find ideas in the textures that are in the paint. An additional thought, is to paint in acrylic or oil just a light wash in random colors and marks. By doing that you are not wasting much paint, and then you can find in the mark making something exciting to paint.
A third way is to use your photos, but do not copy them. You might start off with the photo, study your painting and put in new elements creating a whole new idea in paint. I find this way to be very satisfying way to create new work. I now find that painting from photos is boring. I only do that if it is a special request, as in a commission.